In Moscow, the selfies line with the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao was endless although it wasn’t the first photo of the night; it was actually the second one. Changpeng Zhao who is also known as CZ is a cryptocurrency exchange mogul had taken photos with the fans before the beginning of the meetup and throughout all this time he kept a good smile on the cameras and shaking hands half an hour later after the ending of the meeting.
This was the first time CZ was visiting Russia and his popularity was seen from the local crypto scene through the turnout. The October 21 had roughly a registration of 700 people, but the turnout of the people couldn’t fit the concert hall of the Radisson hotel in central Moscow. We could say there was a mutual warm feeling.
“We are always looking for partners in any community, especially in Russia,” CZ told CoinDesk before his talk. “Russia is our key market, one of the most active markets in the global blockchain space.” Said Changpeng Zhao.
According to Changpen Zhao, Vladimir Putin will more likely have the most influence on crypto in the near future. This response which he gave on stage drew a lot of laughs from the people.
“In America, the regulators are very distributed, and China is not going to move any time soon,” CZ told the crowd. “There is a potential bill in Russia that may pass very soon, and it will be a good thing for the industry.” Said Changpeng Zhao. However, the bill is currently dormant in the Russian parliament.
The Russian expansion
The Malta-based company, Binance has been aggressively expanding around the world together with others over the past year. The company opened a fiat-to-crypto exchanges in four jurisdictions namely; Uganda, Singapore, the U.S. and Jersey in the last month. There was also another launch by the exchange which is the fiat-on-ramp for the Nigerian currency naira (NGN) and a recent announcement of the Russian ruble deposits which is coming very soon.
But this is just the beginning of Binance in Russia since they want to open an office.
“There is a very strong programmer talent [here],” he said. “On this trip, it is very clear to me that we should look into the developers’ office, not the commercial office, not just yet.”
Changpeng Zhao also said that Binance is looking forward to bringing the stablecoin project known as Venus to Russia.
“We are also working with other potential stablecoin issuers pegged to fiat currencies,” CZ said. “In every location we’re doing that, in Russia specifically, we’re looking for those partners as well.”
In January 2018, there was also an announcement by the Russian government saying that they were working on the so-called crypto ruble, which is a national cryptocurrency. However, there haven’t been any updates on the project since that time.
It is not easy to deal with fiat as a part of cryptocurrency business in Russia. This is mainly because cryptocurrencies have not been legalized in the country and most companies related to crypto are normally registered to provide IT services among other services. Ruble deposits is only offered by a few companies like Yobit, EXMO, Kuna and Livecoin through their partnerships with services which they acquire to facilitate electronic payments and taking care of the fiat bank accounts.
CZ said that Binance is actually in talks with some banks and also acquiring services in Russia so as to be able to provide fiat gateway for ruble.
“We’re basically doing what other exchanges are doing here, in Russia,” CZ said. “We are discussing with banks, but it’s not official yet. The banks are at a very early stage. Payment services will probably come up first.”
In fact, the ruble deposits were expected to be up and running already, CZ said, but technical issues delayed the launch by a couple of weeks — Binance is tentatively planning it for early November now.
CZ is more than happy with the Binance U.S. which is their new business partner that opened in September and is currently performing very well. The platform is currently seeing a daily trading volume of about $14 million and this is according to the data provided by websites like CoinGecko, Cryptocompare and CoinMarketCap.
Prime Trust which is a licensed company in Nevada provides banking relationship for Binance and fiat on-ramp for Binance U.S. However, Prime Trust only uses institution accounts since it is not FDIC insured. CZ hopes that the U.S. platform will get institutional investors.
Most institutions prefer trading derivatives which makes this option unavailable for U.S. traders. Most traders get a warning pop up when they try to register for Binance futures.
The futures platform has gathered a lot of speed during the first month of its existence and has even surpassed the Bitcoin market of Binance in some of the days. Things were fired up even more by the exchange when they added 125x leverage for the Futures contract at the beginning of this month.
The added leverage was able to raise some eyebrows and sarcastic tweets since it’s higher than what is available in other Bitcoin futures venues. It is suggested that the 125x leverage is a great chance for traders to get “rekt”. However, according to CZ the high leverage is something that most Binance users have been asking for which helps to differentiate competitors from Binance.
“It’s a little bit of marketing, a PR game as well, but you also want to be a little bit innovative,” he said. “We copy a lot of stuff from a lot of people, but we also want to be a little bit different.”