As crypto exchange Bitstamp ramps up its expansion in the U.S., its CEO Julian Sawyer told Decrypt that the crypto industry faces a “pivotal moment” as it grows to encompass the mass market.
“We’re in a really pivotal moment within the industry,” Sawyer said on the Decrypt Daily podcast. “It’s moving out from a crypto-dominated world to the mass market, where people down the high street are now talking about crypto and Bitcoin and Ethereum.”
Amidst this growing crypto market, Sawyer took aim at zero-fee trading apps such as Robinhood. “We’ve seen people like Robinhood coming out there being free—but we know that free, actually, there is a cost associated with that,” Sawyer said, adding, “For us, trust and transparency is the key.”
That includes transparency on fees and the cost of trading and storing assets with an exchange, said Sawyer—as well as “trust around the regulatory framework”.
Today we announced our expansion in the U.S. market with an increased financial commitment to the U.S. business, dedication to acquiring top talent and continued development of our best-in-class market infrastructure. Learn more: https://t.co/5h9QnpoLIf
— Bitstamp (@Bitstamp) May 3, 2021
“This becomes super important when you think of financial services, you think about banking payments and crypto exchanges. It’s all around trust: where are you going to put your money, where is it going to be safe?” he said.
Sawyer also noted the importance of consistent uptime for trading platforms. “When the markets change—and we know that they do on a daily basis—we want to make sure that we’ve always got liquidity, we’ve always got pricing, and our systems are always up,” he said, adding, “It’s a little bit about maturity.”
Outages during times of peak trading have been a recurring problem for crypto trading platforms. During Elon Musk’s SNL appearance at the weekend, which saw a mass sell-off of Dogecoin, Robinhood experienced “issues with crypto trading,” while crypto trading services on the app went down in April amid “unprecedented” trading volumes. And in January, when Bitcoin passed $40,000, Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Kraken, and Bitstamp itself all experienced technical issues.
Crypto and the greater good
Speaking about the crypto industry in general, Sawyer said we are in a “different forum” than we were in three or four years ago.
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He suggested that much of the conversation today revolves around different use cases for crypto, and how it can be adopted and used meaningfully around the world.
“What are you using these cryptoassets for? And how? How can society—and that’s a very grand word—use this for the greater good?” he said. “So: is this around payments? Is this about remittances? Is this about e-gaming?”
He argued that the opportunity around crypto is “much wider than just the price of Bitcoin and the volatility around that. And that is where it becomes really exciting to look beyond just the one asset class.”