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Exclusive interviews with tech start-ups in Tampa Bay: CoinLock

CoinLock Founder
CoinLock Founder
San Antonio Business Journal

For this month's exclusive interview, we have entrepreneur Matt Branton which founded a company that's involved in an industry that's gained a lot of media attention lately: digital currency. Raised in New York City where he worked with algorithmic trading on Wall Street, Matt chose Tampa Bay as the home of his fledgling startup, CoinLock.

CoinLock provides its users with the ability to sell content using the preferred digital currency Bitcoin all while maintaining security and anonymity.

Companies such as Overstock.com have just recently started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method and have had success. Overstock has reported over $1 million in sales from this digital currency alone since January 9th, 2014, the day it launched this payment option and forecasts $10 million in annual sales for the year.

According to the CoinLock mission statement on their website:

Coinlock is the content selling platform for the Bitcoin ecosystem.

We want to make it easy for the entire world to sell anything and make Bitcoin.

Forget bank accounts, infrastructure and complexity. We make it possible to monetize anything securely and anonymously.

Now for the Q&A with CoinLock Founder, Matt Branton.

Jon: How did you get started in this industry? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Matt: I've been heavily involved in technology since I was a child. What started as a hobby became a profession. I was graduated in computer science from Lafayette college, and worked in the prepaid and high frequency trading industries for years afterwards. Six months ago I decided to begin building products in the Bitcoin space, and launched Coinlock; A Bitcoin micro-payment platform for files.

Jon: What benefit do people have with using your service vs the current alternatives, if any?

Matt: Right now the Bitcoin ecosystem and digital currencies in general are very undeveloped. There are few options in the space, and nothing that effortlessly allows you to sell content like Coinlock does.

Jon: Why Tampa Bay?

Matt: Lower taxes, good people, blue water and nice weather.

Jon: What has been the most difficult challenge thus far?

Matt: Establishing an entirely new market. This is a new way of selling content, and Bitcoin itself is such a new technology that it is difficult to get traction.

Jon: Tell me a little more about how you financed this start-up? Bootstrapped it? VC?

Matt: I've bootstrapped the entire project thus far.

Jon: What are you doing to gain exposure?

Matt: I have been increasing my profile in the Bitcoin community, and actively reaching out to content producers when I think there could be synergy.

Jon: Where do you see your company a few years down the road?

Matt: I'm hoping that Coinlock becomes a definitive micro-payment platform.

Jon: For aspiring entrepreneurs or those in the same boat as you, do you have any words of advice?

Matt: It will take twice as long as you expect, cost four times as much, and shave eight years off your life.

I'd like to thank Matt for taking the time to provide us with a quick insight into CoinLock and his journey as an entrepreneur. I'm sure there are great things in store for his startup!

Tampa Bay's IT Examiner

-Jonathan Tavarez