This is an excerpt. to hear the full interview, click the Youtube link.
The world of cryptocurrency can be an intimidating place. Even if a new trader is able to overcome the technical hurdles that are required to join the crypto markets, learning how to become a successful trader can be a long process, one that is often filled with unfortunate losses in exchange for valuable lessons.
eToro’s solution to overcoming the learning curve in the world of general investing and investing in cryptocurrencies is unique–the platform has been designed so that less-experienced traders can copy more successful and experienced traders.
Recently, Finance Magnates spoke to Iqbal Gandham, eToro UK’s managing director, about the past, the present, and the future of the platform.
What is eToro?
Iqbal explained that quite simply, eToro is a global trading and investment platform that offers three different ways to invest–”you can manually invest in six different asset classes–cryptocurrencies, commodities, indices, et cetera.”
“You can also buy a portfolio,” he added. The unique thing about the eToro platform, however, is that “you can copy other investors. So if you don’t know what to invest in or how to invest, you can follow some of the best traders and investors on our platform, and copy their investment strategies.”
eToro is hoping to open up the world of investing to people who may not have thought that they were previously interested or capable: “As with any investment class or asset, we want to open up investing to a wider audience. I think that cryptocurrencies–being so new–people are very weary of what they are and how they should trade and invest them, particularly due to the volatility.”
To combat the uncertainty in the crypto sphere, “[eToro is] saying that A) you can actually copy experienced traders, and B) we believe we have the largest online community of individuals discussing crypto trading, so that you can chat with them and ask them questions like ‘what is Litecoin?’ or ‘what is Stellar?’, you can speak with these individuals who are trading.”
“It’s more than just investing,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for education and learning.”
’Popular Investors’ on the eToro Platform
Traders who can be copied on the eToro platform are known as ‘Popular Investors’. How does one earn this title? Iqbal explained: “We monitor an individual’s trading strategy, and then we also monitor the average [risk that they take]. We also look at their profitability over a period of several months. Should they wish to apply and become a popular investor, we take those [factors] and weight them–we give them a score, and then we [may] make them into a Popular Investor.”
If you’re entering eToro as an individual in search of a Popular Investor to copy, Iqbal said that the best way to determine who may be the best option for you will depend upon what your interests are: “In our experience, investors and individuals usually come onto this platform with a fixed mindset in terms of what they want to get out of the platform.”
“They may know the type of things that they are interested in,” he continued. “So for instance, ‘I want to invest in Facebook, and Google’, and the Silicon Valley-esque companies; or ‘I want to invest in cryptocurrencies.’ People tend to follow popular investors who they’re interested in.”
Iqbal went on to say that “the second layer to the choice is [each investor’s] rate of return and historical performance since day one–since their inception onto our platform. You can then start talking to other followers, and you can also start reading the posts and comments that a particular popular investor is making on our platform. So, you get to build a relationship–once you’ve established that relationship, you’ll know [whether or not] you want to copy them.”
If you’re interested in becoming a popular investor on the eToro platform, there is some financial incentive involved–”we pay you up to two percent of the amount of money which is copying you,” Iqbal explained.
Upward and Onward: eToro and Customer Support
We asked Iqbal about eToro’s history with customer service with regard to an increased number of public complaints during the crypto boom of December 2017. “I think everybody realized and now understands that in 2017, there wasn’t just a gradual uptake or awareness increasing with cryptocurrencies. Every large player–I would say the top three or four in the world–had issues with onboarding customers, verifying customers, processing withdrawals, and [general] operational scalability,” he said.
“It wasn’t just a J-curve of growth–it was like a ninety-degree vertical growth climb. We did more customers in a day than we’ve [previously] done in an entire year, and planning for that kind of scalability is very difficult for any business in any industry.”
Nowadays, customers on eToro have access to multilingual email support. “They also have our facebook group, our Twitter channels, and the eToro community where they can go and ask questions.”
“Email is the most efficient,” he said, “but in December, when did have these scaling issues (as did others), there was an overflow–a customer would send one support ticket, and when they wouldn’t get a reply, they would send another one, and another one, and then another one.”
“Eventually, that overflow then goes onto social media,” he said, acknowledging the increased number of customer complaints.
“We’re planning for scalability,” he added. “We’re firmly behind cryptocurrencies… we don’t believe that this growth is going to stop in 2018. So, we’ve scaled up our operation teams–whether that’s for onboarding new customers, or supporting existing customers, or directly supporting individuals who want to withdraw their money.”
Over the next year, Iqbal says that he believes that “[eToro’s] global expansion will continue. We’ll definitely be adding far more cryptocurrencies to our platform.” He believes that eToro will continue to grow in line with the industry.
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