Changpeng Zhao, the CEO and founder of Binance, said the company is about to launch a crypto-fiat exchange in Uganda, in an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph today, June 28.
The new platform, Binance Uganda, will be the company’s first foray into fiat-crypto trading – supporting the Ugandan Shilling, alongside major cryptocurrencies – and is set to launch imminently.
Zhao, better known in the crypto industry as ‘CZ,’ told Cointelegraph that the move “shows Binance is not just into chasing the most developed markets”:
“We think that crypto has a very strong use case in less developed countries… there’s more money to be made in a more developed country, but we want to distribute crypto to the rest of the world.”
Highlighting that Binance is interested in expanding to Africa’s market “in general,” CZ said work on the Uganda venture has been “progressing really fast,” thanks to strong support from government, regulators and the industry:
“Uganda [is a] really interesting situation, only 11 percent of the population has bank accounts. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity. So it may be easier to adopt cryptocurrency as a form of currency instead of trying to push for bank adoption. It’s an interesting experiment – Africa’s a big market, that’s why we’re there.”
Given that this will be “the first time Binance has touched fiat,” the exchange will have a lot of know your customer and anti money laundering (KYC/AML) regulatory questions to figure out, the CEO stressed, before it can scale further.
Binance Uganda will be an independent structure, but with “strong business corporation” with the existing platform. From a systems perspective, it will be a separate – but identical – installation of Binance’s existing code base, with the same operations, security and system.
CZ appeared unfazed by the falling trade volumes – both on Binance and other crypto exchanges – through 2018, noting that “markets always overreact” – both when things are going well, and when things cool off – and that he’s “seen this many times, five or six times on a yearly cycle.”
He considers that volatility will ultimately settle when the total market cap of the industry will increase, and suggested that opening more fiat channels – as in the new Uganda venture – can help promote more growth.
To prepare for “the next uptick,” Binance is improving its systems to allow for more volume – 100 or 1000 times more than it supports at present. “I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but we’ve got to be ready for it.”
The company is also set to launch in 2 or 3 more locations in the short term and continues to work on a prototype for its decentralized exchange.
Binance is currently one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by daily trade volumes, seeing $789 million in trades in the 24 hours to press time, according to Coinmarketcap.