Category Archives: Changpeng Zhao

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Binance: ETFs Not Core to Crypto Growth

ETFs Are Not Core to Crypto Industry’s Growth, Binance CEO Weighs In

A popular trend as the cryptocurrency industry develops is the introduction of the analogous derivative instruments of the traditional financial market, aimed at luring in institutional investors into the crypto world. One such instrument is the exchange-traded fund (ETF).

CEO of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has, however, downplayed the role of ETFs in the growth of the crypto industry. He said: “If it [a Bitcoin ETF] is listed on a big traditional exchange… that does bring in a lot of attention from people outside our industry.”

In a live stream via Periscope on 6 February, Zhao attempted to draw the attention of crypto enthusiasts to a very important piece in blockchain development – entrepreneurs building real, and usable products.

Blame it on the bear

The bear market which started at the cusp of the last all-time high of Bitcoin hasn’t made it easy for crypto projects. Many startups last year faced developmental challenges and were either forced to abandon their projects or get absorbed by another. Now, lots of players in the industry have become highly dependent on these market derivatives being introduced.

First, it was Bitcoin futures introduced by CME Group and CBOE in late 2017, which helped drive the price of Bitcoin to a new high of USD 20,000. However, it didn’t last long. Suffice to say, it was an opportunistic glitch in the price dynamics of Bitcoin.

Secondly, speculations about another bull-run propelled by ETFs run deep in the crypto community. Perhaps similar trends are bound to occur with more derivatives being introduced into the sphere, however, without an established value-based blockchain ecosystem in place, the market could get dire once more.

ETFs or no ETFs

As of the time of writing, the US securities regulator, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected nine ETF applications. Each was laden with similar bull run expectations from the members of the crypto community as many have speculated on the prices increase should the SEC give the green light.

Recently,CBOE, along with investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, reapplied for a rule change to list Bitcoin ETFs after withdrawing it a week earlier.

With the ongoing fuss about Bitcoin ETFs, Zhao seems to think that with or without the ETFs, the industry will grow. A sentiment probably sparsely shared as focus on the real development of blockchain and its applications are fairly the driving motif for latter blockchain adopters.

Other derivatives are coming

Bitcoin News recently reported a new class of derivative instrument being introduced by US-regulated derivative platform LedgerX, which is essentially a binary wager on the next Bitcoin’s block-reward halving.

While derivatives may be an economic milestone for the crypto industry, the overall utility of blockchain applications and their gradual adoption by legacy systems adequately offset the economic benefits of derivate crypto markets.


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Is 2019 the Year of the Crypto Bull Market?

Is 2019 the Year of the Crypto Bull Market?

How Long Will the Crypto Market Bull Sleep?

Speculations about the cryptocurrency market continue to weigh heavily on the hearts of crypto enthusiasts as the market is yet to improve from the slump of 2018. The space is now left with dashed hopes, closed crypto exchanges, layoffs, hacks and a whole lot of constructive partnerships by the very few who truly understand what the blockchain is all about.

Reality has become grim for investors who hopped in at the all-time-high, especially shattering the expectations fueled by crypto influencers – the claims of Bitcoin reaching a high of USD 100,000 at the end of 2018. The ‘lambo’ songs that once reigned in many social communities have lost its savor as the lingo is being replaced with more realistic expectations such as measurable development goals and expected platform launch date.

Where are the 1000x’s promises?

Tough times greeted the new year, though still at the beginning of the year, many investors, as well as spectators, are wondering why the market still hasn’t had a bull run even though interest in blockchain has spiked. Some blame it on the delay in the entry of institutional investments.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse provided his personal opinion in a Blockchain Summit in Europe held at Brussels, saying that he estimates a 5 to 10 years waiting time for mainstream crypto payments.

This may be heartbreaking, as 5 years is indeed a long time to wait before hitting those 1000x’s again. More so, one would wonder if Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin was right about his earlier predictions on the end of 1000x’s in crypto space. However, in just under a decade, cryptocurrency has evolved many times over.

The flagship cryptocurrency Bitcoin started its dramatic steep decline in the wake of 2018 and dragged the whole market with it after grazing an all-time-high of USD 20,000 the previous year. The cryptocurrency market with a cap of over USD 813 billion in November 2017 has now dropped to USD 114 billion according to data from CoinMarketCap as at press time. Surely, this drop in market value is enough to make investors wary.

The previous 3 years had seen a steady rise of activity in ICO markets, with 2016 recording an approximate fund collection of USD 93,922,741; USD 6,576,372,746 in 2017;  a reportedly recorded USD 21,576,147,596 in 2018 and now, in 2019 ICOs have raised over USD  126 million and still counting, according to data from CoinSchedule. With these humongous figures, it behooves one to wonder what happened to post-ICOs and why the current conditions appear rather stale.

What’s wrong with Crypto?

Brad has said that the biggest risk in the market is regulatory uncertainty. With the Securities Commission of different jurisdictions like the US SEC breathing down the necks of ICOs for securities compliance and making scapegoats out of defaulters, startups are exercising more caution. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao had opined that 2018 was a year of correction and expressed his confidence for the future of crypto, however, he also pointed out that lack of clarity from regulators was a major drawback.

An analyst from JPMorgan expressed his skepticism about cryptocurrencies saying that real use for cryptocurrencies will only be in a dystopia – [one that has been duly noted in some hyper-inflated economies] – and that despite the correlation, the crypto market has with traditional assets, it’s of little value because of the prolonged bear market.

Legislation has indeed pegged the growth of the industry to a certain degree – at least from the cryptocurrency market perspective. However, some jurisdictions are opening up to the Idea of regulating the space in a way that innovation isn’t stifled. What’s left is for blockchain projects to live up to the hype that once ruled the space by developing more proof of concepts that are usable beyond the cryptomarket, as the market has so far proved to be a poor benchmark for the healthy state of blockchain enterprise.

For a while, the promise of institutional grade crypto services by elite financial systems such as Fidelity, and Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt has held many ‘hodlers’ ransom. Fortunately, as the space continues to mature, it becomes less reliant on external influences and survives on its initial narrative – decentralization.

Amid the market downturn, regulatory uncertainties, organizational restructuring, high expectations of institutional players; immense developments and innovation are driving adoption such as the rise in the numbers of Bitcoin ATM kiosks, use of crypto in charity, banks collaborating for cross-border payments, legacy systems shifting towards blockchain to tackle logistics problems. Perhaps, the market is just one trigger away to the next bull-run.


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Binance Embraces Visa, Mastercard for Crypto Purchases

Binance Embraces Visa, Mastercard for Crypto Purchases

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Binance, is to enable the purchase of cryptocurrency using both Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

The announcement yesterday that users would now be able to Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) using their credit cards has come as a boon to regular users of the exchange. The new facility has been enabled by a new partnership between the Chinese exchange giant and Israel-based payments processing firm Simplex.

We are super excited to announce the new partnership with @Binance – the leading #crypto exchange! Making it easier for mainstream users to buy crypto and continue transforming the financial space.#buycrypto #cryptocurrency #btc #bitcoin #etc

— Simplex (@SimplexCC) January 31, 2019

The other 151 tokens will be tradable against the 4 purchasable tokens using credit cards, according to a statement from Binance. “The crypto industry is still in its early stages and most of the world’s money is still in fiat,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. “Building fiat gateways is what we need now to grow the ecosystem, increase adoption and introduce crypto to more users.”

However, not all countries will be able to take advantage of the new service, including Iraq, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Libya. Even in the USA, some users will have to purchase their tokens in the usual way as New York, Hawaii, Georgia, New Mexico, and Washington are not supported by the new credit card payment system.

Simplex has released details of the fees for the service, indicating that charges will consist of 3.5% of a transaction with a USD 10 minimum (flat fee). The daily limit is USD 20,000 per user, while the monthly max is USD 50,000 per user. It adds that payment processing is subject to “local bank policies” and warns that some issuers may decline charges regardless.


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Jersey Exchange Swamped with Bitcoin Demand as UK Squabbles Over Brexit

jersey, cryptocurrency, binance

Hong-Kong based Binance is experiencing a huge response for Bitcoin at its newly opened trading platform on the Island of Jersey.

CEO Changpeng Zhao has reported crazy demand for new registrations on the new exchange since its opening last week which is based in the self-governing UK dependency. The overwhelming amount of applications for KYC is thought to be a direct result of the current uncertainty on the UK mainland over Brexit.

With UK prime minister Teresa May’s crushing defeat of her deal with the EU for an orderly exit from the European Union, the country is now faced with numerous options, none of which can be agreed upon by politicians charged with the responsibility of delivering Brexit. Binance’s Chief Financial Officer Wei Zhou explained why the mad rush for Bitcoin in Jersey:

“Expanding the cryptocurrency exchange markets with fiat currencies in the European region is opening new economic opportunities for Europeans as well as freedom from looming Brexit uncertainty where the pound and euro are also in concern.”

Zhou goes on to explain that in his view, broader cryptocurrency adoption can be achieved by bridging the “crypto-fiat channel for Europe and the UK.” Binance has maintained for a while that Brexit could well impact on Jersey in terms of it becoming a driving force within Europe’s crypto market which has lagged behind Asia and North America.

Data provider CryptoCompare recently identified Europe’s sluggish performance compared to other markets, returning less than 4% of the global volume last year. Last week, UK Finance warned of the catastrophe that would occur within the country’s financial system if a no-deal Brexit was the final outcome on 29 March.

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Binance CEO Displays Christmas Optimism

Binance CEO Displays Christmas Optimism

The CEO of Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, has continued with his optimistic slant for the company as the new year approaches.

Terming 2018 as the “year of correction”, Changpeng Zhao is maintaining that current prices are a real boon for investors and this fact along with the increasing volume of DLT applications being produced by developers will push the adoption of cryptocurrencies even further forward in 2019.

Zhao sees worldwide regulation of blockchain cryptocurrency space as a positive claiming that this has been long overdue. He maintains the correct legislation will have the effect of promoting and encouraging the industry rather than slowing down growth.

The company has led from the front ending the year with some major projects., particularly since the launch of its labs program. Binance Labs, the venture wing of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, supports new blockchain startups and cryptocurrency projects through technical assistance and direct investment. Binance describes the project as an initiative to incubate, invest, and empower blockchain and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, projects, and communities.

The initiative to support early-stage blockchain projects has already yielded results, with right projects emerging from the program.

Zhang has also revealed that Binance Labs will launch new incubator programs in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Singapore, and Hong Kong from March 2019, offering the same 10-week course. Regarding the inclusion of Buenos Aires and Lagos, Zhang commented:

“Those two emerging markets have native blockchain and crypto use cases. So we hope to find teams solving local problems like payments, the instability of local currencies, or remittance problems.”

Even today at this late stage of the year, Christmas has been put on hold although clearly represented with Zhang announcing that the Binance Charity Foundation, the exchange’s philanthropic arm, had launched a blockchain powered charity project to support youth in Malta. This project will support terminally ill patients and disadvantaged children in Malta and Gozo.


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Fiat Pairs Outgunned by Crypto-to-Crypto Trading

A new cryptocurrency exchange review has reported that crypto-to-crypto exchanges out-peaked fiat currency pairs between mid-September to mid-October of this year.

CryptoCompare’s October 2018 Exchange Review records average trading volumes of exchanges offering crypto-to-crypto trades peaked at USD 7 billion a day compared to fiat currency pair volumes only hitting USD 4 billion, showing that pure crypto exchanges have been leading spot trading volumes. BitMEX has been accounting for about 90% of Bitcoin futures trading volume.

In terms of actual numbers, the balance of those exchanges offering fiat pairs and pure crypto-to-crypto trading is fairly equal, currently standing at 63 to 61 but with the spread of trading volume at over 2-1 in favor of pure crypto trading.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao suggests that fiat exchanges take longer to set up as some aspects are reliant on exterior forces beyond their control such as banks accounts and fiat gateways. Zhao remarked, “It’s a lot more tricky than pure crypto because, with pure crypto, we control everything; the blockchain does not reject us.”

Elsewhere in the report, it was noted that regulated exchanges such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) had returned relatively low Bitcoin futures trading volumes and that BitMEX and BitFlyerFX had averaged just under a quarter of trading volume with BitMEX representing over 90% of the futures market.

South Korean exchange Bithumb has seen a surge in trading volumes after the recent BK Global Consortium takeover. With daily trading volume near USD 400 million, it is the sixth-largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex, and Upbit. A total of 37 different cryptocurrencies are traded on the exchange. The report also indicates that BTC to Korean Won (KRW) trading now represents a tenth of the total Bitcoin trading volume among the top five fiat currencies.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates 6 clearinghouses and 12 stock exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced that physical Bitcoin futures will go live on 12 December 2018 on their first crypto exchange, Bakkt. Physical Bitcoin futures could lead to the long-awaited rally major rally driven by institutional investments.


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Binance Off To Flying Start In Uganda With 40,000 Users In First Week

Binance has stepped into Uganda with a flourish as 40,000 new users signed up to the exchange in the hope of bypassing the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).

Many citizens of African countries are unbanked, either by choice or due to complicated prohibitive rules which make it hard to open an account. Uganda is no different, with a recorded 3/4 of the population without any form of conventional banking.

This is Binance’s first fiat-crypto exchange with UGX, the primary fiat currency and comes less than a month after the company acquired an EUR bank account in Malta, with more exchanges to come, according to CEO Changpeng Zhao. Binance’s enigmatic boss clearly realises the potential of Africa as a new investment hub due to the unbanked nature of much of its population:

“Uganda is a really interesting situation, only 11% of the population has bank accounts. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity. So it may be easier to adopt cryptocurrency as a form of currency instead of trying to push for bank adoption”.

Africans have been clever in dealing with financial barriers, and using cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming a go-to way in order to sidestep banking restrictions or weak state currencies. Corruption is also another factor never far from the surface in some African economies often necessitating the need for a clever approach by locals in order to conduct their everyday business.

Recently, neigbouring Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force chairman Bitange Ndemo said that that government should consider tokenizing the economy to deal with “increasing” rates of corruption and uncertainties-such is Africa’s increasing faith in crypto ahead of local fiat currencies.

Wei Zhou, Binance’s chief financial officer, suggested that one reason for the exchange’s surge of clientele in the first week is the fact that it is so easy for Uganda’s unbanked to access the system, commenting, “They [users] just have to have money within the mobile payment system. They don’t have to have bank accounts.”

The country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, said recently that he welcomed and embraced blockchain technology in Uganda since it provides full transparency, and added that he was aware how businesses were being negatively impacted by what he called “secrets and deceit.”

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Blockchain Charity Takes Center Stage at World Investment Forum 2018

The World Investment Forum 2018 which is staged annually by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was dominated by blockchain this year.

This year’s main event was entitled “Blockchains for Sustainable Development” and attracted keynote speakers who discussed the future of the technology. This year’s main speakers included Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, TRON Founder Justin Sun, European Parliament member Eva Kaili, Bancor co-founder Galia Benartzi and UNICEF Ventures Lead Chris Fabian.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that the company was focusing on delivering a more transparent approach to charitable donations, an area which dogged the industry for many years and had driven donors away. He spoke on UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) suggesting that blockchain can be the main driver towards changing entrenched practices of charitable companies:

“For the 17 SDGs, there is one underlying problem we’re trying to solve: transparency. Blockchain has many benefits but ‘transparency’ is the one word I want people to remember today. With increased transparency, charity will improve 100 times: 100x more efficient, 100x more donations and 100x more impact!”

Today at #WIF2018, @Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao @cz_binance launched a new platform that uses #blockchain technology to track donations, allowing people to see where their money goes and who benefits. “With better transparency we can achieve 100 times more results,” he said.

— UNCTAD (@UNCTAD) October 24, 2018

CZ, as he is affectionately referred to, has said elsewhere that blockchain predictions, similar to those about cryptocurrency, should be taken with a pinch of salt. He believes specialized ledgers will change the face of crypto space, taking over from large blockchains such as Ethereum.

Zhao argued platforms such as this using DLT is what people want to see in the future; places where donors’ money can be tracked by all parties. The new Binance platform will initially support BTC, BNB and ETH. Tron founder Justin Sun kickstarted Binance’s Charity foundation with a generous donation of USD 3 million, wanting “to donate money for good cause”. The CEO commented:

All of us here have made the decision to be leaders in shaping blockchain technology for social good. Binance Charity Foundation is taking substantial steps in that direction by increasing the transparency of donations so we can see where the goodwill of the donors is going and what impact it has.”

MEP Kaili saw hidden banking fees an area where blockchain can make some meaningful changes, arguing, “USD 130 billion of hidden fees are now the reality for the banking sector and any transaction you do. The potential to reduce that is huge. And blockchain could be one of the solutions.”


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Binance Receives Indirect Singapore Government Investment to Aid Launch

Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance has received an investment from government-owned holding company Temasek Holdings, with the hopes it will enable the launch of a cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchange desk in Singapore.

Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek Holdings, says the joint investment between Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India will also be used to support other similar fiat-to-crypto operations in Southeast Asia, reports Bloomberg.

The total amount of capital that was invested has not been disclosed.

Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, addressed this on Twitter, using the defense “more important than how much you raise, is who you raise it from.”

More important than how much you raise, is who you raise it from. Finding a strategic investor who genuinely wants to help you is key. Many thanks to @vertexventures for all the help!

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 23, 2018

Zhao also used Twitter last month to share the first announcement of the company’s beta testing programme in Singapore.

A mixed bag

After launching just over one year ago, Binance has already racked up a number of controversies during its rapid expansion, having faced problems with authorities in Japan, Hong Kong and most recently New York.

The exchange also faced criticism over a lack of transparency regarding the costs of getting tokens listed on the platform. One CEO of a cryptocurrency project claimed that Binance had quoted him BTC 400 to get his token listed. Zhao denied that Binance would ever quote fees to a potential client in an email.

This triggered a change in policy for Binance, which now shares the costs of getting listed and donates this amount to charity.

In an effort to tap into the market in Africa, Binance recently began offering Bitcoin to fiat trading pairs in Uganda, saying it will be investing heavily in crypto infrastructure across the continent that is struggling with an inflation crisis.

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Binance to Share, Donate Crypto Listing Fees

Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced on Monday that it will now provide full transparency regarding cryptocurrency listings fees, while also donating these funds to charity. The changes are effective immediately.

Currently, token projects that wish to be listed on the exchange platform propose their own fees for this. In an official company blog post detailing the policy changes, the process for the project team is said to not change, but rather than being dubbed a listing fee it will now be regarded as a charitable donation.

Binance says it will not impose a figure for the token projects to pay, nor a minimum donation.

The exchange’s charity division, the Blockchain Charity Foundation, was launched in July this year with an aim of promoting blockchain solutions for humanitarian projects. Helen Hai chairs the foundation, in addition to her position as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

A large donation does not guarantee or in any way influence the outcome of our listing review process,” Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao writes in the post, who has remained throughout Binance’s history adamant that the company will not be influenced by large amounts of capital to list subpar tokens.

The platform has indeed come under scrutiny this year over these particular fees, which until today have remained nearly always undisclosed by both parties.

Just got a new @binance listing quote. 400 BTC

— Christopher Franko 🧐 (@FrankoCurrency) August 8, 2018

When the CEO of a cryptocurrency project Tweeted in August that Binance had supposedly quoted him BTC 400 in order to have his company’s token listed, Zhao denied that Binance would ever quote fees to a potential client in an email. “We don’t list shitcoins even if they pay 400 or 4,000 BTC… Question is not ‘how much does Binance charge to list?’ but ‘is my coin good enough?’” he stated.

Binance is currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.


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