We talked to Ramon Ferraz, CEO of 2gether, the Spanish collaborative, fair crypto-trading platform and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ramon Ferraz: Fortunately, we are all well in my family. In 2gether some employees have been affected by COVID-19 but without serious symptoms. So I am simply grateful for my life and not having had to suffer any serious episodes in close proximity.
On the other hand, like everyone else, I’m wishing that we can all be vaccinated so that the disease will stop causing suffering and our economy will revive strongly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 2gether.
Ramon Ferraz: I have been working on 2 of my passions for 18 years:
As an entrepreneur, creating and leading startups in different sectors. And as a strategy consultant at top-tier companies such as A.T. Kearney and Monitor Deloitte, with a focus on the banking and private equity industries.
I joined 2gether in 2018, completely in love with the mission, the sector and the technology behind the project. I left a good consulting position to become an entrepreneur again. 3 years later, my excitement continues to grow every year as the project evolves, and that’s what I love most about my job.
I decided to lead 2gether without any hesitation after meeting Salvador Casquero and Luis Estrada, founders of the project and faithful believers in this economic-technological revolution. They both founded 2gether in 2016 with the mission to build the platform that would allow us to revolutionize the global economy.
Four years later, we have built a company with more than 100,000 customers, €60M transacted per month and with its own token, the 2GT, issued in February this year to the international market.
How does 2gether innovate?
Ramon Ferraz: I like that you ask me this question because just 2 months ago, we started to form a new innovation department at 2gether, whose mission is to improve the real world through the study of the token.
An innovation department where the token is at the centre of everything and will help businesses, organizations or individuals to apply tokenized models to their businesses, building local economies.
The first project under this new department is our own token, the 2GT. We have been building the utility of the token for 3 years, and this year a specific innovation department will be dedicated to continuing to make it useful.
And the second project that will see the light of day in the 2gether app in the coming months will be FoodCoin, the hospitality token, a token that will reward customers in the restaurant industry and help to reactivate this sector in Spain. This will be thanks to the work of this new innovation department together with great entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector in Spain.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Ramon Ferraz: When the COVID-19 pandemic began, BTC suffered heavy losses like many other assets. In a global crisis, there is no safe store of value. However, as centralized assets like stocks and commodities lost a lot of value early on, turning COVID-19 into an economic crisis, BTC regained its store-of-value reputation and thus, interest in buying it rose.
Bitcoin fundamentals dictate that cryptocurrency is supposed to be recession-proof—not crash-proof. When a global pandemic puts millions out of work, shuttering the global economy, and quite literally quarantining entire populations, it’s understandable and expected that peoples’ first instinct would be to sell off their assets for cold, hard cash. Survival comes first, and bitcoin isn’t going to buy you toilet paper or hand sanitizer. As the global economy deteriorated and inflation set in, investors were likely to look to tangible assets such as gold and real estate, as well as bitcoin, the best-performing asset of the past ten years.
As the crisis progressed, we witnessed the biggest boom in cryptocurrencies since 2017. This has had a very positive impact on 2gether. This year we doubled our user base, reaching 100,000 users, and we have tripled our transaction volume in the last three months, reaching €61 million in monthly trade volume.
But our journey through the crisis hasn’t been without its speed bumps. We have had to solve several logistical problems caused by the hyper-growth, but this has led us to improve and bolster the app more rapidly.
During the pandemic, we experienced one of the hardest blows to the company. In July 2020, we suffered a cyber-attack by a third party in which €1.2M was stolen. But thanks to the support of the community and transparent management, six months after the incident, the company managed to compensate the funds of 98 percent of the affected users and emerge from the crisis more agile and more secure against malicious attacks.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Ramon Ferraz: Talent management at 2gether is currently a big challenge for the company due to its rapid growth. There are currently 6 new positions open in the company, and almost every month, someone new joins the team. This growth implies a great effort in the teams in terms of recruitment, training and integration of the new people joining the project.
I firmly believe that it is the talent of the people who make up a company that can lead the project to success. That is why I have learnt that a lot of time and resources must be devoted to recruiting and training the people who make up the company.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Ramon Ferraz: The best tool for managing customer relations is the Founder Care team, whose mission is customer happiness and whose success is based on full knowledge of the product and the company’s values. This knowledge allows them to solve customer problems in 24-48h and transmit the company’s philosophy to users.
On the other hand, we use an incredibly useful tool to build customer loyalty and strengthen the relationship: discord, the platform where 2gether Founders can talk to the whole team and the rest of the Founders to solve doubts or comment on whatever they want.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Ramon Ferraz: We have an important subsidy in the social security of the employees of 2gether for being a project we consider to be a research, development and innovation project in Spain. (R+D+I)
Your final thoughts?
Ramon Ferraz: The rapid evolution of the company and the sector in which we work excites and motivates me more and more every year. And I feel very fortunate to wake up with that feeling every day.
I think 2021 is going to be a really exciting year because we will see the massive adoption of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the way we interact with the digital world, and this year we will see the last of the great revolutions, the economic-technological revolution. And 2gether will be the platform that will revolutionize the global economy.
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