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In this interview with our Head of Blockchain Strategy Kelvin Ting, he explains why due diligence is so important when deciding which coins to list, as well as the reasons behind our philosophy of quality over quantity. He also talks us through EQUOS' meticulous coin listing process that ensures the highest standards are met and only the most trusted, fair, and innovative coins are available on our exchange.
As the team-lead on researching available coins in the market, as well as identifying business opportunities that industry developments bring, it would be hard to find a person more qualified than Kelvin. He studied double Bachelor degrees in Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and Engineering (Hons) at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and first "got into crypto," in 2016, "because I had a boss who was really into Bitcoin (BTC)," he laughs.
Working as a quantitative backend developer at Deriv.com, an options trading platform, Kelvin built a Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) withdrawal system for the company from the ground up, before going on to work as a Blockchain Engineer at Crypto.com, where he put his skills to similar use.
"I did the same thing there," he says, "I built a deposits and withdrawals system as well. When I entered, everything was done manually and it could take up to three days for deposits to go into customer accounts. I built a scalable distributed deposit system that now has over 5 million users, and worked on their withdrawal system as well. As far as I know, that's still in use today, so I’m very happy about that," he says with a beaming smile.
Kelvin's enthusiasm is infectious and his technical skills are hard to beat. At crypto.com, he also spent much of his time auditing the smart contracts of tokens considered for listing. "There are a lot of things that can happen with smart contracts," he says, "so you have to be very careful."
Indeed, Kelvin would spend his days scouring lines of code, scanning, reading, checking for vulnerabilities, raising any issues – and solving them wherever possible at a coding level. It's this type of technical prowess and tenacity that caught Diginex's eye when seeking an experienced Head of Blockchain Strategy.
Kelvin, along with other members of a highly qualified internal team including the ex Listing Manager of Huobi, rigorously assess the quality and safety standards of any potential coins to be listed on EQUOS. "The team is very cross-functional," he says, "I'm the blockchain guy who's been looking at smart contracts for years, and we also have experts in financial markets. We do a 360° review on the coin from all angles."
EQUOS began by listing BTC and ETH spot and has gradually begun listing perpetual futures, and, this week, we're pleased to welcome Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and we will soon list Tether (USDT) "the Big Boys of crypto," Kelvin chuckles. "All the coins listing on EQUOS must stand up to our rigorous due diligence. We will never have hundreds of coins listed on the exchange because they have to meet very high standards."
"We analyze the top coins and evaluate them according to our strict criteria. We ask ourselves which coins would be of the most benefit to our customers, taking into account factors such as use case, robust technology, high-innovation, adoption rate, and decentralization, among other criteria. We conduct in-depth analysis of every coin in the list and choose the ones that are reputable, innovative, and secure."
The EQUOS listing team follows a set of objective internal criteria when evaluating coins, including the health of its source code, smart contract security, network security, the number of holders it has, its trading volume, legal status, levels of transparency, utility, and real-world applicability.
Kelvin also explains that one of the most important criteria for deciding whether to list a coin is its degree of decentralization, particularly when it comes to Proof of Work coins. "If they are overly centralized," he says, "they may be at risk of miners trying to attack the network to gain more than 50% of the hashing power [a 51% attack]. This is very dangerous, so of course, we want to avoid that, and we look at coins that have high decentralization, where it's very difficult to perform such an attack."
The team uses several third-party sources to check for node distribution. "Everything on the blockchain is publicly verifiable," Kelvin explains and he pulls up the Bitnodes website as an example. "Looking at Bitnodes, you can see the size of the Bitcoin network and the distribution of nodes being run globally. No more than 20% of nodes are distributed in any one country, which shows that Bitcoin has a high level of decentralization. We avoid coins that have too many nodes in one single country. This is considered a minus point for the coin."
"We are also looking at quality, so the coin's track record doesn’t have to be long. What’s more important is the amount of adoption or interest behind it. Take Polkadot's DOT token. It hasn't been on the market for long but it has a very real use case of blockchain cross-chain interaction, and high adoption."
"Of course, that's the initial process," he says, "it has to be ongoing in order to maintain compliance. We're currently setting up a monitoring pipeline to react and make changes quickly. So, if a blockchain has a hard fork, we will know as soon as the news comes out and decide what to do – whether to pause trading, update its classification, etc. And, as we've seen recently in the case of XRP, if there are changes in terms of legal status or an investigation surrounding a coin, then we would have to act."
EQUOS now lists a total of four popular coins for its customers to trade in the spot and perpetual futures markets, but can they expect to see more as the year unfolds? "We're looking very seriously at several major coins and conducting extensive analysis. We're also launching our own token EQUOS Origin (EQO) at the end of March, and we have many other plans in the pipeline… that I can't disclose just yet," Kelvin smiles.
He will say, though, that he's optimistic about onboarding between 15 to 20 coins over the coming year, "as the listing process and technical integration become smoother and more efficient." These will be initially available for trading on the spot markets and, "when the conditions are right, we will add them as futures as well."
It's going to be an exciting year ahead for EQUOS – and the cryptocurrency industry at large. With more and more quality projects available for our growing customer base, traders can have the confidence that all coins listed on our exchange uphold the highest levels of security, transparency, and compliance that have become synonymous with the Diginex name.
2021 was a year of record highs for the cryptocurrency industry, including an 81% hike in cyber crime.
Bitcoin has had a stellar 2021 so far, increasing 96% year-to-date (as of 2 Dec 2021). This performance is widely attributed to growing institutional adoption.
EQONEX CEO Richard Byworth believes that Singapore is on the cusp of being the crypto capital of Asia. He spoke on Nov. 16 with Haslinda Amin and Yvonne Man on "Bloomberg Markets: Asia."