“South Koreans were early adopters, with 1 in 3 workers buying Bitcoin” – Ronald Chan | Hacker Noon

June 17th 2020

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Ronald Chan is the CEO of ProBit Exchange Global, a global digital currency trading platform with strong roots in South Korea, that provides a seamless experience for institutional and individual traders. Ronald joins us today to discuss the current crypto scene in South Korea and his personal viewpoints regarding the blockchain market on an international scale

Let’s start with a short introduction about your professional & learning journey in the blockchain world

My first introduction to the blockchain was when I did my Masters degree thesis in Blockchain. From there, I worked as Blockchain Consultant with Allianz, a large German financial company, and got the opportunity to explore various use cases of blockchain.

Later on, I went on to work with Huobi Global as the Head of Blockchain content. At that time, Huobi Global was the 2nd largest crypto exchange in the world. I learned the ropes and eventually moved on to South Korea to work at ProBit Exchange as Director of Partnerships. This year I got promoted to CEO of ProBit Exchange.

Do you think that the ongoing covid pandemic provides more opportunities for the blockchain industry ?

The pandemic and the following lockdown have had a negative impact on many industries but also presented an opportunity to blockchain especially in the supply chain (Even World Economic forum came out in favour).
Also, Blockchain can help to monitor relief material distribution, charity donations, relief distribution, and other responses in a fast and transparent way without compromising user data.
But in order to achieve wider adoption, we need our blockchains to scale immensely and I hope we can see more success in the coming days

South Korea was one of the most happening places in the previous bull run (2017- 2018). What are your thoughts on the current crypto landscape in South Korea?

Yes, you are right. South Koreans were comparative early adopters, with one-in-three salaried workers investing in cryptocurrency. South Korea is among the top markets in the world (for crypto trading) and the Korean Won is the third most used fiat currency to trade in Bitcoin, accounting for 6.5 percent of global transactions.

Taken together, you have the perfect breeding ground for frenzied adoption. We saw that in 2017 – 2018 where the kimchi premium presented itself because of these high demand.

Apart from that, the South Korean government is very protective of Korean investors. In 2018, South Korea banned initial Coin Offerings as it was viewed as a high-risk activity, with substantial reports showing that ICOs were raising money illegally from Korean investors.

Also, it has to be noted South Koreans amount for 30% of total crypto trading worldwide, with some 30 per cent of all salaried workers owning and trading crypto assets of some kind and it’s one of the few countries with wide-scale adoption of the technology

We also talked about crypto mass adoption. How will crypto mass adoption look like to you?

Crypto mass adoption for me would be thousands of use cases living harmoniously within a clear and fair regulatory framework. The kind of adoption I have seen in the past 5 years were truly amazing, and I foresee a Cambrian explosion of crypto adoption for the next 5 years. Cross border payments & permissionless banking, supply chain etc have massive potential.

What advice would you give to those entrepreneurs who are just starting their way in crypto in 2020

Crypto is an ever-expanding universe. Jump straight in and explore what area you may be excited in. The industry is still young; ripe for enthusiasts to make a difference. Entrepreneurs should look to reaching profitability early on, which in a global industry like crypto, means you have built a moat against competitors, and that you are providing a service or product that your users or clients value.


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