Exclusive Interview : Bitfinex CTO On Trading Crypto Amid India’s COVID-19 Lockdown

  • A recent interview with Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, gives us an outline of bitfinex future plans and more.
  • Crypto traders can fully exploit this reliable platform for trading purposes in unsettling times like these.

In these turbulent times wherein the whole world is facing the COVID-19 crisis, crypto trading is setting new heights in India. Following the banking crisis that occurred in the past week, a huge crowd in India has shifted its focus to crypto trading. A crypto trading exchange offering reliability and high liquidity is the need of the hour given such a surprising growth of interest in crypto investing.

Drawing attention to this matter, one such exchange that has high liquidity is Bitfinex. High liquidity is essential to avoid declines and hence traders having the advantage of this very attribute is quite appreciated. Bitfinex is also amongst the top 21 leading crypto exchanges in the world and stands at a distinctive place as the most liquid exchange for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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Bitfinex’s concept of trading crypto from home amid COVID-19 lockdowns in India is interesting news to the crypto fans in India. Crypto traders can fully exploit this reliable platform for trading purposes in unsettling times like these.

A recent interview with Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, gives us an outline of their ‘trade from home’ concept. It helps us better understand their response to COVID-19 and their prospective regarding Indian crypto trading.

The Coin Republic: Hi Paolo Ardoino. It’s a pleasure to have you with us, and thank you for taking out time from your busy schedule for this interview. It means a lot to us. Let us first begin with, when did you familiarize yourself with blockchain technology and how you got into this space?

Paolo: I started familiarizing myself with blockchain technology around 2012- 2013. I was able to enjoy quite a few runs in the space. At the time I was working in the traditional financial sector in London.

I had my own startup, and my expertise was in building highly scalable applications as a part of computing and distributed systems. Of course, finance and scalable applications and what the system sees is a perfect match for bitcoin. So as soon as I started reading about bitcoin, I fell in love.

I was experimenting and getting more and more excited about bitcoin. And then at the end of 2014, I had the opportunity to join Bitfinex. They had a problem with the matching engine. Given my expertise, I offered my help to build the matching engine to be more scalable, so we were able to achieve 1,000 times the previous number of transactions per second.

In mid-2016, I became CTO of Bitfinex and worked hard to bring the platform to what it is today. The beautiful interface, carefully designed and really robust, the matching engine and APIs were all a priority, as well as making it all highly scalable. This is basically still my role today. Apart from managing my team, I keep working on the core of the platform. In 2017, I became the CTO of Tether. Tether is the biggest stablecoin by market capitalization. It’s really one of the most amazing ideas in this sector. 

The Coin Republic: Recently, Bitfinex shared a major update on the Lightning network, how do you think the lightning network will benefit exchange users and also would love to know a bit about tether gold?

Paolo: Yes, we started running our own Lightning Network node late last year, which allows our users to connect to and open a payment channel with the Bitfinex platform.

We’re excited about the Lightning Network’s potential to become a true peer-to-peer payment channel. Supporting a Lightning Network node on our platform also allows our users to look forward to more cost-effective and efficient Bitcoin transactions.

We’re also working with different hedge funds to experiment with Lightning Network as a faster settlement layer across the trading venue, i.e. Bitfinex, and their custodial wallets.

Tether Gold (XAU₮) was launched earlier this year, and it is a digital asset offered by TG Commodities Limited. One XAU₮ token represents one troy fine ounce of gold on a London Good Delivery gold bar. Tether Gold meets a growing interest in a digital asset that provides exposure to an asset traditionally regarded as a safe haven. Tether Gold provides the combined benefits of both physical and digital assets, removing the drawbacks of holding gold in more traditional ways, such as high storage costs and restricted access. While the underlying physical gold remains in the custodian’s vaults, XAUt facilitates certain key economic qualities of gold – such as ownership and value – to flow seamlessly around the world. 

The Coin Republic: Sounds promising, As the world is fighting with the COVID-19 pandemic, how are things moving at Bitfinex? Although the coronavirus pandemic is drastically affecting traditional markets, do you think it’s the time for crypto to outshine and show its actual potential? 

Paolo: With our decentralised business model, which was designed to serve a global pool of customers across different time zones, we have been able to show optimal business performance amid the pandemic. Due to our decentralised work structure, the pandemic has had a minimal impact on Bitfinex’s ability to service its customers.

The Coin Republic: Great, you have been part of the cryptocurrency industry for so long, there have been many ups and downs, regulatory uncertainties. Talking about India where the banking ban on cryptocurrency was imposed by RBI in 2018 and after two years-long fight finally, the supreme court lifted the ban as of recent. Based on your observation, what do you think of the Indian cryptocurrency market? 

Paolo: India is in a unique position to lead mass adoption of crypto, with its prevalent tech culture and a large population with a good grasp of tech. India is in a pretty good position to further push for mass adoption of blockchain technology and increase the actual day-to-day use of blockchain outside of just trading crypto, such as for payments, invoices, remittances, and salaries. 

The Coin Republic: You seem optimistic about India as the next big market for crypto. What are Bitfinex’s future plans for India? Binance recently acquired the popular Indian exchange WazirX, is there any such plan for Bitfinex to acquire any Indian cryptocurrency exchange? 

Paolo: We believe that Bitfinex is a global product, and we are interested in developing features directly within the Bitfinex platform that are necessary to support all users, including those from India. That is our key priority for the Indian market. However, I cannot talk about acquisition plans at this time.

The Coin Republic: How do you want to encourage Indian traders to make the most of this lockdown with Bitfinex trade from home campaigns?

Paolo: We believe that users need to understand how the crypto industry works in order to trade crypto and be in control of their funds.

We believe Indian users can make use of Bitfinex Pulse to develop their understanding of crypto trading. Bitfinex Pulse is a good way for our users to follow the top traders in our industry. With Bitfinex Pulse’s social and community features, our users can also interact with fellow traders to improve their trading.

Our users can also make use of our Bitfinex Affiliate Program to increase their revenues by inviting their friends to join the platform.

The Coin Republic: In the past, we have seen many exchanges go down amid surge in volume like Robinhood app also went down amidst heavy volume, how does Bitfinex ensure users’ crypto wealth is kept secure at all times?

Paolo: Bitfinex proved to have a really strong, efficient, and secure infrastructure during the highest volatility peaks in the bitcoin industry, especially during the recent crypto market volatility on March 12th and 13th. Bitfinex was one of the few exchanges that didn’t have performance issues.

Ensuring that the platform remains responsive and accessible to users even during the highest volatilities is key to ensuring the safety of our users’ funds.

The Coin Republic: Let’s talk about the Bitfinex staking reward program, how do you think it will benefit Indian traders?

Paolo: The Bitfinex Staking Rewards Program provides our users with another avenue to increase their holdings on our platform. Bitfinex users can earn staking rewards as high as 10% per year by depositing and holding digital tokens on Bitfinex. 

The staked digital assets will be held safely, utilizing Bitfinex’s secure in-house custody solution. When Bitfinex stakes a digital token, it is delegated by the exchange, meaning that the tokens remain in the platform’s control, secured in the same manner as other tokens.

The Coin Republic: Is there any plan to add fiat support to buy crypto using Indian Rupee on Bitfinex?

Paolo: We are exploring possibilities for integrating the Rupee.

The Coin Republic: What are your favorite projects/tokens apart from Tether? Is there any plan to list Indian projects/tokens if yes, then what will be the listing criteria?

Paolo: My favorite projects are Lightning Network and other third layer protocols that allow users to use Lightning Network as a social network.

There are many interesting projects in India but I cannot comment on them at this time.

The Coin Republic: Do you like to share anything about either Bitfinex or Tether?

Paolo: We are currently working on an interesting project called Dazaar. It is a super scalable, data stream network that gives people the option of creating data streams.

This new technology allows people to send real-time data streams in an expedited manner faster than anything available currently, while optionally supporting agnostic micropayments, which can be in any form of cryptocurrency.

We will release it fully open-source. Everyone will be able to have it, expanding the support for additional cryptocurrencies or other means of payment. We wanted to give back to our community by creating a product that will help the industry grow.

The Coin Republic: At last, What’s your Bitcoin price prediction? Bitcoin halving is around the corner, do you think this halving will bring the much-awaited $100,000 price?

Paolo: Although I personally believe that bitcoin will have a bright future, neither I nor Bitfinex can comment on price predictions.

The Coin Republic: Thank you, Paolo. It was really amazing having you with us. Thanks for your time.

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Umme Haanihttp://www.thecoinrepublic.com
Umme Haani is a writer for Thecoinrepublic. she contributes a researched piece on cryptocurrencies and updates. Umme is an aspiring engineer who immensely enjoys writing and technical writing brings the best of both worlds under one roof for her.

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