Robert Wilkins, the channel visionary who has started more than six companies including two successful mail-order IT reseller startups and built PC Connection into a solution provider behemoth, is making his biggest and boldest bet yet as the founder and CEO of cryptocurrency upstart Ziftr.
"The technology behind what we are talking about is incredible," said Wilkins, who in the past four months has overseen the launch of ZiftrCoin, a mass-market cryptocurrency; ZiftrWallet, a virtual wallet; and ZiftrPay, a product that allows online retailers to accept all forms of digital currency including Bitcoin. "When I first looked at this opportunity, I thought, 'Oh my God, this is going to change the world.’ "
Wilkins has covered a lot of technology ground over the past 30 years, but as far as he is concerned the block chain technology powering the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency phenomenon is every bit as revolutionary as the Internet. "I got shivers thinking about this when I first looked at it," he said, speaking about the block chain technology that is at the heart of the Ziftr cyrptocurrency offensive. "I looked at my wife and told her I couldn't sleep. It was like the day I saw Mosaic was launched and the World Wide Web started happening. It is that big."
Wilkins sees cryptocurrency technology completely reshaping world monetary markets (Ecuador recently put out a request for proposal to eliminate paper currency) as well as other critical financial documents such as stock certificates, titles and deeds. "You are looking at the first time ever in the world that you can have a transaction that is completely verified without a central authority to do it," he said. "Our peers, the network, our neighbors, automatically verify the transaction. From a security and networking point of view, this is how transactions are going to be done."
Wilkins began devouring any and all material he could get his hands on related to cryptocurrency earlier this year and soon after began building out a full cryptocurrency product portfolio with Ziftr. Today, the Milford, N.H., company's mission is no less than to revolutionize the shopping experience from consumer adoption with ZiftrCoin, ZiftrWallet and ZiftrShop to retailer adoption with ZiftrPay and ZiftrCart. One of the company's big advantages is its shopping search engine roots as myVBO, which has provided it with a customer base of 1.5 million users comparing products from the likes of Amazon and other major online retailers.
That online retailer legacy combined with Wilkins' channel roots give Ziftr a big advantage as it looks to disrupt standard credit card payment systems. In fact, Wilkins, who cut his teeth as the original founder and CEO of both mail-order IT product resellers Zones and Mac's Place, sees the channel as critical first adopters of cryptocurrency. That's in large part because tech-savvy solution providers grappling with razor-thin IT product margins are sure to be the first to embrace the economics associated with cryptocurrency.
Next: Disrupting Standard Credit Card Payment Systems