Bybit CEO Ben Zhou discusses regulatory concerns, NFTs, and more

By: Daniela Kirova
Daniela Kirova
Daniela was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Chicago, and then moved to Michigan to attend the University of… read more.
on Jul 9, 2021
  • New ByFi center offers enhanced hash power for users’ ETH mining needs
  • Global competition prizes include NFT collectibles and a pool of 7.5 million USDT
  • In the first quarter of 2021, Bybit’s total overall trading volume passed $1 trillion

In 2021, Bybit’s community reached 2.5 million trading clients across 200 countries and territories, Bybit highlighted in a business update dated July 1. Invezz had the opportunity to interview Bybit CEO Ben Zhou to better understand its update and what we can expect next from the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange platform.

Recent milestones

In the first quarter of 2021, the total overall volume traded on Bybit passed $1 trillion. There was more than $4.9 million in global Bitcoin (BTC/USD) open interest and the historic record of $76 billion in trading volume in 24 hours. Ethereum (ETH/USD) global volume exceeded $20 billion.

ByFi Center ‘opens gateways’ to cloud mining  

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ByFi Center was created in an effort to bring the best of DeFi to the client’s home. The center offers enhanced hash power for users’ Ethereum mining needs and offers lower risk, but higher profitability. Mining is done directly in the cloud with 0% downtime, making it possible to ‘harvest’ ETH directly.

Global trading competition

Last year, 12,000 people from all over the world took part in Bybit’s unique global trading competition. This year, the competition will feature bigger rewards and bigger challenges. It will take place in August. Prizes include NFT collectibles and a pool of 7.5 million Tether (USDT/USD).

Spot & Options Trading

Bybit is launching spot trading in the third quarter of this year. Spot trading helps derivatives traders protect their funds and if you’re entering the market, it’s a great place to start. Listing new assets and trading pairs will also be faster than it is now. The exchange plans to launch options trading in the fourth quarter of the year. Users will have access to the best liquidities from the European and American markets because both options will be available.  

New Look

Bybit is getting a new homepage design, a new logo, a new mobile interface, and a new UI. They promise the new design will be far more intuitive. The upgraded platform will be accessible on both desktop and mobile.

Wallet upgrade

Wallet 2.0 is coming, with the option of instantly processing withdrawal requests, which you can make as often as you want without waiting.

Interview with CEO Ben Zhou

Below is a transcript of Invezz’s interview with Bybit CEO Ben Zhou.

Invezz: Direct “harvesting” of crypto, or cloud mining, is an arrangement where someone can pay someone else to mine crypto on their behalf. This is highly convenient without a doubt. What are some other benefits of ‘cloud’ mining?

Ben Zhou: The benefit of cloud mining for individuals doesn’t bear repeating: easier access, stable and manageable returns, almost no setup time and lower initial investment. At a macro level, cloud mining could be crypto’s answer to optimizing energy consumption. Costs and efficiency are important factors and we need to find the equilibrium where it makes sense to go greener for the community. In 2021 there are millions of hyperscale data centers that already exist around the world. We deliberately scouted out stranded renewable energy sources, and are actively supporting and subsidizing them through this initiative. Cloud mining can help create an economy of scale and help these businesses realize untapped potential. That surely beats low efficiency hardware set up at millions of homes in terms of sustainability. At our ByFi Center we introduced a cloud mining product to meet the community’s virtual ETH mining needs with enhanced hash power on their own schedule in late May. The contracts were sold out but we are looking to expand the term offerings and take on other assets. 

I: If we could look into the cloud mining arrangement a little further. The client receives transaction fees or some cryptocurrency generated from the contractor’s mining efforts. There have been concerns that this arrangement can be viewed as an “investment contract” under federal security law. Such contracts must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. How would you address these concerns?

BZ: We should acknowledge that most jurisdictions lack regulatory clarity in the crypto industry, as is true for most innovations and new technologies. In a way it’s a positive for good actors in the industry that regulators like the SECs are setting out clearer guidance since circa 2016 in this space. The tendency to treat crypto contracts in its various forms as investment products and thus securities indicates a demand from regulators for transparency and accountability from operators. This does not depart from broad public expectations. We are aligned with the regulators in the goals of allowing the sector to open up new economic opportunities while protecting the best interests of its participants. We are offering cloud mining as a mining-as-a-service (MaaS) product, and present buyers with flexible terms much like the subscription services they can choose to cancel at any time. 

I: Among the prizes in your upcoming Global Trading Competition are NFT collectibles. What would you say is the most appealing prize someone can win in one of your annual competitions?

BZ: Aside from the unprecedentedly massive prize pool of up to $7.5 million, this year’s World Series of Trading (WSOT) will feature a series of NFT collectibles and limited edition merchandise. Like last year’s poker-themed crossover, this year’s competition will also feature a new crossover as we expand the reach of crypto to more and more people. We are so excited about all that we have in store for the participants, and cannot wait for everyone to see them.

I: Bybit’s launch of spot trading in Q3/2021 is another thing to look forward to. Quite a few misconceptions surround this form of trading, such as “trading without stop loss is better.” What is one thing you’d encourage people to avoid when spot trading?

BZ: Spot trading is a great entry point for beginners. And some of the time-tested golden rules of investment apply. The first step to derisking is to accept scams exist. The contracts and platforms you choose matter. Do your homework and understand what you are buying, why you go for a particular trading pair and which exchange you are making the transactions on. It’s always worth your while to do your research and verify the sources of information, don’t place an order because of a single retweet on your timeline. 

I: Wallet 2.0, a Bybit wallet upgrade scheduled to be launched with spot trading, will support a hot wallet, through which users will be able to withdraw funds and access their assets from anywhere. What security is there to protect clients’ funds when they’re constantly accessible online?

BZ: Bybit is constantly upping our games in security and improving our operational standards. We will announce new measures for hot wallets at the roll out. Current Bybit customers are familiar with our multi-signature withdrawal process, two factor authentication, among other standard safety and verification measures. We also offer 24/7 multilingual customer support. The bottom line: Bybit is one of the few operators that compensated clients affected by platform incidents at a fair price. 

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