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Tuesday 19 September 2018

Consensus Singapore got underway this morning, and over 8000 blockchain enthusiasts descended on arguably the most remarkable building in the city state (I’ve had the privilege of visiting it in person 😉). And the talk of the industry right now is the world’s largest digital asset exchange, Binance. Their CEO, the quite remarkable Changpeng Zhao, or more affectionately known as simply “CZ”, took to the stage at lunch time (CAT), and got the wires buzzing.

Besides disclosing that he mortgaged his house to buy Bitcoin at $600 in 2014 only to see it plummet to $200 and not sell, the big news he shared with the audience was Binance’s desire to tap into the fiat crypto market.

CZ’s vision has clearly been to make cryptoassets more accessible to the consumer and certainly add his weight to the “bank the unbanked” narrative, but he has set his business model up in such a way so as to make a lot of money doing it. Not only did Binance make $200 million in profits in Q1, they’re currently sitting on $150 million for Q2. And it’s becoming obvious that they have no intention of slowing down.

CZ announced in a fireside chat only a few minutes ago that Binance recognises that’s where the most money lies on the table. They plan to do this by opening up to 10 fiat-crypto exchanges within the next year, with the aim of having 2 on each continent.

The big news of the chat to date is that Binance plans on offering a Crypto-Singapore Dollar trading pair within the month.

Yes, you read that correctly: Within the month.

This poses an overwhelming opportunity for developers who are already plugged in to Binance’s apis and websockets, as the algorithmic trading opportunities for a fiat trading offering on an exchange as liquid as Binance could literally change the game.

What was interesting in CZ’s statements was that Binance aren’t prioritizing North America, placing the continent at the bottom of their priority list. He didn’t disclose if this was due to regulation or if their focus lay in developing crypto adoption in emerging markets. My money is the former.

A lot of purists will roll their eyes at Binance’s monolithic movements as a centralized exchange, but the reality remains: centralizing cryptoasset trading is still the most effective way to build the ecosystem. And with Binance’s integrity yet to come into question, and a proven track record of military-level security (and the compensation when this is compromised), we’re just going to have to trust them.

Can Binance and CZ keep our trust? The only way to do so is to keep acting with user’s best interests at heart. Trust is earned. And while the blockchain community prefers binary consensus, where trust isn’t necessary, we’re going to have to deal with this one if we want to capitalise on Binance’s platform.

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