eToro, the world’s leading social trading network has been transforming the traditional money management industry since its inception. After leading the global Fintech revolution for more than a decade with a wide array of innovative trading and investment tools, eToro ventured into the cryptocurrency world. It started off with Bitcoin trading in 2013 via CFDs and thereby, expanded its cryptocurrency offerings.
Yoni Assia, CEO, and Founder, eToro spoke exclusively to CryptoNewsZ and discussed various crypto aspects with us in this interview.
CryptoNewsZ: Please brief us on the success story of eToro since its inception.
eToro was founded in 2007 with the vision of opening up the global markets for everyone to trade and invest in a simple and transparent way. We built the platform as a social network for traders and investors, where they can execute trades, but also see what others are doing, talk to each other, and copy the strategies of the most successful.
Today, we have a community of over 10 million registered users from over 140 countries. eToro acts as a bridge between the old world of investing and the new, helping investors navigate and benefit from the transition of assets to the blockchain. eToro is the only place where investors can hold traditional assets such as stocks or commodities alongside ‘new’ assets such as bitcoin. We believe that in the future, all assets will be tokenized and that crypto is just the first step on this journey. Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: eToro believes in ‘Innovating, Reinventing, Disrupting.’ Would you like to elaborate?
As the world of investing has evolved, so has eToro so that we can continue to support our clients and help them meet their investment goals. This constant innovation is what has been key to eToro’s success. Over the past decade, we have continued to enhance the functionality of our platform and added more investment products, such as our CopyPorfolios, and more assets.
We’ve grown and will continue to grow as eToro makes investing accessible to everyone. We give investors: access to the assets they want, knowledge and insight, and an easy process, all at a low price point. As technology and finance has evolved, we’ve changed with it and will continue to do so. Our convictions around the significance of blockchain and our work with our wallet and exchange demonstrate our belief that tokenization will transform finance to the benefit of the masses.
eToro is a community, and as such, we are always listening to our users. This has been key for our success to date and will, we hope, help us to continue to grow and continue to meet the evolving needs of our users.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: When did you first hear about crypto? What attracted you towards crypto?
The most significant moment of the past decade both for eToro and the wider finance industry has been crypto. At eToro, we believe that crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it will transform global finance. We were lucky and smart as a company to buy some Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012, and we launched Bitcoin trading on eToro in 2014. We were also relatively early on with Ethereum partly due to our connection with Vitalik Buterin, with whom we wrote the colored coins white paper. Today we offer clients access to 14 cryptoassets and our clients own the real underlying asset. We believe that blockchain will transform finance in the same way that the internet revolutionized communications.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: eToro OpenBook created waves when it was launched? What are your plans regarding it?
At first, each of eToro’s trading platforms (OpenBook and WebTrader) had a separate app. We then launched a single trading app making all of the platform’s features available using an intuitive interface. Using the eToro trading app, you can manage your portfolio, follow markets, copy traders, and perform any action available on the platform from your smart device. We will continue to evolve our app to meet client needs.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: What are your views regarding social trading and how it will help the next generation?
In almost every walk of life, we value the views of other people, particularly experts or influencers, as part of our decision-making process. We believe that eToro is the world’s largest online investment community. Our users talk to each other, share ideas and insight, and can also copy our most successful investors. Around half of our clients use copy, both in terms of following others or investing in our growing range of CopyPortfolios.
With eToro, the choice is yours. If you’re confident about your investment knowledge and want to choose your own investments, go for it. However, if you’re not, then eToro provides a large group of people who have been doing this for some time with a good degree of success who you can copy. We call them Popular Investors (PIs), but if we were naming them today, we’d call them investment influencers.
You can see everything these PIs are doing – what stocks, currencies, or commodities they are choosing, their overall performance, how risky their investments are. Our community means you can talk directly to these PIs before making any kind of decision to copy their investments. This is the total opposite of how it normally works with a fund manager – completely open, transparent and engaged.
One of the strengths of the programme is the sheer diversity of our Popular Investors. We’ve got people who have quit their jobs and become full-time investors in the sector they worked in, as well as people who’ve had a career in investment. We also have geographical diversity. So, if, for example, you are interested in Asian stocks, you can copy an Asian PI.
We believe that copy will continue to be a key feature of eToro and a great way for new generations of investors to easily access financial markets.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: According to you, what is the future of Bitcoin? Where is it heading to?
Blockchain will be as transformative as the internet. Bitcoin to blockchain equals email to the internet in how it’s bringing the underlying technology to the masses. The internet revolutionized the transfer of information, and blockchain will reshape the transfer of value.
For Bitcoin to succeed, its rate of adoption has to be faster than email. We, therefore, need to see more user-friendly applications. That is where the industry needs to focus its efforts. If we achieve this in the next 24-36 months, then mass adoption will arrive.
Bitcoin has managed to ride the wave of volatility and has started to address questions regarding scalability. Its price, although volatile at times, will fall in line with other assets as its utility increases and speculation reduces.
The first ever Bitcoin transaction took place just eight years ago, and today, we are already seeing it begin to meet the requirements of everyday money. Given the speed of adoption, we could see bitcoin on the high street within the decade.
Looking beyond bitcoin as a payment method, blockchain technology has driven an explosion in financial innovation. It offers the potential to upend everything we think we know about financial systems and assets.
We believe that in the future, all assets will be tokenized and that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain. We cannot today set out a clear timeline, but the examples of tokenized gold, diamonds, and art, show we have already begun this journey. Bitcoin, the first crypto, provided the first step.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: What do you think about the crypto industry as a whole? Does it have the potential to become mainstream?
As we’ve said before, we believe that in the future, all assets will be tokenized and that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain. Crypto is the first step on that journey and the industry will evolve considerably as it becomes ‘mainstream.’
Blockchain will eventually ‘eat’ traditional financial services through tokenization. Tokenization is the method of converting rights to a real-world asset into digital tokens that can be moved, traded, recorded, or stored on a blockchain system. This means that the rights of ownership of an item are represented by tokens. The ownership of a single painting, for example, could be split across any number of tokens, giving investors the opportunity to invest in art by purchasing a small fraction of the total painting.
Tokenization will open up the world of investing. By 2025, investing in the art may no longer be the reserve of the super-rich and you could in fact purchase as much or as little as you like for fractional ownership of artwork like Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.
This won’t happen overnight (we are talking about trillions of dollars and an entire financial system), but we are already seeing examples. Today a key barrier is the incumbents – the traditional financial institutions are very conservative, regulated, and afraid. They are also not very advanced in terms of technology. Tech disruption within financial services takes longer than in other industries.
It is crypto companies who are the leaders in innovation at the consumer level – we are not seeing traditional financial institutions playing in this space, but innovation from them will come due to the potential to transfer between institutions and with increasing awareness of institutional uses for tokenization.
The question is when and how, not if central banks will launch digital currencies – it is inevitable. Whether they will call it crypto is the big question as it is unlikely to involve permission and government control whereas crypto is permission-less and decentralized. However, the creation of digital currencies by central banks will help legitimize crypto as it will enable the conversion between them.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: In 2018, eToro entered the US market by offering 10 cryptocurrencies. Was there any specific reason to enter with those specific currencies?
We are in the process of rolling out eToro.com across the US. At launch, we are focusing on bringing our crypto offering to US consumers. In time we plan to add other assets to this offering.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: Could you please tell us something more about eToroX? What are the limitations that it aims to subside?
eToroX is a subsidiary of global investment platform eToro. The business was formed in 2018 to provide the infrastructure to support eToro Group’s commitment to facilitating the evolution and growth of tokenized assets. It provides eToro’s wallet and runs the exchange.
Blockchain technology has driven an explosion in financial innovation; however, a number of challenges are preventing mass adoption and integration into legacy infrastructure. Our goal with our eToroX exchange is to enable our users to trade any asset globally with instant settlement by tokenizing assets and executing all essential trade processes on the blockchain.Yoni Assia
CryptoNewsZ: eToro is always ready to indulge in new markets. Any view on what the next emerging industry is going to be?
As a business, we will continue to do everything we can to open up the global markets for everyone to trade and invest in a simple and transparent way.
In the future, crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it will have a huge impact on global finance.
Blockchain technology is going to facilitate the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen, not from one group of people to another, but from privately held databases to publicly available distributed ledgers.
This process is called tokenization. Tokenization will convert the rights of ownership of any asset into a digital token which is then available on the blockchain. This may seem complex, but in essence, tokenization will mean ownership of traditional asset classes will be more easily transferred and more securely stored. Perhaps most importantly, markets for more niche asset classes, previously the reserve of the wealthiest, will be made far more accessible.
Just as eToro has opened traditional markets for investors, in the future, we want to do the same in a tokenized world.Yoni Assia