Exclusive Interview of Simon Grunfeld, Executive Director & Founder of IBINEX
Simon Grunfeld spoke exclusively to CryptoNewsZ.com about his company’s role in the crypto market and how he envisions the future amidst the existing digital world. Simon also spoke lengthily about the challenges and journey that Ibinex possesses for the upcoming future.
Simon Grunfeld is the Executive Director and Founder of Ibinex, a white label exchange provider, mobile wallet provider, and ICO blockchain developer. The interview helped our team to get a foresight to Ibinex’s plans for the future and how the idea consumed their Founder’s mind in the first place.
CryptoNewsZ: What prompted you to set-up Ibinex ecosystem? How does it enable cryptocurrencies trading?
Simon Grunfeld: The idea of the ecosystem, came from the notion that we could provide value across a decentralized model, even though all optimized exchanges are centralized. In our Ecosystem, brands don’t necessarily compete against each other but allow their client base to benefit from the range of services and opportunities that other participants provide. Everything from education to liquidity, to trading advisory and copying, is all performed much more effectively by doing so in a unified platform. In this case, ‘fishing in each other’s ponds’ can provide value to those that know how to utilize it properly.
CryptoNewsZ: What do you comment about blockchain technology changing the entire ecosystem? If you can elaborate more on the perspective?
Simon Grunfeld: Blockchain has created a new layer of technology and innovation globally, the likes we haven’t seen since the late 90’s. The main 2 categories of functionality for blockchain, are transfer of value (ie. Decentralized economy), and second, an immutable, distributed database of information, which has applicational use in Healthcare, Defense, Government, and more. The technology is a game changer, and we will most likely see all new applications/platforms produced by fortune 500 companies, as dependent on Blockchain for one reason or another.
CryptoNewsZ: How will you see cryptocurrencies take control away from central banks and traditional financial exchanges, disrupting the market as a whole? How does Ibinex react to it?
Simon Grunfeld: We see crypto as a new decentralized economy; allowing its users the means to transfer trusted value, at a fraction of the costs of traditional banking and remittances. I don’t think crypto will ever replace fiat; instead, it will become a supplementary addition to traditional money and banking.
CryptoNewsZ: What does Ibinex stand for? How does it add value to stakeholders involved in an entire process?
Simon Grunfeld: The Intelligent Bitcoin Exchange (Ibinex), strategic intent is to provide our B2B customers with a high-tech platform; allowing them to become their own crypto exchange, while Ibinex manages all the support, liquidity, account opening, troubleshooting and end user support required.
CryptoNewsZ: How does Ibinex solve real-world problems with the Exchange-to-Exchange Ecosystem model with backend infrastructure in place? Can you please explain?
Simon Grunfeld: Regulatory compliance and how merchants across the world, can use our kiosk to buy/sell/redeem fiat transactions. This is a significant improvement to on-line banking, in areas of the world were people lack access to traditional brick and mortar banking.
CryptoNewsZ: How do you bridge the gap between traders and exchanges with transparency rooted in blockchain industry as stated in your website? What’s your strategy?
Simon Grunfeld: With our topology of multiple exchanges, any trader can see in real time, how trades are realistically executed, routed and how coins are delivered. Anyone can compare the service and offerings, by any of our white labels and evaluate.
CryptoNewsZ: At present, the regulator and government from around the world become strict towards the cryptocurrency-based trading and exchanges. Is Ibinex approved by the regulatory authority in which it operates from various geographies like Israel, Estonia, New York, Panama City, Philippines as stated in your website?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex limits its scope of operations, to specific territories. Our regulatory framework doesn’t currently allow us to take on US clients. Ibinex operates currently in the EU, Latam and South America, Africa and Asia.
CryptoNewsZ: Does the Federal Reserve, Securities Exchange Commission support to execute such kind of practices when you operate from the U.S.?
Simon Grunfeld: Because we do not yet cater to US clients, we do not yet fall under SEC jurisdiction. We are planning a US presence at some point soon and have taken the steps to comply when we do.
CryptoNewsZ: Does your team comprise of industry veterans having strong domain expertise on the blockchain technology? Can you please elaborate more about your team and senior management?
Simon Grunfeld: Some of the upper management, have worked in crypto for a number of years. However, many of our staff (both management and below), are fairly new to the industry of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
CryptoNewsZ: What sorts of corporate governance and internal controls systems does Ibinex have in place to implement defense mechanism?
Simon Grunfeld: The level of our security is no doubt military grade. Everything from the Office security and down to the operating system of each of our servers, is accounted for, documented and part of our 24/7/365 defense systems.
CryptoNewsZ: How does Ibinex assist financial institution, token project, media company or any entrepreneur to launch their private label exchange?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex has a process, by which we evaluate the strategic intents, team members, capabilities and past experiences of each of our white label candidates. Once we size them up, we’re able to create the customized environment for them that lines up with their business strategy.
CryptoNewsZ: How will Ibinex assist businesses to overcome numerous challenges like pricing & liquidity, KYC & onboarding, licensing & regulations, coin listing, affordable listing through its exchange to exchange ecosystem in place?
Simon Grunfeld: As our ecosystem grows, so does the availability and liquidity of inventory, thus lowering spreads even more. Our platform and company, provides automated and manually approved AML/KYC processes, thus taking this task out of the WL’s hands. Coin listing happen when our clients are asking to list a new coin or token, because of either new-found interest, or the exchange has done a deal with that vendor. We try to be as cost effective in adding those coins/tokens, seeing we’re in business to monetize trade volume and not technology services. Business can opt to use our licenses (if they choose the IB route), and streamline their time to market, or not. Its available when needed.
CryptoNewsZ: How do you reach your market potential? Do you see any major competitors in the same space?
Simon Grunfeld: We see a lot of competition in our space now, but most of it isn’t real as they claim. In addition, we have a strong workforce, flat matrix and 4 offices worldwide and leadership with experience in the FX/Commodities market, which translates very easily over to our own. We have not yet reached our market potential – that will come into play when we’re able to create new products and instruments on our platform.
CryptoNewsZ: What’s your target market? What’s your immediate plan to tap your target market? Can you please describe any strategy?
Simon Grunfeld: Our target market is divided into 4 categories of client: 1) Brokers – institutions that are currently offering trading services, in the FX, Commodities, Equities, etc, markets and are now looking to offer their customers another asset class in crypto. 2) Marketers – groups of marketing professionals, who have a deep book of retail/institutional business and are looking to create a new Brand for Cryptos. 3) BlockChain developers – who have build their own blockchain/coin, and require a way to sell coins/tokens of their own, or tokens of 3rd party developers. 4) Miners – Holders of large amounts of inventory, are looking for retail outlets to sell their coins, and Ibinex platform allows them to do exactly that.
CryptoNewsZ: How does your ‘Security Token Model’ fund your business? Can you tell us a bit about the business models you work with and how does it differ from the existing players in the market? Where do they come from? How do they work? Why can users be sure that the system is fool-proof?
Simon Grunfeld: Our model is different from the 99% of the others on the market, seeing that ours is first and foremost not a utility token. The difference between a security and utility, is fundamental; utility suggests there’s an actual Use for the token (ie. Paying commissions, using a platform, etc), whereas a security allows owners to own an asset without taking actual possession (ie. A part of the company and/or profits/dividends based on performance). All existing players in the market currently issue utility tokens; which have almost no regulatory hurdles to overcome.
They are easy to setup, deploy and monetize (the issuing company decides on the use cases for the tokens issued). Cost of ownership is limited to the usage and utility. On the other hand, a security token has immense legal and compliance requirements (based on the issuing jurisdiction), is not subject to our own interpretation of its utility seeing that it secures a form of profit sharing of our company and therefore invites more institutional investors than retail ones.
As a regulated entity, Ibinex is narrowing down the jurisdictions we’re about to launch our token offering through – provided it meets all regulation/legal requirements, so we can assure our investors the proper protection of funds and processes, via transparency and compliance.
CryptoNewsZ: How does Ibinex differentiate itself from its major competitors like Binance, Blockex, AlphaPoint, Houbi on numerous parameters and token comparison?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex is a hybrid of technology and liquidity, compliance and operations. Most of our competitors have a “one or the other” focus; Alphapoint is a software company with great tech, but lack much of the operational benefits clients find with Ibinex. Binance and Houbi have great operational resources, but their tech isn’t as flexible as one would hope, in the case of a B2B white label. Blockex has its roots in Binary and CFDs; nice platform, but unable to provide the banking/fiduciary responsibilities, which Ibinex does provide.
CryptoNewsZ: What kind of risk management practice that the Ibinex has in place that provides it with shelter from unwanted events?
Simon Grunfeld: Our technology stack infrastructure utilizes best practices when it comes to data latency, attack mitigation, and disaster recovery. We have the proper monitoring and logging of network events and have the proper countermeasures for when an alert is generated.
CryptoNewsZ: Which geographies do you operate at present? Any future plans to enter into new geographies or markets going forward? If so, what will be your strategy to go for it?
Simon Grunfeld: We currently operate primarily in the EU. We’re expanding our reach to LATAM, South America, Africa, and Asia
CryptoNewsZ: What are your thoughts about the future of cryptocurrency as a whole, and specifically about crypto trading? Are we likely to see a mass entry into the market for traditional capital anytime soon?
Simon Grunfeld: My thoughts are 2 folded: how the industry is forming now, and how options for new outcomes in innovation and commerce will dictate future opportunities. Innovation in this market is still producing new ways of thinking of blockchain and we’ve certainly only seen the beginning of such advancements.
CryptoNewsZ: What role is Ibinex playing in the development of the crypto economy in your country?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex is a premier catalyst for growth in the midsize marketplace. Specifically, remittance services in developing countries: Panama, Philippines, LATAM, SE Asia.
CryptoNewsZ: What sorts of other regulatory and taxation issues arisen in the countries where you currently operate or are going to operate? And how will you tackle with them?
Simon Grunfeld: Regulation is our biggest hurdle, as every jurisdiction has its own rules and guidelines we need to work within. Source of funds, KYC/AML processes, are somewhat different from location to location, but overall, we’re able to minimize the exposure there by simply adhering to US standards (even though we do not, at this point, take clients from the US).
CryptoNewsZ: How the most prevalent issues in the cryptocurrency like price manipulation, pump and dump ICO schemes, lack of uniformity in price, cybercriminals, and hackers will affect Ibinex technology? Does Ibinex have any defense mechanism in place in order to ward off these anomalies?
Simon Grunfeld: The best way to manage malicious intent, is to have the right protocols in place to identify, log and then mitigate the issues in real-time. With ICOs, we perform a full legal vetting of the application, to make sure it falls within our guidelines, otherwise, we don’t list them. The key to dealing with threats from ill-intended people is to consistently keep our security team as updated as possible and provide them with the best tools possible to address some of these examples.
CryptoNewsZ: With the innovative platform in place, Ibinex Financial Corp bridges the gap between traditional exchanges and Crypto traders. How does Ibinex replace the traditional system where financial institutions had to develop their own exchange and privately source for cryptocurrency liquidity thereby eliminating the pain? Can you please elaborate more about your innovative platform?
Simon Grunfeld: The Build vs Buy analysis that an organization performs before making such a decision, requires the input from subject matter experts in the area of engineering and blockchain development. This area of IP is so new, that it makes sense for companies to buy ready-made technology and use their available resources in order to market and sell their offering.
CryptoNewsZ: Since Ibinex has developed CryptoBridge, a white label exchanges that offers patent-pending proprietary software solutions, how does it enable trading as well as offer the best user experience while executing a trade through Ibinex? Is the platform easy to use or highly sophisticated model which requires certain preliminary training?
Simon Grunfeld: Our offering of the Cryptobridge, in no way effects user experience through our, or any other 3rd party interface. The development and release of Cryptobridge are meant to help organizations tap into our growing pool of liquidity while keeping their development costs down to a minimum. This is a server-side platform and in no way effects the UI/UX. The method by which our liquidity aggregation and order management is conducted is only making execution of trades faster, more reliable and ultimately more profitable to the stakeholders involved.
CryptoNewsZ: Since Ibinex is an Exchange to Exchange Ecosystem channeling the power of thousands of exchanges with one unified backend infrastructure. How does it assist users significantly and cost-effectively?
Simon Grunfeld: Our clients have a go-to-market strategy, which involves planning the deployment of the exchange + liquidity + the operational overhead needed to support retail/institutional customers. By using our turn-key solution, businesses can focus on the sales and marketing of their platform and offering, while allowing us to power their needs.
CryptoNewsZ: What sorts of Crypto world’s biggest challenges does Ibinex see and aim to eliminate through a variety of mechanism in place? How will you streamline all those challenges sprawling their legs? Can you please focus on it?
Simon Grunfeld: One of the biggest challenges that we’re aiming to resolve, is the streamlined onboarding process for customers onto our platform. KYC/AML processes are different across the globe and as compliance and regulatory requirements begin to grow, we understand the need to streamline this process to the meet gold standards. We’ve put much time and effort into understanding how to best capture, validate and repeat this process 1000s of times a day, in a simple and scale-able method.
CryptoNewsZ: What sorts of security measures taken by cryptocurrency exchanges? Are they sufficient enough that one can apply? What sorts of others may you expect to introduce at Ibinex?
Simon Grunfeld: Security is usually the #1 concern with regard to cryptocurrencies. There is no lack of individuals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities and steal from victims. We have put much effort into securing our physical and virtual infrastructures and have made it so that our customers are completely hands off. We can always do more, and we try to without us compromising the essence of what we’re doing as an organization. So as new advancements in security and monitoring become available, so will our adoption.
CryptoNewsZ: A large number of exchanges are coming with a variety of business models in place. What do you think the core competitiveness of these exchange is? For the new entrants, what are the barriers associated with it?
Simon Grunfeld: As in any industry, the best advantage that any organization can have over its competitors, is its people. The service that they offer to their clients, which nobody can compete with, is directly and unequivocally associated to the people on the team – from support, to client services, to accounts payable, HR, sales, etc, etc. It’s the organizations people and leadership, which provide the services to their customers, which are the most important aspect of any service offering. For all new entrants, the biggest barrier is their ability to provide client services and engage their base with the proper ideas and initiatives, if their own knowledge and capabilities are still new.
CryptoNewsZ: In your opinion, what are your personal and your team’s advantages and disadvantages? What opportunities and threats are you facing at the moment?
Simon Grunfeld: My personal advantage is the background I have in IT and the financial markets. I have launched and operated an FX brokerage, trading platforms, I’ve provided support, liquidity and risk management, I’ve seen how exploits lead to lost money, how regulatory bodies act in according to their mandates and how businesses start from nothing and become dominant players.
CryptoNewsZ: What sorts of Corporate Social Responsibility are expected at Ibinex?
Simon Grunfeld: An Organization’s resources and capabilities are key factors for a sustained competitive advantage, they need to possess core competencies which are valuable and rare, and inherently focus attention on their value over others. Our first responsibility is to our customers and the security of funds (both Fiat and Crypto). Other than the usual responsibilities we take on as a company, we also are focused on solving remittance problems in areas of the world in dire need of better banking solutions
CryptoNewsZ: How do you see the future of cryptocurrencies and crypto major like, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin?
Simon Grunfeld: Bitcoin is and will always be the ‘gold standard’ of crypto. Ethereum is a close second, by showing the world what a 2nd generation blockchain is capable of doing. Ripple and Litecoin, or any others like them, are symbols of growth and potential in the industry.
CryptoNewsZ: How do you see the future market status of Exchanges globally?
Simon Grunfeld: The future market statuses of global exchanges will begin to go through a significant compliance and regulatory change. For example, in the US we will see crypto adoption by federal regulators, as it is with any commodity currently offered. We will also see a wider adoption by other government regulatory bodies in the EU, Asia, and South America, as the need for regulation in this industry is ever growing, allowing normalization to occur.
CryptoNewsZ: Can we expect any strategic alliance like, mergers & acquisitions, a strategic tie-up that you may explore with anyone domestically or globally in order to reduce competition or scale up at the highest level? If so, can you elaborate about synergy emanating out of it?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex is always looking to take the necessary strategic steps to secure our position in the marketplace. We feel very strongly about our competitive advantages, and although our competitors are few and far in between, we feel there’s enough runway in this industry to allow for it.
CryptoNewsZ: Why should users use Ibinex and not the others available on the market?
Simon Grunfeld: Ibinex provides its customers with a complete turn-key solution, allowing anyone to start an exchange from scratch, then begin to market and sell it, while promoting entrepreneurial among members of our ecosystem.
CryptoNewsZ: Where do you see Ibinex in the next 3 to 5 years from now?
Simon Grunfeld: Being listed on a public exchange and powering 1000 white labels across the world.