Cryptocurrency exchanges are important nodes in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The people who run them become influencers with the degree of their influence, often depending on the sizes of their exchanges.

According to a recent report, the KuCoin exchange is in the top 5 list of exchanges on Coinmarketcap. In addition, the number of its users has grown to 8 million in 2021.

KuCoin was founded in 2017 in Singapore and has been under the leadership of Johnny Lyu since May of 2020. If you google “CEO KuCoin,” you will find a young man with a Hollywood-style smile.

At first, it is difficult to correlate his outward appearance with a managerial position in one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges.

However, if you’ve watched one AMA session with Lyu, then you already know how financially and technically savvy he is.

Cryptocurrencies during the turbulant 2020s

Julia Magas (JM): The last couple of years have been very peculiar for everyone. The world has lived through much. I am referring to the pandemic, social distancing, teleworking, rising prices, inflation, the space race, and so many other good and bad things that have taken place over the last two years. How did blockchain and cryptocurrencies go about during that time?

Johnny Lyu (JL): I think everyone will agree that it was a good time. We saw the heyday of DeFi and NFT, the emergence of the metaverses, the growth of the market, and the updates of price maxima by many currencies, investments in cryptocurrencies from institutions, and so on. But, most importantly, this period of a so-called “cryptocurrency renaissance” is still gaining momentum. I see no reason to give in to any pessimistic forecasts.

The cryptocurrency renaissance

JM: A renaissance for cryptocurrencies? Interesting way of looking at it. What do you mean by that?

JL: The events involving the overall popularization of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are in stark opposition to the events of the past. I mean Mt.Gox and Silk Road in 2013/14, the ICO crash of 17/18, and all the other events that resulted in the period of stagnation in 2018 and 2019.

It seems to me that a whole era has gone by, together with John McAfee. Today, we are living through a renaissance. That era has been overtaken by another, one in which large corporations buy cryptocurrencies for billions of dollars, and people like Elon Musk are elevated to the level of the most prominent influencers.

Everything that happened on the cryptocurrency market in 2020/21, from parachute money and the subsequent increase in the number of deposits in the Coinbase IPO, and the twentyfold growth in the price of bitcoin compared to its values from 2019, all of these events launched a process that is very important for the market. That is progress leading to the growth in the number of market participants. The market will grow and develop. I have no doubt about it.

KuCoin grows alongside other cryptocurrencies

JM: Yes, the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the adoption of blockchain technologies have been growing by leaps and bounds lately. The number of thematic Google queries, the number of wallets, the number of people who own them, or are interested in and use cryptocurrencies on a daily basis, are growing rapidly. The report released by KuCoin for the second quarter of 2021 states that the exchange has 8 million new users. How do you interpret such a figure?

JL: The number of new users on the exchange is one of the indicators of the market’s success in general, as people from different countries register on the exchange with the aim of buying their first cryptocurrencies.

For KuCoin, we have always been committed to the construction of the crypto ecosystem to provide our users with diversified services in one circle. Recently, we welcomed a new member joining KuCoin Family, the KuCoin Pool, to bring efficient mining and lower fees to miners globally.

The proof of work mining pool will support global cryptocurrency miners by providing them mining revenue after connecting mining rigs. It also demonstrated that we are one step closer to perfect the whole ecosystem.

This, and other statistics, like the number of mobile users and the number of female traders, are indicative of how fast the cryptocurrency market is growing this year.

Women are entering the crypto world in greater numbers

JM: I think everyone understands why the number of mobile users is growing. What do you associate the growth in the number of female traders with?

JL: I have always thought that women are more judicious. If women today are investing in cryptocurrencies more than they have before, this means that bitcoin will soon be going sky-high!

But, seriously, I do not fully understand why the industry developed so that it was more initially inclusive of men. I am glad, however, that the situation is changing. There are many women working in KuCoin in a variety of capacities, and I have asked their opinions on why the number of women among our users has experienced a dramatic growth this year. And you know what they answered? That the market is developing and forming gradually, and that it must attain certain values.

First, you need to ask some questions and then draw some conclusions. Our team is confident that in the end, the ratio of men, women, and transgender people among cryptocurrency users will be the same as the ratio on the planet, you know? And I agree with that.

Looking forward to wider cryptocurrency adoption

JM: Yes, of course, I understand. It sounds very logical! Do you and your team believe that in the future, everyone will be using cryptocurrencies in the same way they are using fiat nowadays?

JL: You know, in 2011, it seemed to me that blockchain technology was very similar to the internet at the turn of the 20th century. I saw the prospects and understood that blockchain is the technology of the future that Web 3.0 will be built on and that cryptocurrencies are, at the very least, the new digital gold.

I have not changed my mind on the matter over the past ten years. Many people are already using cryptocurrencies every day. Sometimes, it is hard for us to judge on the subject if a cup of coffee is not yet being sold for cryptocurrencies at your local café, while there is a bank around the corner and several banking applications are installed on your smartphone.

I mean, cryptocurrencies are already replacing money in many regions with limited access to banking services. As stated in our company vision, people at KuCoin believe that one day everyone will get involved with crypto. 

Africa as a promising crypto hub

JM: Okay, which regions without sufficient bank coverage do you think are the most promising in terms of cryptocurrency market development and adoption in the next few years?

JL: There are still plenty of people in the world without access to banking services. Four years ago, they constituted about 22.7% of the world’s population. The situation has improved since, but the problem has not yet been fully resolved. In some regions, it is easier to access the internet and use cryptocurrencies than to open a bank account. These include the countries of Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

In my opinion, the African countries will make up the top ten most active participants on the market in the next few years. These countries have all the prerequisites and the experience that will allow them to avoid repeating the mistakes that have plagued the market over the past ten years and from making the same mistakes we are witnessing now.

JM: Which mistakes are you talking about?

JL: There is still a persistent and deeply-rooted belief in Western society that cryptocurrencies are used only for criminal activities. The result is excessive market regulation and an incessant stream of bans. Mt.Gox, Silk Road, One Coin, Bitconnect, and all the others of their ill-fated ilk are in plain view.

After studying these cases, one can understand how not to build a business. The use of cryptocurrencies and their integration into the global economy, instead of a total ban for keeping the banking system at the level of the early 2000s, is a chance for such countries to quickly become financially sound and reliable.

Lyu’s portfolio

JM: Johnny, you are the CEO of one of the biggest crypto exchanges. I cannot help asking you this question because the answer will be very interesting to our readers. Do you personally invest in cryptocurrencies? Which project’s tokens do you believe in?

JL: Of course, I invest in cryptocurrencies, and I believe that cryptocurrencies should form part of the portfolio of every individual who invests and cares about their future. I seldom give financial advice as I’m more like a holder than a frequent trader. Most of my portfolios are in BTC and our native token KCS, while I’m also keeping an eye on the trending categories.

There is no point in focusing on any specific project. Instead, one should focus on economic areas and industries. I love parachains, cross-chains, metaverses, and other projects that are nudging the world towards Web 3.0. I Gotta confess I bought DOGE. It was hard to resist, but it is the only meme token in my portfolio.
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