‘We aim to be the utility supplier for crypto users’ — Interview with CoinEx CEO
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‘We aim to be the utility supplier for crypto users’ — Interview with CoinEx CEO

Crypto exchanges can achieve a devoted user base by putting users at the center of their strategies.

‘We aim to be the utility supplier for crypto users’ — Interview with CoinEx CEO

The crypto landscape’s growth attracts many new players from both centralized and decentralized fronts. Standing out from the competition becomes vital for any emerging trading platform to thrive, and it can only be achieved through recognizing user needs, gaining their trust and providing a user-friendly experience. Exchanges that design, develop and support their products around their users are bound to have a head start.

Fine-tuning the overall trading experience to the benefit of users gives a boost to new platforms in the race to lead the industry. CoinEx, a cryptocurrency exchange supporting over 700 cryptocurrencies, has taken this route from its inception. In this interview, CoinEx CEO Haipo Yang shared his journey in building a crypto exchange and discussed the significance of adhering to a user-first approach.

Cointelegraph: As an early participant and industry leader in cryptocurrency, could you share some personal experiences in the crypto world? What motivated you to create CoinEx?

Haipo Yang: I first encountered cryptocurrencies in 2011 when Bitcoin

02 underwent its initial bull market, soaring from a few cents to around $31. At that time, an article titled “Bitcoin: The Most Dangerous Project We’ve Ever Seen” left a profound impression on me. Two terms stood out: “most dangerous” and “open-source.” I perceived “open-source” as a shared ethos within the tech community, indicating a lack of intellectual property rights, where no one sought to patent Bitcoin. Why was it deemed dangerous? Because it represented a sovereignless currency and a new beginning. As I delved deeper into this field, I realized that blockchain would bring profound changes to the world and play an undeniable role in the evolution of the global financial system.

In the early days of computing, there was a movement for free software. The essence of free software lies in freedom, allowing individuals to freely view, compile, and distribute source code, thereby accelerating the pace of knowledge iteration for humanity. The decentralization of blockchain also aims to achieve this freedom.

In blockchain finance, everyone’s assets are their own, can’t be frozen and flow freely. I believe this kind of freedom is the bedrock of prosperity. It was this spirit of freedom that propelled me into this industry and led to the founding of CoinEx. Certainly, the pursuit of personal wealth played a role, but fundamentally, it was the pursuit of this spirit of freedom.

CT: Why do you choose to establish a centralized exchange?

HY: Entrepreneurship is a business activity, and exchanges and mining represent the best business models in the crypto industry. Compared to other industries, only the financial sector places a demand on decentralization, and it is not as sensitive to performance and efficiency. Therefore, the perfect integration of blockchain and finance arises. The core of the financial industry lies in asset transactions, with exchanges representing the central business model.

Blockchain not only creates assets and payment tools that are beyond sovereign control but also empowers individuals with the freedom to issue assets. I decided to start a centralized exchange (CEX) like CoinEx because it is a strong business model that plays a crucial role in the industry by bringing together a multitude of assets, enabling people to trade freely, conveniently exchange and achieve the free circulation of capital.

CT: This year marks the sixth anniversary of CoinEx’s establishment. Over these six years, what challenges have you faced and what are your short-term goals?

HY: We have encountered various hurdles, including how to build a team or address security and compliance challenges. Even though the current security environment for exchanges is harsh, given the concentration of funds, we remain optimistic and committed to providing a user-friendly and secure ecosystem.

Handling the complexity of supporting hundreds of public chains is a significant challenge for exchanges. Compliance is also a common issue across the industry. In the long run, however, we remain optimistic because freedom is a universal human value.

In recent years, our goals have focused on improving the exchange and addressing product, security and compliance issues. We have consistently contemplated how to present our products to users in a simple way. Although we are not a very large crypto exchange now, we aspire to become an undeniable presence in the industry that cannot be overlooked.

CT: CoinEx is currently conducting business in over 200 countries and regions. How do you balance global expansion with adapting to the unique demands of local markets?

HY: As I mentioned, blockchain creates a form of currency beyond sovereign control. It is inherently global. Our business is inherently global as well. When you transfer Bitcoin, all you need is an address, not a specification of a particular country. Therefore, the trading of crypto assets naturally transcends borders, cultures and language differences. One could even argue that blockchain acts as a catalyst for the globalization process.

Of course, we adopt localization strategies for different regions and markets, including introducing activities that capture local uniqueness and align with cultural practices.

CT: How do you view Web3?

HY: Web3 holds great promise and has the potential to address several challenges users are currently facing. Unfortunately, in the current scenario, many Web3-related projects do not address the real needs of users and tend to be prohibitively expensive.

On a more positive note, I have some news to share: ViaWallet will be rebranded as CoinEx Web3 Wallet in January 2024. This strategic move signifies CoinEx’s commitment to the Web3 space, ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve and consistently offer the best to our users.

However, our primary focus will be on the CoinEx exchange because I believe that at the current stage, trading and asset transfers are still the most thriving areas.

CT: How are CoinEx’s core values and user-centric philosophy implemented in product development and support services?

HY: Our goal is very clear — to create a reliable and professional cryptocurrency trading platform. The “user first” philosophy guides every decision, innovation and action we take. In product development, our main focus is on the most fundamental needs of users — the storage and trading of assets.

For storing assets, we have our own wallet, and for trading assets, we have the exchange business. We support over 200 public chains and more than 700 cryptocurrencies, allowing users to have full control over their assets. In the listing process, we never manipulate the market or engage in insider trading, but rather, we play the role of user advocates, helping them identify various risks. We prefer to trust in the inherent power of the market.

CT: What challenges have you encountered in the ongoing commitment to prioritizing customers?

HY: We sometimes face misunderstandings from users and partners who believe profit should be prioritized. However, our primary consideration is not maximizing traffic and trends; we prioritize whether the action itself benefits our users. We have endured challenging circumstances, and surviving has been difficult.

Regardless of the environment, we are always focused on reputation, maintaining ethical standards and avoiding harm to users.

CT: According to users’ feedback, CoinEx’s team is known for its integrity and willingness to take responsibility. What supports the team in maintaining such character, consistently placing users first, even in extreme situations?

HY: The team is the first product we’ve built. My primary requirements for the team are honesty, integrity and a sense of responsibility. During the recruitment process, we also highly emphasize the candidates’ character.

I believe it’s because our internal culture emphasizes honest entrepreneurship and ultimate mutual benefit that we can adhere to our principles in any situation, always keeping users as our top priority and maintaining our reputation even in extreme situations.

CT: How do you view the development trends of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in the coming years?

HY: There is a high probability that the entire industry will experience a bull market. In the future, with Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) entering the ETF market, more funds will flow into this industry. This plays a crucial role in the industry’s penetration, and the industry’s scale is likely to grow larger, providing a channel for those interested.

CT: Is there anything you would like to convey to current and potential CoinEx users?

HY: Since our founding in 2017, every step of our growth has been accompanied by the support of our users, and for that, I would like to express my deepest gratitude. Looking ahead, we aspire to become the infrastructure for our users, using reliable products and services to meet their needs while causing minimal disruption. Users may not feel our presence in their daily lives, like water and electricity, but we aim to be there when they need assistance.

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