Exclusive: KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu Interview: Crypto crash impact, which coins will survive, India plans and more
In an extremely volatile world of cryptos, already crowded by hundreds of exchanges, KuCoin has positioned itself as the number 1 altcoin exchange destination within a few years, with over 700 tradable assets. The exchange is more popular among crypto traders looking for “Hidden Gems” from promising cryptocurrency, NFT, metaverse and Web3 projects.
While the global crypto markets are currently battered by crashes, KuCoin has some ambitious plans for this year and the exchange’s CEO Johnny Lyu is confident that the future holds an “upward market”. In an exclusive interaction with financialexpress.com via email, Johnny shared details of KuCoin’s global and India plans, his views on the future of crypto after current crash and more. Edited Excerpts:
What are your views on the current crypto crash? Where is the cryptocurrency market headed globally?
The impending global economic crisis is definitely impacting the overall situation on the crypto market and is fueling a correction period, which is quite natural for any financial market where periods of stability are combined with periods of price drops and hikes. In the more than 10 years since the appearance of Bitcoin, the market has experienced several rounds of ups and downs. But after each bottom, the crypto market was greeted by a bull market. Therefore, the market downturn is temporary, and the future must hold an upward market.
What has been the impact of crypto crash on KuCoin?
The upward market must be a boost for the platform but in the downward trend of the market, we will also be investing heavily in departments involved in innovation, especially Web-3.0, metaverse environments, and other digital avenues of opportunity, to build up a more competitive platform and provide comprehensive products and services to the users. Short-term market impact is not enough to affect our long-term plans.
Many experts are claiming that most of the cryptos may vanish in a few years. Which cryptos do you think may survive the test of time?
No matter whether it is in the era of Web-1.0, Web-2.0 or Web-3.0, the laws of the market have always been “the Great will win” and “the survival of the fittest”, and the crypto industry is no exception. There is also a strong possibility that the vast majority of cryptos will disappear in the future. As per the market’s survival code, only projects with a strong consensus foundation, a competitive team, and applications that are just needed, will stand a high chance of surviving.
KuCoin’s plans for India
The Indian crypto market is of great importance to KuCoin. To provide better services for local users, KuCoin recruited Indian specialists and established communities in the country. Two years ago, KuCoin launched a $50 million Support Plan to boost the development of the Indian blockchain industry.
Meanwhile, KuCoin labs launched a $100 million metaverse fund in 2021, and KuCoin Ventures and Windvane (KuCoin NFT marketplace）launched a $100 million Creators Fund to support NFT creators, artists, projects etc. The funds will also seek out potential contributors, practitioners and projects in the Indian market.
What are the initiatives supported by KuCoin in India?
We are actively cooperating with local crypto companies, like Bitbns, and the popular video app – Chingari.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, KuCoin initiated a Special Charity Fund in April 2021 with a Rs 10 million donation to a local NGO to address the challenges encountered by Indian citizens. On May 17, 2021, we partnered with the local crypto bank Cashaa to donate Rs 2 million worth of food and supplies to Indian citizens to help them fight against the outbreak of COVID-19. Wheat, rice, dal, and salt have been distributed to citizens of Jaipur, Delhi, Patna, etc., helping them get through the most difficult time. As one of its charity initiative in India, KuCoin has partnered with Adim Sanskruti, a Pune-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), to extend daily supplies distribution to Pune.
If crypto legislation comes into force in India, KuCoin will increase investment in the Indian market to consolidate KuCoin’s brand position and to better serve local traders, and as for setting up an operational center in India, it will be considered as per the request of the crypto bill.
ALSO READ | How does Binance handle crypto frauds and scams?
What makes KuCoin different from other exchanges?
Every platform has its own strategies. The industry is still in its infancy and we believe all platforms still have a plenty of room to grow. Instead of focusing on other exchanges, we are more prone to focus on the people with us. That’s why we were given the nickname the “People’s Exchange” by our users.
We are happy with how far we got, and we are concentrating on building our own strength in the long run, like finding more hidden gems and localizing our product offerings in key markets, making KuCoin a platform for all classes of investors.
We provide a wide range of crypto financial tools and services to users of all types, including spot trading, futures trading, margin trading, money management, and mining. We also serve over 18 million people in over 207 countries. KuCoin’s global user base lets it be independent of any particular market, giving it additional stability and liquidity for its users around the world.
One of the key advantages of KuCoin is that it offers more Crypto Gems, and many talented projects are launched online on KuCoin. It also supports over 700 coins and over 1200 trade pairings.
Story behind the creation of KuCoin exchange
Behind KuCoin are two tech geeks who were early blockchain adopters. Having started coding at the age of 8 and founded his first startup at 16, the first one heard about Bitcoin in 2012 from his boss – another founder – who inspired him to start mining. While he tried to sell some BTC on Mt.Gox, he discovered that, what was the world’s largest platform at the time, was difficult for beginners to use.
As the adoption of blockchain continued, they realized that it was reshaping the financial system, building a new system that not only serves the few richest, but everyone in the world – even the uneducated, unemployed and unbanked. By the end of 2013, they wrote down the first code in a cafe. After that, they spent over two months completing the code for a trading system. The initial API documentation of this is still present on GitHub. However, because the whole cryptocurrency market was still in its infancy at the time, they each had their jobs, and they were not yet prepared to start a business, so this matter took a back seat.
After they returned their focus to the crypto industry in 2017, they found it incredible that even though 4 years had passed, the systems and services of the entire cryptocurrency trading market were too far removed from the internet industry. Exchanges often suffered delays and downtimes. The instability in the trading system gave rise to user frustrations and worse user experience. This is when KuCoin was created to bring a better trading experience to the crypto industry and bring blockchain and allow everyone to embrace digital assets.
What is the most difficult struggle the exchange had to overcome and how did it do it?
I think the most significant difficulty for an exchange, or a crypto company, is balancing and allocating the company’s limited resources — whether to invest more in R&D to develop more products or to invest more in marketing and sales to gain a larger market share.
At one point, KuCoin faced this same dilemma. After the crypto industry entered a bearish market in 2018 and the sector slowed down, we faced two choices. One choice was to increase investment in market expansion, the other was to prepare for the long-term strategy by improving the infrastructure and bolstering the team, so as to develop a new system to satisfy more demands of the market. KuCoin ultimately chose the latter. Since then, we have launched KuCoin 2.0, Futures Trading, Margin Trading, KuCoin Earn, and other innovative products. Not only have we made great strides in technology, but we have also assembled a competitive team, and this has laid the foundation for KuCoin to become the best trading platform in the world.
New initiatives planned by KuCoin for 2022
KuCoin experienced rapid expansion in 2021. This also became one of the challenges I encountered as CEO of KuCoin: how can we better serve our users amid our business’s rapid growth?
This year, we will mine more crypto gems, explore and experiment more with social trading, and launch social trading features. Next, we will further expand KuCoin’s decentralized ecosystem and will provide users with more decentralized products, such as our decentralized trading solutions. We will also expand KuCoin’s presence in the decentralized space, especially in the metaverse, Web 3.0, and other essential areas.
How safe are investors’ assets on the KuCoin exchange?
At KuCoin, we’re very much vigilant of security and cyber threats, and we ensure that our exchange is safe for trading. KuCoin allows you to trade with confidence, knowing that your digital assets are safe on the exchange. Micro-withdrawal wallets, industry-level multilayer encryption, and dynamic multi-factor authentication are a few of the levels of protection that we employ.
KuCoin offers 24/7 customer support via live chat and online ticket on its help center. The supporting staff are very responsive and patient. Also, KuCoin has established about 23 local communities in Europe, SEA and other regions, providing users with highly localized service and support.
Does KuCoin follow international regulations?
KuCoin operates in the Seychelles and complies with local laws. We respect all laws and policies in other countries.
What is KuCoin’s NFT initiative? What is different about it as compared to other platforms?
Compared with other NFT Marketplaces, Windvane focuses on the core problems that have not been solved in the current market, including the lack of high-quality projects, high user participation thresholds, poor security, high fees and the difficulty of finding potential projects.
(Cryptos and other virtual digital assets are unregulated in India. They are considered extremely risky for investment. Please consult your financial advisor before making any investment decision)