A letter from Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao to our friends and community.
2018 has been a hell of a year, definitely not the easiest of years, but looking back, real progress has been made.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Crypto prices took a big hit in 2018. There are many different possible factors that contributed to this. A short list off the top of my head:
- Price overswung on the up side in 2017.
- Many ICO projects from 2017 were expected to deliver in 2018, but didn’t.
- There were a number of security incidents at various exchanges.
- Regulatory uncertainty in many locations around the world stalled industry advancement.
- We, as a young industry, were not very united. There were fights between projects, between people, and stupid forks that triggered further drops in price.
I guess with freedom comes a bit of chaos.
In the midst of the chaos, Binance stayed close to our core values. We worked hard to increase the freedom of money globally, while not sacrificing security and ease of use. We fought hard to protect our users and our community. We focused on two of the best ways we know: BUIDL and adoption.
2018 was a #BUIDL year for Binance. We kept our heads down and did the following:
1. Binance launched fiat-to-crypto exchanges in Uganda and Jersey, while preparing for a number of additional locations as well. Binance also obtained Security Token Exchange licenses in multiple locations and will put them to good use in 2019. By building fiat on-ramps, we believe we can significantly help people’s lives around the world and increase access to money.
2. Binance has been building the Binance Chain, with a native on-chain DEX. A testnet version has been deployed and distributed to our partners, and we expect a public testnet to be available in January 2019, with the mainnet launching a couple months later. The Binance Chain is unique in many ways. With 1-second block times and 1 confirmation finality, we hope it will serve a few niche functions other blockchains haven’t covered.
3. Binance launched our investment fund, Binance Labs, which has invested in 23 projects so far, in addition to running multiple incubation programs and hackathons. Through Binance Labs, we are helping entrepreneurs realize the full potential of blockchain technology while supporting the future game changers of our industry.
4. Binance launched Binance Academy, a free education portal hosting more than 540 articles across 15+ languages, and 40+ videos with subtitles in 15+ languages.
5. Binance launched Binance Research, providing in-depth, institutional grade research reports to the public, again for free.
6. Binance launched our philanthropy program, Binance Charity, which is collaborating with multiple countries and organizations, as well as the United Nations, to use blockchain for social good.
7. Binance merged with Trust Wallet, providing one of the best multi-asset mobile wallets on the market.
8. While not very noticeable from the outside, Binance has also made significant upgrades to our exchange infrastructure and customer service capabilities. We are able to cater to even more users and volume now than ever before.
9. Binance also made constant evolvements to our security layers, while keeping your funds #SAFU.
Protecting users is not just talk, it takes serious effort and determination. Binance trapped large amounts of hacker/scammer funds, sometimes with the help of law enforcement agencies around the world, sometimes with the help of our global community.
Binance created the #SAFU Fund to insure users against accidental losses. Binance is also the first exchange to pledge a $10m USD standing bounty against hackers that attempt to hack us. We have advanced AI fraud detection as well as hacker traps in our system now.
In 2018, Binance helped 3,992 users retrieve 3229045.91 tokens they had mistakenly sent or lost in a recoverable way. This took a lot of effort on our part and gave us no direct benefits, but we did it anyway, to protect our users; we put our users first.
Increasing cryptocurrency adoption is one of our key goals and we work toward this all the time. In 2018, we added no less than 50 partners who have adopted BNB into their ecosystems. The Binance Coin now has some of the most versatile use cases, including paying for flights, hotels, or just coffee. You can even use it as collateral for loans. See all the BNB use cases below.
Opportunities Around the World
There are more opportunities now than when the price was near the ATH (all-time-high). Project valuations are more reasonable, stronger teams have emerged from the ashes, and governments around the world are studying crypto and racing to see who adopts it first.
Our team travels around the world to seize some of these opportunities. In 2018, places we traveled to include (in random order) Malta, Uganda, Singapore, Bermuda, Jersey, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Argentina, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Korea, India, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Thailand… the list goes on.
We have learned so much from each place, and will continue to push for global adoption, while building local solutions. Some notable and random highlights include:
- Binance being the first crypto company to be welcomed by a Head of State on Twitter to their country. “Welcome to Malta,” tweets Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
- My Bermuda shorts photos with Premier David Burt was about as viral as any ad campaign could buy.
- Our team got stuck at an airport because the local embassy didn’t forward their visa papers, but got quickly processed through once the immigration officer discovered they are from Binance (with no prior communication with our team).
- Randomly bumped into Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the F1 race booth. Didn’t get to talk with him, but got a fan photo anyway.
I am not very skilled with the crystal ball. But looking forward, I know this much: blockchain will stay, crypto will stay, Binance will stay. And our industry will grow stronger than ever!
In 2019, you will see:
- More features on Binance.com.
- Binance Chain mainnet live, with a native high-performance DEX, as well as 1-second transaction confirmation time, enabling true instant transactions.
- Up to 10 fiat exchanges around the world.
- More partnerships with industry leaders.
- More use cases and adoption of BNB.
- More interesting projects invested in or acquired by Binance.
- True transparent charities.
We will continue to build and increase adoption, and lead the industry forward.
Binance is recognized as a global organization now, with users in 190+ countries. At any given week, there are likely 2-5 Binance meetups happening in different cities around the world. The Binance team members are also spread over 40+ countries.
Even with that, Binance is still just an 18-month-old baby. We appreciate all the nurture and support you have given us.
I would like to thank all of our Binance Angels for their sweat, tears, and dedication to our mission to increase the freedom of money.
I would like to thank all of our partners who have made our ecosystem possible.
I would like to thank all of our friends, followers, group participants for supporting us and helping us.
I would like to thank all those who took the time to give us feedback and helped us improve.
I would like to thank the Binance team for their hard work, and acting on the feedback and improving our products and services, usually autonomously, in a decentralized way.
Most importantly, I would like to thank all of our users, our fellow Binancians, for your unwavering trust and support in Binance.
We still have lots of room to grow. Let’s grow together. May 2019 be a year of growth!
PS. Binance is organizing our first #SAFU Hackathon and Conference in Singapore, between January 19-22, 2019. Come and talk to us, and start the year with a bang.
Wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
#Binance #SAFU #BinanceIsGlobal
December 25, 2018