12 months ago, crypto derivatives platform Bybit officially launched. The Singapore exchange, which also has offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan, has enjoyed a fruitful first year, attracting users from North America, Europe, Russia and Asia. With products including BTC, ETH, XRP and EOS perpetual contracts, and a matching engine capable of handling 100,000 tps, Bybit is looking to carry its success into 2020 and beyond. CEO Ben Zhou spoke to news.Bitcoin.com about its successes, challenges, and aspirations.
Building a Thriving Exchange Bit by Bit
Although 2019 will go down as a successful year for Bybit according to Ben Zhou, is has not been all plain sailing up to this point. While undoubtedly a cause for celebration, a growing user base presents its own difficulties – particularly since Bybit prides itself on no overloads or downtime, plus round-the-clock multilingual customer support.
“Keeping up with the growth both from a technical standpoint and internal management is the biggest challenge that we have faced,” admits Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Bybit. “Because we’ve experienced over 100x growth from March ’18 to November ’19, we have had to constantly upgrade our systems to make sure we have no overloads and system lags.
“We’ve also had to stay on top of recruitment, sourcing the right talent to make sure we provide the best customer support and localization to our various markets. Thankfully, our efforts have paid off: we haven’t had any server downtimes, no overloads during volatility and low latency trading.”
New Frontiers in a Highly Competitive Market
In a bid to attract yet more day traders to its platform, Bybit has recently added Korean as a supported language, with English, Chinese, traditional Chinese and Japanese already in place. This internationalist outlook is very much at the heart of the business, which is looking to expand into new foreign markets in the New Year.
“We’re planning to move into the Thai, Vietnamese and Spanish markets as well as Turkey in 2020,” says Zhou, who spent seven years managing the Greater China region at Forex brokers XM before launching Bybit. It’s experience which makes his view on China’s attitude towards blockchain all the more interesting. In October, President Xi said the country had to “seize the opportunities” presented by blockchain. And that’s exactly what it appears to be doing, with over 500 blockchain projects already registered with the government.
“China is going full force with blockchain technology and will soon openly embrace the technology in many public channels,” Zhou predicts. “At the same time, the government is cracking down on illegal ICOs and scams, which is a positive thing for the whole space in China. The purge will get rid of the scam projects and leave the ones that are actually contributing to the space.
“Bybit has never had an ICO and doesn’t accept any fiat currency. We also banned Chinese IPs in compliance with the government until we get clear indicators that the laws and regulations have changed.”
Decentralization and Derivatives
If 2019 was the year of defi lending, 2020 could well be the year of defi derivatives. The Synthetix protocol has already gained traction, being described as a decentralized iteration of the popular derivatives exchange BitMex. Does Zhou see decentralization as a path Bybit may go down?
“We plan to commission our research team to delve into blockchain technology and brainstorm how we may apply it to the derivatives market. This is an exciting new initiative that could bring about some really novel changes. The team will conduct in-depth market analysis and report on the whole industry to provide more value to the space. Who knows, we might even decentralize part of the exchange or wallet to start with.”
Taking such steps could be a necessity rather than a luxury; while the crypto derivatives market is still relatively new, it is heating up. Binance recently took an equity stake in FTX exchange, having acquired JEX back in September. Huobi and Okex are also looking to cement their positions in the market. In the year to come, Zhou intends to add functionality and promote education to ensure Bybit stands out from the crowd.
What’s in Store for 2020?
“One of the main things we are excited about pushing in the first quarter of 2020 is a linear contract. That would be in addition to our current inverse trading contracts. The linear contracts will be settled in USDT with portfolio margin functionalities to allow full account-wide usage of the available margin, and allow users to utilize the unrealized PnL as margin for more positions.
“On top of this, we’ll also offer the ability to hedge within the position area. So instead of merging the long and short as is the case with our inverse contract, we’ll separate the long and short positions and allow traders to have both at the same time.”
Although blogs about crypto derivatives are easy to come across, Zhou says full-fledged educational resources don’t exist – and it’s an oversight he intends to rectify.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen any systematic programs that focus on derivatives traders from Beginner to Advanced, and this is something we’d like to offer our traders so that everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow.
“We’ll soon be launching a space where expert traders, thought leaders or just savvy crypto enthusiasts can share and educate fellow traders in one space. In the long term, we want to create value for our traders beyond just trading, and we hope to create a community that is actively engaging and educating one another.”
Audacious predictions are par for the course in the crypto space, but given the many famous fails we’ve witnessed in the past decade, the focus for CEOs like Zhou must be on getting the basics right: growing their user base, keeping funds and data safe and providing outstanding customer service. This is something he appears to acknowledge, while issuing solid predictions for the coming year:
BTC will once again be the strongest in 2020, whereas altcoins will continue to rely on BTC’s price stability to see any significant growth. Tokenized securities will need a massive breakthrough if they are to live up to the hype while shitcoins will continue to fade into oblivion. Ultimately, I am very bullish about crypto in the long run.
What are your crypto predictions for 2020? Let us know in the comments section below.
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