Binary.com is the pioneer of online binary options trading. The aim of the platform is simple: to make binary options easily accessible to retail investors worldwide.
Today, Binary.com has established itself as the market leader in the industry as well as being one of the most popular online binary options trading platforms in the world.
The platform has an impressive track record to boot; Binary.com recorded a turnover of USD 847.6 million in 2016 – bringing their total turnover to over USD 3 billion since it first launched in 2000.
We recently sat down with Jean-Yves Sireau, the CEO of Binary.com to have a chat with him about the project as well as finding out his thoughts and insights.
Hi, Jean-Yves. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Binary.com?
My name is Jean-Yves Sireau and I’m the Founder & CEO of Binary.com. I started Binary.com in 1999 to give retail investors a platform that allows them to trade binary options easily. Before we developed and launched our patented technology, binary options were typically traded by big banks and hedge funds.
First off, what do you think the blockchain can do for Binary.com? What can the blockchain do that other technologies cannot?
I think the blockchain has immense potential and we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of its applications. We’re here talking about our ICO today only because of the emergence of blockchain technology.
In terms of our ICO, or what we’re calling an “IPO on the blockchain”, we’re using the blockchain to issue securities tokens in the same way that an IPO would issue shares. Investors who buy our tokens are entitled to dividends just like shareholders.
The blockchain has several advantages over the electronic trading system used by traditional stock exchanges. It has lower transaction costs, an immutable and public audit trail, and allows us to reach an international pool of investors.
After our ICO, we can list our tokens on any number of cryptocurrency exchanges as they are based on a standard protocol. If you wanted to trade our tokens on these exchanges, funding your account with cryptocurrency through the blockchain will be cheaper and faster – compared to a traditional stockbroker where a bank transfer is required.
We considered all these factors when we were deciding between an “IPO on the blockchain” or a conventional IPO. Needless to say, it was an easy decision to make.
Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Binary.com back in 2000. We would love to hear your story.
I moved to Hong Kong in 1992 to work with Crédit Commercial de France (now HSBC). I started my own investment fund, Fortitude Group a year later. It was my experience with Fortitude that inspired me to start Binary.com. I was investing in various over-the-counter derivative products and I saw this gap between retail investors and binary options. There just wasn’t any way for them to make small binary option trades.
Why launch an ICO for Binary.com? What makes an ICO better than the traditional IPO model for the platform?
I believe that an IPO is a highly-inefficient process that’s remained relatively stagnant for decades. It’s ripe for disruption and we’re hoping to do exactly that with our “IPO on the blockchain”. It just makes more sense when you consider all the advantages that an ICO can offer us and prospective investors.
What is the purpose of tokens in the Binary.com ICO? Is it OK for you to explain more about what they do?
Our digital convertible tokens are instruments that give you two “token-holder” rights. Firstly, you have the right to receive dividend-linked payments. Secondly, you have the right to convert the tokens into Ordinary Shares.
As an “IPO on the blockchain”, we cannot issue tokens that represent shares directly as corporate laws in most jurisdictions still do not support blockchain-based share registers. That’s why we are issuing the tokens as derivative securities that are convertible into Ordinary Shares.
Aside from the ICO, how else are you looking to implement the blockchain into Binary.com? Do you think there are other uses of the blockchain that can be applied to the binary option industry?
We’ve already implemented cryptocurrency-denominated accounts that allow our clients to trade on our website natively using Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
Another area we’re looking into is the support for alternative markets such as cryptocurrencies and smart contracts on our MT5 platform.
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Companies that wish to raise a large amount of funding to further their growth tend to rely on initial public offerings (IPOs) once they reach a certain stage of development. This is the stage where they have a proven business model and have reached profitability. An IPO is a tantalizing
What do you think are the biggest myths or misconceptions that need to be cleared about binary options trading? What do you think is just flat out wrong about people’s thoughts on binary options?
Binary options have been making the news recently, albeit for all the wrong reasons. One of the largest scams of the modern era was due to the aggressive and unscrupulous practices of several Israel-based companies – leading to a misconception that binary options and everyone who offers binary options trading services are fraudulent.
In fact, binary options are officially recognized and regulated as financial instruments in the EU. They are also offered in the United States (via Nadex) and Japan under strict regulations.
However, some good may come out of the increased scrutiny of binary options. Legitimate brokers such as ourselves who have a proven track record of operating under strict regulatory compliance have nothing to fear and will no longer have to compete with fraudulent brokers.
What future partnerships does Binary.com have coming up? If yes, can you explain briefly about it?
We’re partnering with Lykke.com to list our smart tokens from the ICO on their crypto asset exchange. Lykke is a fintech company that’s building a global blockchain-powered marketplace for securities-linked tokens. Future token-holders will be able to freely trade their tokens on the Lykke.com exchange, allowing the tokens to potentially rise in value.
We’re also exploring partnership opportunities with other cryptocurrency exchanges to list our tokens after the ICO.
What do you think is the biggest challenge or obstacle Binary.com will face? How do you plan to tackle that challenge?
We’re aware of some of the most pressing challenges we might face in business, including competition from companies that possess greater financial and technical resources. We treat every potential risk with the highest care. That’s why we’ve put processes in place that enable us to assess and manage the risks to the company on a regular basis.
Where do you see the future of binary options 10 years from now?
The future can be hard to predict, but you always need to build for the future. Three key areas we’re focusing on are open-source technology, APIs, and algorithmic trading.
We’re actually one of the first financial firms to open-source all our front-end applications, allowing other developers to review or adapt our front-end code. We also have APIs that allow you to leverage our patented trading technology. This means that you can build your own binary options trading platform without having to start from scratch: just adapt our front-end code to build your own website or application, and then use our APIs to “communicate” with our trading system to calculate the price of each contract.
Algorithmic trading refers to trading bots that are very popular in the Forex and CFD space where trading is executed automatically by programs that run on preset algorithms. In our case, we’ve built a tool called Binary Bot that allows you to build and run your own automated strategies – our own version of trading bots.
We’re also seeing the blockchain craze sweeping across the financial trading industry. We’ve been actively exploring the practical implementation of blockchain technology in our products and services for the past several months. It just has too much potential to be ignored.
What has been your happiest moment so far working on Binary.com? On the flipside, what has been the most painful, or perhaps the most regretful decision you’ve made with Binary.com?
Binary.com has been in business for 18 years, and there have been a lot of happy moments during that time. The happiest feeling is working together with our great team to solve the business problems we face and develop the company. I don’t have any specific regrets, although I do regret not having the experience that I have today in the early days of the company!
Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
I try to delegate as much work as possible, freeing up my time to work both on new projects and helping my colleagues achieve the goals of their respective departments. I spend my days context-switching between IT, marketing, compliance, financial, and other domains.
Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.
I am very bullish on cryptocurrencies (namely Bitcoin) but very bearish on ICOs. I believe that 98% of ICOs are garbage. That’s the fundamental paradox of the blockchain economy: the emergence of cryptocurrencies is a very fundamental event that will disrupt finance greatly, but the ICO craze is a bubble that will collapse, probably in 2018, and will cause a setback to blockchain development generally.
Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life? Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?
My son suffered a brain injury about 5 years ago, and therefore I would like to promote research and development into brain injury, especially in the area of stem cell treatments.
That concludes our Interview with Jean-Yves Sireau
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