Coinflash, Cryptocurrency, and Entrepreneurship with Louis LaPat

8 min read

Coinflash is an application that takes your spare change from purchases and invests it in cryptocurrency. Blockchain WTF sat down with creator Louis LaPat to talk about Coinflash, cryptocurrency, and how we can get new users involved in cryptocurrency. Louis gives a unique take on the challenges facing entrepreneurs in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

Who are you, and what is your role in the blockchain community?

I am Louis LaPat, and I launched a crypto startup called Coinflash. We do spare change into cryptocurrency, kind of like acorns, but for crypto. We are doing it right here in Chicago.

What makes Chicago special in the cryptocurrency world?

I was actually talking about this last night at one of the crypto meetups. So this person I was talking to said they met someone from San Francisco, who’s also doing crypto meetups there. They were super surprised about the amount of meetups we’re having. Apparently it’s not like that in San Francisco. Maybe that goes back to the community organizing aspect of the city – that was like one of our theories. But there’s stuff happening here, and there’s energy, and I’m also reacting to that. So that gets me like really pumped to see that!

Before Coinflash, how did you hear about cryptocurrencies?

So I run every day. I run with this guy who’s a pastor. His son is a millennial. He is very intelligent; he moved to South Korea and got a job at a cryptocurrency exchange. And my friend heard about Ethereum through him, and said in February, “Lou you really need to check out Ethereum.” I was like that’s a terrible idea. It’s risky; there’s no way I’m gonna spend any money in that. Every March we would have this like rehash of this conversation. Until finally seeing what’s happening to the price, and feeling like I need to check this out.

I started researching it, and it was like that epiphany crypto moment, you know. Like this is it, and from there it was obviously making two kinds of investments, three kinds of investments, financially. And also education, like I’m gonna teach myself. And then also my next business; I want to do it in this space because this is the future.

Tell us a little bit about the inception of Coinflash.

Seven years ago, I switched from being a filmmaker in New York to a dad in Chicago. With that I also decided I wanted to do a startup. So I started trying stuff, whatever. I know how to code, so my first project was a social video app. I said, “Hey let’s take on Snapchat.” But that was really hard kind of thing to do. So that was like one of my first failures. What followed after that, it’s just a bunch of other startups I’ve tried.

I started realizing one thing: it’s really hard to be a small fish in a big sea. You want to make that sea as small as possible, and you want it to be something that’s on fire. You just want energy there. That’s wherever you pick to make that that startup battle. You want it in that kind of space; it just increases your odds. So I found crypto, and I was like, this is definitely the place to do a startup.

Was it just financial, or were you intrigued by blockchain overall?

The financial aspect was symbolic of the energy. So I mean, it’s a plus that there’s money in crypto. But what I’m looking for is users, early adopters, energy. Something I want to spend the next part of my life working on. The main thing is that I think it’s good to always be in a new emerging space when you do a start-up. Because it kind of levels the playing field. You know, you don’t wanna take on Google.

Why is Coinflash important?

I’m super excited about Coinflash. It’s a kind of thing where I can call my dad, and I could say, “Hey dad, you should buy some crypto.” He says, “What’s crypto?” I can say don’t worry about it, but I had this app that is just gonna invest your spare change every month. Just a couple bucks, can you give up a Starbucks coffee a week? And okay, we set it up and that’s it. It’s just a cool way to get people that normally wouldn’t necessarily enter the space into the space.

How do you accelerate adoption of cryptocurrencies?

The one thing we have to do is we have to make something that people can use. That’s it. Like Steemit is kind of the only thing we got right now. If Ripple can be used in such a way to change how people use their banks, that’s gonna be big. Or just banking.

It’s just gotta be something. People need to see something, and their lives need to become better because of it. If you can do that, then you can just climb back out of that hole. Until then, it’s just going to be people like us and people that make money or see the financial attractiveness of it.

How does it feel to work in such an unpredictable space?

Well I think any startup is unpredictable. It’s kind of like a shit show no matter what I think. So it might as well be fun, and it might as well be something that’s exciting. So yeah, that’s how I look at it. I think it could be any industry. Just running a business and making money is like the hardest thing I think you can do in this life on this planet right now. Except like war; maybe war would probably be harder. But running a business is super hard because it pits you against other really smart humans.

What hurdles have you come across?

Hurdles of Coinflash are acquiring users, keeping your old users happy, and making money. I mean not losing money – really trying hard to not lose money. But it’s really easy to lose money LOL.

Apparently, it’s very easy to spend money in a startup. It’s kind of like how we are as people. We have money, and we like to spend it. That’s what I realized. So it’s like you have to remember that it’s all about just making money, and then putting it back into business, which is hard to do.

How do you sell savings to millennials?

Right now at Coinflash, we’re trying to target people in cryptocurrency. It’s just an easier sell. A lot of them happened to be millennials. So we’re trying to go after that low-hanging fruit. But the greater, broader thing we want to do is like target the. I mean I read the other day like 4% of millennials are actually investing in cryptocurrency. When people switch from their traditional investing apps, Coinflash wants to be there to capture them when they want to make that step into cryptocurrency.

Check out Coinflash here!

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