This is an opinion piece by Dion Guillaume, Global PR and Communications Manager at Gate.io.
Over the past decade, exchanges have played an important role in making Bitcoin accessible to the masses. As more and more platforms face bankruptcies and insolvencies, and regulators begin to target exchanges around the world, these platforms face an uphill battle. Gate.io recently appointed former Google executive Yang Yang as executive vice president of marketing, driving the company’s global expansion and he agreed to an interview with me that I could write for Bitcoin Magazine.
Guillaume: First, let’s ask the burning question, what made you decide to move from traditional technology into the cryptocurrency industry?
yang: Well, I’ve spent the better part of two decades leading marketing at some of the top companies in the mainstream tech scene. Over the past two years, it has become more evident that the world is moving towards decentralization and blockchain technology. Bitcoin started this chain of events (watch out for the pun) that has built a multi-trillion dollar industry in less than 13 years, and it’s becoming undeniable that these technologies will drive the future of the internet.
Guillaume: Exactly, in the space of a year we have seen two countries adopt bitcoin as legal tender and rumors of more to come. What are your thoughts on using bitcoin as legal tender?
yang: You know, it’s amazing. Satoshi had this vision of a truly open and decentralized payment system that gave users control instead of a single authority. I think it’s great that these countries are identifying problems in their financial systems that they think bitcoin can solve and are actually following through with adoption and implementation. Of course, it is not a foolproof system, the market can be quite volatile at times, so it will be interesting to see how these countries react and what measures are put in place to deal with volatility.
Guillaume: In your opinion, how important is transparency in the industry?
yang: Blockchain technology is inherently transparent, and therefore transparency is the cornerstone of the entire industry. I think industry leaders therefore have a responsibility to remain constantly transparent, especially when they actively hold billions of dollars in user assets.
Guillaume: So we discussed countries adopting bitcoin, what is your opinion on the arrival of institutional investors? Is this a good thing?
yang: So of course there is concern that big players building up big positions is a bad thing – especially if they eventually decide to sell – that it will drive the market down, but I personally see institutional investing as a good thing thing. If companies large and small are investing in Bitcoin, it brings a certain sense of certainty and security to the average Joe and makes bitcoin more credible as a long-term investment for skeptics.
Look at Michael Saylor and MicroStrategy for example: they have consistently built a large position and shown that they view bitcoin as a long-term investment that they are unlikely to sell. This drives adoption and strengthens bitcoin as an alternative investment, doesn’t it? It sets up this narrative of “if the big guys are investing, it might be worth looking into” and it may end up driving adoption more than any person or platform ever could in the same time frame.
Guillaume: Okay, that makes sense. What advice can you give to someone considering taking the plunge and investing in bitcoin?
yang: Well, first of all, I would suggest educating yourself. There’s a reason DYOR (do your own research) is a mantra in the community. Don’t invest in something you don’t fully understand. The advantage of the Internet is that there are many free and great resources that can help you learn about Bitcoin, blockchain technology, trading and more, which will help you make an informed decision.
Guillaume: This is solid advice; along the same lines, many platforms are cutting back on hiring due to recent market volatility. What advice can you give to someone considering taking the leap and working in the industry?
yang:So there’s this misconception that for the most part people working in cryptocurrency are developers or “shadow super coders”, but in fact the industry is like any other. You have people working in HR, PR and communications, content generation and marketing, social media and community management, and many other areas. My first suggestion would be to familiarize yourself with the basics of the industry, how Bitcoin works, and what’s happening in the markets, then dust off your keyboard and actively apply.
Most companies have a list of job vacancies available on their website or on the countless online job boards. The industry has matured to such an extent that it is a fairly stable employment environment. Of course, in some ways the pace is much faster because things can change quickly overnight.
Guillaume: Regarding the rapid evolution of the market, what is your opinion on the current state of the market? Are you bullish or bearish for the rest of the year?
yang: I’m not one to make predictions or give financial advice, but I do think we’ve entered a bear market. How long that will last remains unclear, but I’m optimistic in the long term. If you look at the past decade, there have been several winters, but Bitcoin has remained resilient and there is no reason to think this time is any different.
Bitcoin has gone from “speculative money on the internet” to a serious asset over the decade, and as you mentioned earlier, we are now seeing countries adopting it as legal tender, state-owned companies add to their books, so there’s still a lot of room for growth in terms of adoption and that may or may not be reflected in the price. The 2007 global financial crisis partly inspired Satoshi to develop Bitcoin, so it will be interesting to see how markets react to the current impending recession and whether or not they can weather the storm.
Guillaume: Interesting, thank you Yang. Moving on to the last question, what do you think of the Bitcoin community urging investors to withdraw their Bitcoin from exchanges? The famous saying goes: “Not your keys, not your Bitcoin”.
yang: Of course, there are advantages to having your Bitcoin stored on an exchange. For millions of users around the world, exchanges are their first point of contact with assets such as Bitcoin and they may not be fully aware of the steps required to take self-custody of their assets. But exchanges were designed to do just that, exchanging one asset for another, like fiat for bitcoin or vice versa.
If users have the knowledge and expertise to take self-custody and plan HODLing, it makes sense to remove it from exchanges, but they need to make sure they can do so without losing their assets. There are a ton of hardware and software wallets to choose from, and in most cases self-custody makes the most sense and gives users the satisfaction of knowing their assets are safe. When they feel like selling or buying more, that’s when we’re happy to serve them again.
Guillaume: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, I will keep an eye on what Gate.io has in store for its users.
This is a guest post by Dion Guillaume. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.