Last year former Chief Financial Officer of Binance Wei Zhou bought Coins.phmobile wallet and digital currency exchange, from Indonesian technology company Gojek. Coins.ph, also called Coinbase Southeast Asia, was founded in 2014 and is one of the earliest crypto wallets and exchanges in the Philippines. Then shifted its focus to providing a wider range of financial services.
Zhou before left Binance for personal reasons. He had worked there for three years.
BCN: How do you feel about governments trying to regulate crypto platforms, which seems to be a trend over the past few years? Do you think there is a real threat of abuse and money laundering practices from unregulated platforms?
Wei Zhou: “I support the rules. The consequences of a lack of regulation can be dire and last year, the crypto industry received a stern warning about this. FTX is the best example of why we need regulation; as an offshore company, it is not under the jurisdiction of the regulators in most of the countries in which it operates.
At Coins, we have worked closely with regulators throughout our nine years of existence. We are the first Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) to hold a Virtual Currency and Electronic Money Issuer license from BSP. We are continuously working with central banks and other regulators and are continuously being audited to protect our users.”
BCN: You posted a YouTube video about trust (Where you talk about the FTX collapse and people losing faith in the man behind the company Sam Bankman-Fried), so I think this subject might be important to you.
Do you think trust is the most important thing in this industry, or are other key factors like high inflation, rising interest rates, and wars more important key factors in the success crypto hopes to have in 2023?
Wei Zhou: “Restoring faith in crypto is very important, but it is not the only factor that will determine the success of crypto this year and in the future. While inflation, interest rates and the political climate will play a big role, I believe smart regulation will be the biggest factor in restoring confidence in crypto.
I have been in the Asian crypto market for a number of years and the Philippine regulators are adopting a growth mindset when it comes to crypto regulation. Due to the popularity of the Play to Earn game, crypto has a net positive case for Filipinos, as it opens up opportunities to earn extra income.”
BCN: Can you tell us a little more about your company Coins.ph, a mobile wallet and cryptocurrency exchange? You bought the company last year, just at a time when the crypto market was still in fair shape. What has changed for your company and what are the prospects for 2023?
Wei Zhou: “While the crypto market has been on the decline amidst the collapse of several global giants, our focus on Coins has not changed. I took over this exchange with the vision of bringing financial freedom to hundreds of millions of people in Southeast Asia, starting with the Philippines.
This year, our goal is to be the Web3 gateway of choice for the region. With such a massive play-to-earn game here, we just launched Coin Arcade to capitalize on this interest. We were changed Pro Coin is Bangko Central Philippines which is regulated and licensed, and offers the best rates in the region for PHP to crypto traders. Besides, we QR PH integration rolled out to provide additional utility and use cases for users to scan and pay for their daily purchases with thousands of offline merchants across the country.”
BCN: Are you expected to make changes within your company in 2023? What are your long term plans and hopes?
Wei Zhou: “The coin envisions a new way for users to live and earn online and to live and spend offline and in the real world. By 2023, we aim to develop a service for Filipinos to experience the Play to Earn game and enable low-cost Peso remittance transfers via blockchain technology.
In order for the Coin to bridge this gateway into crypto and to facilitate these payments, the Coin needs to collaborate with partners to provide deep liquidity in Pesos. Therefore, we are looking for a long-term partner who is interested in establishing a Peso remittance line.
We also want to expand our products to new markets outside the Philippines.”
BCN: In general, do you believe in a positive future for crypto and why?
Wei Zhou: “I believe that we are still very early in the growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies.
To fully appreciate how much room there is for crypto growth, I think we only have to look at the Southeast Asia region. While the West is focused on speculating with crypto, the region is leveraging crypto for remittances, cutting costs and the time needed to receive their funds drastically. The Philippines is the world’s fourth largest recipient of remittances, and with platforms like Koin, millions of Filipinos can now receive funds from abroad in seconds and for a fraction of the fees they have paid for centuries.
Southeast Asia is also a pioneer of play-to-earn games in the world. Axie Infinity shows the power of P2E gaming and millions of Filipinos can feed their families through it. Axie and other games are still continuing to see millions of users for the region despite the overall market decline, proving that crypto’s biggest market lies in real-life applications that provide value to their users, not just speculation.”
BCN: Thank you for your time. Good luck with your endeavours!