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We recently had the opportunity to interview the VP of ViaBTC Group, Eddie Jiang. ViaBTC Group owns popular crypto exchange CoinEx and ViaBTC Pool. In this interview Eddie discusses being the first exchange to use BCH as the base currency, ViaBTC Pool and integrating with CoinEx, new features and ambassador program, and competing with other exchanges like Binance and Huobi. Please enjoy the interview below.
How come you decided to open up CoinEx to other cryptos other than just BCH?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx is the world’s first exchange to implement Bitcoin Cash as a base currency. At that time, it was evident that there was a demand for BCH trading markets, and we are the first to explore this opportunity. It also shows our determination to support the BCH’s development.
As CoinEx is developing, our goal becomes bigger and we are aiming at the global market. We need to constantly improve our product diversification to meet the different needs of more users, so we open up to other cryptos. In the past six months, we have listed more than 50 new tokens. Up to now, we have listed 129 cryptos and 313 markets. Besides, in addition to spot trading, CoinEx also supports perpetual contract and other derivatives trading.
How does CoinEx integrate with the ViaBTC Pool?
Eddie Jiang: ViaBTC Group announced a strategic upgrade, which included a new organizational structure, product innovations and service improvements, on 30 May.
As part of the change, the Group has established three dedicated business units (BU): the financial services BU, consisting of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange; the infrastructure services BU, including ViaWallet and Blockchain Explorer; and the ecological development BU, focusing on the research and development of public chain technology and the construction of the ecology.
After halving, the combination of mining and finance will become closer and closer. Investing in mining machines is like buying a Bitcoin option. Miners need more flexible financial products to maintain and increase the value of assets, or hedging services. Based on this judgment, the operations of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange will be integrated in the future to realize the financial empowerment of the mining pool to meet the diverse financial needs of miners.
Features of this integrated product upgrade can be summarized as: “ The mining pool is the wallet, and the wallet is the transaction.” ViaBTC is the world first mining pool that has a wallet embedded in the mining pool account. Users do not need to transfer the mined coins, and can realize the function of coin exchange within the wallet. For example, they can directly convert the mined coins into USDT to pay electricity bill. What’s more, users can store, deposit and withdraw their revenue, and transfer assets to CoinEx at any time without charge, as well as complete other operations on the exchange, such as purchasing wealth management products for asset preservation and appreciation. In addition, we also provide hedging services. All of the above functions can be completed in one stop in the mining pool, without the need to transfer assets between different platforms.
The exchange empowers the mining pool, and the mining pool will further bring more traffic and resources to the exchange. The two complement each other and development coordinately.
CoinEx has recently added many new features. Can you talk about what new updates were made to the platform and why you made them?
Eddie Jiang: We have always attached great importance to the development of overseas markets since our establishment, and one of our major goals this year is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets.
To realize this and to meet the needs of more users worldwide, CoinEx has been continuously optimizing and upgrading its operating strategies, products and services. Our product diversifications are constantly improving. As I said before, we have launched leverage trading, perpetual contract trading, and wealth management products in addition to just spot trading. However, we don’t ignore the importance of spot trading. More mainstream, popular, and high-quality tokens have been listed, and up to now, there are 129 tokens and 313 trading pairs on CoinEx.
During the epidemic, we have never slowed down our development. Lacking of the OTC service has always been a shortage for CoinEx. In March, we partner with Simplex to integrate the first fiat onramp to our platform. People now can buy crypto with their credit cards, which lowers the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. Moreover, we announced global strategic partnership with Matrixport to provide people with large amount of fiat to crypto needs the OTC service. These newly launched services also help to attract more users.
At the same time, CoinEx has been launched in Arabic, Italian, English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and other 16 languages. Earlier we also carried out product upgrades, making the UI and function sections clearer.
In terms of operations, we launched an upgraded CoinEx Ambassador program in March. To best utilize each ambassador’s personal strengths, there are four categories of CoinEx Ambassador with different responsibilities, namely Referral Ambassador, Marketing Ambassador, Operation Ambassador, and Business Ambassador, which will expand our brand’s exposure and help CoinEx grow into a more international exchange platform.
From March until now CoinEx has seen a 100% increase in user registrations. Why is that and are you able to see where they are coming from?
Eddie Jiang: Because of the efforts mentioned above, in 2020, we’ve seen an exponential increase in activity in just the past few months alone. In this year alone, CoinEx’s daily registered users increased by 100%. These new users mainly come from markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and more.
Interestingly, we saw an uptick in traffic from the Middle East in March. User growth in Southeast Asia also picked up significantly, newly registered users increased by 133.6% in April.
With Binance, BitMex, Huobi, Bybit, and Deribit, controlling most of the crypto futures and options markets, where do you see CoinEx fitting in? How do you plan to capture market share from these large exchanges?
Eddie Jiang: We won’t compete with others. We focus on ourselves to improve products and our goal is to be better than yesterday.
Our pace is solid and steady, instead of focusing on temporary heat and flow. We have always attached great importance of spot trading, and we are committed to be responsible for users’ investment. We have set up CoinEx Institution, which is dedicated on project research. A listing committee consist of core team members review and vote on projects recommended by the CoinEx Institution. In this way, fraud projects are avoided as much as possible.
Besides, we will focus on niche areas with great potential. For example, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. CoinEx can serve users in those countries well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade, and will pay more efforts on refined operations in different countries.
Moreover, CoinEx has a very complete ecosystem. Financial services, infrastructure, and ecological development, the three business units complement each other. The infrastructure BU is our cornerstone and is positioned as a defensive product; the financial service BU is a cash cow and is positioned as an aggressive product; the ecological development BU focuses on the public chain ecology and is the future infrastructure.
What is the geographical breakdown of the CoinEx userbase?
Eddie Jiang: The current proportion of CoinEx’s overseas users has reached 80% of the total registered users, and mainly in Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East and South Korea.
Do you have plans to focus on any certain jurisdictions? How will you do that?
Eddie Jiang: When we evaluate regions, two things matter: policy and potential.
Whether an exchange’s business expansion in a region is smooth or not largely depends on the region’s policies. If the region is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency or has repeated attitudes, there will be more difficulties and the cost will be much higher.
For a region’s development potential, we need to think about the demand and market development status. South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions are all areas with good potential for cryptocurrency development. Compared with Europe and America, policy risks in these countries are lower, and the supervision mechanism is relatively complete. The public has a high degree of awareness of cryptocurrencies. Besides, some regions or countries have inflation problems due to political and economic reasons.
CoinEx will continue to focus on the Middle East and South Asia, which are relatively niche. India has just lifted ban on cryptocurrency trading this year, and there are many cryptocurrency investors in Indian. CoinEx can serve them well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade. More people in the Middle East are interested cryptos, especially in countries that are subject to economic sanctions or high inflation. For those people, cryptocurrencies are one of the best choices for asset preservation.
Since the CoinEx Ambassador program launched in March, it has been almost three months. We are conducting the second round of ambassador recruitment. This time, we will use the power of ambassadors to expand our recruitment coverage and strive to attract more crypto enthusiasts from all over the world to grow together with CoinEx. Moreover, we will launch the National Expansion plan and leverage on the CoinEx and ViaBTC mining pool resources, to further explore the Russian market. At the market level, we will make more PR efforts in local markets, and start refined operations.
What is CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx Chain is a public chain built on the Tendermint consensus protocol and the Cosmos SDK. It consists of three dedicated public chains parallel to each other. Among these three chains, CoinEx DEX meets the most basic needs of DeFi for token issuance, transfer, and transactions. The Smart Chain is designed to meet the needs of complex financial scenarios and delivers programmable cash. The Privacy Chain facilitates privacy and security.
On November 11, 2019, we took the lead in launching the Mainnet of CoinEx DEX. CoinEx DEX is the world’s first public chain dedicated to decentralized transactions. Users can easily manage their digital assets on it.
CoinEx DEX can fully satisfy the following conditions: users have private keys at their own disposal; transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission; the community governance and operation is decentralized, similar to EOS, and validators are introduced to the community ecosystem construction and governance. There are currently 41 validators.
It also has extreme performance. TPS reaches as high as 10,000 and transactions are confirmed within seconds. The transaction fee, 0.0001 US dollars for each transaction, is negligible.
Third, it’s simple and easy to use. The new operation interface design helps beginners get started quickly; with the one-click token issuing module, users only need to fill in a few items to issue tokens; the built-in automated market-making module guarantees liquidity.
How will CoinEx DEX improve the decentralized exchange space that has been unable to gain much adoption?
Eddie Jiang: There are many challenges and difficulties facing centralized exchanges. The first difficulty is security. Security is a huge concern for CEXs. Over the last 10 years, hackers have stolen more than $1.5 billion from centralized exchanges. In fact, research groups estimate that hackers stole somewhere between $950 Million and $1 Billion from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone. There were also incidents of coin thefts in other exchanges in 2019. Many exchanges, such as Mt. Gox, Youbit, were forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down as a result of hacks.
The second is high management costs. Centralized exchanges need to list a large number of cryptocurrencies and each of them have different trading pairs. That entails huge efforts in development and maintenance and, thus, high management costs.
The last is global policies. Cryptocurrency is faced with different regulatory policies in different countries. Every time a centralized exchange enters a country, it needs to adapt itself to local regulatory policies for compliance. This is a holdback for the exchange’s rapid market expansion globally. Such adaptation will also bring a huge learning cost for the exchange team.
Obviously, these problems can be well solved by DEX. CoinEx DEX is a true DEX with full open source and full community governance, as well as without depending on official nodes, websites, wallets, etc. On DEX, users are able to in charge of their own private keys and assets all by themselves. Their assets are more safe and secure. Transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; and the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission. What’s more, CoinEx DEX provides a great and convenient user experience.
How will CoinEx Chain and DEX help the crypto industry as a whole?
Eddie Jiang: The public chain is the cornerstone of the blockchain industry. CoinEx Chain has the parallelism of multiple dedicated public chains, each of which performs its own functions, by cross-chaining for both high performance and flexibility.
CoinEx Chain is committed to building the next generation of blockchain financial infrastructure. It is a more complete ecosystem built around the DEX public chain. The DEX public chain is a dedicated public chain developed specifically for token issuance and trading and the biggest improvement on trading speed, so it only supports the necessary functions, not smart contracts.
But smart contracts are the foundation for building more complex financial applications. Outside the DEX public chain, CoinEx Chain also includes a Smart Chain that supports smart contracts.
Moreover, as privacy issues on the current blockchain have been criticized, it is one of the core tasks of CoinEx Chain to safeguard users’ privacy. Similar to the Smart Chain, the Privacy Chain specifically supports transaction privacy protection. With cross-chain circulation, it can improve the privacy characteristic of the entire CoinEx Chain ecosystem.
Nowadays, 1.7 million people in the world have no bank accounts; however, among them, two thirds are smartphone users with huge demands for financial services. The public chain will empower DeFi applications’ development and popularization, not only help more companies to seize the huge market opportunity, but also to bring lasting transformations and improvements in people’s lives.
With so many crypto exchanges, what is the future outlook of CoinEx when it comes to the crypto exchange space?
Eddie Jiang: It has been nearly 3 years since CoinEx has been launched, but it’s quite young for an entrepreneurial team. We have seen too many projects’ failures due to governance issues. CoinEx has a very elite team with high technical and management capabilities. In terms of business, CoinEx has gradually developed with diversified business and a complete ecosystem. It’s clear that the market will still grow very fast in the future, and the market size is still very large. We will continue to improve our products, put more efforts in marketing and operations, as well as look for more high-quality projects, to increase the number of users and transactions on the platform. Lay a solid foundation, and I’m sure the time will come for us to shine.
What updates is the CoinEx team most excited for?
Eddie Jiang: We are very excited about the National Expansion Plan which will be launched later this year. It is an important part in CoinEx’s globalization strategy. We will actively explore some new markets while consolidate the original ones. CoinEx will set aside 10 million US dollars to set up a “Pioneer Fund” to support this plan. This fund will be used to support local cryptocurrency projects and promote the development of the local cryptocurrency communities through investment or cooperation. Our goal this year is to invest in projects and communities that are conducive to expanding the CoinEx ecosystem in countries with high development potential.
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The Decred project is looking for ambassadors. If you are looking for a fun cryptocurrency to get involved in send me a DM or come talk to me on Decred slack. (@marco_peereboom, longer version here)
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