Vladimir Smerkis: “Binance Sees Georgia as One of the Leaders in Crypto Adoption”
CoinsPaid Media talked to Vladimir Smerkis, Regional Director of Binance, and found out what the company summed up and planned for the next five years.
— On January 11, 2022, the Binance cryptocurrency exchange announced your appointment as the company’s Regional Director. How do you feel about your new position? Has your life changed a lot?
— Actually, I was extremely happy to join the large company and the system that Binance is building in January. It’s exciting because most of my time has been spent working as an entrepreneur. Binance is now a huge adventure for me, accompanied by many international colleagues and taking place in a decentralized format.
— Binance is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. What has been achieved as part of the company’s mission of protecting users?
— It would be impossible not to mention the figures the company has achieved over the years. Now there are about 120 million Binance users, namely those who have passed KYC verification. It’s a great victory for us. The team has also grown almost 20 times in these five years. A huge amount of investments were made by Binance Labs (venture capital fund and innovation incubator — ed.). Of course, the development of the BNB Chain, on which more than a thousand projects have already been built, can’t be left out of the achievements. These figures show that we’re the most active blockchain in the world, ahead of our closest competitors. Over 6,000 people are working at Binance right now, and, as you’ve rightly noted, the key goal is to provide a secure and user-friendly product. We believe that the company accomplishes this mission, even despite different situations in the market.
— Speaking of market situations: how does Binance support the industry during the bearish trend?
— We still believe in blockchain technology. It’s a perfect time for people to develop their products, so we continue investing and growing in this area. Now is the time for the best people in the market, it’s the time for talents. So, while some companies are laying off staff, we’re hiring people, including in Georgia. Currently, there are around a thousand vacancies, all of which are available on our website.
The company spends a huge amount of resources on educational initiatives. It seems that people don’t have enough knowledge, so we’ve launched the Binance Academy, where we publish articles for all levels of financial education. We cooperate with leading universities worldwide; for example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and many others. We also think it’s necessary to communicate with our community, and there are more than 15 million people subscribed to us on different social networks, so we try to keep in touch by organizing these meetups. We’re improving and developing our product every day. So, despite the bear market, there’s a lot to do.
— What are the company’s plans for the next five years?
— The industry is developing very quickly. We’ve gone through different stages: from complete rejection to obtaining licenses, and we currently have six of them. Therefore, licensing is one of our key objectives. In the top 100 countries of the world, we’re number one in terms of market share. The company intends not only to maintain this share but also to increase the gap. We believe that mass public trust can come only with the advent of industry regulation. We also have Web3 products, like our Trust Wallet, which allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrency, store NFTs, use decentralized apps, and more. That’s not to say that we focus only on centralized things. Apart from that, we have a lot of decentralized products and projects we support or invest in. We try to keep track of everything happening in the world. Right now, we are in talks with over 40 jurisdictions to get a license.
— What are some key lessons and outcomes of the last 12 months?
— We witness the world economy in all countries going through various fluctuations, and we have to ensure that we meet these challenges with dignity. It’s been a very productive year in terms of licensing. From Q4 2021 to now, our user base has almost doubled to 120 million people. On June 24, 2021, we launched the Binance NFT marketplace, which is now the second largest in the world. Of course, we’re very proud of this.
Products have changed over this time, and there have been collaborations with global celebrities and cultural institutions. At the end of last year, we launched a fan token platform, where we interact with the world’s leading sports teams, both soccer and Formula 1. It’s been a busy year, and I’m sure 2022-2023 will be even more interesting.
— What were the prerequisites for coming to Georgia? Why such a choice? What are your plans for the country?
— Looking at the statistics and figures, it’s hard not to notice that Georgia is a serious leader among the countries in the region regarding crypto adaptation. Notably, the regulators and the government are quite optimistic about the industry and ways to make both people and companies feel comfortable working here. You can’t help but see signs with crypto symbols when you walk down the streets. That’s why Georgia is an important country for us, in which we are going to develop further. We have plans for development, but this is something that we’d like to announce once they’ve already been implemented. Moreover, the first public step is today’s event, which is our starting point in this country.
The event focused on the current state of the global and local crypto markets, their risks, and prospects. The speakers included Vladimir Smerkis, Regional Director of Binance, Rauan Sagidulla, Business Development Director, Binance Earn, EMEA, George Paliani, CEO of CoinsPaid Media, representatives of Georgian banks, bloggers, and others. Guests received gifts and NFTs as part of the Binance Community Meetup.