Victor Pergament, head of the Currency.com product line, in an author's column at topplabs.org, spoke about the difficult path that the crypto exchange has gone through in two years from an idea to a business with a monthly turnover of $ 2 billion
At the beginning of 2019, neither in Russia nor in Europe there were officially registered crypto-exchanges of tokenized assets, and Currency.com became the first. At that time, only the lazy was not talking about Belarus in the crypto community – the innovative crypto-legislation adopted there and the first open crypto-exchange cheered everyone who was in the subject.
“Belarusians have launched a crypto exchange? What kind of nonsense? " etc. We walked the warrior's way, solving problems before they appeared. But with some they had to fight in fact.
How Chinese Li, without knowing it, helped Belarusians open a crypto exchange
It was 2018 when we decided to launch a crypto business. We were told that we were late – classic crypto exchanges based on the Coinbase model only work in conditions of high demand for crypto. We saw it ourselves.
The crypto then was in a deep crisis: it fell heavily and did not want to "grow" back, but it is difficult to make money in a stagnating market: advertising is expensive, large exchanges are "pushing" for a sharply reduced number of clients, earnings from the latter are much less than the cost of attracting. In addition, all large exchanges opened and grew on the hype – without the hype, the exchange will go bankrupt soon after launch.
Around the same time, our team went to China – they wanted to communicate with the local crypto community. Once, over a cup of strong Chinese tea, our friend Li, one of the largest crypt owners in China, drew two characters on a napkin.
"What does it mean?" Lee asked. I did not understand anything in Chinese and could not answer. It was the word "crisis", where one character meant "danger", the other – "opportunity." Then our Chinese friend told his story.
Lee in the crypt since 2015. He is an active investor and in 2017 invested in a large number of ICO projects. Lee knew that ICO is a scam, where there is no transparency, there is no prospect of long-term investments, and you need to manage to jump out of the scam project faster than others. Lee was willing to take risks. But in practice it turned out to be painful – it was not possible to jump out of many projects and the experience turned out to be too negative.
In 2018, the crisis year for crypto, Lee began to look towards traditional financial markets, but faced two problems: exchanges do not accept crypto, and the volatility of traditional financial instruments is low. Seeing a rise or fall of just a couple of percent in a month was boring. There was no drive and adrenaline that ICOs gave. Lee was sad – he had lost interest in boring traditional markets, and the bursting crypto bubble brought too many risks.
The distance between Beijing and Minsk is 6468 km. While Li was resting late at night in distant China, we racked our brains for long hours over how to help Li and people like him. And now, looking at a napkin with hieroglyphs, we suddenly realized that we need a universal crypto exchange. A multi-exchange where you can invest in crypto and tokenized assets – tokens, the value of which is tied to traditional financial instruments.
We will create a platform where you can invest in tokenized gold and oil, world indices and shares of world companies. And in order to add drive to clients like Lee, we will make it possible to invest with leverage.
And it is imperative that the interface and functionality are simple and convenient. So that on the same exchange, even any beginner could buy his first bitcoin, and invest from $ 10.
This exchange will always work: when the crypt grows – due to the arrival of new crypto-investors, and when it stagnates – due to people like Lee, who are interested in traditional financial markets with leverage.
We, the Slavs, are famous not only for the ability to find a way out of the most difficult situations. We know how to find the entrance there. Having solved one problem with a business model, we came to another – how to implement such a crypto project in the legal legal field?
How to open a crypto exchange and not go to jail
Already in 2018, there was an understanding in the world that in the legal sense, a crypt is money. Not candy wrappers, not something ephemeral, but above all money. And if so, then it is illegal to accept it from unknown clients. The only correct decision that will not lead you to an American or any other prison is to open accounts on a crypto exchange for clients like a bank – with documents, passport, address, and so on.
We were told that it is correct to open an exchange in the Seychelles or the Marshall Islands and accept all money without documents. That this is the only working scheme in the crypt, according to which many successful exchanges operate. That none of the crypto community will give us documents, because there are alternatives where documents are not needed to buy a crypt. And that the project is doomed to failure, and the issue of bankruptcy is a matter of a couple of months.
But we believed that safety was the most important thing for our clients, and that working outside the legal field was the biggest unjustified risk. Primarily for the client. In the end, what will happen in 5-10 years? Only in the legal framework is it possible to build a project that will be successful in the long term. And that was our fundamental decision.
We stopped at Belarus. There, in 2018, a fairly suitable legal framework appeared for the crypto sphere, besides, our specialists also advised its developers.
We calculated and analyzed everything, but the fear of failure on launch day became stronger than the facts. Identification at that time was done manually, and the registration queue grew rapidly. We were on the verge of failure on the very first day of work – this problem scared off new users and greatly annoyed those who waited.
But the unexpected happened – we were saved by a simple mechanic, when for inviting a friend you can advance in the registration queue. It worked. Everyone began to invite their friends to register, the line grew like a snowball, but no one was worried about the wait, but tried to invite even more friends. Many even started competing to see who would advance in the queue faster.
It worked – we started very successfully, although the site had only a basic product without a mobile application, with a limited selection of markets and instruments. The people who went through the line formed the core of our most loyal customers, and they remain with us ever since.
2 years have passed. Our bet on legality has fully justified itself, although many exchanges ignore the laws even now. American courts are inundated with lawsuits against the founders and owners of Bitmex, OKEX, Binance. Exchanges are beginning to restrict the withdrawal of funds from accounts. And this is just the beginning. Currency.com clients are not exposed to these risks.
How COVID-19 Could Kill Currency.com, But Made It Stronger
2020 started off badly. Bitcoin – below $ 4 thousand. Countries were quarantined one after another. People tightened their belts and investments – the first thing that suffered in this situation. We expected a strong decline in activity and prepared for a very difficult year.
But the opposite effect happened. People forced to stay at home started thinking about new sources of income and started exploring finance and cryptocurrencies. Our platform, due to its simplicity and convenience, was perfect for those who were mastering investments.
COVID-19 has been an earthquake and shock to financial markets. Airline stocks, indices collapsed. Oil – collapsed. Tech stocks – Apple, Amazon, Netflix – began to skyrocket. Our investors could switch from one asset to another within seconds. The multi-exchange model worked.
The Currency.com Whitepaper on our website states: “ Currency.com 's mission is to maximize everyone's investment choices and remove barriers. To make more investments in the world. Investment is the engine of economic growth. The freedom to choose investments is the basis of this. "
For many of us, these were just beautiful and loud words. But COVID-19 has shown that companies like Currency.com open up the opportunity to invest for completely different investors, and at the lowest cost. As a result, not only corporations, but also ordinary people make money in emerging markets. One of our clients, a 21-year-old guy from a village in the Mogilev region, earned more than $ 27 thousand on investments in 2020.
Today Currency.com is an international business with a monthly turnover of about $ 2 billion. We are authorized to work in the cryptosphere in many countries of the world. Currency Com Limited received a DLT license in Gibraltar, registered with FINTRAC (Canada), and also with FinCEN (USA) as a Money Services Business.
What is this column about? About the belief that everything will work out. About overcoming difficulties. About the fact that business is cool. That you need to listen to the client and strive to give him the best. That you can't give up and give up. Do what your heart tells you to do. Don't break the law and go all the way. And then everything will definitely work out.