Tom Meredith. Founder and CEO of BitMinutes. Roswell, USA

Would a $5 loan help improve your life? It may not, but for billions of people around the world, it could be the right amount of cash to get them out of poverty. Tom Meredith has developed a cutting-edge idea that can help individuals achieve the financial security they desire. Or at least, it could put them on the path to being more secure.

Described as the missing link between Bitcoin, micro-credit and money transfer services, Meredith describes BitMinutes as “Better than Bitcoin for Billion” of un-banked consumers directly on their cellphones. In Meredith’s own words, BitMinutes are a hybrid between Bitcoin, mobile credit and money transfers, combining the best of both worlds, all on their cellphones.

A graduate of Stanford and Harvard Business School, Meredith has spent decades working in telecommunications and with financial services. His vast experience has helped him build BitMinutes into one of the most interesting companies dealing in cryptocurrencies.

Recently, Meredith took some time out of his hectic schedule to further explain BitMinutes to Totalprestige Magazine.

Tom, can you please tell us about BitMinutes?

BitMinutes are the first Crypto-Asset backed by an asset used by billions of consumers every day: Pre-paid cell phone minutes. BitMinutes offer free money transfer and guaranteed credit to the billions who are un-banked, unlocking the value stored in their cell phones. BitMinutes also turn the corner retailer into the corner banker, providing retailers with new financial services revenue and improving the lives of their neighbors with access to affordable credit previously unavailable to them.

The award winning company P2P Cash developed BitMinutes. Please tell us more about what customers can expect from BitMinutes.

P2P Cash won SWIFT’s Top Ten Global Startup Award two years in a row. We also won second prize in Harvard Business School’s global startup competition. P2P offers free money transfer with the largest retail bank in Africa, Equity Bank. We merged that cash token with a prepaid minute token used by over 4 million consumers globally. That is how we developed BitMinutes.

Tom, please explain how BitMinutes can benefit retailers and consumers.

Let me break it down into the respective consumer and retailer benefits as both benefit in different ways.

Consumer Benefits:

Guaranteed Loans – BitMinutes are collateral to secure a micro-loan of less than $100. The user purchases BitMinutes, with ID, that are placed in escrow. They then receive a loan instantly, guaranteed. The loan amount is based upon their Trusted Agent Network (TAN) Credit Score

Free Money Transfer – The user can send BitMinutes to over 4 billion mobiles and bank accounts to convert into cash or used as prepaid minutes by the recipient. This service is free and should make Western Union very nervous!

Retailer Benefits:

Retailers make money several ways. They can sell BitMinutes just like regular prepaid minutes. Or they can lend BitMinutes. This is where it gets interesting. Because BitMinutes are an asset-backed token, they can be used as collateral for microloans. We require the consumer to buy BitMinutes, which are used as loan collateral. We then lend as little as $5 to anyone with a valid ID. We believe this will drive significant traffic to the retailers and give them an ongoing revenue stream from participating in the interest paid on the loans.

Retailers can also recruit other retailers as their sub-agents to broaden their BitMinutes network. This multi-level marketing approach is what made M-Pesa in Kenya so successful.

What makes BitMinutes stand out from competitors?

With over $3 billion raised in the past two years, there are hundreds of Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs, in the market right now. However, BitMinutes has two major advantages. One: there is a huge pent up demand for credit from 2 billion global consumers. The BitMinutes Guaranteed Credit business model ensures that we will profitably capture a significant portion of this global market. Two: the other key advantage is that BitMinutes is already built and operational. Ninety-five percent-plus of other ICOs are raising money to build a product. Therefore, even our competitors who want to address the global financial inclusion market are two to three years behind us in product development and distribution. For instance, we are launching the two largest retail networks in Mexico in 2018 and partnering with one of the largest in India.

Tom, what have you learned about yourself while running your business?

That I can overcome significant barriers to reach my long-term goal of financial inclusion through technology. You simply have to believe in yourself and what you are trying to accomplish.

How do you find inspiration?

This sounds corny, but to whom much is given, much is expected. There are billions in poverty who could use a $5 loan to better their lives.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

Raising money. It never seems to end.

What do you have your sights set on next?

Closing our $20m ICO in 2018 and launching Guaranteed Credit in the 10 countries we are operational in today.

Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?

Absolutely! I was inspired to become a technology entrepreneur as a child by [Thomas] Edison and [Henry] Ford. They both were very successful at turning technology into viable business models

What  is a day in your life like?

Work, eat, work, sleep, work. Wake up and repeat.

What makes you smile?

My wife says I’m “stupid happy”, so I laugh and smile a lot. Our three dogs always amuse us.

What scares you?

Not much, except for nuclear war in certain parts of the world. Also, a dirty bomb going off on Wall St. would throw a wrench into our economy.

What is your greatest achievement?

Making the cut on the NCAA Champion Stanford Water Polo team as a walk-on who just learned to play senior year at Andover.

What is your secret talent?

I can make a quarter disappear for my seven-year-old triplet nieces.

Which historical figure do you most admire?

[Albert] Einstein followed closely by [Winston] Churchill

Tom, do you have any hobbies?

Bad knee forced me to give up tennis, but plan to ski again this winter until the knee gives out.

What are you never without?

My iPhone and MacBook Air. Went Apple couple of years ago from being a PC guy since day one. After being in the computer industry for 30-plus years, ease of use is paramount.

Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here

“Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.” – Admiral Farragut

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Jesus

What have you sacrificed for success?

A certain quality of life in that work seems all pervasive. I smelled the roses more when I was younger and more carefree, but now I’m on a mission. My wife has been very understanding over the 34 years!

What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?

Don’t do it! No, seriously, it’s not for everyone, but if you have the drive, determination and are willing to take criticism to always try to improve yourself and your product or service, go for it! You only live once!

For more information on Tom Meredith and BitMinutes, please visit the company’s website



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