Techopia Live: Bitaccess CEO shares his blockchain journey from Ottawa to Silicon Valley – and back

Silicon Valley, a land of dreamers, seems at first glance like the perfect place to build a company working with “magic internet money.” But Bitaccess CEO and co-founder Moe Adham told Techopia Live this week why he took the Ottawa-born company down to Silicon Valley and why, eventually, he came right back.

Adham got started in digital currencies such as bitcoin in 2011 when he had some free time to mine the emerging cryptocurrency.

“Back then, we were just a group of people on forums and Reddit joking around with our magic internet money,” he told Techopia Live.

He and his friends never expected digital currencies on blockchain to become what they are today: They’re a launching pad for tech firms through “initial coin offerings”; they provide the basis for “smart contracts”; and bitcoin itself has surpassed a value of $5,000 USD per unit.

Back in 2014, Bitaccess entered the market with their Bitcoin ATMs, or BTMs. Adham says the firm didn’t have a product in mind, they just wanted to reduce confusion about digital currencies by making it tangible, physical in some way.


Learn more about Bitaccess' BTMs and where they are today by reading last month's feature in the Techopia print edition


Later that year, the Bitaccess made its way down to Silicon Valley to partake in Y Combinator, one of the largest incubators of its kind for tech companies. There, Adham says they received invaluable mentorship, made useful connections and raised capital to fund their audacious dreams.

If the idea is big and polarizing enough, people in the Valley will latch on and make it happen Adham told Techopia Live.

“Silicon Valley, everyone wants to believe,” he said. And yet, the company didn’t stay in California. They came back.

We need to talk about Ottawa more, Adham says. The city has great talent, it’s affordable and liveable, and big ideas do happen here (Shopify, as usual, is the prime example).

To hear more of Adham’s thoughts about Ottawa tech and where the company is taking blockchain technology, watch the video above.