Pepperdine Students Bring Bitcoin to Malibu

Four entrepreneurial Pepperdine University students have launched a brokerage to exclusively handle the world’s latest category of money – bitcoins. 

Headquartered at the Malibu campus, Calvin Freatman, a junior and economics major at Pepperdine, became involved in the venture in 2010 with Jacob Norte, a junior and political science major. 

“We always believed in the fact that this technology can revolutionize and finance everything we can think of,” Freatman, the chief financial officer, told the Times in a phone interview. 

The two then brought Stephan Salas, a Pepperdine sophomore and business and computer science major, and Ryan Doyle, a junior and business and economics major, on board. 

The bitcoin network came into existence in 2009 by a person, reportedly a software developer, under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency is not printed and transactions are made without middlemen, meaning no control by a central bank and no additional fees. More merchants are beginning to accept the currency and there are online “bitcoin exchanges” that allow people to buy or sell bitcoins using different currencies. People can send each other bitcoins using mobile apps or from their computers. 

“So many people don’t know what it is,” Freatman said. “You can go to a website and buy bitcoins, but are you going to trust that? So, you provide this service. There are a lot of anonymous places to go and do it, but none, unlike us, are regulated. We are by the book and registered with an agency.” 


Malibu Bitcoin is offering private exchange, cold key storage, expedited transactions, over-the-counter trading and investment advising services to its clients, as well as its bitcoin integration service to merchants and professionals to incorporate digital currency payment in to their businesses. 

“With Malibu Bitcoin, we’re aiming to help an array of customers,” said Freatman. “From educational outreach, to people interested in learning about bitcoin, to providing a stable and trustworthy face in bringing a traditional client-broker relationship to bitcoin, we’re covering all the bases.” 

Cold storage is considered the most secure way to obtain bitcoins, according to the local co-founders, being a cryptography-based digital wallet that requires multiple logins from multiple people to move money. 

According to its website, Malibu Bitcoin complies with all “Know Your Customer” and “Anti-Money Laundering” regulations. 

Doyle, Malibu Bitcoin’s chief marketing officer, said they are currently operating on campus but have a three-month goal to get a physical office in the city so people can stop by to chat. 

“Being able to be mobile and serve people the past couple of months, on campus and at Starbucks, and provide a service that they need, has served us very well,” he said. 

Malibu Bitcoin is also setting up workshops for merchants to accept bitcoins for free. Doyle said they have a dozen local clients, whether it is to use all of its services, or specifically for over-the-counter exchange and investment consulting. 

Doyle added they recently submitted a proposal to Pepperdine to have bitcoin fully integrated into the campus. Georgia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the only other schools in the country offering the digital currency on campus. 

“For international students sending in tuition via wiring, we’d be saving money and doing everyone a solid around here,” he said. 

For more information and statistics, visit and for more general information, visit, which caters to beginners using bitcoins. 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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