Dub 20

Binance CFO Talks About His ‘Exciting’ Journey in Exclusive Interview

It was the last hour of the final day at Paris Blockchain Week Summit. The charismatic Binance CFO Wei Zhao had been speaking back to back. Yet, despite the time and the fact that he must have repeated himself over and over for two solid days, he seemed undeterred. Wearing jeans and a Binance hoodie, he bounded up to meet me, vigorously shaking my hand, clearly enjoying being the man of the moment.


If this were a celebrity party, Binance would be the VIP guest. Changpeng Zhao (CZ)’s creation seems unstoppable. Every project wants to be on Binance, from regular token listings to holding IEOs on the Binance LaunchPad. The Binance Chain has just launched, its native BNB token is climbing in price, and the company has the power to influence the entire community and delist tokens at will.

Binance Won’t Be Leaving Malta Any Time Soon

Minister for Digital Affairs Cedric O later said in a press conference that one of their goals was attracting Binance to France. Yet Zhao confessed to me that he had no idea the French had pushed forward new regulation until now.

With a rather high taxation rate for crypto companies at 30 percent, regulations around ICOs (that no one’s doing anymore) and a lot less flexibility than Malta, it looks unlikely that Binance will move to France anytime soon. Although I wasn’t privy to any backroom chats.

binance cfo wei zhao

My interview was with Wei Zhao, the man partially responsible for Binance’s epic growth. “I help companies to scale and to grow,” he tells me. Binance now has over 400 people in 30 countries. That’s “a decent sized organization.”

One thing that I have helped to launch is our fiat to crypto offering. In January, we launched our fiat to crypto, pound to BTC. We’re also doing Singapore. Last year, we launched in Uganda… My approach has been basically to build up our presence in the regulated world and build up more fiat.

Bridging the Traditional Financial World with Crypto

With a background of working in traditional finance, and grooming companies to go public, it’s unsurprising that another major focus of Zhao is institutional investors.

“I worked in Hong Kong, so I’ve been CFO for about four different companies, two of which went public. So, I am quite adept in dealing with bankers, and working with bankers, I am a banker myself. I helped to launch our OTC trading services, Binance off-exchange services. I help bring people from traditional bond traders and that type of trader to cryptocurrency.”

Indeed, the surge in Binance’s OTC trading drove the company’s near $80 million first-quarter profits.

What It’s Like Working at Binance

I ask why he made the leap from traditional finance to crypto. He says he would not have done it for any other company than Binance.

I think we are really different from other companies. Most are just exchanges, but we really fiercely want to make an impact in the world… The journey has been awesome so far and I’m in it for the long haul.

One of the best things about his job? Traveling to different places. “I flew around the world four or five times already,” he laughs.

It does speak to the borderless nature of cryptocurrencies. Yes, it’s a digital business but at the end of the day, it’s still a human business, it’s a very human business. The reason this industry is growing so much is that people in this industry travel so much. Like 10 times more than in any other industry.

There’s nothing like human interaction, face to face human talking about things, that’s how you can really impact change.

Does the Recent Leap in Bitcoin Mean the Bear Market Is Over?

It’s not a decisive “yes” when I ask if the bear market is over. Zhao pauses and leans back in his chair. There’s a short silence before he forms his answer, leading me to believe the opposite may be true. But with the most profitable exchange in crypto, bear market or no, nothing’s stopping Binance. He says:

I think there’s generally a lot more interest across the board despite adverse regulation and other adversities. You see general interest in bitcoin from traditional industries, and the rest of the world is showing interest in projects and I think all of it will contribute to the continued growth of the market. The fact that people are thinking “how is this going to impact my business?” Facebook JPMorgan… it lends credibility to the space.

I ask if companies like JPMorgan and Facebook lending “credibility” is rather ironic, considering how Bitcoin was born. He replies:

You need a push which is driven by guys like Facebook and JPMorgan, that gets people thinking about how that’s going to impact institutions and the market. It lends credibility, mindshare, and shows that our actions are getting noticed, that’s what it takes.

What It’s Like Working with CZ

So, what’s it like working with one of crypto’s biggest personalities? “Awesome, it really is awesome!” he enthuses, “he’s extremely transparent, diligent and extremely honest, he’s also extremely intelligent, and very patient.”

changpeng zhao cz binance

I ask if he was in complete agreement about the recent delisting of Bitcoin SV, to which he nods his head. Presumably, he’s been fielding questions on the subject all day long and his answer is extremely diplomatic.

“We have a very rigorous delisting process, and we also have a regular quarterly review. This quarter a lot of the comments we’ve written out our rationality… I don’t have any other comments on that.”

Finally then, who does Zhao believe that Satoshi Nakamoto is? Clearly, not Craig Wright.

“I think its a community,” he replies. “It’s like ‘I am Bitcoin’, you know that movie? ‘I am bah, blah blah’? It’s like that with Bitcoin. It’s a community. And we’re surviving… I believe that every day that you survive extends your survival… There is a reason why he or she wants to remain anonymous, because it’s not important, it’s a community.”

What do you think of Zhao’s comments? Let us know your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

The Rundown

Share
Dub 15

Mexico Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record After Trump’s Remittance Threat

Bitcoin price remaining above $5000 resulted in new trading highs for several countries worldwide last week, the latest data shows.


Mexico, Venezuela Post Record Localbitcoins Volumes

According to monitoring resource Coin Dance, which tracks trading volumes on peer-to-peer exchange platforms Localbitcoins, Paxful and Bisq, certain markets continued to see spikes in Bitcoin activity.

As Bitcoinist reported, the moves form part of a trend which accelerated in many places in line with Bitcoin price climbing steeply earlier this month.

As with the previous week, it was Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Kazakhstan and others leading the way over the past seven days, Localbitcoins data confirms.

The period to April 13 was especially successful for Mexico, which set a new all-time trading record of 10.67 million pesos ($568,000) on Localbitcoins.

The peak contrasts sharply with the previous week, in which 8.6 million changed hands, and just clipped the previous record of 10.62 million set in March 2018.

Topping the list of motivations for the behavior remains US foreign policy, president Donald Trump threatening to target traditional fiat-based remittance channels. This, Bitcoinist explained, opens up the door to Bitcoin as an alternative.

A glance at other jurisdictions tracked by CoinDance tells a similar story, while Venezuela joined Mexico in beating all its previous weekly records.

In terms of the country’s highly-volatile fiat currency, the Sovereign Bolivar (VES), last week saw the equivalent of 30 billion units trade across Localbitcoins, beating the previous all-time high of 26.4 billion set the week before.

Kazakhstan, Tanzania Get Taste For Bitcoin

Beyond South America, as before, Kazakhstan continued its trading boom, also setting higher volumes last week than ever before – 55 million tenge ($145,000).

The uptick accompanies political upheaval in the Central Asian country, after veteran president Nursultan Nazarbayev unexpectedly quit his office last month.

In a fresh wave of interest, Tanzania also produced recent highs, with 165 million shillings ($71,000) across Localbitcoins. The country’s all-time high of 294 million from April last year, however, remains intact.

As Bitcoinist noted, the Bitcoin price surge also led to the reemergence of other Bitcoin financial phenomena. Focused on Asia, both Chinese and South Korean buyers began paying fiat premiums for cryptocurrency this month.

In China, over-the-counter purchasers of stablecoin Tether (USDT), from which they can diversify into other assets, faced higher CNY prices than their USD counterparts.

South Korean exchanges meanwhile saw the return of the so-called ‘Kimchi Premium,’ a mark-up for Bitcoin and other assets in won terms which last week averaged around 1.5 percent.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, overall 24-hour trading volumes for Bitcoin on regular exchanges totalled approximately $10.9 billion Monday. Adding altcoins, the figures reaches just over $38 billion.

What do you think about last week’s Localbitcoins volumes? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Coin.dance

The Rundown

Share
Bře 05

Binance CEO: No Profit-Sharing With Users Due To BNB Security Status

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance will not share profits with holders of its in-house token due to regulatory hurdles.


‘You Don’t Want That’

That was the decision from CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ), who shed light on the issue during an informal social media Q&A session on March 4 hosted by UK-based trading platform eToro.

Asked whether the exchange, which has seen phenomenal success in its short lifespan, would recycle its profits back to investors in its Binance Coin (BNB) token, Zhao said the drawbacks outweighed any advantages.

“No, that would make (BNB) a security, and you don’t want that,” he responded to an eToro user on Twitter.

As with Binance more generally, BNB has seen its value soar as the cryptocurrency is used, among other things, to offer discounts to traders on fees.

Currently the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, BNB has so far avoided the issue of securities regulation in countries such as the US — where the topic has become a major talking point in the face of shifting regulatory stances.

As Bitcoinist reported, an ongoing debate over whether the number-three cryptoasset, Ripple’s XRP, is a security has long enveloped industry commentators.

binance coin BNB

Exchanges Dodging Bullets

Zhao’s desire to avoid any exposure to potential securities rules thus speaks to a broader trend among cryptocurrency exchanges to circumvent jumping through unnecessary regulatory hurdles.

Platforms such as Bittrex— like Binance’s expansion to multiple overseas jurisdictions — have, at the same time, sought to segregate the US and non-US traders by offering different tokens on each with an eye to simplifying regulatory obligations and minimizing complications.

BNB, meanwhile, continues to attract attention beyond the question of security status. As Bitcoinist reported, Zhao himself described a report analyzing its value last month as “almost scary” in its thoroughness.

Authored by Kyle Samani of Multicoin Capital, the report concluded the token’s value is underrated. BNB/USD currently trades around $11.50, with the pair’s all-time high in January 2018 reaching just under $25.

What do you think about Binance’s position on profit-sharing? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Share
Led 30

Japanese Yen Overtakes the US Dollar in Bitcoin Trading

The Japanese Yen (JPY) has surpassed the USD in terms of worldwide bitcoin trading in the past 24 hours. 


Japanese Yen Tops Dollar

According to data from Coinhills, the JPY has officially overtaken the USD in terms of bitcoin trading throughout the world. A total of 490,925.45 BTC were traded against the JPY over the last 24 hours.

Data shows that 49.10 percent of the entire Bitcoin 00 trading volume for the last 24 hours has been exchanged against the JPY, while the USD accounts for 45.80 percent.

Together, both currencies account for as much as 94.9 percent of all fiat currencies in BTC trading. The Korean Won, the Euro, and the British pound round off the top five Bitcoin fiat trading pairs in terms of volume. Though these are dwarfed by JPY and USD, comprising less than 2 percent of the total volume each.

JPY/BTC has grown in popularity substantially over the last two months of 2018. In November, it accounted for only 21 percent of the BTC trading, compared to a solid 50 percent for the USD. But whether it will remain in at the top remains to be seen as Bitcoin price struggles to hold above $3,000.

What Changed?

In December, Bitcoinist reported on a study which claimed that Asia has more impact on Bitcoin price than America and Europe. The study cited major developments from Asia concerning cryptocurrencies, which had impacted the market by an average of 18.61 percent.

Thing are indeed moving fast in the East. Just a couple of weeks ago, one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coincheck, was registered with the Financial Services Agency.

Additionally, a new partnership was formed between Blockstream, Digital Garage, and Tokyo Tanshi, which will serve the Japanese Bitcoin market by launching a JPY-pegged stablecoin.

Furthermore, in October last year, the country gave formal approval for the cryptocurrency industry to regulate itself, substantially increasing the capabilities of the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which is now authorized to punish operators which fail to conform to the stringent safety regulations put by the local authorities.

What do you think about the Japanese Yen overtaking the Dollar in Bitcoin trading? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Share
Led 22

Avoid These Exchanges If You Want to Keep Your Bitcoins

Hackers stole over $1.8 billion in 2018 from crypto exchanges. So, if you’re still trusting one with your private keys, you really ought to know better. But if you’re too busy or too lazy to set up a hardware wallet for your funds, at least you should know where exchanges rank when it comes to cybersecurity. According to a report by CER and Hacken, not very well.


Top 100 Crypto Exchanges by Cybersecurity Score

CER and Hacken evaluated the state of the cybersecurity in the top 100 crypto exchanges by volume on CoinMarketCap as of January 1. What they found was a little disturbing.

Without getting overly technical, for the sake of this study, cybersecurity means all the processes and technologies an exchange has in place to deter hackers from entering its system. An effective system, says CER, is one that reduces a hacker’s chances of breaching it.

Since crypto exchanges must be responsible for users’ money and personal data, strong cybersecurity is imperative.

Cyber Security Score (CSS) Methodology

To measure cybersecurity at the top 100 exchanges, the companies checked whether they had sufficient user security in place, server security, and some kind of Ongoing Crowdsource Security Assessment (OCSA).

When it comes to server security, factors cush as SSL/TLS certificates, secure cookies, and open ports come into play. If a hacker uncovers just one vulnerability in a server it is enough to compromise all the components and cause huge monetary losses.

The user security level takes into account all the elements that exchanges can add to make it easier and safer for users entering and transacting on their exchange. These include things like 2FA, captcha, and strict password requirements.

Data Breach Exposes Thousands of Investors in a John McAfee-backed Cryptocurrency

If there is no captcha, for example, hackers can easily uncover a user’s password. 2FA significantly decreases the chances of an account being compromised since a telephone is needed as well as simply entering through one device. And when it comes to passwords they can simply be cracked with “brute force” if they are too weak.

Ongoing Crowdsource Security Assessment (OCSA) refers to whether an exchange has any processes in place to improve and develop their cybersecurity. This could be a Bug Bounty program that looks for white hat hackers to find vulnerabilities with the system, either in-house, or through a special platform like Hacken.

Avoid These Exchanges If You Want to Keep Your Funds

According to the research, the least safe of all the exchanges are:

These three exchanges all scored less than 5 out of a possible 10 points, based on the factors mentioned above. The safest exchanges are:

  • Kraken
  • Coinbase Pro
  • Binance and BitMEX

Only Kraken managed to achieve a score of above 9 out of 10, while Coinbase Pro racked up 8.74, and Binance and BitMEX achieved 8.50 each.

Almost Zero Ongoing Programs Throughout

Only 13 percent of all exchanges have ongoing Bug Bounty programs in place to improve their security. Another major weak point for these top exchanges is their  HTTP Security Headers with some 59 percent of exchanges missing 6-7 of the 7 headers required.

According to Ledger CEO Eric Larcheveque, crypto is the easiest asset in the world to steal. So keeping your funds in an exchange is really not advisable.

And as per the findings of this study, the top exchanges are among the lowest scoring when it comes to CSS, with Bithumb number 1 on CMC, and 98th in the CER top 100 crypto exchanges.

Do you agree with the study’s conclusions? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Share
Pro 25

Japanese Yen Set to Surpass US Dollar in Bitcoin Trading

The U.S. Dollar (USD) and the Japanese Yen (JPY) are the two most dominant national currencies used in Bitcoin/fiat trading. But while the USD has always dominated the market, it appears BTC/JPY may now be on the verge of overtaking the dollar.


Most Bitcoin/Fiat Trades Denominated in USD or JPY

The USD is in many ways the de facto global currency for business and trade. It is the most popular currency in the forex market, and as such, it is no surprise to find that BTC/USD 00 is one of the most commonly used trading pairs.

According to the cryptocurrency market indexing platform Coinhills, BTC/USD accounted for more than 48 percent of all Bitcoin/fiat trades over the last 24 hours. JPY comes as a close second with more than 47.23 percent of all such transactions within the same time frame.

Japan Needs to Have Stricter Exchange Regulations According to Monex

Together, both account for 95.87 percent making them by far the most popular fiat currencies used in BTC trading. The popularity of the BTC/USD pair isn’t exactly surprising given that Tether (USDT), the most popular stablecoin in the market is pegged to the USD.

Based on Coinhills’ data, JPY is becoming a firm favorite for Bitcoin traders. Back in November, Bitcoinst reported on a study by Cryptocompare that showed a 50 percent dominance for USD in the BTC/fiat market. At the time, JPY accounted for only 21 percent. Though it is important to note that Coinhills’ data covers only 24 hours. The research by CryptoCompare was for the whole of November 2018.

Meanwhile, Bitcoinist reported last week that Asian markets tend to have a bigger impact on BTC price than the US and Europe, according to cryptocurrency research firm Mosaic. If the trend holds, Japan, in particular, could give the USD a run for its money when it comes to fiat trading pairs. The land of the rising sun is known for its crypto-friendly laws and embracing BTC commerce with major retailers accepting bitcoin both at brick and mortar stores and online.

BTC/KRW Surprisingly at Two Percent

Leading the rest of the minor currencies is the Korean Won (KRW), which accounts for two percent. Data from the CryptoCompare study put the BTC/KRW trading pair at 16 percent of the Bitcoin/fiat market.

The figures from Coinhills might indicate a cooling off of trading activity in the Korean market. Between October and November 2018, BTC trading to KRW dominated the fiat spot trading for the top-ranked cryptocurrency. Sometimes, the BTC/KRW pair accounted for about half of all daily Bitcoin fiat spot trading.

Other lesser traded fiats include the Euro (EUR), the Polish Złoty (PLN) and the Russian Ruble (RUB). These account for 1.35 percent, 0.15 percent, and 0.11 percent, respectively. Outside of the Americas, Europe, and Asia, the most popular BTC/fiat pairs are the South African Rand (ZAR – 0.03 percent) and the Australian Dollar (AUD – 0.03 percent).

Do you think the Japanese Yen can upstage the U.S. Dollar as the dominant BTC/fiat trading pair? Share below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and CryptoCompare

Share
Pro 10

Venezuela and Argentina Are Buying the Dip, New Data Shows

If you look at the latest activity on Localbitcoins, there has been a large spike in recent days from both Argentina and Venezuela buying bitcoins. Both these troubled Latin American countries have displayed a steady increase in buying cryptocurrency due to rising inflation and troubled economies. But is the sudden uptick evidence of the two countries buying the dip?


What’s Happening in Venezuela?

Looking at the charts, one of the first things you notice is that bitcoin purchases in Venezuela didn’t really begin in earnest until the second quarter of this year. Since April of 2018, the volume has increased from around 17 million to over 3 billion for the second week of December 2018, where it rises astronomically.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-VES-volume

This likely indicates a lack of knowledge, trust or means to purchase virtual currency. But as the economic situation has worsened and the government devalued the national currency by 95 percent from one day to the next, more and more Venezuelans are looking to shield their wealth.

Bitcoinist spoke to Eugenia Alcalá Sucre who founded Dash Venezuela earlier this year and she explained the many problems in Venezuela that prohibit them using their national currency. Not only is its value almost entirely wiped out from one day to the next but there is a limit to the amount you can take out of machines and a scarcity of notes. She said:

Bills are really, really scarce. You go to the bank and they only give you a little amount. They have limits. Even though you have the money in the bank you can’t take it out.

Venezuela is one of the most important countries for Dash cryptocurrency acceptance, with more than 2,500 merchants taking it including KFC.

While the western world is in panic at the crashing crypto market, for Venezuelans, it’s still a better option than their national coin. They’ve been using bitcoin (BTC) 00 to shield their wealth despite the value going down.

Volume Keeps Rising

However, the recent spike on Localbitcoins could indicate that more people are getting in as a lower price makes buying bitcoins more accessible.

Bitcoinist spoke to Rodrigo Marques CEO of Latin America’s largest crypto company and bitcoin investing platform Atlas Quantum. He said:

Look at the countries in Latin America, especially Venezuela and Argentina. It’s very hard for people to move money outside of these countries and people see bitcoin as a way to protect their investments. So it’s not just a matter of it’s faster and more stable, but making it possible for some people in some place to actually hold on to what they own, protecting their wealth.

A Look at Argentina

Argentina is in a similar situation, and Bitcoinist has been reporting on how Argentinians are using cryptocurrency to protect their wealth from inflation.

Reports of easing regulation could also see as many as 4,000 bitcoin ATMs in Argentina go online in the near future. However, the number currently still stands at two. According to Reuters, though, this is expected to rise to 30 by the end of the year.

Argentina is not undergoing a humanitarian crisis the likes of Venezuela. However, it is no stranger to inflation, which can almost be defined as hyperinflation since it is expected to reach 40 percent by the end of the year.

Moreover, the Argentine peso has lost more than 50 percent of its value against the dollar in 2018 alone. This makes it extremely hard for Argentinians to buy outside goods, to leave the country, or to protect their wealth.

Unlike Venezuela that is relatively new to cryptocurrencies, Argentina has demonstrated a longer history of buying bitcoins. Like Venezuela, though, it looks as if the dip of the week of November 24 when bitcoin was over $4,000 and the psychological barrier to it falling well under $4,000 now has encouraged more to jump on the bandwagon.

coin-dance-localbitcoins-ARS-volume

Are Argentina and Venezuela Buying the Dip?

Are Argentina and Venezuela buying the dip? It’s possible. However, the uptick also appears to coincide with the most influential Bitcoin and Blockchain conference in Latin America held on December 6 in Santiago Chile, LA Bit Conf. As we’ve seen, trading volumes of bitcoin tend to rally upon an event or announcement.

Moreover, Chile despite a much lower volume of trading in the first week of December, also saw a huge uptick that coincides with the event.

Are Venezuela and Argentina buying the Bitcoin dip? Share your thoughts!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Share
Pro 04

Binance to Launch Binancechain For ‘Millions of Coins,’ CEO Confirms

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by means of traded volumes will be launching its own public blockchain in “a couple of months or so,” according to its CEO, Changpeng Zhao. 


‘There Will be Millions of Coins and Thousands of Blockchains’

Speaking at the stage of Forbes Asia Forum: Decrypting Blockchain, the CEO of the Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ) revealed that the company’s public blockchain dubbed Binance Chain will be released very soon – within the next “couple of months or so.”

Covering CZ’s talk at the event was Forbes’ staff reporter, Michael del Castillo, who quoted the CEO saying:

We are launching Binancechain very soon, in a couple of months or so, and you will be able to issue tokens on that… I think there will be millions of coins and thousands of blockchains.

Naturally, CZ’s words immediately provoked a wave of users questioning the need of so many cryptocurrencies and blockchains. It’s will also be interesting to see how Binance will handle and vet the “millions of coins” given CZ’s previous statements. In August, Zhao stated:

We don’t list shitcoins even if they pay 400 or 4,000 BTC. [Ethereum, NEO, Ripple, EOS, Monero and Litecoin and more] listed with no fee. Question is not ‘how much does Binance charge to list?’ but ‘is my coin good enough?’ It’s not the fee, it’s your project! Focus on your own project!

Binance Tatoo Shows ‘Commitment’

CZ also refused to provide any predictions on the price of Bitcoin 00 under the pretense that his words will be taken as manipulation. He said:

I try not to predict the future bitcoin price because anything I say will be seen as manipulation. So I lost that part of free speech.

Meanwhile, Zhao revealed getting a tattoo of the Binance logo on his forearm as a sign of absolute commitment.

In a Medium post explaining the idea behind the logo and CZ’s decision to get the tattoo, he also shared his thoughts on listing coins on Binance and how founders’ dedication is one of the things they are looking for in order to have a coin listed.

Apparently, permanently marking one’s body and infusing it with ink with the Binance logo should inspire confidence that the CEO is committed and in it for the long haul.

What do you think of Binance chain? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Medium.com

Share
Říj 17

EToro CEO: We’ll See ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth Ever Onto the Blockchain’ [Interview]

Bitcoinist spoke with Yoni Assia, CEO of the largest social trading platform in the world eToro on their latest push to take cryptocurrency mainstream. 


Interview with eToro CEO, Yoni Assia

With over 10 million users globally, eToro has become a somewhat of a household name. It is also no secret that the company has been a big supporter of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a few years now. Its logo is often seen alongside numerous cryptocurrencies almost everywhere in the UK and elsewhere.

etoro

Assia explained why eToro is so focused on raising cryptocurrency awareness, why regulation is important for mass adoption, and his opinion on ‘Bitcoin maximalism.’

Bitcoinist: You’ve just announced a significant cut in spreads on crypto-assets. Why did you decide to do this? User feedback or simply a way to make trading more affordable for the average person?

Yoni Assia: We cut our crypto spreads as part of our efforts to support the mass adoption of crypto.  We want to make it as easy as possible for investors to buy, hold and sell crypto and cutting spreads so clients keep more of their gain is one part of this.

Bitcoinist: What other bottlenecks to wide-scale user adoption currently exist in your opinion?

Yoni Assia: Currently, the level of understanding of crypto-assets is one of the barriers to wide-scale user adoption of, and investment in, crypto-assets. It’s a barrier that we’ve looked to address at eToro through building our community of traders and investors who can share their investment strategies and insights. From this, others are able to follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. We also provide educational material and a virtual portfolio.

Other barriers for crypto center on the fact that this is still a very young asset class. Bitcoin, the first crypto, is still less than 10 years old. We believe that the challenges around scalability, speed, volatility etc will be solved over time.

Bitcoinist: Your platform has over 10 million users. Since the so-called bubble ‘popped’ in 2018 following the historic bull-run of late 2017, has your platform seen a drop in new user signups or the opposite?

New clients continue to join the eToro platform every day. Some come for crypto, others for the other more traditional asset classes we offer such as stocks and commodities or our CopyPortfolios. It is also interesting to note that many of the clients who were attracted to eToro by crypto have also diversified into other assets on the platform.

Bitcoinist: At current rates, can you give us an idea of how many users you expect to start trading crypto on your platform over the next few years?

Yoni Assia: While I can’t give you a number, we expect to continue to grow the number of users on the platform over the next few years. EToro is continuing to expand its global footprint, for example, we will be launching in the US later this year. Some people come to eToro for crypto, but we also offer a multitude of other asset classes.

Bitcoinist: What is the most popular cryptocurrency on eToro? Do you think this could change in the future?

Yoni Assia: The most popular crypto on eToro is XRP 00. I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict the future. Our clients value diversification so we see interest in any new coins added to the platform.

Bitcoinist: Does a diversified crypto-asset portfolio still make sense given that Bitcoin has experienced the least bleeding relative to other cryptocurrencies?

Yoni Assia: Maintaining a diversified portfolio, both in terms of crypto-assets and in terms of wider assets, is a prudent way to invest regardless of market conditions or asset performance.

Bitcoinist: Etoro has signed numerous partnerships with major sports teams and pro athletes to promote cryptocurrencies. Have these efforts borne fruit so far? And what other initiatives do you have planned?

Yoni Assia: We’ve recently sponsored seven premier league clubs in the UK as well as German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. We’ve also partnered with French tennis player and eToro user Gaelle Monfils. These initiatives help us to raise awareness of crypto and we will continue to form partnerships that help us to strengthen our brand and build awareness.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe regulation will accelerate mass adoption? Some regulations such as the BitLicense in New York state have forced companies to leave, for example. Do you favor more of a hands-off approach or clear-cut regulations just like in traditional finance?

Yoni Assia: A conducive regulatory environment is vital to protect consumers and foster growth and innovation within the investment industry. We believe that regulation will lead to greater adoption by institutions and intermediaries, which will accelerate mass adoption.

In the UK, eToro was the driving force behind the establishment of CryptoUK, the first self-regulatory trade association for the UK crypto-asset industry. Its remit is to promote higher standards of conduct and to educate politicians and regulators about the industry and its potential. We welcome the recent report from the UK’s Treasury Select Committee which reflected Crypto UK’s calls for the introduction of proportionate regulation to improve standards and encourage growth.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe Bitcoin and crypto can offer opportunities to traditional finance? Wasn’t Bitcoin created to disrupt and disinter-mediate traditional finance, fractional-reserve banking, and fiat currencies?

Yoni Assia: We don’t’ believe that traditional finance will disappear overnight and we are already seeing many large financial institutions exploring the opportunities offered by crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it.

We believe that crypto, and the underlying blockchain technology, will have a huge impact on global finance. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize finance by enabling the tokenization of all assets, not just currencies. In time, we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain.

Bitcoinist: Are you personally in the “Blockchain not Bitcoin” camp or vice versa? Why?

Yoni Assia: They are two separate things and being in favor of one doesn’t have to mean you are against the other. For me the easiest way to try and explain the significance of crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it is to compare it to the internet.

The relationship between blockchain and crypto is parallel to the internet and email. Much like email is just one use case of the internet, bitcoin is just one use case of the Blockchain. Bitcoin was the first crypto and almost ten years after the white paper was written remains the most dominant.

Whether Bitcoin will still be the most significant crypto in another ten years is not for me to say, but I do believe that blockchain will transform finance in the same way that the internet revolutionized communications.

Bitcoinist: What is your opinion on Bitcoin maximalism? Will it be winner takes all (with everything being built on the Bitcoin blockchain in the future) or will there be room for many cryptocurrencies to exist?

Yoni Assia: The crypto-asset market is still very much in its infancy, and crypto-assets are still vying to prove their respective use cases to the world. Currently, different crypto-assets seek to solve different problems and are experiencing varying levels of adoption. There absolutely could be room for a few cryptocurrencies to exist, but it’s too early to say which ones this could be at this stage.

Do you agree with Assia’s comments? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Share
Říj 16

Amid Brexit Uncertainties, Coinbase Announces a New Dublin Office

Coinbase has announced the opening of a new office in Dublin. The decision to move shop to the famed Irish city may be part of a plan to hedge Brexit uncertainty by expanding the company’s presence across Europe.


San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase continues to expand its presence across Europe. October 15th the company said on are opening a new office in Dublin Ireland after considering a number of locales across the European Union.

Coinbase made the announcement through a Tweet and a blog post by Vice President of Operations and Technology, Tina Bhatnagar. According to Bhatnagar, the Dublin office will allow Coinbase to “[…] tap into the city’s diverse talent pool and long-standing support for technological innovation.”

Bhatnagar noted that the exchange is currently hiring for roles in the new office. Team members will be complimenting current Coinbase operations in London, and will also play host to new business-related functions.

As of press time, the Coinbase careers page lists a handful of open positions located in Dublin. These include opportunities as Support Analyst, Compliance Manager, and Sr. Product Manager.

Dublin

Hedging Bets In A Post-Brexit World?

Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz made a point to say the expansion to Ireland was part of a strategy to “better service our customers.” Feroz told CNBC through a phone interview that the European Union was the company’s “most significant market outside the U.S.”

However, some speculate the decision by Coinbase might be part of a plan to offset the ramifications of Brexit by boosting their presence across the European continent.

According to CNBC, Feroz thought the uncertainty surrounding Brexit “played some part in the decision.”

He explained how the company believes Ireland was a good spot for expansion since it is a growing technological hub, home to a range of talent, and an English speaking nation.

Staff Shakeups Continue At Coinbase

The decision by Coinbase to open up a Dublin office and seek out some new talent is another sign the company is looking to increase their clout and even shake up personnel if necessary.

In early September, Bitcoinist reported that the Coinbase had managed to double their staff while hitting their 2018 hiring target.

Earlier in the year, Coinbase opened up an office in Portland, Oregon and hired new workers after coming face to face with a flurry of criticism for not being prepared on the customer service front.

More recently, the company announced the departure of Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth employee. Around the same time, Charles Schwab Board of Directors Member Chris Dodds was introduced as the newest member of the Coinbase Board.

What do you think about Coinbase’s decision to select Dublin as the location for a new office? Let us know in the comments below!


Images and media courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Twitter (@Coinbase).

Share