Bitcoin Magazine had an opportunity to interview Mentor Palokaj, founder of BlueVPN. Mentor is currently a university student in the Netherlands, but has taken to internet privacy and the Bitcoin currency. BlueVPN provides individuals with an ability to utilize currently blocked websites, have protection against hackers, and in essence use the VPN servicing to be anonymous online. BlueVPN is now one of several VPN services accepting the Bitcoin currency for payment. Bitcoin Magazine had the opportunity to interview Mentor Pelokaj and learn more about how he got involved with the Bitcoin currency and what makes BlueVPN stand out.
Bitcoin Magazine: When did you first hear about Bitcoin?
Mentor Palokaj: Somewhere between one and two years ago I was reading an article on the future of bitcoin. Having no idea what it was I dismissed it after reading halfway. For a while nothing happened, since I was not actively on the lookout. Then half a year or so ago a programming friend of mine enthusiastically showed me the bitcoin he just bought (or rather the wallet on his phone). That sparked a round of research. Two days and many websites later bitcoin seemed like the future of currency. I tried to get my hands on ASIC devices for mining, but they were all either conceptual or to be shipped way later. Right now I have 20 avalon chips coming my way to play around with.
BM: What was it about Bitcoin that you found interesting?
MP: The decentralized and inherent scarce nature. In plain English it is more like gold than money. There is no bank or government creating more as they need, it is a resource. The only difference is that bitcoin has no application (so far) outside of value storage. Gold can be put in jewelry; bitcoin is harder to apply elsewhere. One concept that created security for me is that every coin is the sum of a lot of effort. It is not just a string of numbers, it holds in it the effort, research and risk the network and miners took.
BM: When did you first get the idea for BlueVPN and what inspired you to create the site?
MP: Three years ago I visited China to be trained in Kung Fu. The experience was amazing and our team ended up on stage with Jackie Chan. One of the annoyances though was not being able to get onto Facebook and other services. After some Googling it turned out that a VPN can create a secure connection (I use the analogy ‘false identity’) allowing you to browse the web as if you are in a different country. The problem was that all free ones were slow, incompatible with most devices and just generally terrible. Again for a while nothing happened, but as I rolled more and more into the web space setting up a service like this became relatively easy. Looking at the current VPN market there is no provider truly trying to exist for its customers. The idea of BlueVPN is to help out people who, like me a few years ago, need something that just works. As a group of my friends is spending some months abroad, they needed some way to connect to the web securely and without blockages. That sparked the creation of BlueVPN.
BM: Were there any pre-existing businesses that inspired you to create BlueVPN?
MP: As mentioned there are plenty of businesses like BlueVPN, and they inspired it purely by showing what NOT to do. Ever since starting the service there have been emails coming in purely with a “thank you” in them. That shows exactly what BlueVPN aims to be.
BM: Where do you see BlueVPN going in a year?
MP: Right now BlueVPN is as good as the other providers out there. Within a year I want it to be bigger and better in so many ways. One of them is to create 1-click setup packages for every device. I dream of the day when each customer has their own private server the VPN runs off of.
BM: What makes BlueVPN stand out in comparison to other businesses utilizing Bitcoin?
MP: A core idea behind the service is privacy. Most companies out there use bitcoin as just another payment gateway. It is a totally legitimate use of course, but BlueVPN is even more compatible with the nature of bitcoin. Of course bitcoin is not anonymous, but is is far more secure than, for example, credit cards. This is especially true in regions where the government is spying on its people.
BM: What are your suggestions for individuals hoping to start a business like yours?
MP: Just do it. You have far more to lose by doing nothing than you ever will by taking action. As a shoutout I hereby offer my help to anyone wanting to start an online or even offline business.
BM: Where do you see the Bitcoin currency going in a year?
MP: Over the past week I’ve had a lot of conversations on this particular topic. When looking at the bitcoin valuation graph is appears to follow the technology development cycle (see image). This would predict a fall, after which the productive use of bitcoin would become mainstream. Combined with Moore’s law though the later phases of the cycle might be accelerated. In plain English something would appear to crash bitcoin (government interference, scandal of sorts, etc. etc.) after which it would gradually make it to mainstream. The downside of this theory is that it only works in retrospect and doesn’t predict the future. Personally I believe the currency will develop into a useful addition to the global economy.
Update: Mentor has since sold BlueVPN and is working on Hoasted webhosting, a company geared towards web designers.
Elizabeth serves on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and as Secretary of the Board. She also serves Account Manager for BitPay, Bitcoin’s lead payment processor where she focuses on bringing charities, political candidates and non profits into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Elizabeth previously served as Director of Operations and Outreach for Bitcoin Magazine and as the Scheduler and Policy Assistant for a US Member of Congress. She has a background in public policy, grassroots activism, and a keen desire to promote decentralization and individual liberties. Elizabeth holds a BA in Political Science from Wheaton College (IL).