ERA Timepieces (www.eratimepieces.com) is a new luxury watch company that has taken haute horlogerie complications and made them accessible to the common man. And with various forms of cryptocurrency now spreading globally, Michael and his team have begun accepting forms of it as payment, making his company the first ever to receive two different types (Bitcoin and Ethereum) for the sale of a watch.
We sat down with Michael to learn more about his thoughts on crypto, his upcoming timepieces, and if he thinks more retailers in his industry along with crowdfunding websites will start accepting various forms of crypto in the future.
What were your original motivations for getting into the timepiece and e-commerce world?
We felt like there was a huge gap in the market. For these complications, you would only be able to get 5- and 6-figure watches, and being from the sourcing and e-commerce world already, we knew there was a way to get these things made for cheaper without the crazy price gouging that goes on in order to fuel crazy celebrity endorsement marketing budgets.
When did you first become aware of cryptocurrency?
I first bought Bitcoin in 2013, when it had a little mini run-up in price
What are your views on cryptocurrency, whether it be positive or negative?
I think cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, in general, are quite revolutionary and in particular Bitcoin itself, as it’s proven to be quite censorship resistant in spite of many countries’ attempts to ban it. Especially in the fields of finance/accounting, I think it has revolutionary use cases. But 2017 brought in a wave of speculators, and everyone just tried to apply the same dot-com bubble blueprint by trying to slap the label blockchain onto everything to cash in, rather than actually exploring legitimate uses of it.
You currently offer customers a way to pay with cryptocurrency for your watches. Why was including crypto important to your sales plan?
I think offering customers as many payment options as possible is always good, but more than that, philosophically I felt we had to be good participants in the crypto economy by promoting actual use rather than just using crypto as a speculative get-rich scheme.
Which forms of currency have customers been using?
Bitcoin and Ethereum so far, although we accept quite a bit more than that.
Based on our research, you are the first watch company to ever sell timepieces with two different forms of crypto (Bitcoin and Ethereum). How does it feel to be a leader in this fast-changing currency market?
It feels great because that is basically our operational philosophy all along. We saw an inefficient and archaic way of things being done in this industry that we love, and we wanted to do something about it.
You ran a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign for your timepieces (raising over a million dollars). Do you think cryptocurrencies should be offered as a way to contribute to the crowdfunding process in the future on various platforms?
The more payment options, the better, and especially if some of these crowdfunding sites didn’t price gouge on fees. On Indiegogo for example, they take a grand total of 8% of all revenue, on top of 3–5% variable credit card fees. They don’t offer the option for PayPal or any other alternative payment methods too, I assume because they pay nowhere near 3–5% to Visa/Mastercard/Amex and want to skim more off the top.
A crypto-only crowdfunding platform—especially one that integrates with oracles and milestones with the funds tied up in a smart contract that contributors could vote on releasing—would be useful too in order to combat the rampant fraud from some nefarious creators who run with the money after not being able to deliver on the product.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
He who has a strong enough “why” can bear almost any “how.”
Do you feel in the future other watch companies or stores that sell items like yours will start accepting Bitcoin and other forms?
I think they’ll begin accepting them when it’s commonplace for everyone to accept them. Most people in this industry don’t want to be pioneers.
Outside of work, do you trade cryptocurrency personally and follow it?
Heavily in 2017, almost non-existent in the current extended bear market.
Where do you see ERA Timepieces in 5 years from now?
With an entire line of amazing timepieces and a reputation for taking complications that others price gouge the affluent for, and making them fairly priced for all.
Anything else you wish to add on the subject of crypto?
In the near term, the most useful attribute of everything in blockchain thus far has been the extreme resilience of Bitcoin, which has been proclaimed dead so many times over a decade but continues to be censorship resistant and immutable even in the face of hard forks and powerful worldwide entities that tried to control it.
Written / Interview By Sarah Kauffberg exclusively for CryptoCurrencyNews.com
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