The full potential of blockchain has not yet been realised, the founder and chief executive of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, said.
Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, holds the potential to offer applications that are “beyond our current imagination”, Changpeng Zhao said in Dubai on Thursday.
“Cryptocurrencies are the money of the future."
Mr Zhao was speaking during one of nine Future Talks that Dubai’s Museum of the Future is hosting from February 24 to March 29.
The museum opened to the public on Tuesday.
“It is a great honour to be one of the first speakers in the Future Talks series and to witness first-hand the Museum of the Future … it is truly fantastic,” Mr Zhao said.
“Blockchain has many new applications we had previously not even imagined, and it is fitting to be talking about cryptocurrencies here, at the Museum of the Future, as cryptocurrencies are the money of the future.”
There has been growing interest in the cryptocurrency market in the UAE as consumers and investors flock to digital assets.
In December, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority and Binance signed a preliminary agreement to develop an industry centre for global digital assets in the emirate.
The initiative will help to expedite Dubai’s plans to establish a new international digital asset ecosystem, which will, in turn, generate long-term economic growth using innovation, the authority said at the time.
Mr Zhao said the main risk with cryptocurrency is the risk of not adopting it.
“If you don’t take that risk, you don’t have the future, as you don’t have the future of money.
“Bitcoin is neutral, and it doesn’t have borders. It doesn’t side with anyone. And it can be used in any country. So, in theory, it should hold its value – in this way it is far superior to gold,” Mr Zhao said.
He said cryptocurrencies and blockchain are not bubbles and would not go away.
“Once you have a couple of hundred million people using cryptocurrency, you cannot erase it.”
Having moved from China to Canada, Mr Zhao worked in McDonald’s outlets and gas stations during his teenage years. He later made a foray into independent trading by establishing a broker trading platform called Fusion Systems in Shanghai.
He was a member of the founding team of Blockchain Info, before taking a senior position with cryptocurrency company Okcoin. He founded Binance in 2017 after raising $15 million through an initial cryptocurrency offering.
Mr Zhao said strong regulations to govern the industry were important.
“The industry is still young … we need frameworks. It is also very important for industry players to be working closely with regulators. Some regulators like Dubai, the UAE, in many parts of the world are very, very smart about this,” he said.
Binance will organise its blockchain conference in Dubai from March 28 to 30.
“We should encourage people to adopt this technology, but we should adopt it in a safe way. There should be information sharing, but there has to be a balance with privacy,” he said.