University of Iowa Alumnus Uses His Knowledge to Create His Own Bitcoin-Based Company
With over a decade in the crypto world, it is clear that Bitcoin isn’t going anywhere. However, some of the concerns have been with bringing this type of industry the younger generation, which hasn’t been lost on Chris Stewart. In the fall of 2014, this University of Iowa alumnus decided to make a bold move for his future, leaving a job at State Farm to create his own Bitcoin-based company.
Despite predictions that Bitcoin would fail at that time, Stewart pressed on and will soon be completing the software development for Suredbits, which is the name of his company. The goal of Suredbits is to offer real-time information on the current state of Bitcoin for both small businesses and individual investors. Even though Stewart has made the decision to make this cryptocurrency the center of his business life, he warns new investors to be skeptical about walking the same path.
According to Stewart, “There’s a lot of technobabble that goes on. And it’s very hard to distinguish between the charlatans in the field and the people who are the evangelists. But I hope people can overcome that as they become educated on the subject.”
Stewart himself was one of those skeptical people before he began his company. In Summer 2013, he was between his third and fourth years at college and was trying to find a way to break ground on the lucrative opportunities of the world of finance. When Bitcoin was frequently discussed in the news regarding the constant changes in value, Stewart thought that longevity wasn’t possible. However, when he saw that it was thriving and that he wants to invest in Bitcoin, Mt. Gox crashed, which what the leading exchange at the time.
With this failed attempt, Stewart still wanted to take on this opportunity, and his lack of other commitments drove him to get invested. Within one year, he had the first of many investments. Suredbits should be launched by the end of the summer this year. While that time still has yet to happen, he hopes that he can help a wider array of people understand the benefits of cryptocurrency.
He explains that digital cash allows consumers to preserve funds in a way that they are less likely to be lost, unlike a credit card or even cash. The owner of a bitcoin is programmed into a wallet that is encrypted for protection from hackers. With this preservation, consumers may expect to never have their standing threatened, but Stewart realistically lets them know that this isn’t the case.
“People like to think of these crypto-systems as super secure, can never be hacked, that they are impenetrable,” he says. “But the old joke is that none of these crypto-systems can beat the $5 wrench attack.”
With these risks, there are many critics that want to ban it from the financial world. In fact, Warren Buffet, who is famous for his investments and role as the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is commonly quoted for calling bitcoin “rat poison.” The joke might be on Buffet though, considering that the current value of the Bitcoin is $6,720.00.
Stewart received many accolades for his application of Bitcoin within the California Bay Area. His undergraduate experience has helped give him greater knowledge and preparedness for the market, considering his role as a web developer and systems analyst in his jobs. He worked with BoostVC in the area for his training for about four months, earning enough in his initial investments to maintain his living situation for up to six months if he stayed in the Bay area. However, since he could thrive off of the profits for about 18 months in Iowa City, he opted to move back and work out of a local apartment.
Now, Stewart rents a workspace at MERGE, which is known in Iowa City for their support for startups. With his company, the real-time information that he offers about Bitcoin is often expensive to acquire without payment. Furthermore, there’s no such thing as “a little information” so consumers end up wasting funds to acquire details about a wide range of cryptocurrencies, or they learn nothing.
That’s where Suredbits comes in. His company breaks down bitcoin data into small clusters at a rate that more people can afford. Basically, Stewart compares the purchase to only buying one sports game, as opposed to purchasing ESPN for an entire month of watching. Over the long-term, Stewart says that the goal is
“to use this model to open up financial markets and hopefully make them fairer. Hopefully, it will allow the little guy entry into these systems rather than needing five figures of capital ready to throw down every month.”
Stewart continues, discussing the way that a lack of standard restrictions in cryptocurrency is much more beneficial that traditional financial markets. “The great thing about cryptocurrency markets is that there is no walled garden. There is no Wall Street for crypto. It’s all these people who set up exchanges around the globe and are trying to serve individuals who are interested in crypto. Not institutions—it’s actual individuals who are interested.”
No matter how the market changes, Stewart hasn’t lost hope. Everything is a wage on how effective Bitcoin is, and Stewart cites his “bullish” personality for the reason that he refuses to quit.