Available in over 180 countries with hundreds of token listings and multiple transaction types, Binance has grown into the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
Founded in July 2017 by Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ, Binance plans to push its growth forward by expanding operations in more countries and providing new features.
"Binance today is more than a cryptocurrency exchange. It is a full crypto ecosystem," CZ said. "Besides Spot, Futures, et cetera, we also have Binance Pay, Trust Wallet, and Coinmarketcap. We also contribute to the BNB Chain, one of the world's most active blockchains."
Right now, Binance has its eye on the Philippines. CZ cites the country as "super important" for being advanced in payment services, mobile penetration, tech talent, and Filipino's understanding of crypto. CZ comments that the Philippines has an upward trend in fast development, an environment where innovation works better.
"We want blockchain to be global," CZ said. "We want to grow the global prices by going local, and the Philippines is a very important market in Southeast Asia."
When Binance enters a market, CZ lists five things they typically do: Seek regulatory support, recruit talent, investments, education, and charity.
For regulatory support, CZ said: "We work very closely with governments to either consult or help shape the regulations by giving our best practices, feedback, and know-how from the industry perspective."
Out of a 100% population of adopters of new technologies, CZ says only about 5% are early adopters, while the remaining 95% are average consumers or mass adopters. CZ believes this 95% would trust licensed and regulated platforms, which would lead to mass adoption.
However, CZ warns that regulation doesn't mean a company won't fail. What regulation can do, though, is reduce – not eliminate – the risks and improve protection for customers and investors, CZ explained.
"Regulations will probably come with a level of disclosure requirements, educational requirements, and risk warning requirements that should ideally help reduce these types of risk," CZ said.
Find the right level of regulations that can help reduce risk and at the same time promote innovation.
CZ says they are looking to find partners in the Philippines, invest in fintech and banks, and help bring them to the web3. They want to foster a collaborative environment and show potential partners how these technologies can be used.
"The third thing we do is investments, and that is investing in and out of the crypto industry." CZ has mentioned that they have done well with their investments in the crypto this past couple of years and would continue to double down on that, CZ said. "Outside the crypto space, Binance also has investments in other industries. Two examples would be their investments on Twitter and Forbes."
"The thought process there is straightforward; we want to pick different sectors in the economy and invest in one or two companies in each sector. And when we invest, we might be a minority investor, but we want to bring them to the web3, blockchain, crypto, et cetera."
The term "Web3" may be a buzzword today in the technology industry, but it was coined in 2014 by Gavin Wood, Ethereum's co-founder. Web3 is the new version of the web that uses blockchain technology and focuses on decentralization and tokens. It gained momentum in 2021 as cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) became massive trends then.
If you're curious, Web2 is the current era focused on user-generated content. This is sharing content online, such as videos and images, across various social media platforms and engaging with online communities.
"I believe strongly that using blockchain and cryptocurrencies can give new business models that weren't available before, like micropayments, NFTs, tokenizing content, and tokenizing different interactions," CZ said, talking about investing and partnering with local companies. "So, we want to explore the newer models, including NFTs for content, NFTs for art, and stuff like that."
"If they succeed, they will have a competitive advantage over their peers in that sector. And that would put pressure on their peers to enter the web3 arena. And then, when they all do, our industry gets bigger, and that benefits us."
Web3, NFTs, crypto, blockchain. These technologies are still in their infancy, and their exact definitions continue to evolve. Also, people new to crypto are prone to scams and easily make panicked decisions (usually when their crypto investment has gone down). To help spread awareness, Binance offers educational courses through Binance Academy and Binance Masterclass.
Binance Academy features online courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency, and Binance Masterclass goes into detail about blockchain development. CZ says Binance has taught over 600,000 people in their Masterclass program, and before the pandemic hit, it was an on-site seminar. Now, it's available online. Both Binance Academy and Masterclass are free.
"We are also launching a Binance Scholarship," CZ said. "We help kids get into universities, with the only additional requirement is they need to pass a blockchain test. Obviously, we want to promote education on a blockchain front."
CZ expounds on the Scholarship by talking about Binance working closely with universities for internships and jobs. After their internships and graduation, Binance wants to welcome them back to the company.
"So far, Binance is working with three universities, one in Italy and two in France, with intentions of expanding across Europe," CZ said. "Binance is engaging with universities in Asia to for the education program.
Circling back to the Philippines, CZ did not want to make any promises about when their developments in the country will expand because there were many external things beyond their control. But CZ hopes that these developments can be achieved within months.