Bitcoin-lyon co-founders Jimmy Chambrad and Aurora Galves Orjol first heard about Bitcoin (BTC) in 2014. Around the same time, their close friend and now business partner, Bruce, hacked Bitcoin using his laptop. However, it took three years and an on-and-off race before the pair could carve out the time to get into technology.
Fast forward to 2017, when Chambrad and Galvez Orkhol just returned from a round-the-world trip. Although ready to return to the world of work, they prefer to avoid the traditional nine-to-five lifestyle or the “metro, bulout, dodo” (metro, work, sleep) routine, as it’s known in France.
They began to explore Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space by attending crypto meetings and technology testing. Their research and curiosity led to the creation of Crypto Lyon. Crypto Lyon is their first entry into the world of crypto, a community of crypto enthusiasts in France’s third most populous city.
They are not ‘leon’ about bitcoin
However, on a deeper level, there was just something about bitcoin that got buzzed during their meetings with other crypto enthusiasts – the pair got hooked. This may have been the philosophy behind Bitcoin, but the elements of privacy, sovereignty, and aliases were also compelling, especially for Schumprad. In any case, it soon became clear that working in Bitcoin was a reality.
Galvez Orjol noted that before moving to Bitcoin:
“It is important to learn about the entire crypto ecosystem. We explore the crypto world through the eyes of individuals, and then associations. We develop and distribute smart contracts, organize events for traders, and communicate with developers and analysts. It led to Bitcoin.”
They met and spoke with a number of curious and crypto-obsessed people in France before opening an agency for Bitcoin-lyon in 2019.
Bitcoin-lyon was originally a place where customers in Lyon could buy bitcoins without a prescription. But “making a profit only by selling bitcoin on margin was difficult. It was not enough to compete with companies such as Coinbase, Kraken and Binance,” Galvez Oriol explained. The company quickly developed a promising advisory activity, especially useful for French speakers new to bitcoin.
Galvez Orjol says a lot of their advisory deals revolve around the “blockchain not bitcoin” confusion, a concept and trend pioneered by OG Bitcoiner Parker Lewis. In fact, entrepreneurs are often drawn to the “blockchain,” a technology that has been ironically made world famous thanks to Bitcoin. But due to the bad pressure on Bitcoin, entrepreneurs are shocked by what they are building on Bitcoin, and are thus shying away from the real revolution.
“We spend most of our working day talking to clients about blockchain technologies, and for the most part, they realize that the killer application is the bitcoin blockchain. Often their big project doesn’t need the blockchain, it needs Bitcoin!
The Crypto Lyon Association lives on while Bitcoin-lyon develops into a one-stop shop for everything Bitcoin related. Whether Lyonnais wants to buy, sell, learn about Bitcoin payments, or integrate them into their business, the team at Bitcoin-lyon is ready to provide educational and advisory tools for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin-lyon also has the unique advantage of being the only Bitcoin provider in France that accepts cash for cryptocurrencies.
Organizing, Organizing, Organizing
An exceptional case among Bitcoin providers in France, Bitcoin-lyon customers can exchange their Euro accounts for Bitcoin. Galvez Orjols and Chambrad obtained the license by “jumping over all the hurdles set by the AMF [L’autorité des Marchés financiers], the French anti-money laundering (AML) organization.”
In fact, French Bitcoin regulations are much stricter than Zinedine Zidane when he is upset. Know Your Customer (KYC) is required for amounts as low as 1 Euro. In practical terms, this means that an 18-year-old boy with 50 euros in his pocket, thanks to a generous birthday gift, must provide his name, address and contact information in order to purchase a small amount of bitcoins.
Just 100 miles away, in neighboring Switzerland, customers can buy bitcoin worth 900 euros a day – no questions asked. Chambrad apologizes for France’s lax crypto-regulation: “Regulation is killing us. Within 10 years, there will not be a single Bitcoin supplier left in the country.”
To make matters worse, compliance and anti-money laundering dictate the need to track transactions. The combination of traceability and regulation hampers the ease of doing bitcoin:
“Compliance is expensive for bitcoin companies in France, while the regulations in neighboring Switzerland are more lenient.