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Exclusive Interview with Kucoin CEO Johnny Lyu

kucoin CEO

This week caught up with Johnny Lyu, the CEO and Cofounder of KuCoin.

First, I want you to take a moment and appreciate how far bitcoin and cryptocurrency has come this past decade. Did you ever believe you would see such growth, interest, and adoption in such a short period of time or has it completely surprised you?

JL: In early years, Bitcoin was popular only among a handful of computer geeks. As the price of Bitcoin has risen, more people are showing interest in it. The cryptocurrency has developed rapidly in the past 12 years, we’ve witnessed the most expensive pizza in the world, and we’ve also seen the price of bitcoin exceed $20,000 in 2017.

Recently, the number of people searching for Bitcoin on Google has reached a record high. And I am increasingly aware that the boundary between cryptocurrencies and traditional finance is blurring. As a practitioner in the blockchain industry, I am very proud about this because it represents a maturation of the crypto market. But I am not shocked, because this is an inevitable trend. The decentralization of crypto can make up for the shortcomings of the traditional financial system, which gives the crypto a bright future. And this is what we are working for at KuCoin. We are bullish on crypto in the long run.

At what point did it hit you that bitcoin was history in the making?

JL: For most people, perhaps they are more interested in price. When the price of Bitcoin is close to $20,000, they begin to believe in the value of Bitcoin. While for me, from the moment I entered the crypto industry, I realized that Bitcoin is making history.

How did you first get into bitcoin & cryptocurrencies?

JL: Before joining KuCoin, I used to work in the auto and luxury industries for many years. It is our founder Michael who led me to the crypto world. We are high school classmates. Michael used to be a Bitcoin miner and a user of Mt.Gox. He bought around 1,000 BTC at the price of $10. And all these BTC went away with Mt.Gox. Actually, that is one reason why we wanted to create an exchange that is super easy-to-use and secure, which is why we now have KuCoin.

Tell us more about your Lending Services!

JL: KuCoin Lending is a peer-to-peer platform where you can borrow major crypto at a reasonable rate from other users to do margin trading. Also, you can lend your spare assets to others and earn some interests.

KuCoin Lend has a few competitive advantages. First, it now supports 15 coins, including BTC, USDT, ETH, ADA, ATOM, XTZ and more. Second, it charges a very reasonable fee and it’s super flexible, you will be able to repay your borrowing anytime you want. Also, the platform has a comprehensive risk control system to ensure that the obligation for both borrowers and lenders can be performed as expected.

How tough is it to stay competitive in a landscape that is ever-evolving?

JL: Not an easy job to be honest. There’s a joke that most exchange owners can hardly fall asleep at night, worrying about both the fierce competition and the hackers.

The industry is changing rapidly. From ICO to IEO, from staking economy to DeFi, the trends change over time and only those make the most of each trend can survive.

One of the spirits at KuCoin is to “Embrace changes and act quickly.” That’s why we now have Spotlight (token sale), Pool-X (staking), KuChain (DeFi) and more interesting products coming up.

KuCoin recently added credit card support for 17 new fiat currencies, and have done a major push to Latin American and Eastern European customers. Tell me more about this.

JL: We are proud to say that KuCoin is one of the most global exchanges. And we’ve seen a big surge of traffic from Latin American countries lately. By simplifying the process of buying crypto with fiat, it will be easier for more people around the world to buy cryptocurrency, further promoting the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

KuCoin has always been expanding its fiat gateways. In May of this year, KuCoin added support for 11 fiat including Hong Kong dollar, Singapore dollar and New Taiwan dollar to purchase crypto assets. In June, Kucoin added support for 17 fiat including Indian rupee and Argentine peso to purchase crypto assets. One week Later, we have reached a partnership with PayMIR, a well-known fiat on-ramp service provider in Russia. The partnership enabled new and existing KuCoin users worldwide to purchase crypto with Russian Ruble (RUB) using their credit and debit cards.

Now, We support 50 fiat currencies like EUR and AUD to buy crypto through Simplex, Banxa, PayMIR and our P2P Fiat Trade. By the end of this year, we plan to support more than 100 fiats.

DeFi has taken the world by storm this year. What most excites you the most about DeFi?

JL: I’m also excited about the recent hype for DeFi while probably my thoughts are not that in line with most others. I personally think currently most people overestimate the value of DeFi at the moment, DeFi does have great potential as it allows all people to join financial activities equally but presently it is not advanced enough to make that happen. Many investors who invest in DeFi have not used any DeFi service, which is not a good sign for the industry development.

But the good thing is that the attention as well as the funds along with it will also help DeFi projects to develop faster and better. At KuCoin, we are also supporting many potential DeFi projects like COMP, KNC, LUNA. And in our recent voting for listing program, we have also chosen two promising DeFi projects to be listed on KuCoin.

Tell our viewers about some of the new exciting promotions that you have currently.

JL: Recently, we have upgraded the “Gold Rush” Super Referral Program, hoping that crypto fans and enthusiasts can participate in our global brand promotion and user growth, which in turn will help to promote crypto to the masses.

Another thing we’ve been planning for a while is the 3rd anniversary of KuCoin! Stay tuned please.

What has been your favorite moment in crypto history thus far?

JL: KuCoin is committed to bringing all the hidden gems in the crypto to our users before anyone else. Actually each time we have a new project listing on KuCoin, it’s really memorable for me.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun? What are your favorite hobbies? play game?

JL: Actually work takes up most of my time. And I suppose many people in the crypto world work almost 2/74 like me. When I have some free time I will go for table games like Texas Hold’em or digital games on PS4 and Switch.

What are a few of your favorite books (Can be fiction or nonfiction)? Favorite Films? What are some that have made a long-lasting impact on you?

JL: My favorite book is the Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixinl. From the point of view of the universe, humans are very small. Whenever I feel tired at work, I look at the world from a cosmic perspective, filter out the noise of the world, and find my own inner direction.

Is there anything you would like to share, unveil, or tease in terms of new features or releases for our viewers regarding KuCoin this year?

JL: We will have more updates about KuChain and Kratos (KuChain testnet) in the second half of the year. Kratos is co-ordinal with KuChain in concept, architecture and resource. Providing an experimental environment, Kratos encourages decentralized financial product pioneers to test and prove their innovative technologies and notions, as well as try out and contribute to KuChain’s various functionalities spanning governance, staking and validating.

Kratos builds a four-layer network based on the needs of DeFi and DEX, modularizes the protocol and functions, improves the ease of use of Kratos, reduces the threshold for developer participation, and solves the problems in the DeFi field. Kratos will bring a mass adoption of blockchain and new changes to the industry.

Will Users ever be able to earn interest if they hold KuCoin Shares?

JL: Sure, we now have a daily KCS bonus for all KCS holders. Also, on Pool-X, they could stake KCS to earn POL token. After the mainnet launch of KuChain. Staking KCS to earn KCS + POL will also be possible.

Tell our viewers more about your P2P Fiat Market.

JL: I recently figured out that P2P Fiat Trade is not that familiar to western investors, but actually it’s quite popular in Asia. Many users like it because it’s safe, fast and almost free. Our P2P Fiat Trade now supports USD, CAD, CNY, IDR, VND, INR and more fiats like AUD, EUR, THB are on the way. Also, supported payment methods include PayPal, wire transfer, Alipay, WeChat Pay, Interac e-Transfer and Payoneer.

What does a customer mean to you? How do you keep them happy?

JL: As the People’s Exchange, we always put customers first. We are the first exchange to support 10 different languages and 24/7 customer support. We now have nearly 20 global communities in which our users could get support in their local languages.

I think what an investor expects from an exchange is simple. Their funds are safe. They can trade easily and effectively, like no overloads when the market fluctuates dramatically. And when they need any help, they can find someone from the exchange to talk to ASAP. That’s it. And those are the things we are working on consistently. By improving our matching engine and trading system, working with partners like Chainalysis and OnChain, expanding our global communities, we are making KuCoin the real the People’s Exchange that you can rely on.

Where do you see KuCoin in the year 2025? What does that look like and what goals do you want to have accomplished?

JL: Our mission is to realize that everyone around the world can participate in financial activities equally. To this end, we need to further strengthen our product and conduct plenty of education regarding crypto and blockchain. By 2025, we hope KuCoin can be one of the most well-known fintech brands in the world.

What are you most excited about for the future of DeFi and where do you see the space in 5 years?

JL: It is sure that DeFi will gradually penetrate the market of CeFi, while this does not mean DeFi is perfect now. We still need to further improve the infrastructure, especially the efficiency and security of DeFi services. This is why we are building KuChain, which aims to provide a more user-friendly blockchain to empower financial innovations.

BONUS: What advice would you give our viewers regarding DeFi, business, motivation, or life in general?

JL:We believe that one day everyone will be with blockchain. The industry is still in an early stage, HODL and you won’t regret it.

Thanks for your insightful, thoughtful, and highly interesting answers Johnny! Until next time!

-The DeFiRev Team

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Bobby Ong CoinGecko CEO: Interview with the Trailblazing Entrepreneur

bobby ong interview Exclusive Interview

bobby ong interview

This week caught up with Bobby Ong of CoinGecko. We are a huge fan of CoinGecko, which is consistently delivering excellent features and is an incredible resource for the entire DeFi Community.

This interview is special because Bobby Ong is also‘s Person of the Week! Bobby, you truly deserve it, you and the entire team at CoinGecko has been working tirelessly to provide the latest and greatest to all of us DeFi fans. We really appreciate all your hard work.

Thanks CoinGecko and Congrats Bobby!

Hi Bobby! Please tell us about your origin story and the CoinGecko journey.

BO: I did my studies in University College London, majoring in Economics. After graduating in 2012, I came back to my home in Malaysia. I found out about Bitcoin in 2013 as I was learning how to code and got really interested in the potential that blockchain technology has to offer.

I knew that I had to play a role in this industry that will be fast-growing in the coming decades. A chance encounter with my co-founder, TM Lee led us to start CoinGecko. We were both interested in cryptocurrencies and wanted a way to get additional data related to cryptocurrencies such as community and developer stats to help us quickly compare cryptocurrencies and help us with some fundamental analysis. There was no such service and we started CoinGecko to solve our own needs.

How has CoinGecko become so dominant? What differentiates CoinGecko with some of the other aggregators?

BO: CoinGecko is the most comprehensive crypto data aggregator. We track close to 6,000 tokens from nearly 400 exchanges. Any actively traded token that is of interest, you would be certain to find it on CoinGecko. We track multiple decentralized exchanges and was the first crypto data aggregator to track DeFi DEXs such as Uniswap, Curve, Balancer, Mooniswap and more.

We are also the first crypto data aggregator to track the crypto derivatives market. We also track the leveraged ETF / leveraged token market too. The crypto market moves fast and constantly introduces new products which we work hard to accurately track for the benefit of the crypto community.

We also offer a free-to-use crypto API, which is very popular and easy to use. We see it as our duty to the crypto community to expand this industry and, by having a user-friendly API, we aim to inspire more people to join this ecosystem and provide a better user experience by making such crypto data available to users. Many crypto analysts also use our crypto API to look at market performance on their Google Spreadsheets and we are very pleased to support it.

CoinGecko was also the first crypto data aggregator to introduce a solution to exchanges’ rampant wash trading and fake volume issue. Our Trust Score algorithm incorporates other variables beyond trading volume such as the bid/ask spread, ±2% orderbook depth, exchange website traffic estimate, and cybersecurity features to assess the actual liquidity and quality of exchanges. Our Trust Score algorithm has improved the experience of users on CoinGecko and now we have higher quality exchanges sorted at the top of CoinGecko instead of exchanges conducting massive wash-trading.

Bitcoin to date has solved some of its biggest challenges. Now resolving much of the survival issues, do you think the right question to be asked is whether Bitcoin will reach $100k or when will it reach $100k?

BO: It is always very hard to make price predictions but I believe that Bitcoin will eventually hit $100k. It’s not a matter of if but when. Maybe it will happen in the coming bull cycle or in the next few bull cycles. I don’t know when but I believe it will reach it at some point in the future.

Why do you think DeFi is getting so much attention from crypto investors at this very moment?

BO: DeFi started getting a lot of attention this year due to the liquidity mining / yield farming craze. In this zero or negative interest-rate environment, people are looking for asset classes that can protect their wealth and provide higher yield than bank deposits.

The incentives being offered by the various DeFi protocols are very lucrative despite the high risks involved. All of this was started by Compound which distributes their COMP token to borrowers and lenders to grow their liquidity pool. The success of Compound got other stakeholders in the crypto industry to take notice and to implement a similar incentive structure. The new incentives are typically offered with higher yield to get the attention of the crypto community thus fuelling the DeFi growth further.

What are the best blockchain adoption strategies in your opinion?

BO: I think games will be a key driver for blockchain to reach mainstream adoption in the future. I foresee a future where users will be using applications on their mobile devices that interact with the blockchain on the backend without the user even realizing it.

Any thoughts on the lack of political will to address the lack of any streamlined regulations regarding digital assets and their elemental technologies?

BO: Innovation is constantly happening at breakneck speed in the blockchain ecosystem. However, regulations are always lagging behind innovation. At some point, regulators will catch-up with the progress and put in place regulations. All we can do is lobby and hope that the regulations will be progressive for the development of this industry.

When you’re not working what do you like to do for fun?

BO: I enjoy road biking and like to cycle with my friends when I have time.

No crypto interview is incomplete without a prediction question; Which cryptocurrency is likely to explode in 2021?

BO: It’s really hard to give predictions as the crypto market as we know can be crazy! I would say 2021 may be the year to watch Ethereum’s development closely as it goes ahead with its ETH 2.0 plan.

Thank you Bobby and congratulations again on being the Person of the Week! We can’t wait to see what CoinGecko has in store for all of us next!

-The DeFiRev Team

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