As the CEO and co-founder of QUOINE – a blockchain-based company that provides trading, exchange and next generation financial services – Mike Kayamori believes that the next decade will be the golden age for FinTech and through collaboration, FinTech companies can provide financial services to all.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m the CEO and co-founder of QUOINE, a leading FinTech company that provides trading, exchange, and next generation financial services powered by blockchain technology. My career has spanned over 20 years across roles in business, management and investments within the technology and telecommunication sectors in Softbank, Globespan Capital Partners, and Mitsubishi Corp. I graduated from the University of Tokyo with a Bachelor of Law and completed an MBA at Harvard Business School.
What is your business venture about?
Our current product is a cryptocurrency exchange called QUOINEX, which became one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world by transaction volume. QUOINEX offers powerful trading features, a sophisticated user dashboard, with strict regulatory compliance to individual and corporate customers. We aim to help provide liquidity by enabling secure trading and safe transfer of digital assets on our exchange, making financial services safer and more efficient.
QUOINEX provides trading services for Bitcoin/Ethereum and fiat currency pairs in Japanese yen, US dollar, Euro, HK dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Singapore dollar, Philippine peso, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, and Chinese Renminbi. To date, QUOINEX has exceeded USD12 billion in transaction volume since its launch in June 2014.
What is your mission at the outset?
QUOINE aims to enable financial inclusion in the growing middle class and the underbanked markets in Asia and the rest of the world
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Finance has always been an industry with many synergies with technology, in particular blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is a practical application of blockchain as a digital asset. The opportunity is especially large in Japan, where you can pay your utilities bill with Bitcoin.
When I met Mario, my co-founder and CTO (who was the ex-CTO of Merrill Lynch Japan and Credit Suisse Japan for Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities), both of us recognized the immense potential and opportunity brought about by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The opportunity increases when payment companies enter into this space, and merchants and consumers begin exchanging bitcoin transactions into fiat currencies or other altcoins.
We need to look at this from a long-term perspective as the market is still nascent. There is still a lot of systematic risk, but the market will grow and mature over time.
What is unique about your business?
We have a developed the world’s most advanced trading platform, powered by a superior matching engine for QUOINEX, capable of processing close to one million transactions per second.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
QUOINE’s customers are global, and we serve both the B2B through turnkey, white-label trading platform solutions and the B2C market with our trading platform QUOINEX.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
We are in the business of ensuring that our customers’ assets are always protected with the highest standards of security. That is why we are committed to being the first regulated exchange in Japan under the Financial Services Authority.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Entrepreneurship is not a profession but a lifestyle. It is an extremely lonely, brutal path because you’re going against the status quo. Entrepreneurship is about thinking outside the box, having the right people around you and focusing on growth. Find a great co-founder who has complementary skills. It will make a huge difference. Make sure that the unit economics of your business model work.
Always think big. The opportunities out there and the potential to build great businesses are limitless.
Do you have any final thoughts?
The next decade will be the golden age for FinTech. The beauty of FinTech startups is that everyone is willing to collaborate. Together, we can provide financial services to all.
Who is your biggest inspiration or drive to do what you are doing?
My mother who has raised me as a single parent, and Masa Son (co-founder and CEO of SoftBank Group).
What’s next for you and for QUOINE?
Our next product to be launched is QRYPTOS, a cryptocurrency-only exchange that list the top 10 altcoins by market cap of under USD500m.
Concurrently, we are developing other financial products/services using blockchain technology on a common database, similar to a Platform as a Service (PaaS). We are committed to enabling the positive social impact that public blockchain will bring with instantaneous, secure, and extremely cost efficient flow of digital assets, just like how the internet has transformed the way we share information today.
Hock Lai has 18 years of experience in the financial industry, having performed roles in both business and technology. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (Real Estate), Nanyang Technological University (Infocomm Technology) and Nanyang Polytechnic (Fund Management & Administration).
He is also a Fellow of the Singapore University of Social Science, advisor to FinTech Startups and mentor to student FinTech projects.
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