Binance: Shaping Crypto, Blockchain & Web3 In Ireland

Blockchain Leaders Insights Podcast

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In this final episode of the series, “Blockchain Leaders Insights,” we navigate the complex and thrilling waters of the blockchain and Web3 industry, with a particular lens on Ireland’s pivotal role in this global phenomenon. I am your host, Lory Kehoe, the chair of Blockchain Ireland, and I am joined by my esteemed co-host, Alejandro Gutierrez, co-chair of the Start-ups Working Group at Blockchain Ireland.

As the blockchain sphere burgeons, Ireland stands at a crossroads of tradition and innovation. With a storied past in financial services and a burgeoning reputation in the tech sector, the nation is poised to be a central node in the blockchain revolution. To unravel the layers of this complex tapestry, we have the privilege of engaging with a luminary of the crypto world, Karl Long, the General Manager for Europe of Binance in Ireland.

Karl brings a wealth of experience from a 25-year tenure in traditional financial services, working with behemoths such as State Street and Deutsche Bank, and has made the leap into the vanguard of the crypto movement with Binance. His insights bridge the gap between the old guard of finance and the new world of virtual assets, providing a unique perspective on the transformative power of blockchain technology.

This episode promises to shed light on how global players like Binance are shaping Ireland’s crypto landscape and contributing to the global dialogue on blockchain and Web3. We will explore the synergies and tensions between traditional financial systems and disruptive crypto technologies, the regulatory currents shaping the industry, and the strategic moves being made by Binance to navigate these waters.

As we delve into these topics, we invite you to join us on this exploratory journey through the intricate network of crypto and blockchain. Whether you’re a seasoned investor, a curious onlooker, or a sceptic of digital currencies, this conversation aims to educate, inform, and perhaps even challenge your perceptions of what the future of finance may hold.

So, without further ado, let’s embark on this enlightening conversation with Karl Long and uncover the facets of a world where digital assets and traditional finance converge.


Karl Long

Karl Long

General Manager, Binance


Lory Kehoe

Lory Kehoe

Chair of Blockchain Ireland

Alejandro Gutierrez

Alejandro Gutierrez

Co-chair of Start-up Working Group, Blockchain Ireland

Key Insights

  • Background and Introduction to Binance. Karl Long’s transition from traditional financial institutions to Binance reveals the growing institutional interest in crypto and blockchain solutions. The operational inefficiencies in traditional banking that blockchain can alleviate are highlighted, such as trade discrepancies and payment issues.
  • Adoption and Institutional Resistance. The slower-than-expected adoption of blockchain in back and middle-office operations is discussed, attributed to the traditional financial industry’s reliance on labour arbitrage over technological innovation. Karl suggests that the shift to blockchain technology is now driven by a lack of further labour markets to exploit and the operational efficiency blockchain can provide.
  • Regulatory Landscape and Future of Crypto. The conversation covers the anticipated institutionalisation and regulation of the crypto industry, drawing parallels with the evolution of hedge funds. The importance of regulatory clarity, such as the upcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation in Europe, is stressed as a factor that will likely increase crypto adoption.
  • Binance’s Role and Growth Amid Challenges. Despite a tumultuous year and internal changes, Binance’s growth in user base is seen as a sign of resilience and trust in the company. Karl details Binance’s focus on user-centric product development, regulatory engagement, and crypto adoption expansion.
  • Crypto and Global Trends. The podcast touches on significant upcoming events that could influence the crypto market, like the Bitcoin halving and the potential impact of the Bitcoin ETF in the US. The importance of regulatory developments in shaping the future of crypto in Europe and beyond is reiterated.
  • Ireland’s Potential in the Blockchain Industry. The strategic position of Ireland in the blockchain space is discussed, with suggestions for the country to actively participate without overcommitting. Ireland’s rich talent pool, due to previous government policies, presents an opportunity for growth in the blockchain sector.
  • Binance’s Initiatives in Ireland. Binance’s commitment to Ireland includes sponsoring Blockchain Ireland Week and university outreach programs to educate on crypto fundamentals. Karl highlights the importance of creating a dialogue between industry players and regulators to facilitate a smooth transition into a regulated environment is highlighted.


The episode provides a comprehensive view of the intersection between traditional financial services and the burgeoning blockchain industry. Karl Long’s insights underscore the transformative potential of blockchain technology to revolutionise financial operations and the importance of a regulatory framework that fosters innovation while ensuring stability and trust.

Ireland’s strategic position, with its strong talent pool and forward-looking policies, places it at the cusp of becoming a significant player in the global blockchain and crypto ecosystem. Binance’s substantial investment in compliance and its commitment to user-focused products and services reflect a broader industry trend towards maturity and mainstream acceptance.

The overarching theme is clear: the crypto industry is on the brink of significant growth and evolution, and Ireland, with collaborative efforts from entities like Blockchain Ireland and supportive regulatory measures, has the potential to emerge as a key hub in this exciting new digital frontier.

Today's Guest: Karl Long - General Manager, Binance

Global operations leader managing support teams in Europe and the US. Extensive financial services product knowledge with a focus on digital processing. Experience in managing large teams as well as creating start-up operational infrastructure and controls for data-driven strategies. Keen focus on regulation, cryptocurrency, technology, and data.

Connect with Karl on LinkedIn
Learn more about Binance

[00:00] Podcast title introduction

[00:13] Lory: Hello and welcome to Blockchain Leaders Insights, brought to you by Blockchain Ireland. My name is Lory Kehoe, I am the chair of Blockchain Ireland, and today I’m happy to say I’m joined by my co-host Alejandro Gutierrez. Alejandro?

[00:27]  Alejandro: Thank you very much, Laurie. Really happy to be here. My name is Alejandro Gutierrez. I am part of the steering group of Blockchain Ireland, and I co-chair the start-ups and Web3 group with Fiona. A little bit about me. Started in this space in 2017. I had co-funded multiple companies like ConsolFreight, DeFactor, and DeFactor Labs. And it’s been a fantastic experience actually to be in Ireland for the last six and a half years, helping the ecosystem and trying to actually help the whole world of Web3 succeed in this space.

[01:04] Lory: Super, thank you very much Alejandro. So for today’s episode, really what we’re focusing on, we’re looking at global players that are helping shape the crypto, blockchain and Web3 industry here in Ireland. I’m very proud to have Mr. Karl Long, who is the General Manager of Binance with us. You’re very welcome.

[01:22] Karl: Thank you very much, Lory and Alejandro. Delighted to be here. At Binance, we’re big fans of Blockchain Ireland and we really appreciate the work you do to promote blockchain within the island and further afield. Really understand the effort that goes into that. So delighted to be here and looking forward to today’s discussion.

[01:42] Lory: Super, thank you very much. So look, first things first, just to get to know you a little bit better. We’d love to know, I guess, you know, your background, but also how you come, or how you came to join Binance, and why you chose to join binance.

[01:56] Karl: Yeah, well, I’ve worked in the financial services industry, well, the more traditional side of it, for 25 years at large at regulated institutions, like State Street and Deutsche Bank, and then at some smaller particular boutique investment managers like FrontPoint and WisdomTree and I’ve seen changes in those industries that I think probably you’ll start to see in the in the virtual assets industry and what I’m talking about there is the growth from more of being you know a start-up to more of an institutionalised industry. I think that’s one thing we’re going to see over time here with crypto and I thought this would be an interesting time to get involved with it. But how I actually made the steps to get into it well during my time at StateStreet, I serviced some of the leading global macro funds. And as they started to succeed, they looked on their assets under management group. They start to look to diversify into other investment areas. And one of them was virtual assets. So I was involved in setting up the operational infrastructure and servicing them. And it kind of piqued my curiosity because I started to see certain benefits in blockchain that could be applied to the daily, you know, operational pain points that I was experiencing. And it’s not just what I was particularly experiencing. Every type of large investment bank or brokerage house that is involved in securities and security settlements, deals with these pains every day and things like, you know, discrepancies on trades. Reconciliations, payments and transfers that don’t work smoothly. All this requires a huge amount of operational effort, thousands of people working in in back offices dealing with kind of low satisfactory work and if you brought blockchain technology to it I could see that you brought one source of truth, you removed all those reconciliations uh payments could happen a lot faster you weren’t confined to business hours of actually making transfers you could do it 24/7. So all of these things kind of attracted me into the space. And then I decided to make the jump full time into crypto and that’s how I ended up at Binance.

[04:14] Lory: Great. One of the things, and I’ve spent some time working in that area as well, is that there’s definitely advantage that I see, very similar to what you said, but we’re probably not seeing a level of adoption of the technology at an institutional level, at say that kind of back and middle office perspective, as fast as I would have thought. Why do you think that’s the case?

[04:37] Karl: I think in the past, You didn’t have to do it and what I mean why you didn’t have to do it was you could always bring extra labour to it, so if you look at traditional financial services in the 70s was probably the back office work was done in New York and then it moved to Ireland to Poland and then to out to India so you’re always bringing a cheaper labour unit cost to the to the problem. But you know there is no more India’s you have to start to look at another solution and that solution is a different technology rails. Blockchain is that I think is that solution to um make it more efficient rather than just adding an extra body to the task. But you are starting, I know you, I totally agree with you Lory it has been much slower than I would have thought but I think with technology people underestimate you know uh what’s going to do today and then kind of miss what it’s going to do over the next decade or so. But you’re starting to see some of the large exchanges and big settlement houses adopt this. Like the likes of London Stock Exchange has you know built a specific team and applied a budget to it so I can see things possibly going to happen there and then the major settlement center in the US DTCC they have a parallel blockchain infrastructure in place copying everything that happens in traditional world so they’re certainly testing and working out how it’ll happen. So you can see things happening there. But I think there is motivation here and now today where there wasn’t in the past. And I mean, certainly with banking, it has to be about financial motivation. So the likes of the big trading firms like your Citadels or Susquehannas, etc., they’re looking to trade more and settle more quickly. When you settle quickly, you reduce risk because everybody understands what their position is within minutes. And you can get that with blockchain. You could probably trade more because things are settling much quicker. So they have a financial incentive to do it. And then some of the big custodians like the StateStreet’s, the Bank of New York, etc. that I worked for in the past, um properly through blockchain they can reduce some of that operational spend. And reduce low-grade work people are not satisfied by doing reconciliations on a daily basis. So if you can you know kind of shift away from some of that manual work to some or some more high-level value-add work that that’s something that everybody would welcome. So there’s a financial gain for different sides of the industry. I think that’ll be a motivating factor it’ll will probably move us now and get some traction into this migration.

[07:15] Lory: Great. And I’ll come back to that later on. We start talking a little bit more about Ireland, but that could be an opportunity for Ireland in that space to, I guess, show that what we can do. But let me come back to it. Anyway, enough of me. Alejandro.

[07:27] Alejandro: Yeah. So, Carl, I would like to ask you actually about your role in Binance and what is the day to day of that role?

[07:34] Karl: Yeah. So, I’m the general manager of Binance Ireland so I’m responsible for oversight and the administrative side of the finance entities that we have in Ireland now and it’s also oversight of our team here so we have about 20 people working in Ireland across some diverse disciplines such as software development, compliance, finance, university outreach, global events management. So it’s working with them and overseeing some of some of the work that they do but a lot of my time is actually spent are using the experience that I’ve gained, in investment management and operations, and that’s been applied to stablecoin’s. So I spent a lot of my time looking at stablecoin projects. Assessing whether the products are good, trying to bring them to market, looking at the upcoming regulations that are coming for stablecoin’s, which is kind of the introduction of MiCA, and we can probably talk about it later, because I think that’s one of the most interesting things coming towards us in the next 18 months to two years. So a lot of my work will be spent on the stablecoin rollouts across Europe. So that kind of sums it up. Bit of administration and oversight, side working with the teams trying to fix any of the local problems we may have and then the stablecoin work. And just to sum it up like I think Binance is in Ireland but a lot of the work we do here is very much you know global focused at global projects. And a think it keeps all the team pretty excited so.

[09:06] Lory: You’re focused on retail and institutional then.

[09:08] Karl: Uh it’s retail and institutional yeah okay yeah so.

[09:12] Alejandro: I think you mentioned something really interesting there right that a lot of the time that you are spending is using those concepts or that experience that you gain in your traditional or working for traditional financial suppliers. So how do you believe right how do you think that that experience has shaped for you to come into this new technology, and understanding in a way better manner how have you been applying those concepts into these?

[09:41] Karl: New yeah I think it’s um that experience has kind of helped me to understand the direction of travel here. As I said you know I worked in in hedge funds in the early 2000s and that was a start-up really niche industry and that grew to be institutionalized and more and more regulated and I think that’s what my experience is here at the likes of the big institutions, that’s how it kind of contributes. I understand possibly where we’re going and I’ve always been quite vocal, within our own business and when dealing with other peers to say, look, I think that we will see a much more regulated space and we clearly will with MiCA, and that there will be a maturing of the industry. And, you know, I think the more, as every day goes by people, people think, appreciate that more that there will be a maturing coming. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s welcomed. So yeah, this experience has definitely helped me understand, I think where we’re going.

[10:21] Lory: So when you switched over from TradFi to, to ByteDance, what did your friends and your family say? It’s like, you know, who are ByteDance or what are you thinking or?

[11:01] Karl: Yeah, well, yeah, I think there’s definitely, it depends which age group you’re talking to, right? So, some people go, oh, yeah, it’s, you know, something they’re very familiar with. And, you know, they can see that this is, it’s a really modern and it is the future. And then other people, you know, possibly don’t even understand what crypto and blockchain is. So, um, it was, it was, it was mixed, but I think that’s, you know, once you get into one of these roles, I think one of your responsibilities is, you know, um, educating people, um, what, what it’s about, what are the benefits, what are the risks, what are the challenging things we’re going to have to deal with over the next few years? So it, yeah, it was, it was, it was mixed, but I think people look at it and go, yeah, that’s a really interesting challenge. Like you go for it.

[11:53] Alejandro: Fantastic. So, look, last year was a tumultuous year, right, for the whole ecosystem. There were so many things happening. And Binance actually was on the news at the end of November, right, with the settlement with the OJ, but also CEC stepping out of the CEO role for Binance and being CEC that is one of the main characters, right, in the whole crypto space so there was a lot of changes right so from that perspective I’d like to ask you what is your view actually on those changes and how do you guys feel like those changes internally in Binance.

[12:35] Karl: Well you know I think it was difficult and challenging year for the company. But I think it was important that we you know acknowledged that there was mistakes made in the past and that we take responsibility as a company for those mistakes and that’s what we’ve done. You know, it was, I think when I look at it, I think it’s an opportunity to turn the page. We spent a lot of money over the past two years on compliance. And in the past year, we spent over $200 million on compliance, which was like a 35% increase on the previous year. So even though last year was an acknowledgement, I think it’s important that the company had already taken a significant shift towards being compliance-focused over the previous two years. So yes, it was a difficult year, but it was important that it actually happened. But when I look back on it, I think there are some really encouraging things that came out of it. Like when we began the year, we had 128 million users. When we finished the year, there was 170 million users. And that’s, you know, I think that’s really, it’s a humbling and we really appreciate the faith and trust that our users have in Binance and that’s something that we look back really positively on 2023. So yeah, as you said, it was a pivotal moment, it’s an easy step down but we have brought in Richard Teng, the CEO, who’s got a regulatory background, a great deal of experience, really well regarded in the industry. So I think there’s a lot to look forward to and to be encouraged by for 2024

[14:27] Alejandro: So like taking into consideration, right, that growth, you’re saying like Binance is by far the largest exchange at the moment, right? So where does Binance go from here?

[14:38] Karl: Yeah, well, I think there’s three things we’re going to focus on this year. One of them is to continue to be a user-focused company. You know, that’s, I think, the main factor that contributed to the success of Binance. Always very focused on the user and trying to do our best by them and what I mean by that is you know bring them great products and deliver those products with really high quality service levels so that’ll be one of the key pillars for 24. And then secondly we want to work more with regulators and Richard has been very vocal on that and I think this year is a great opportunity in Europe with MiCA coming just clear guidelines and transparency around what’s required, So we’re going to work very, very, very hard on that over the next year. And that’s not just in Europe, but globally. And we continue to add to the compliance resources that I spoke about earlier in the conversation. And then lastly, we want to grow crypto adoption. If you look at our product as an industry, it’s got a 5% market penetration statistic, which if you look at any product or even financial services products is very low. So we need to grow that. We need to bring the crypto message to more users. And we’re going to do that through strategic partners. And I think you’ll see that evidenced across 24 as the year goes by. So that’ll be a key thing to actually spread the message more wider.

[16:11] Alejandro: And that’s a fantastic point, right? Because when you see it like an adoption and you understand where jurisdictions are getting a faster adoption, of these crypto services are definitely the ones that have a real need, like South America, for example. You know, Binance, it has a huge penetration in Venezuela where most of the financial transactions actually are happening with Binance as a base for exchange between people, right? And payments in stores are components like that. So do you have any view on what are the next jurisdictions that are going to just get that adoption or that growth or how actually can we create a similar effect in in in Europe?

[16:51] Karl: Well I think in Europe when you have really clear regulation and people see the oversight that that’s involved in crypto and the maturing of the industry I feel that that will bring the adoption right. You’re moving it to away from that that five percent to more mainstream. So I think you will see more adoption there. Certainly, you know there’s going to be change it’s going to be a challenging two years for the industry to adopt to these stringent high standards but it’s something we have to do if we want to grow, if we want to bring it to a wider market this is the things we’re going to need to do and it’s something that’s happening in financial services. Wider adoption brings greater requirements, and that makes sense for everybody.

[17:46] Lory: And Alejandro, what about in Colombia? What’s the state of crypto adoption there?

[17:51] Alejandro: It’s interesting yeah it is growing not as fast as in the other country in south America and the reason behind that is because the Colombian Peso is extremely strong at the moment against dollar. So is the reverse case as what happens for example in Argentina when everybody’s just crazy at the moment of okay how I can just get Argentinian pesos converting into dollars and keep them into that stable coin. However, from the FinTech perspective, there is a lot of revolution happening in Colombia at the moment. There are a lot of new companies bringing solutions that potentially are not going to be as implemented in Colombia directly, but in some other places in South America, Latin America, are going to be. From the whole perspective, Colombia is one of the largest hubs from the FinTech side. And I think that line between like a D5 solution, so C5 solutions and FinTech is getting blurrier by the second, right? I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be just FinTech and that extent, so.

[18:53] Karl: Yeah. That blur is the interesting thing, isn’t it? And that’s kind of the institutionalisation, you know, technology happens in a niche space and then people are attracted to it, see the benefits. And then merge, and that’s just, that happens in all technology. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that evolves.

[19:13] Lory: For 2024, we’d love to know what you’re excited about and what you think are the hot topics and what they’re going to be oh.

[19:21] Karl: Oh, well 2024 is definitely going to be an interesting year uh but before I start this is not an investor advice and I’m not an advisor but there’s certain things that are coming or I’ve just come that will definitely have an effect throughout the year. So the first thing that I can see is you know the Bitcoin halving um is coming in April and that will show so that will bring a reduction in supply of Bitcoin to the market. That’s been telegraphed. But I think what makes it more interesting is that there’s an offsetting effect with the recent approval of the Bitcoin ETF in the US, which possibly brings an increase in demand. So as you see the supply coming down and the demand going up, that could have a very interesting effect throughout the year. Like you’ve seen in the past the adoption of the gold EFT. When that started probably started a little bit slowly but over a decade and for example just one EFT that the Spider EFT grew to 72 billion um so slow growth but definitely ramped up and that was just one EFT. So I think um with the reduction in supply and the increase in demand that’s going to be something that we’ll definitely be watching throughout the year and then something that’s definitely interesting to me and sometimes people don’t find it as interesting is the increase in in regulation that’s coming. That’s going to be you know a seismic event in Europe for the for the crypto industry. You know we’ll see I start to see the effects of that with the stable coin regulations that are coming in July and then as we progress over the next year or so we’ll see it affecting  virtual asset service providers um in a wider context. So that will bring you know maturity to the industry, it will definitely prove challenging in terms of bringing resources to it. But on the offset of that I think it’s going to uh definitely increase the profile of the industry um and hopefully bring it to a wider audience. So those three things are definitely things we’re watching and then lastly and it’s not my sphere of expertise but you know half the world’s population is going to go to the polls this year and it’s going to be exciting and probably gets a hell of a lot more exciting as we get towards November in the US. So clearly going to be a huge year of interesting things that you know that are already on the on the on the book to look at, but you know with crypto you never know what’s coming next right so, yeah definitely gonna be an interesting year.

[22:09] Alejandro: Ethereum EFT’s maybe?

[22:11] Karl: Maybe and well I think you have to write you know you saw you just spoke about the gold EFT but you can get platinum EFT’s, silver ETF’s, etc. So yeah, yeah, I think, you know, that definitely probably market demand for that too, right? So yeah, I could see definitely see that. Yeah.

[22:29] Lory: You just mentioned there to go back in relation to the gold ETF, I think that came out, how did gold then perform? Or how did that ETF perform after?

[22:41] Karl: Well in terms of growth right I think it grew from pretty much zero to 72 billion, now that’s just one EFT that’s the spider EFT which is which is um which is the main one. That went to zero to 72 billion over the decade um so that’s that gives you an idea and that there’s numerous EFT’s out there in gold and they’re in the tens of billions. So you would think you know as bitcoin has been described as digital gold that there is going to be something similar there I can see a large amount of demand but you know there’s a lot lots of things can happen between now and 10 year’s time from here you’re.

[23:16] Alejandro: You already mentioned these earlier in the in the podcast but is usually when this type of how to say technologies or when you have these breakthrough moments usually we tend to overestimate the now and underestimate the impact that we’ll have in the future. Right. And I think people were thinking that the adoption of these spot ETFs are going to be in the billions within the first week, which is ludicrous. That’s not going to happen, Right?. And I was reading a few tweets about what the realistic adoption could be in the first month. And the expectation is to have something between 250 million to 500 million and that’s the extent, right? I haven’t checked actually how it is performing at the moment. But that’s a little bit more realistic.

[24:14] Karl: Yeah well I haven’t checked what it is either but when I looked at the gold ETF it was very much like a slow ramp up and then more of more much more of a steeper curve as it matured and I think that’s kind of human nature isn’t it people these are rarely investors people gain trust when they see more people invested the market cap goes up and that brings in more users as it probably commands more media, more research on it, more opinion, more talk that brings in more users. So probably be similar, but you know, who knows?

[24:51] Lory: Like it’s, I guess I think the really interesting point you said there is that folks have to remember that that’s just one ETF that you referenced there that was 70 billion, just one. So if we look at the spot Bitcoin ETFs, there are 11. The stat that I saw after 24 hours was that 4 billion had gone in across the 11 in 24 hours. So just like I think the 72 billion for one ETF is a huge figure, but how many gold ETF’s are there? Are there 50?

[25:27] Karl: There probably is 50, but there is a small number of substantial ones.

[25:32] Lory: Sure. Sure.

[25:32] Karl: Yeah, like everything, right? People go towards liquidity and the major players. So I would see probably something similar here. And one interesting thing about the launch of those ETFs was in the last few days, everybody really cut their fees to competitive levels. So that probably will attract more users in too, and that’s encouraging.

[25:52] Lory: Yep, 100%.

[25:55] Alejandro: Karl going back into 2024 right, so we chat about your view out of 24 and what you reckon is going to happen. What is lined up for Binance in Ireland?

[26:08] Karl: Well in Ireland what we look to do is try to expand the team so where talent comes available uh we look to add to it and we’re fortunate and one of the reasons why Binance is in Ireland and we discussed this before today’s discussion informally. There is a rich talent pool here and that talent pool is here because government policy in the past made some really positive decisions about bringing in global financial houses and global tech firms and they’ve created a pool of really you know expert um knowledge in niche areas which you wouldn’t possibly get in other European capitals right? So where we can we’ll hire people in in technology and similarly you know with some of the larger banks here there’s really good compliance and finance resources here too. So we’ll look to add them where we can. You know to take advantage of the expertise that’s in Dublin. So really what we’re looking to do is just continue the path of growing and adding great people to the team.

[27:17] Alejandro: Fantastic.

[27:18] Lory: From an Ireland Inc. perspective, should Ireland become a global blockchain and crypto and Web3 hub?

[27:26] Karl: Yeah, well, to say a global or Web3 or crypto hub, I think, we need to probably progress a little bit carefully. You don’t want to go all in on the technology and say we are going to be with the global hub. I think we definitely need to be at the table. We definitely need to be there understanding how the industry is evolving what are the benefits, who are the major players. I think it’s really important that we’re there and we have an understanding and what’s going on. I think we’ve been a little bit reluctant to commit to it. We have very good industries here in tech and the big social media companies etc here and google etc and then the banks. The big players here. Probably a little bit spoiled maybe, we need to just diversify a little bit you know, keep our hand in on web3 and blockchain. And as Alejandro said and we’ve mentioned a few times as you know. You know it’s difficult to understand what’s happening yeah over the next six months but when you look back over a decade, you can see these transformative things have happened to society. You know, if you looked at the beginning of the Internet, people got super excited. You know, people were blown away buying and everything. And it was like this was going to the moon and everything’s going to change. And then you hit 2000, 2002, and everybody is just completely disillusioned with it. It’s a technology winter. Everything’s over. Everything’s dead. but you know you go forward 10 years and 15 years, 7 billion people have smartphones and you can’t live without the internet. So I think you just have to definitely Lory just be at the table observing, promoting where possible bringing the right players to Ireland and then you know and be there and I and I think we have to yeah. You know we definitely have to be involved.

[29:29] Alejandro: Do you reckon that we are somehow at the table at the moment or what is missing for us to be at the table?

[29:37] Karl: I think we’re certainly there with some of the players we have, but I think we probably need to set our stall a bit more. I think we’ve been a little bit quiet on it, where we wouldn’t have been as quiet globally on other technologies and some of the more traditional technologies and some of the more traditional financial services. We’re definitely banging a larger drum on those ones. So Web3, I think, yeah, there’s room to be a little bit more vocal on it, be a little bit more open for business. And as I said, we don’t have to overdo it, but we definitely have to be involved.

[30:16] Lory: A shameless plug here. So Blockchain Ireland actually published a strategy for Blockchain Ireland, which we presented to Minister Pascal Donoghue back in May of 2022. So people can find that on our LinkedIn page. Feel free to download it. I think a lot of the content is actually still relevant. It was a bottom-up and top-down piece of research, so we wanted to make sure we got input at a grassroots level, but also at a, I guess, ministerial and governmental departmental level. We didn’t want it to be something that we would simply throw over the fence at the government, but rather worked with them to create that document, so people can check that out. Anyway, over to you, Alejandro.

[31:02] Alejandro: That’s a great point, and I believe that from the perspective why we haven’t actually just sell these potentially the same way that we have done with some other financial services or even from the tech perspective is probably the lack of regulation, Right?. I think there always has been some sort of hesitation to just bang that drum and say, hey, we can do that in here. And I believe now with MiC coming in place and that application, that change will give us that extra boost to be right there.

[31:42] Karl: Yeah, I think so. Definitely there’s much clearer guidelines of what’s required from the industry. And with that transparency, I guess everybody knows where they stand. And we can be probably more vocal. Yeah, it’s a really positive thing.

[31:59] Alejandro: Yeah. So going back into that, like, for 2024, how do you see Blockchain Ireland working with other institutions that are involved in the space, like the likes of Central Bank of Ireland, let’s say the Ministry of Finance, in order to create a thriving ecosystem and actually just, push a little bit Ireland into that table, as you mentioned?

[32:23] Karl: Yeah, well, it’s going to be a big year and a big two years with MiCA. And with the regulations, they’re broad. They’re covering everything from the technology to the market abuse to the people involved, policies, AML, everything. So there’s a very high level regulatory guideline, and then there’s technical standards below load up to actually get into nitty-gritty of how you on a day-to-day basis you implement those rules  the with the introduction of um the regulation from day one I think you know if there’s a very clear channel of communication and it’s interactive and it happens quickly that the information is flowing back and forth quickly between the industry and the central bank not just the central bank of Ireland but any central bank or regulator across Europe. It’s important that that they communicate quickly and very clearly on how we can implement the day-to-day of these rules, if the regulation is going to be adopted in a smooth and streamlined way. So I think it’s really about communication and clear and the speed of that communication. That’s the important thing for me, I think.

[33:41] Alejandro: So do you believe that Blockchain Ireland can be in a way that that translator let’s call it between regulators and people in the industry that are just deep down.

[33:51] Karl: Yeah I would see it as a translator and an aggregator you know because if you’re speaking to the Binance or some of the other crypto players in in Dublin it’s important that you know we come together with a voice to say this is something that you know we need advice on, or how would you interpret that, interpret this so we can all go forward positively? That’s the way I would see it.

[34:17] Lory: How, And for those who aren’t aware of these points, really, how is Binance supporting the blockchain, crypto and Web3 ecosystem in Ireland?

[34:25] Karl: Yeah, so we’ve been here about a year, year and a half. And we sponsored Blockchain Ireland Week.

[34:33] Lory: Thank you.

[34:33] Karl: Which we loved. It was such a positive week. It was a great location in Trinity. It was really collegiate and collaborative, super environment. We brought people over from the UK who were blown away by it. They loved it. It was such a positive experience. It’s a great week and we’re looking forward to it next year. Our CEO, Richard Teng, spoke at it. He spoke on the regulatory panel. I thought that was a really interesting discussion. So we’re kind of doing it on a high level there. We’re also doing it on trying to influence blockchain adoption at a grassroots level as well through our university outreach program. So we’ve spoken at five or six of the leading universities across Ireland in the last year. Where we have workshops and we speak with students about crypto fundamentals, the benefits, the risks, the challenges around crypto, why it came about. And those discussions have been, you know, quite robust. Just a good bit of academic interrogation of crypto. And we really enjoy that. So we’ll continue to do that. Both at a high level and at a grassroots level to just to bring crypto to a wider audience you know I think education is really important so people understand what it’s about um that that’s going to be our focus I think for next year.

[35:59] Lory: Question we ask each of our guests is a podcast that you listen to, that you love and that you would recommend to our listeners.

[36:06] Karl: Yeah well I’m a heavy podcast user. I spend many of my Saturdays on the side of a pitch watching kids football and podcasts get me through those, you know, those wet, miserable days. So I listen to a lot. But I think one that I’ve kind of binged at the moment is that the rest is history. It’s, you know, they’ve got a huge amount of contents. It can be very geeky, but it’s very, it’s geeky in a really amusing way. It definitely is some laugh out loud moments in there. And the reason why I think it kind of resonates with me is because like as Mark Twain said you know like history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes and I definitely feel like there’s a lot of repeats going on at the moment like we’re seeing you know, industrial evolution part two you know we move from factories to AI, we see huge amounts of migration that’s going to be challenging for societies. And we saw that in the history of United States and the problems that they had with migration. So it’s really interesting, it’s fun. There’s loads of content, so I listen to that a lot. And then I also listen to How i Built This. I think that’s very good it’s kind of the heroic journeys of start-ups, but you know crypto is still in the start-up phase so it’s very interesting to see, how other companies adopted and built successful businesses and met challenges I think that’s very good and then on a macro level I also listen to David McWilliams I think you know he’s very good and really on point some of the you know the global trends. He wouldn’t be the greatest fan of crypto but I think it’s important not to live in an echo chamber right so any sort of opposing views are always welcome. So there are three podcasts that get me through most weekends.

[37:54] Lory: Super, and then in terms of people wanting to follow you, wanting to follow Binance where are the best places to go.

[38:02] Karl: Well just in the main social media channels like you can go to our website there’s a lot of blogs there that are super interesting. There’s LinkedIn, X are good places to start. Yeah.

[38:17] Lory: Super. Well, thank you very much, Karl, for joining us today. Really appreciate it. I think there are three key things that I took away from the conversation today. Number one, the focus on the user and building user products that are easy to use. And we’re going to see a lot more from Binance in that regard. And I imagine others too. Number two, I think, is also in relation to regulation, an area we’ve discussed before on the podcast, but an area of increased focus this year with the markets and crypto assets regulation coming into force and also other regulations down the road. And thirdly, I think ultimately, the focus of adoption at a retail and at an institutional level. So a big thank you again to Carl for joining us from Binance. And we look forward to seeing and hearing from you on our next podcast. Till next time. Thank you.

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