Interview with Ben Zhou, CEO of Bybit
Q: Hey Ben, thanks for doing us today! How did you first get into the cryptocurrency space?
It’s my pleasure! Before founding Bybit, I ran a forex broker for 8 years. This gave me a great insight into really understanding what traders want from a platform. In around 2016, I started to take a serious interest in the burgeoning crypto scene. What attracted me initially was the fact that it was a brand-new industry and was full of potential and opportunities. I then started to actively read as much as I could about blockchain and cryptocurrency. As I became more and more familiar with the crypto scene and got really into it, I was even a small-time KOL on YouTube for a while, focusing on project analysis. I continued doing this until shortly before co-founding Bybit in early 2018.
Q: Could you briefly describe what Bybit is? How did the idea for Bybit originate?
Bybit is a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform, serving clients all over the world and offering trading in perpetual contracts for BTC, ETH, EOS and XRP. The idea for Bybit originated from my perspective of the crypto scene in 2016/2017. It was an exciting, rapidly growing scene, with lots of potential and possibilities, but I also saw many inefficiencies in the way exchanges operated. Orders wouldn’t be executed, customer service wasn’t up to scratch, and quite frankly, I thought traders deserved better than what was on offer at the time. This is what essentially was the genesis for the creation for Bybit.
Q: What’s your evaluation of the current scenario for Bybit, the blockchain industry and the crypto market.
Since going live last November, every single month we have been growing at an extremely rapid rate and going from strength to strength. We’ve amassed a very talented IT team, with the team having members with experience from prestigious companies such as Morgan Stanley and Tencent. Also, we have great BD and marketing teams, which are growing all the time. In terms of trading volume, we recently received coverage on Bloomberg for having the 4th highest futures trading volume in the world for crypto exchanges, which I take as a sure sign we’ve arrived on the scene and are here to stay.
In terms of the blockchain industry and crypto market in general, I can only see both getting bigger and bigger in the coming years. Of course, the two have a very close relationship, and the very fact that I’m here today talking about Bybit wouldn’t be possible without the wonders of blockchain technology. So of course, the technology has affected my life in a positive way, but really it’s affecting all our lives in a positive way. It’s making lives more convenient for all of us in areas as wide-ranging as energy, financial services, and healthcare, and I think this trend will only accelerate in the next few years. As for the crypto market, it is getting more and more competitive all the time, but my thinking is, bring it on! The competition acts as a motivator for us to get better. We are very confident in our abilities to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Q: In the current cryptocurrency ecosystem with margin trading exchanges, why do you think Bybit stands out from the rest of the pack?
Well, nicely following on from the last question, I think we stand out from the rest of the pack in a very competitive market because we are sticking by the principle that we formed Bybit on in the first place. That is – putting the trader first, building the platform to their needs. One thing in particular I noted before founding Bybit was the unfortunate prevalence of overloads on exchanges, certainly not ideal when the markets move fast and you want to make a quick trade. That is why we made it a priority from the offset to build up our platform to have the capabilities of handling 100,000 TPS, with a match taking just 10 microseconds. Another thing we offer which our competitors do not is 24/7 live multilingual customer service, meaning our traders can get an answer to their queries instantly no matter what time of day it is. Also, we offer 100x leverage, offering the traders the possibility of making big profits.
Our motto is “we listen, we care, we improve”, and by that we mean we will always listen to the feedback of our traders, and are always looking to improve the trading experience on the platform, and adding new features. One such example of a new feature we’ve introduced based on feedback is coin swap, which allows our traders convert from one coin to another instantly – for example from BTC to ETH – all within a few clicks.This allows our traders to take advantage if there are any quick price changes in the market, or to stock up on another cryptocurrency if they wish.
Q: In 2018, there was a trend of exchanges being hacked that had affected the entire crypto industry, tell us more about the security measures Bybit are taking to ensure confidence for users?
This is something we take very seriously. Security comes before anything else. It should be the bare minimum you expect from any exchange, and as such we have the most sophisticated as possible measures in place to ensure the safety of our trader’s funds. We use an industry leading multi signature cold wallet system which stores all the digital assets of our traders. Every deposit is done using a cold wallet, whilst collection and withdrawals are done using offline signatures. Also, in an unprecedented move for our industry and to add convenience for our traders, we allow withdrawals three times a day, instead of the industry standard once a day.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge or obstacle Bybit has ahead of them? How do you plan to tackle that challenge?
The biggest challenge ahead, not only for Bybit but for all crypto exchanges, is determining how much time and capital you invest into your tech. Not just now, but planning ahead, as well. Because I believe mass adoption will come at some point very soon, and when that happens, we will have 100 fold or even 1000 fold more clients. Which exchange will be ready to handle that much load will stand out and win the race. So at the end of the day, how fast is your matching engine, and how well do you do risk management, becomes crucial. However, we don’t see any challenges as obstacles that can’t be overcome, indeed we welcome them. It’s what makes us stronger. But of course any challenges need to be faced head-on and with some foresight needed on how they can be overcome.
Q: Can you tell us what you’re looking forward to accomplishing the most with Bybit in 2019 And what does the rest of the year have in store?
It’s been a great year for us, obviously, but there’s a lot to look forward to in the final quarter. Firstly, we’ve got our app coming out for IOS and Android, allowing our traders to trade on the go. It’s currently in the final stages of testing, so we hope to have it out very soon. Then we will be offering a stablecoin solution as well as linear contract settlements in the stablecoin. This is something our traders have been asking for for a while, and it’s something our developers have been hard at work over the last few months, so we’re delighted we’re now at a stage where it can be released. We also have a very exciting global competition for our traders coming soon. I can’t reveal too much about it just yet, all I can say is stay tuned to our social media for more details!
Q: What do you think is the biggest problem Bybit will solve and why is the problem important to solve?
The biggest challenge, and ultimately the biggest problem that I think Bybit can contribute to solving, is mass adoption. What can help towards mass adoption is anything that is a catalyst that will help the whole industry. People often focus on some sort of decentralized application and hope that will trigger mass adoption. However I believe that up until now, the wealth affect or money making potential of crypto is what has truly attracted people to the field so far, either it was ICO or the mining opportunities.I believe a crypto derivatives exchange like Bybit can also help bridge the gap between traditional traders and crypto traders. Going forward, we will be focusing on market education as well as connecting our liquidity to traditional fx, and community markets to show the traditional future/margin traders, hey, we are Bybit, we have a great exchange, with great liquidity, you can trade here. I think by adopting this approach, we can also help with the mass adoption of crypto. What it boils down to, quite simply, is that traders need fast execution, good customer service support and simply an overall well performing exchange. Whether your product is crypto or traditional commodities, Bybit will be able to offer that. it’s our mission to make trading simpler, more efficient and more accessible for everyone.
You can follow Ben on twitter, here!