“We have made the experience of dealing with bitcoins very similar to what we do now with banks. We can have a company where one person has control of the bank account, but wants to give access to transactions to another person, imposing some restrictions and limits. We do the same with bitcoin. Employees can have access to the money, but with different restrictions”, explained Kevin Loaec, co-founder of Revault, to Lusa.

Born in France, the 33-year-old has been living for about a year and a half on the island of Terceira, in the Azores, and it is from the Science and Technology Park on the island of Terceira, Terinov, that he has developed the digital tool that he claims allows for the reduction in the risk of theft or fraud in bitcoin transactions.

“We offer free software tools that anyone can install, copy or modify, allowing them to save money in their organisation without having to trust anyone else or trust us,” he explained.

Portugal Ventures

The project was the first in the Azores to receive investment from Portugal Ventures, a venture capital company that is part of the Banco Português de Fomento Group, within the scope of the applications for Call Açores, created in partnership with the Regional Government.

Launched in 2021, Call Açores received 20 applications, with a requested investment amount of around €4.6 million.

Revault will have access to an amount of around €400,000 from Portugal Ventures, out of a total of €1.5 million that the company has already managed to raise, from investors in countries such as the United States of America, Canada and Switzerland.

Kevin Loaec studied applied physics, but dropped out of university and moved to Ireland, where he worked on computer systems for various companies, with the aim of raising money to launch his own business.

The first business idea, he says, was to develop contactless card payment, at a time when it was not as common as it is today, but the necessary investment, given the regulation of financial systems, led him to focus instead on bitcoin.

It was a challenge launched by a client that led him to create Revault with partner Antoine Poinsot.

“One of my clients, a hedge fund in Luxembourg, had a very specific security issue related to bitcoin. They wanted to know if it would be possible to apply restrictions on the way the money was moved. I did research and came to the conclusion that this did not exist at the time and that it was believed to be impossible. At the same time, I figured out a way to make it work,” he said.

Choosing the Azores

When the Covid-19 pandemic paralysed the world, Kevin was in Lisbon trying to create a start-up, but the cost of living in the city led him to look for another destination and the Azores fulfilled his requirements.

“I have to travel a lot. This type of work is security related and many things are even easier when talking to clients in person. We don't want to discuss security matters via message. We have tools, but it's not the same. It had to be close to an airport,” he added.

“This is how I did my research: where can I go, which is not far from an airport and is a pleasant place to live, with a high quality of life and good internet connections. That’s how I discovered the Azores,” he added.

A year and a half later, the product is practically ready to be put on the market, but Kevin admits that it could take some time to commercialise, because it involves “a lot of risk” and “high amounts of money”.

“Our goal is that this tool will be used by large organisations, because the fact that it is open software means that the more people use it, the more people contribute and the better it becomes”, he stressed.