Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
The volume of over-the-counter Bitcoin trades on crypto-exchange titan Binance has significantly risen this month, according to Binance CFO Wei Zhou. That could be a bellwether for the industry since it shows a reversal in the market, which was has been plagued by declining volumes during the past year.
This increase in over-the-counter trading activity contributed to Binance’s $78 million Q1 profit announced yesterday, which was 66 percent higher than the previous quarter.
So what caused the sudden resurgence in interest by larger market players?
“Last month we saw a lot more volume than, say, three months ago. This was mainly due to the increase in price of Bitcoin and altcoins over the past few months. We’ve witnessed more trading activity—and demand,” Zhou told Decrypt.
The Harvard University-educated Zhou, who joined Binance in September, 2018, brings an enormous amount of Wall Street experience to the world’s biggest crypto exchange, having cut his teeth at Goldman Sachs Hong Kong, as an investment banker. He later served as CFO of online recruitment firm Zhaopin.com, and Charm Communications, China’s largest domestic TV advertising agency, and led those companies through their initial public offerings on the NYSE and NASDAQ. In addition, he orchestrated the landmark acquisition of Grindr, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ social networking platform, where he serves as Vice Chairman.
The CFO said the uptick in trading at Binance was prompted by a combination of factors, especially the 26 percent surge in the price of Bitcoin at the start of April. He said that more mainstream-media outlets have been raising awareness of the burgeoning crypto industry, which, coupled with an increase in the number of small crypto-trading firms opening up shop, has stimulated the market.
“A lot of people who historically worked for high-frequency trading firms have made the jump from traditional equity, and have launched new trading platforms in our space,” he said.
Zhou explained that there is a lower barrier to entry in the crypto space for new trading firms because it’s a much smaller industry. That means incumbents need smaller amounts of capital to start crypto trading businesses, which encourages many entrepreneurs to jump in.
So, what comes first: the rising price or increased trading volume? It looks like a chicken and egg problem, which Binance is only too happy to have.