I met Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance
An immense honor to meet Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, and his team consisting of Helen Hai, Gianluigi Guida, Martin Bruncko, Lorenzo Capone, Min Lin. A leading company in crypto, founded in 2017, which now employs nearly 5,000 people and has metrics comparable to traditional banks. I firmly believe that politics should not turn away before innovation, no matter how radical it may seem. On the contrary, we have a moral duty to understand it, assess its impact on society and facilitate its integration into the legal order.
Doesn’t happen everyday to talk with a company which has a clear vision 20 years on. Takeaways:
📌 The project: Binance wants to be the epicenter for the transition from Web 2.0 (participatory internet) to Web 3.0 (distributed internet). Web 2.0 involves a more centralized digital architecture, “free” services that we pay with our intensively mined and unknowingly conferred data. Web 3.0 will value distributed infrastructures, foster reciprocity and microtransactions. This transition implies entirely rethinking every digital human-machine interaction, understanding what the business model behind it is, making the monetization system more transparent, direct and fair.
📌 Focus on entrepreneurship and education. Skills first. Quoting CZ “our bottleneck for growth is hiring talent.” A strong message for young people, who are the top beneficiaries from investments in education/training. Binance declines this with e-learning and scholarships, an added value especially in countries where the state does not have the facilities to provide education on technologies. Entrepreneurship: B. buys minority stakes in start-ups to foster their growth, helping the transition to Web3.0. In France they invested 100mln, hopefully they’ll do the same in Italy.
📌 A principles-based approach to regulation. Too much of it trumps innovation. This does not mean laissez-faire: crypto is regulated in Switzerland, UAE, Bahrain and France; Sweden and Slovenia are the next in line. It’s true, minting currency has been in the last centuries a core-state power. But what the future will bring us? Facing radical innovation, sometimes regulators ignore it or ban it. It is estimated that by year’s end 1 bln ppl will already hold crypto, often in nations with growing demographics (eg 30% of Nigerians).
So what to do? Try to understand this complex and interconnected sector, assess the risks for operators and users, look for added value. Every choice we make (or don’t) will have an impact on the possibilities that future generations will have.
I thank my colleagues Luca Carabetta and Davide Zanichelli. Their commitment for innovation, among thousand difficulties -and a thousand satisfactions- is changing the narrative about how deals with tech and innovation.