Today we are talking with Ben Zhou who is the CEO of Bybit.
- Bybit is a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform which has users from all over the world including North America, Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, and is focused on serving everyone from individual retail clients to professional derivatives traders.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
For as long as I can recall, I have always loved baseball. When I was a kid, baseball was the first sport my parents got me involved in. The moment I started playing, my passion for the sport kept growing as I got older. I played throughout my childhood and continued all the way till college where I represented my school in the all-varsity team. Baseball was a great way to socialize and I have nothing but fond memories of those times playing in college. In all honesty, I loved how there was an intellectual aspect to the game as it definitely helped me to develop a better situational and tactical awareness. Oh yeah! It didn’t hurt that baseball wasn’t as tough as compared to some other sports! Hahaha.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
My parents were one of the biggest influences on my life. Together, they were my ‘barometer for life’. I learned different values from both my mum and dad. Mum was the glue that held the family together, the strict yet loving matriarch who taught me the importance of being respectful, having compassion and integrity. My dad was my hero, he was always the one person I looked up to who taught me the importance of working hard and never giving up. In spite of being strict disciplinarians, they showed me through example how a man and woman should treat each other, but also how to use those same values to bond an entire family. Their compassion, tenderness, and love have fueled and guided me through my entire life. At this point in my life, I'm still learning to do my maximum to achieve my goals, be effective, to not lose focus on my dreams which matter most to me.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
I think going to New Zealand at the age of 11 to study was definitely a huge challenge. Not having English as my first language also made it tough. It took some time to understand the culture and sometimes I just wished I was back home where it was comfortable. Luckily I didn’t let that control me or else I would have been a very bitter and unhappy teenager. I chose to be receptive to change, made an extra effort to socialize and eventually ended up having the time of my life in high school. I then went on to college in the US which also turned out to be a terrific experience! Just like how the crypto space is perpetually changing, leaving those who do not evolve and adapt to change behind, I too have made sure that even when running my company, I remain fluid and receptive to change.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
A lot of young aspiring individuals these days seem to be suffering from one form of self-doubt or the inability to take risks due to fear of failure or just refusal to step out of their comfort zones. I would advise them to just take the plunge, live life to the fullest and never be afraid to fail. When you’re young and you fail, you learn and become wiser. It’s also much easier to recover and go back to the drawing board to find out what went wrong. In the age we live in, it is too easy to just give up and accept a certain status quo. It takes a true visionary to break out of the bubble and make a difference in the world.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
One of my main strengths has always been my analytical skills. Since my time in Forex, being able to analyze and understand situations and problems down to the tiniest of details has always worked to my benefit. This also helped better my understanding of what clients really want and the type of service they expect. Even when I ventured into crypto derivatives trading, I spent a lot of time analyzing the gaps in the market and formulated my strategies based on how I wanted to enter the market to not just fill the gaps, but also to constantly listen, show care and improve the business. This is also the main reason why I have inculcated these beliefs into Bybit’s entire corporate culture and came up with our motto of – Listen. Care. Improve.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
I’m a Bitcoin zealot and I am sure this may trigger some strong disapproval from purists and fans but I am of the opinion that 95% of the shit coins will die within a year of introduction.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
Personally, I don’t believe in pressure or stress. I believe it is all in the mind. As long as you have a clear idea of what needs to be done and a proper plan to execute it, there is hardly any reason to get pressured or stressed. Also, coming from Forex previously, I have seen how people let pressure and stress get the better of them only to their detriment. I’m blessed with an amazing team across all functions who work hard to ensure that Bybit runs smoothly, leaving me to focus on my own tasks in leading and growing the business.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Outside of crypto? Hahaha, wishful thinking indeed. Leading a fast-growing start-up like Bybit has not left me with much time for anything else in recent times. However, when I do get that little bit of downtime from the business and traveling, I spend most of my time with my family. It’s always nice to take a step back and just enjoy the pleasures of spending time with my lovely wife and watching my little boy grow up.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
It’s gotta be the sheer bizarreness of the various altcoins that pop-up every other week or month. From Putin coins dedicated to the Russian President to F*ck Token and something that’s actually called Useless Ethereum Token! It’s hilarious just imagining what people will come up with next!
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Thank God you’re not Craig W! Haha!
But seriously though, I’d prefer to give the dying man a break.
I’d probably just go with: Thank you, you’ve revolutionized the world like never before and we are truly grateful.
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
I’d prefer to leave policy-making to the politicians.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
I don’t want to single out a particular community but I have personally seen the power of such communities in spreading the word and educating newbies about the crypto space. A lot of the individuals in these communities are well-versed in their industry knowledge and are more than happy to share. They also provide an amazing platform for discussions and community gathering to further build the communities in their respective nations/regions.
13) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
As you know, I’m really active on Twitter cos it lets me connect with individuals worldwide on a social platform for the masses. It allows people to put a face to the company and give them a sense of security that they could actually ask me questions directly without being re-routed to a million different departments.
14) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Crypto communities will always have an important part to play regardless of the stage of adoption that the industry is at. Mainstream adoption is far off as far as I see it but it is the duty of these communities to spread the word. They must constantly educate, advocate and innovate to ensure that the masses gain knowledge of the industry, develop faith in the industry and never fail to be amazed by the wonderful applications of crypto/blockchain.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Bybit.
15) What do you feel sets Bybit apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
Our goal was to create a seamless trading environment for all traders while ensuring a better overall trading experience when my co-founders and I started Bybit in early 2018. The first thing I wanted to tackle was the execution or matching of orders because there were far too many rejections or overloads. When these occur, the basic trading needs of consumers will not be met. We made it our priority to make sure we had a platform availability of 99.99 percent and no overloads.
Second, I found that in their actual responses, if any, most exchanges were viewed as cold and almost robotic. Traders never got to connect with the people running the exchange or engage with them. They hardly ever had the human interactions that establish ties and trust. I knew too well that customers always were the top priority, coming from the forex market. I wanted an exchange, where at any point in time, 24/7-365, customers could reach our customer service. I also wanted our users to be able to talk or even provide trusted input to me direct on Twitter or Telegram.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
16) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
The blockchain and crypto markets are very closely interlinked and in the not-too-distant future, with the growing acceptance of both the regulatory bodies and the public, I expect both to grow exponentially. Blockchain technology has influenced my life in a way that I never expected, especially with Bybit's rapid growth. Some may not yet see it or know it, but it impacts all our lives positively. The widespread use of blockchain technology has resulted in enhanced development and progress across sectors ranging from energy, financial services, and healthcare. This trend does not show any sign of slowing down, and I am absolutely positive it will only accelerate in the coming years.
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