8btc Interview: Binance CMO He Yi Talks About the Outlook and Strategy for 2017
Former co-founder of OKCoin He Yi joined Shanghai-based Binance to make it a world leading digital asset exchange.
CEO Star XU, Co-founder He Yi and CTO Zhao Changpeng (CZ)
He Yi used to be a hostess for two travel shows and joined OKCoin in 2014. She, together with Star XU and CZ, were dubbed as “The Troika” of the Chinese bitcoin community and they successfully made OKCoin the largest bitcoin exchange with a market share of 60 percent of the Chinese market. But in 2015, He Yi left the company after CZ left Okcoin because of the “Contract Breach”.
In this series, He Yi talks about everything related to the cryptocurrency community, such as BCC、ICO and the Big Three and most importantly, their strategy for Binance.
Five years ago, you were a popular travel show hostess, but you said it’s a meaningless job and you want to be an influential woman who is able to change the world. And I think being on TV is a perfect way to increase your influence by letting more people know you and building the brand of He Yi. Why returned to the cryptocurrency community? It’s a relatively small business.
talk about Bitcoin on TV
We have different definitions on changing the world. I want to influence people around me by changing their thoughts, and then develop industry codes of conduct. When I joined OKCoin three years ago, no one took me seriously, they figured I was just a beautiful woman with no brain. I worked hard to prove that I have the ability and the power to help OKCoin gain a strong foothold in the economy. Me and my team, we often worked until late at night to help users solve bitcoin deposit and withdrawal problems. I talked about bitcoin on TV. No one in China had talked about bitcoin as much as I did. I earned myself the title of “the first lady of the Chinese bitcoin world”.
That being said, the industry as a whole is a battleground for males. The founder of Bitmain Wu Jihan is dubbed as an evangelist of bitcoin, Angel investor Chandler Guo has been called a “plunger” of the bitcoin community. It’s actually a compliment. They say he has introduced many good projects to investors. And Charlie Lee is called Charlie the Great, though litecoin’s price has been very stable. We don’t see many powerful females in the community. I want to know how you would like to describe your position in the community?
I worked as a hostess, a vice president and CEO. Some people call me an iron lady tomboy, some say I am a workaholic, but I always enjoy being called the first lady of bitcoin. Back in 2014 when I first heard of bitcoin from Star Xu, I knew it is the future. And I feel it’s my duty to promote bitcoin to the vast majority.
I already set up a team and we will make a series of videos trying to explain terms in plain words concerning bitcoin, tokens, blockchain, ICOs and so on. We will invite industrial players to help make videos and update them regularly.
What will be your job responsibility at Binance?
I used to work with CZ at OKCoin for about 11 months and we respect and recognize each other’s work philosophy. But CZ grew up in Canada, and some investors find his way of speaking kind of “too direct”. He will focus on engineering and products, and I will be responsible for strategic planning, marketing and operating. Token exchanges now are more like forex trading platforms, but we want to make Binance a NYSE in the cryptocurrency market.
Compared with the traditional Big Three, we are more capable to make Binance a leading global exchange.
Bitcoin price has been surprisingly encouraging this year. Before we all say one bitcoin, one house; some prefer one bitcoin, one Lambo. And when Bixin hired promotional models for the blockchain conference this May in Chengdu, Chinese bitcoin holders are beginning to say one bitcoin, one model. Actually, you started this tradition using beautiful girls to attract users three years ago. Do you still think it’s an effective form of business promotion?
He Yi and models for booth
The love of beauty is an essential part of all healthy human nature. But girls are just used to catch eyes, they can’t help build trust with users. In the long run, only engineering level and good transaction experience can help an exchange sustain. And always bear it in mind that some users keep all their assets on exchanges, so you must have a strong sense of responsibility.
The ICOs market is very hot this year. Some community celebrities even jokingly say that they feel embarrassed not to do an ICO. Binance started an ICO this June to launch Binance Coin (BNB). But BNB price became lower than the ICO price when listed on exchanges and CZ was insulted badly. People all say the first group of companies rushing into the market are generally not good companies with promising projects. Do you agree with? I know you have friends who already had an ICO or are planning to do so.
Actually, Binance is going to launch an ICO platform. I think ICO is a great opportunity for startups to go public. And it’s quite normal that probably only 1% of them can survive.
We will help our users to recognize the investment value of ICO projects. When we decide to list an ICO project, we will first investigate the team background. Do any of them have criminal history? Are they actually who they claim they are? Are they graduates of world-class universities as they write in CV? At Binance, we prefer to do enough research before a project is launched rather than worry about if the team would disappear when the project closes crowdfunding.
When BCC came out, Li Xiaolai wrote an article saying BCC has opened the Pandora’s box. Some bitcoiners and exchanges are planning to fork BCC or make other fork coins like bitcoin gold and bitcoin century. There is a picture with all kinds of bitcoin logo with different tilts, funny and sarcastic. As an early bitcoin adopter, do you support a hard fork as I notice that Binance has listed BCC?
Fork or not is a choice made by the bitcoin community. If someone forks bitcoin in hopes of making money, then it’s definitely a bad idea, but if a fork is made to satisfy more transaction demands, then it is a nice thing to do so. What matters is the intention behind a hard fork.
Bitcoin has long been known as a great store of value with a maximum of 21 million. Now with BCC and a possible 2X coin, do you think bitcoin’s store of value will be weakened?
Only some large bitcoin holders or bitcoin activists would care about this question. For simple or new investors, they only care about profits, or the upward trend of the token. Binance has listed BCC for about three weeks now. But as users are not very optimistic about its price forecast, its transaction volume is much lower than NEO or GAS.
Do you think Binance will be one of the top three exchanges in China? Will there be more forks?