In case you missed last month’s Twitter Spaces live event with Cointelegraph, the AMA covered the current state of crypto trading, emerging trends, and the future of the industry.
Our Head of Communications, Becky Sarwate, joined representatives from Bybit, Huobi, and GoodCrypto to share wisdom and insights on a series of topics impacting the crypto space.
However, since this was an audio-only event, we took it upon ourselves to make our contributions as accessible to our global community as possible. Please find below a transcription of Becky’s responses to Cointelegraph’s questions, cleaned up only slightly for ease and readability.
Let’s check it out.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: As reported by exchanges and data aggregators, there was a fall in crypto trading activity: a four-year low, due in large part to the regulatory landscape. How have you managed your exchanges/platforms in such situations, and what steps have you taken?
Becky: I think a couple of things are going on, and you rightfully, Giovanni, made a nod to the evolving regulatory landscape, especially in the U.S., where I think things have definitely gotten more confusing in 2023.
But I think the other thing that’s kind of impacting what’s happening in the space, and in one way this can be looked at as a good thing, is the growing synchronicity between TradFi and DeFi, right? Our fortunes, whether some of us true believers like it or not, are fully linked these days. So as the global economy has suffered some hits post-pandemic, and challenges in both the European and the U.S. banking sector, and other things like that, have had a direct impact on the crypto space.
But you’re also quite right that confusion around the world, but I would argue perhaps most strongly in the U.S. these days, is making it a challenge for crypto exchanges to figure out how to move. And to answer your question more directly, the ways we’ve navigated around this, for one, we’re full believers that regulation is key to global crypto adoption. So we’re ready, willing, and able always to engage regulators around the globe, and in the U.S., on solutions that will allow us to open this space safely, fairely, equitably, to all users who are interested around the world.
Secondly, we have had to adopt this year a little bit of a country by country approach, right? So, I know for example, the title of this AMA is called “The Crypto Trading Landscape.” Well right now in the U.S. crypto trading’s not really a thing, you know, in terms of what regulators appear to be willing to tolerate. Our services really aren’t permeating farther than direct Buy/Sell of various cryptos. We look forward to more clarity in this space so that perhaps we can further refine and expand these solutions. But that’s some of what we’ve experienced this year to date.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: I want to touch on the issue of liquidity. One of the main problems we’re detecting is a very low liquidity level in the last few months. How do you ensure consistent liquidity on your platforms, especially when it comes to less popular trading pairs?
Becky: Needless to say, given some of the regulatory actions that have taken place, specifically in the U.S. this year, we’ve had to be very scrupulous in terms of what we offer, in terms of trading pairs, and that’s not only to do with liquidity. Any decision we make is ultimately focused on what is best for our users in terms of risk, in terms of offering solutions, in terms of opportunities, so liquidity is one factor among many including what is the state of affairs vis-a-vis regulator temperatures in various regions.
So I would say both of those things are things we look at when it comes to whether we decide to bring on a new project for listing, discontinue one that maybe doesn’t have the activity or the liquidity that we’re talking about, in which case, right, it’s not a good offering for our users. So I’d say, much as I answered the first question, there’s two or more factors at work in almost all of these areas that we’re discussing in the crypto landscape: Complications for an industry that we strive to make simple.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: We all know that the FTX saga has definitely impacted the confidence in centralized exchanges. What have you been doing to restore trust into the ecosystem, and protect your customers?
Becky: I think the whole FTX situation is really unfortunate for a number of reasons. Last year started off with the launch of the war in Ukraine, and all the atrocities there, which certainly had an impact on crypto. Although, it had an opportunity to show its value in the form of people fleeing for their lives being able to access their assets in ways that TradFi was not necessarily accessible to those fleeing for safety.
But, you know, right around the time we sort of got through that, and I don’t want to say that the war became normalized, but for lack of a better word, it somewhat did in the industry. There was a slew of, and FTX was only the last, of a few major companies, projects, and initiatives going belly up and leading to a big crisis of confidence. Perhaps not much for you know, the early adopters of crypto and the true believers, but I’d say a lot of what we call at CEX.IO the crypto curious, they became a little jittery, and rightfully so. There were a lot of horror stories about bad situations that occurred with individual customers that suffered greatly at the hands of FTX, including some notable industry and Hollywood names.
And then, you know, we sort of normalized and got past the FTX situation when the year started with all sorts of craziness in the traditional banking space. So I would say, FTX should not be looked at as an implosion, or an event on its own. It definitely has to occupy its contextual place with things that bookended it both before and after. But all of those things led to heightened regulatory scrutiny, a lot of confusion. So it’s not even just, you know, how do we bring those crypto curious folks into the fold, and let them know that there are good actors out here who truly believe in crypto as a path to financial freedom and independence?
Some of the ways we’re doing that is by telling our story, our founder’s story. We’ve been in the space for 10 years. Our CEO was a member of GHash.IO, one of the first Bitcoin mining operations, and in fact, they had reached a place eventually, many years ago, where they stood to have 51% of that combined mining power. But because our CEO Alex is such a true believer in this space, he relinquished that control and put it back where it belongs: with the people.
So we tell our Founder’s story, we educate our customers, and our global users, you know, for free, through our CEX.IO University, and other pieces of thought leadership we put out. We communicate any changes we make in listings, or payment rails, and explain not how they’re good for us, or good for the industry, but how they’re good for the people. Because that’s who matters. That’s who’s going to bring us through to true global crypto adoption. It’s not going to be any one leader, or one company, or one business. It’s going to be the people demanding this. And I think, we’ve certainly been through some choppy waters this last year and half, let’s call it almost two, but I really think the cream is rising to the top in public opinion in terms of who are the right partners to seek out. And we’re committed to continue to tell those stories and provide that value.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: So I want to ask you a question about how to address crypto beginners. For people who just joined the crypto space, how do you make the crypto user experience easier for them?
Becky: Our global brand narrative is about simplicity. And we know that crypto is complex, but if you really want to welcome newcomers to this space, we have to limit the jargon, and open the doors to shorten the learning curve. I already mentioned CEX.IO University, some of our thought leadership, and other assets that we put out there for free to try and enable people to grasp the basics quickly. Free of the techno-speak that can be off putting, so they can really jump in and feel confident about immediately taking advantage of the various opportunities that really do exist in the space. Furthermore, education isn’t just on, you know, the basics of “What is staking?” or “What is [insert various crypto terms]?” it’s also teaching them what opportunities do exist.
I know if I asked one of my elderly uncles, they would assume we’re all out here mining Bitcoins with hammers and nails. They don’t fully understand what that means. So I think that if you start to explain an exchange of a type like ours is, like an Apple store: if you want to buy Bitcoin, there’s no Bitcoin store. So when I position us as a retail outlet for some of the things that these people have already heard of, that makes a lot more sense to them versus going into a 3-5 sentence techno-speak about use-cases, da da da, that doesn’t speak to the common person who’s just looking to get acquainted, and develop a little bit of confidence so they’re not missing out on opportunities they have a sense they should be taking advantage of.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: What is your vision for the next phase of innovation in crypto trading, and where do you see [CEX.IO] in that landscape?
Becky: I did want to say one thing. I know I spent some time talking about the confusion in the U.S. regulatory space, and that does exist. But I also wanted to say, we’re absolutely not disinvesting in that region. And to that end, our applications for licensure across the good states continues, including licenses we just secured in both Louisiana and Arkansas. So when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and we’re fully committed to the U.S. landscape because there’s such a large amount of untapped opportunity both for businesses, and more importantly for the users who are wanting access and education around this space.
Cointelegraph/Giovanni Pigni: We talked about crypto beginners, now I would like to relate to the more experienced audience. How does [CEX.IO] ensure they remain the first choice for experienced traders?
Becky: Our message and our strategy is about meeting users where they are. So if you’re a crypto newbie, or crypto curious as we call it, we already discussed the ways we reach out and develop connections there. But at the same time, a very experienced crypto trader or professional may not want or need as much hand holding, or contact from us. In which case, right, our product design is really the thing that matters most. And to that end, earlier this year we replaced our legacy exchange with our new product, Exchange Plus, which is really an all-in-one crypto platform which doesn’t require the user to have to go anywhere else for information.
We have TradingView data on where markets are moving that day, we have a whole host of new features, and Buy/Sell options that will be appealing to people who know what they’re doing, and don’t need the hand holding. But it also offers an intuitive user interface, and easy language for those who are still learning. So I think, the upshot of what I’m saying is that you meet the customer where they are, and we know very well the experienced trader doesn’t want three emails a week from us, and all sorts of educational materials. They want to just get in, get out, do their business, and move on with their lives. And we’re well prepared with our product design and various offerings to meet those folks where they are too.
To revisit the conversation, a full recording may be found here.
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