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FINANCIAL SERVICES, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Hong Kong
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HK startup sets up a site enabling people to donate to charities using bitcoins

That’s at almost zero transaction fee.

Gatecoin, a one-year old digital currencies exchange and remitance solutions platform, is setting up bitcharities.org that will allow people to donate bitcoins to charities, and the charities to receive those donations through local transfers at almost zero transaction fee.

In an interview with Gatecoin founder Aurélien Menant, he said that Bitcharities.org, is a project to disrupt the donation systems to charities that charge excessive fees to donors.

To be financed through a crowdfunding campaign, Aurélien said that the Bitcharities.org is aimed at becoming the Kickstarter of Charities which could receive donations in Bitcoin/fiat currencies.

“It could show that Bitcoin has a real and concrete utility for people. Most of donations amounts are below USD100. The issue is that whenever you want to give to a small foreign charity, you will have to pay important international transfer fees and FX spreads. Overall, those fees will represent between 20 to 30% of such a donation and even more than 100% for a donation below USD20,” said Aurélien.

He added that accepting bitcoins will also be a way for the charities to promote themselves. Meanwhile, Gatecoin will foster their promotion by developing a KickStarter-like website where donors will be able to browse them by type, location, etc., in order to select them.

"We leveraged our status of co-founder of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong to set partnerships with bitcoin businesses and investors. We also partnered with a financial institution to create a white labeled bitcoin loaded prepaid card, that other companies will be able to sell. Those partnerships will bring us large amount of bitcoins that we will be able to sell. We are also to support this growth by implementing the creative marketing plan we have elaborated, since we are very aware that the quality of our solution is not sufficient in itself to generate sales: we have to market it," he added.

According to Aurélien, those actions will leverage their brand recognition and increase their customers’ sales. For businesses and investors, they will also create unique transaction fees discounts.

"By the end of the year, we would launch other Bitcoin products and services which are very attractive for consumers and investors in this business, such as a Derivatives solution, or a remittance solution," said Aurélien.

Gatecoin was officially registered in Hong Kong on July 1, 2013. So far, USD180,000 have been invested into their business. They are hoping to raise USD1 million in their second round of seed funding.

The founder

Aurélien, who serves as Gatecoin CEO, founded the company with two co-investors: Albert and Etienne.

"Being passionate about finance, computer sciences, I was very interested in digital currencies. After having discussed about it with Albert, and seeing the solutions on the market, we realized we were able to do much better and also offer other services," he said.

Albert, an experienced trading system designer for a major bank whom he met during his past professional experience, and Etienne, an IT engineer working for a major IT consultancy, specialized in finance.

"I have worked for several years in the investment banking sector. Working on M&A and financing deals, I acquired a substantial experience in business management and development. I have always being interested in entrepreneurship and I have participated in many entrepreneurial events such as the first Start-Up Week End in Paris in 2009 that we won with a project of my own," said Aurélien.

Using their past experiences in investment banking to digital currencies they want to transpose the processes and systems in order to provide a bank grade quality service.

"I partnered-up with Albert, an experienced trading system designer for a major bank whom I met during my past professional experience, and Etienne, an IT engineer working for a major IT consultancy, specialized in finance. Together, we share the same interest for digital currencies and we gather all the required skills to run a related business," said Aurélien.

According to Aurélien, Gatecoin's trading engine designed by investment banking professionals is more efficient, scalable, reliable and secure significantly different from their competitors.

"Unlike other digital exchanges, we will have a global footprint. Indeed, we have developed multiple partnerships with financial institutions across the globe. The results will be that we will reach clients who have local bank accounts in more than 60 countries: they could transfer their money cheaper and faster than our competitors making it the best solution for individuals and businesses,” he said.

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Company Profile

Company Name: Gatecoin
Founder: Aurélien Menant
Website: www.gatecoin.com
Total funding at hand: USD180,000
Target funding: USD1 million
Start of Operation: 2013

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