In July 2017, Binance raised a whopping $15 million in their own token BNB through an initial coin offering (ICO). Currently, the company has a daily trading volume of roughly $500 million – approximately $460 million more than leading U.S.-based exchange Coinbase. In addition, the company has a token market cap of nearly $1 billion.
Binance is allegedly one of the only cryptocurrency exchanges never to fall victim to a hack. This year, the company launched a research division, a venture investing arm, a charity foundation and an education portal in the names of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
We’ll Soon Be the Leader
Zhao comments that while Binance is still technically a cryptocurrency exchange, it’s doing all it can to become an ecosystem of its own:
“We want to be the infrastructure services provider for the blockchain space, so we have a number of different initiatives. Most of them are still quite small, including the exchange. I think if you compare us to traditional [market] exchanges, we are still quite small. I think the best way to describe Binance right now is we are trying to be the infrastructure services provider for the blockchain industry of tomorrow. Right now, our ecosystem is made up of the exchange, a wallet, labs, charity, info, academy and more. We hope some of them will become the infrastructure for the industry.”
A Tough, but Productive Year
Zhao says that 2018 has been a particularly rough year in many ways. The cryptocurrency market has been down, while bitcoin’s price has fallen by approximately 70 percent. In a way, he says that 2018 was used as a year for fixing things that weren’t working:
“The cryptocurrency market did trend down a bit, both in terms of trading volume and the number of people participating in the industry, but I think 2018 has also been a year where we keep our heads down and we build. We are working very hard to build our services, so we’ve made a lot of improvements in our core services. We’ve acquired wallets and added a lot more services for our customers, so I think 2018 is a ‘build year.’ We were lucky that the market was trending down. If the market kept growing like that, we would not have been able to keep up. It gave us breathing room to build a more solid fundamental base. Now, when the market takes off again, we’ll be ready.”
Who’s the Strongest?
Zhao also commented that institutional platforms like Fidelity entering the cryptocurrency space is going to bring a whole new level of legitimacy to the industry. We are beginning to see the prices of bitcoin and varying altcoins stabilize, which has barred several professional traders from entering the market. He believes this is all about to change.
He further stated that the U.S. currently has the most crypto holdings of any country. However, he believes Europe is catching up, and that certain Asian regions will soon give the U.S. a run for its money, though not all nations are following suit:
“In traditional finance markets, the U.S. has the largest volume of institutional money. Even in crypto today, it’s roughly the same allocation. I think the U.S. has the most, but the U.S. also has the strictest regulations. We’re seeing faster institutional adoption in Europe, for example, and in Singapore, which is one of those countries where it’s quite easy to go there and register a trading company. They’re quite open about it. Unfortunately, in China, there are nearly zero institutional investors participating in cryptocurrency markets. Even in the broader stock market, there’s not a whole lot of institutional investment. Everyone manages their own money. That’s kind of the rough split that we see.”