BitWall’s Tall Task Of Returning Value To Publishing

Welcome to PYMNTS.com’s “Meet the Founder” Series, a new feature that gives you unprecedented access into the minds of the payments industry’s most exciting innovators. 

Here, the industry’s top creators open their doors and talk freely about how they see the market, generate disruptive concepts, and most importantly, overcome the obstacles that prevent others from setting big ideas into motion.


By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)  

Think about the classic archetype of a founder, and chances are the word discipline doesn’t come to mind. For Nic Meliones, CEO and co-founder of micropayment startup BitWall, however, discipline has been the key ingredient to his early emergence as a person to watch in the alternative payments space.

“When you’re defining what the idea is, you’re defining what the technical requirements are, as well as the business requirements. So, one of the most important things is discipline, particularly when you’re working on a nascent idea,” Meliones told PYMNTS.com in an exclusive interview.

A newcomer to the scene, Meliones graduated from Duke University in 2011 and went on to wet his feet in sales and marketing as part of Visa’a New Graduate Development Program. This year, he’s taken a leap forward, founding BitWall, a startup that stands at the intersection of new and notable payments trends such as micropayments and alternative currency.

BitWall is designed to help publishers adapt to a drastic shift in consumer expectations, one that has inarguably derailed their entire industry. Consumers, despite their love for content, no longer see the value in paying for the product, and while certain major players have bucked this trend, this shift has ravaged the media industry, causing even prestigious institutions to struggle openly.

BitWall’s very emergence may be proof that any idea that adds value to the publishing ecosystem is perceived as a good idea. It’s doubtful a solution that allows online businesses to accept payments as low as 1 cent would have existed in the glory days of media.

The San Francisco startup was conceived as part of Boost VC, an incubator for bitcoin startups, and raised an undisclosed amount of angle funding in June. But, while publishers have indicated that they’re willing to take a chance on BitWall, Meliones still needs to convince consumers to embrace the service.

To understand how Meliones aims to grow BitWall, how he evaluates consumer behavior and the tips and tricks he uses to advance his solution, read the transcript for five questions from the interview here.

What are your keys for inspiring others?

Nic MeIiones : I would say the key is being able to communicate clearly in terms of what needs to get done and what the roadmap should be … to draw out a plan so that people understand and that people can agree and clearly see what the end objectives are.

What tips and techniques do you use to succeed?

I try to be very regimented in terms of trying to map out what I do, so I’ve turned my notebook pages into calendar pages. I take notes in day form, which is really helpful for looking at what you have to get done in the framework of a day or a week.

If you had to take a vacation right now, where would you go and why?

I would go to New York because I love Manhattan, but also it would be a good business move since we work with different publishers. I could catch up with friends and family, but also on the business sides we could make some good connections.

If you could speak with a younger version of yourself from five years ago, what would you say?

One thing that I’ve been excited about is this regimen we talked about. That type of structure is good, but you need to find balance. So, I would definitely give tips and hints into how to do stuff like that.

One thing I like is hackathons, usually people who go to hackathons are in college and above, so if I was younger, I would say continue to find more competitive things like that. I always played soccer, and that was my main sport. I would say find ways to look at that not as just a fun game, because of course it is, but also appreciate it in terms of what you’re learning there as well.

What most excites you about payments right now?

The mobile payments space, is still so exciting to me. I’ve been looking into new innovations around beacons. If mobile payments are going to come to fruition, there’s got to be enough of an experience from a consumer where it makes sense for them to do it.

When you look at the beacon space, that space interests me so much. I can have plenty of conversations about that, you can see the way it’s heading and the energy and the enthusiasm and the innovation is headed that way, but from a merchant side, does it make sense for them to adopt it just yet?

It’s going to come down how strongly that pain point is for consumers and that’s something I’m keeping a close eye on.

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