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Highlights from our Interview with Binance CFO on promising regions for expansion; stablecoin; opportunities in Europe

Joyce Yang, founder of Global Coin Research talks to Wei Zhou, CFO of Binance, on the Binance podcast to give him a firsthand account of the Asian Blockchain Summit that took place in Taipei last week. They discuss topics including the debate Arthur Hayes and Nouriel Roubini, the crazy Bitmex.com 10k party and more. Below are some highlights about Binance in the same discussion:

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Joyce Yang 

I’m just curious, what do you think are the some of the underrated, kind of under the radar countries that folks haven’t been paying attention to, but are very active, very promising for exchanges as well, kind of projects to go to?

Wei Zhou 

One of the countries that I’ve been… not spending time but, sort of have been learning about it, I’ve actually been very pleasantly surprised by Australia. Australia has a very advanced crypto regulation, they have very good regulations on crowdfunding. So that I think, taking that and mixing that with sort of the crypto AML rules, so sort of like there needs to be a mix down the road in terms of banking laws and security laws. I think that’s sort of the crossroads. And I think also derivative laws. I think that’s sort of the 3 crosses roads. And then for banking laws, it’s primarily focused there on anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing. On security laws its mainly disclosure and enforcement actions based on sort of the issuance of securities, and also qualification of the investors. And then on derivatives, it is basically how do you conduct a fair marketplace, and then how do you prevent manipulation? And I think there needs to be a sort of some kind of mix of those 3. And one of one of the countries; or not just the countries, but actually general jurisdictions that’s kind of interesting is there are actually Commonwealth countries. These are all sort of former British colonies that all share…. First of all, they all use the English language, and second of all, the legal framework is all based on common law; that’s about 40-50 countries around the world that sort of sits under this Commonwealth system. And I think if there is some kind of portability amongst these 40 or 50 countries until one standardized system, that would create like the regulatory formal effect to get other countries to sign in to that framework. And then you have portability in terms of cryptocurrency laws, I mean, that’s the most important thing, which is portability. Because one of the biggest challenges for me in what I do is like every country’s law is different. And so anytime you actually land and start building the regulatory business, you have to start all over again because the laws are completely different. It’s like a 30-minute train ride and all of a sudden your laws have changed. You hop on a plane, you take a nap for 2 hours, you land, and then all of a sudden, the laws are different. Whereas everything else is constant, right; technology is constant, blockchain is constant, bitcoin is constant, Binance is constant, but the laws is changed just because you traveled from one place to another. And that makes how you operate and how the users or how the people in that country operate completely different and face different consequences in terms of what they do. So I think with portable or a common system, we will be will go a long way.

Joyce Yang 

What do you think will happen in the next few years between Asia and kind of the rest of the world in its development?

Wei Zhou 

Like in our industry I mean, we’re not…. In this industry, there’s 2 things. It is one industry where you do have to work really really really hard. So I think whoever works harder is going to get ahead more. Whoever sees farther ahead instead of looking behind is going to get ahead more. And because this is one industry or one group that’s growing you know, it’s hasn’t stopped growing in terms of number of people who are into crypto and into blockchain and believe in sort of like this fundamental difference that you can make in world working in this industry. And I don’t see that momentum stopping anytime soon. And then it’s just a numbers game. And Asia just has more people.

Joyce Yang 

Alright. I talked to a group of Europeans at the Zcash conference last weekend when I was giving a presentation about helping folks understand what’s going on in Asia. And I told them you know, the Chinese community has the largest number of people in crypto and also the most geographically diverse. So you really have to go understand it and really you know, there’s just no way to go around it. And it really would be more helpful if you try to engage with them and try to understand them, and it’ll be super helpful in navigating the space.

Wei Zhou 

I actually see a lot of opportunity to in Europe as well. Just because the talent base is really extremely strong, and euro has negative interest rate, in our business, if we keep our money in the bank in euros, the bank would actually take money from my account every month because of negative interest rate. That’s terrible. I don’t know what kind of policies put in motion that have this. And it’s been in place for I don’t know, like for 5 or 6 years now. There’s negative interest rate environment that currently exist in the Eurozone. And I just think that’ll just drive people more, like it’s just sort of how do you lower the threshold for them to enter into crypto. It’s like the bank’s not only not giving you interest on your money, but is actually taking, like is negative interest rates, it’s going to deduct 2% or 1% from your bank account every month.

Joyce Yang 

Yeah. So I’m curious, do you think for example, like Europe has more potential for crypto adoption or at least and a higher or faster adoption speed potential than in third world countries like Africa or Latin America?

Wei Zhou 

Short term answer, the quick answer is “Yes.” I do believe so. 

Joyce Yang 

Yeah. That’s very Interesting.

Wei Zhou 

Yeah, because of launching our business in Europe, I’ve been going to several conferences in Europe in the last 6 months in. In Paris, in Amsterdam and in Malta, and I’ve done sort of meetups and engaged with the Binance community there and I think the interest is extremely hot. I just think the energy is really good, but I do think what’s sort of holding your back a little bit on this is actually language. They all speak their own their native language. And whereas the standard language for the crypto industry is English. The second language for crypto is just Chinese, from an influence level; just from a level of influence. And I think there’s lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding just because some of this stuff just gets lost in translation. I mean, that being said, fundamentally English is the common language within Europe as well. And I think France is coming out with pretty supportive laws for ICOs. Obviously, Malta has been a leader from a regulatory perspective in this industry by far, and those are both European Union countries. And I think, whenever the Brexit thing shakes out, I think UK is going to jump into the fray because they don’t want to lose their FinTech leadership position in Europe as well. So yeah, I’m actually quite bullish on Europe.

Joyce Yang  

Yeah, that’s super cool. I think we should start expanding to Europe as well for Global Coin since which we want to reach them. We’re going to focus on not just in Asia eventually, but also the rest of the world. And my last question is you know, what should we be excited about in the next one from Binance? I know you guys are working on a lot of different things. What can we expect on the product side, as well kind of like geographic expansion? 

Wei Zhou 

I mean, I think geographical expansion is something that CZ has talked about at least since I’ve joined the company. In terms of landing fiat businesses in every single continent. I think that’s something that’s been in motion for a while. But I think some of the things that I’m actually really excited about is actually how does Binance help to sort of grow the total addressable market for cryptocurrency. Like for example, what we’re doing with the DAX and with Trust Wallet. I’m not sure if you use Trust Wallet or not, but I think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best-decentralized wallet in crypto right now. And it’s enabled that you can use the wallet to trade the DAX directly. So that you have your own custody, you don’t have to store your currency or your assets within a third party.

And I think that’s sort of the next iteration. I think you know, maybe not few years, but at least in 3-5 years, that type of product will be key I think in terms of driving innovation industries. That’s sort of number one; the second one, I think just general more things to do to get adoption. Like for example, I don’t want to promote our own businesses, but we actually invested in a company in Australia called Travel by Bit, where you can book travel in crypto, they want to build blockchain’s Expedia. But what you can also do is you can actually earn rewards and crypto when you book travel there in fiat. You know, how like different things give you different rebates on things and then you get airline miles or hotel points. What if you get Bitcoin or BNB in return for those things? And I think that’s something that they’re trying to get, because then you basically get Bitcoin into people’s pockets more directly when they spend fiat. I think that’ll be really cool. So I’m actually really looking forward to seeing how they can grow that business.

Joyce Yang  

Yeah, is that the Bitcoin pegged stable coin that was announced recently?

Wei Zhou 

No, no. The so the Bitcoin pegged stable coin, that’s just like BTCB, that’s just a DAX product, that’s a pretty simple one.

Joyce Yang 

Got you. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to Binance launching a stable coin, because then everyone would want to use it.

Wei Zhou  

Yeah, be patient. No comment there. 

Joyce Yang  

When is the next Binance conference?

Wei Zhou 

We’re hoping to do something near the end of this year. And we’ll give everybody at least like a 3 to 4 months notice. The last conference we had was in Singapore in January of this year, but that was in the dead crypto winter. So we tried to be as uplifting as we can. And it worked in the need for people to get together and talk about real issues and building real things. I think that was sort of the gist or the theme of that conference back then. But I think now, a lot of the speculative fever is back on with Bitcoin price hovering comfortably at above 10,000 now. And then also sort of Binance hitting like you know, on our top day, we hit $5 billion in volume for spot trading which is amazing. So I opened it up for you. Any questions? It’s going on, hit me. 

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