«Technology is just an instrument»
— Bill Gates
And there is no point in arguing. The world was created by God, and technology is created by people. We are now witnessing the transformation of the instrument in the hands of man over the millennium. The nature of human thinking is such that creating one product, we always strive for its improvement. With the help of technology, we can not only produce goods but also pay for them without leaving home. If the goods are being improved, what, it would seem, can change in the financial sphere — and what can replace the fiat money? There was a solution here. Thanks to Blockchain technology, the market is gradually gaining digital money, which is rapidly attracting the attention of more people around the world. About what digital money is, how they are able to change our world and where they can be exchanged for paper bills that are customary for us, we will talk with the founder of the EXMO crypto-currency exchange, Ivan Petukhovsky.
— Hello, Ivan. Your EXMO exchange is valid from 2013. What messages and beliefs prompted you to create the exchange? What was the impetus for you and served as the beginning of the project?
— In early 2010, I and my friend Edward, great supporters of the idea of crypto economics, discussed the future of IT and financial institutions. At that time, compared to today, the crypto-currency market was still poorly developed, and any enthusiast could take a free niche. We decided that we ourselves can become a part of this industry, and began to seriously prepare to launch our project.
In 2013, we founded EXMO with a team of 10 of the most talented professionals we were lucky to find. By 2014, our exchange has already reached the mark of 100,000 unique users. At that moment, we realized that we managed to launch a serious and profitable business, and in the future, we concentrated all our efforts on the development of EXMO.
In 2015, we entered the TOP-10 crypto-exchange markets in Europe. And now we have more than 900 000 registered users around the world — this is twice as much as a year ago. 10% of these users daily conclude transactions on our exchange for huge amounts of money. Currently, 46 active currency pairs are operating on the exchange, and the average trading volume per day is about $ 150 million.
— First steps. Team building. There were not so many people in Europe in 2010-2012, who have the skills and experience to create a cryptocurrency exchange. How did you manage to assemble the team? What difficulties did you encounter on the way?
— Of course, it was not easy to gather a competent team of specialists. We were looking for the first EXMO employees in the environment of the same crypto-enthusiasts as ourselves because the main thing for us was the interest in the digital economy, the desire to work in order to make our contribution to the development of the cryptocurrency idea. Subsequently, this became the basis for the ideology of EXMO: the creation of an innovative exchange in order to unite and expand the circle of people interested in cryptocurrency.
It is worth noting that we manage to attract really talented and professional specialists, whose number does not decrease. Apparently, it is still in our rule to pay attention to the positive inner spirit and moral principles of potential candidates — it is important for us that the employees are comfortable and easy to interact with each other.
— How many specialists are currently working on the EXMO project and what updates can we see in 2018?
— Now EXMO employs more than 150 employees, and we are constantly expanding. I am confident that next year we will continue to grow.
Also now we are adding to the EXMO platform a complex but very demanded service — margin lending. The new functionality will allow exchange users to earn more successfully on currency fluctuations thanks to a loan of additional funds. Thanks to marginal lending, almost one million of our users will be able to trade crypto-loans on a larger scale than they could with their own money.
The term «margin lending» traditional for exchanges means borrowing funds from a broker to buy or sell shares. EXMO will offer a 1:2 leverage on the most popular currencies: BTC, ETH and USD. Additional options will be introduced as the demand for this service grows.
— Reliability and guarantees. A large investor, before investing his capital, conducts long studies and monitors the behavior of assets from the outside. Tell for future investors how practical the EXMO platform is and what guarantees it has?
— Wide choice of payment methods, 13 popular crypto-currencies, 5 convertible fiat currencies, more than 45 currency pairs — all this makes the EXMO platform one of the most practical exchanges in the world for ordinary users. In addition, for large traders on our platform, there are several APIs for trading in the automatic mode.
With regard to guarantees — the number of users and active traders, as well as the number of exchange partners EXMO daily grows at a rapid pace. The figures say that EXMO is trusted.
It should also be noted that EXMO cooperates with many well-known banks and reliable payment systems that are responsible for the safety of customers’ funds. In addition, we have developed our own effective policy of keeping funds on cold and hot wallets, thanks to which for more than 4 years of the existence of the exchange our clients have never lost money from their crypto-currency purses.
— Unfortunately, we often read the news about hackers who break into exchanges, damaging depositors. What protection protocols do you work with?
— In order to protect the money of our clients, we do not store the funds entrusted to us on purses available from the site. We regularly conduct the security audit of the code and the general infrastructure of the site; also, we use protection against hacker attacks of various types.
— You are announcing the release of your own coin for April 2018. Tell me more about this.
— As I said, in 2018 we plan to launch margin lending on EXMO. To cover the demand of traders for it, and also to accelerate the overall development of our platform, we will release our own EXMO Coin (EXO) tokens. Thus, we plan to attract additional investment capital.
Half of the collected investments will cover the growing demand for margin lending, and another quarter will go to the overall development of the exchange. For the remaining funds, we will create an insurance fund for margin loans, get all the necessary licenses to simplify transactions with fiat money and pay for marketing costs.
We also made sure that the EXMO token became profitable for its holder. All investors will receive monthly 50% of the profit from margin lending, which will be distributed among them as dividends. When our crowdsale is over, EXMO Coin tokens can be traded on our exchange in EXO / BTC and EXO / ETH currency pairs.
EXMO Coin crowdsale timing is April 26 — May 26, 2018.
— Exchange ЕХМО develops, new pairs of coins appear. How can developers go with their coin to the EXMO platform? Are there any conditions and selection criteria?
— We will not use the experience of some exchanges, and we do not add certain coins, for a certain fixed fee. The EXMO platform positions itself as a «boutique exchange», and therefore all new coins before the addition will pass a fairly strict selection. So we can make sure that the end user receives only the most promising offers on the market.
— Major commodity exchanges Chicago CME Group and CBOE Global Markets in December this year will start trading futures for Bitcoin. This was preceded by meetings with regulators, on which they convinced that the new instrument meets all necessary standards. Why, in your opinion, did they now pay attention to the cryptocurrency?
— We cannot say that they just now turned their attention to crypto-currencies: after all, the start of trading was preceded by a long preparation. In general, in 2017, the peak price of bitcoin increased 20-fold — these are huge figures, which all investors interested in digital technologies could not fail to pay attention to. In conditions of such explosive growth, the opening of trading in crypto-currencies on traditional exchanges looks quite logical.
Incidentally, in addition to the already mentioned exchanges, one more site — Cantor Exchange — is going to launch binary options on Bitcoin. All this only proves that the real and digital economies are gradually merging together.
— This suggests that neither the exchange sector nor the banking sector did not track and were not interested in cryptocurrency. As we know, the cryptocurrency is based on Blockchain technology, and Blockchain is a new and at the same time reliable product. Your opinion as a specialist in Blockchain technology? Is Blockchain used on the EXMO exchange?
— Scientific and technological progress is inextricably linked with the use of decentralized networks, Blockchain technology, machine learning and large data. We at EXMO firmly believe that the future of information technology is behind Blockchain.
As for the work of the exchange, we use the internal Blockchain to process the bids of users for bidding. The basis is a decentralized infrastructure in which each participant has his signature. Decisions are made by reaching consensus on the verification of signed packages.
— Having a real situation on the market, you certainly know how to determine the trend. Can you share your forecasts with CryptoCapitalNews readers with the trends of next year?
— I believe that in the next year, the cryptocurrencies might take their long-standing place among other financial assets. The launch of derivative instruments, such as futures and leveraged trading, might significantly increase the financial strength of the cryptocurrency among institutional investors: investment banks, hedge funds, venture funds, pension and insurance funds. Now, this is not just a speculative tool, but a means of accumulating and multiplying.
Another future trend is the strengthening of institutional regulation. Financial regulators, central banks and the IMF have the potential to develop a unified approach to the issuance and circulation of crypto-currencies.
And I’m sure that the ICO market in its present form will not exist for a long time: it may be replaced by the market of corporate electronic emissions. This would be kind of a substitute for the existing bond and equity market.
— Today it is difficult to look forward, but let’s try to you. 2020, the EXMO exchange is…
— The largest exchange in the world, of course! At least, to this goal we strive.
— Ivan, thank you for the interview.