Eric Benz is one of the big names in the cryptocurrency sector, famous for being involved in several blockchain and fintech businesses as an investor, board director and founder. He had been sailing the seas of blockchain for 3 years before moving to his current position at Changelly, which has been in operation since 2015. With Eric at the helm, Changelly has turned into the most reputable and efficient non-custodial instant cryptocurrency exchange service on the market with over 160 digital assets available to swap.
In honour of the strengthened partnership between Changelly and Freewallet, we had the opportunity to chat with Eric and find out what plans Changelly has for the future, what he views as the most effective means of creating crypto regulation without compromising development and who deserves to be admired by the whole crypto community.
Hi Eric, nice to have you with us. As we’ve heard, now it’s a great time for Changelly with your remarkable partnership agreements, which resulted in OKEx exchange’s OKB, John McAfee’s GHOST, and Aidos Kuneen’s ADK joining 160 cryptocurrencies supported by the platform. What other projects do look promising to you right now?
Over the years, Changelly has also done a great job securing top tier partnerships with the likes of Exodus, Coinomi and Bitcoin.com and, of course, Freewallet to name a few. Many of the projects we list on Changelly are all vetted in depth as to make sure only quality tokens are available both to our partner network as well as to our more than 3 million customers. One of the most exciting collaborations we currently have is with Bitcoin.com exchange and the partnership is blossoming especially due to the growth of their own products. The more companies are entering this expanding ecosystem the bigger responsibility Changelly team is bearing as we are an integral utility for token projects, wallets and other crypto-related businesses.
Recently, Changelly has announced a partnership with Freewallet aimed at adopting new technology that will help users save both time and money while making transactions. Please tell us more about the advantages it will bring to the table.
Generally speaking, our partnership with Freewallet will redefine the customer experience when purchasing or exchanging crypto currencies. With the use of Changelly’s API and technology, Freewallet has developed the ability to combat network fees by launching off-chain exchange functionality for 54 different tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, and Litecoin. What is far more appealing is that off-chain transactions are executed just in 2-3 minutes and provide much better rates with enhanced anonymity.
What other developments are ahead for Changelly? What questions are imperative to answer and how else can user experience be improved?
Changelly has been building and providing innovative technology for the past 5 years now. Except for a customer base of over 3 million people, we have established more than 40 API partnerships and 5,000 affiliates. During the past couple of years we have been always listening to our users and our product offering has matured alongside their needs. I wouldn’t mention all the details, but very soon, we will launch a new product, which will dramatically improve the already cumbersome exchange experience. The initial goal of crypto and blockchain was to facilitate everything and remove any and all known existing complexities regarding money and data transfering. As long as we keep making things simple and easy to use, the much needed and awaited mass adoption can take place.
Referring to the overall recognition of blockchain and crypto, conversations about governmental regulations always stay relevant. You are a founding member of UKDCA (UK Digital Currency Association), which means you’re immersed in working out regulations for the United Kingdom. In your opinion, what is the best way of achieving a balance between privacy and transparency for crypto?
This issue has always been a major topic of endless discussions within the community. In order to provide the right balance between regulation and innovation there has to be a shift in the thought process and rules we are all accustomed to. The regulatory landscape has been a major pain point for the past couple decades as it was designed before we had the Internet and mobile banking services. Now, the technology is moving at the speed of light and the regulators’ mission is to identify the current shortcomings and improve them. This is, of course, much easier to say than to do. The balance has to be derived from both sides of the ‘coin’ as technological and economical innovation should not be stifled by archaic regulation.
Speaking of anonymity, do you believe privacy coins will ever be in agreement with regulators?
Undoubtedly, privacy coins will continue to grow but the utility and adoption rate will not be as in demand as it is now. With more regulation, it just makes things harder when running a crypto-related project to meet all the requirements. I, personally, do not see regulators ever accepting privacy coins but you never know!
You are also a strong supporter of on-chain democracy. Is it really true that the nature of blockchain voting makes it difficult for democracy to thrive while plutocracy seems to be the dominating governance form?
I’d say, such an approach to this question is rather abstract and doesn’t relate to the current issues we experience in the blockchain sphere. The most wonderful thing about this technology is that it provides an immutable layer of trust, which wasn’t previously seen or utilised anywhere else. My firm belief is that blockchain serves to make democracy flourish and implement global credibility so people can trust each other without even knowing each other.
While Changelly is working so closely with many reputable crypto-related projects, you are cooperating with some of the industry leaders you know personally. To that end, which entity or personality do you find mostly misunderstood? Who do you suppose is going to be leading the quickly evolving blockchain revolution?
After being in the industry for nearly a decade, I’ve got a chance of working with many gifted and incredible entrepreneurs. On the back of his most recent announcement to run for President of the United States, Brock Pierce, is one of the most talented and influential people I have ever had the privilege of getting to know and working with. Many people who are not personally acquainted with Brock will always come to their own conclusions as well as will be quick to make judgements even if they are completely wrong. Brock has done more for the crypto community then most anyone else for the past 10 years and his achievements are beginning to pay off while the world is gradually discovering what kind of person he is and what good he will do for humankind.
Thank you for the interview. Is there anything else you would like to share with Freewallet users?
By partnering with Freewallet, we’re making the ecosystem of crypto more consumer friendly, while also doing our best to provide you with more advanced lay of comfort, so you can smoothly purchase digital assets as well as convert them to fiat and vice versa. I especially hope that members of the Freewallet community understand that they have control over their money and perceive crypto as a class of assets with essential value. If we unite our efforts and move in one direction together, we’ll be able to make the industry growth more intensive.