The Builder: How Binance Product Lead Mayur Kamat is Helping Build The Future of Web3
Mayur Kamat’s resume includes some of the most prominent tech companies, from Google to Microsoft. Now, he brings his experience to take on a new challenge as the Head of Product at Binance.
It’s the year 2011. Mayur Kamat buys his first two bitcoins. It’s not for investment purposes but to purchase a VPN connection.
At the time, Mayur didn’t think much of Bitcoin. He just wanted a means of transaction that was completely anonymous, unlike credit cards.
Eleven years pass by. Bitcoin’s price teeters around $47,000, crypto awareness has reached an all-time high, and Mayur now finds himself creating cutting-edge products for one of the world's largest blockchain and crypto ecosystems.
So, how did he get here? What triggered the bold headfirst plunge into crypto, blockchain, and Web3?
As a product person, Mayur spent his entire career finding ways to better enlighten, protect, and delight users. To put it simply, Mayur has always built products to improve people’s lives.
“Speculative financial services have always combined product and tech to make more money—I was never interested in that. For a long time, I thought crypto was more of a speculative asset, a wealth-generating machine, and not a product that could positively impact everyday life. I was never a crypto skeptic. I was a crypto agnostic.”
Mayur’s experience with cryptocurrency is quite similar to many active crypto users today. People knew of crypto; it was a fancy technology, and sometimes the price went up or down—albeit quite dramatically at times.
However, perceptions have quickly changed since crypto’s early days on internet forums and short-lived newspaper headlines. For Mayur, he witnessed a turning point in crypto (from wealth-generation to real-world uses) and a massive career reshuffle towards Web3.
The Great Migration: From Web2 to Web3
“What is it that these people see in Web3 that I'm not seeing? These were the same people I looked up to and admired, the same people that built the billion-user products at Google and Facebook. What was I missing?”
Industry friends, idols, former colleagues and bosses, Mayur’s Web2 professional circle were leaving in droves. Their reason for leaving wasn’t influenced by money, better benefits, or a more stable career.
A recent study conducted by Electric capital found that 2021 welcomed the highest influx of new Web3 developers, with 45% of full-time Web3 developers joining in 2021.
Why are developers leaving to join Web3 companies and projects? The reason: builders like Mayur want to be at the forefront of innovation. It’s not the monetary aspect.
Developers are leaving because “they see a platform (Web3) with endless potential and possibilities,” he says. This great migration spurred Mayur’s “aha moment,” his sudden realization that Web3 was where he needed to be.
Taking the jump
So when the Binance opportunity came around, the decision was simple. While Mayur had already accepted a CPO position for a traditional tech company, he didn’t want to spend the rest of his professional career contemplating the what if—the shot he never took.
“There’s no cure for regret. I realized that if I don't do this right now and it turns out to be the next internet—something of that magnitude where billions of lives are impacted—then I would be super regretful for missing out on the opportunity.”
Web1 was the birth of content consumption; Web2 allowed people to create and share their content in user-friendly and lightning-fast ways. Now, Web3 is the next step of evolution: a decentralized, equal, and transparent internet environment for users and builders alike.
“It feels like we're at the cusp of breaking through and creating use cases that were not possible before,” says Mayur. “Throughout my career, I’ve realized where the money and the smart people congregate—magic happens.”
Building Off The Hype
Crypto, NFTs, blockchain, Web3, DeFi, and the metaverse. Rewind even just two years ago, and these words were unrecognizable to many. Today, it’s not even a surprise if someone’s grandparents have heard of Bitcoin or Crypto.
For Mayur, the hype is twofold.
On the financial end of the spectrum, he advises new users to view the crypto market like small-cap companies on the Stock Exchange. And like any investment opportunity, the user should do their due diligence, create a balanced portfolio, and only put in money they’re willing to lose.
However, as a builder, Mayur welcomes the hype with open arms.
“The hype is awesome. The hype brings in the smart people to work on this. Look back to the dot-com bust. Yes, a lot of projects failed. But if it weren’t for the hype, many of the services and products we use today wouldn’t exist. With that example in mind, I know 10 years from now, we'll look back to this point in time and say this was the hype that created a transformative technology.”
The first innings
Despite the massive hype, the entire space is still at an early stage or, as Mayur likes to call it, “the first innings.” Groundbreaking technology in its early days is rarely easily understood or accessible by the masses.
Mayur harkens back to the first years of Amazon and online book delivery. People had good reason to be skeptical about ordering books online. A book delivery would take a week when a person living in New York City could walk down the street and buy the same book in minutes.
However, for someone living in a rural area—miles and miles away from a bookstore—the idea of online delivery was a lot more magical. People anywhere could access a bookstore’s entire catalog from the comfort of home with a few clicks. Today, billions of people have purchased at least one product or service online.
Much like this example, 10 years from now, Mayur believes that people will look back and say: “Wait, the things I can do with crypto, I could never do in traditional finance.”
First Steps at Binance
Although he’s barely had time to set up his new remote work desk, Mayur is brimming with ideas to push Binance and the whole blockchain and crypto ecosystem forward.
For one, Mayur lives and breathes the Binance mindset—the user always comes first. How do we do the right thing? How do we build the right products and experience for our users? And how do we handle our user’s trust during exceptional cases?
Since Binance’s inception in 2017, users have been the foundation behind every decision. At Binance, our team credits all the success to this user-focused approach. If it’s a choice between more money or a better experience for the user, the answer is always the latter.
And, when we do find ways to generate more money at Binance, it’s never with the primary goal to benefit the shareholders or the CEO. Binance priority is to create a better experience for our users and to grow the entire blockchain and crypto ecosystem.
With this mindset, Mayur aims to build a diverse set of products that users can instantly pick up and understand. Products that won’t have a steep learning curve and will provide users with a seamless bridge between CeFi and DeFi, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience.
“Nowadays, there are many DeFi strategies for people to use: staking, liquidity farming, cross-chain asset-backing, wrapped tokens, arbitrage, the list goes on, and it will continue to grow. The question is, how do we package this cool, awesome technology in a way that users understand it’s a solution to their existing problems.”
As Mayur sets out on his journey with Binance, he’ll take his time to learn from those who came before him and do his part to build compelling products that win the love and trust of new and veteran users alike.
And to wrap up, Mayur also leaves his advice for people curious about working in the blockchain and crypto space:
“What’s the next thing you want to do? Is it something that may potentially change the world and how people view financial investments, inclusion, and freedom? If yes, there's never a better time than now. There’s so much room for growth and innovation, and some of the brightest minds are working here.”