Exclusive interview with Gracy Chen, CEO of Bitget exchange

Bitget is one of the leading centralized cryptocurrency exchanges globally. The platform continuously innovates and expands its services to meet user expectations and market trends. With over 800 cryptocurrency trading pairs available, the platform is led by Gracy Chen, who, unlike the divisive leaders of the past in the cryptocurrency world, possesses incredible professional experience and a remarkable vision. Thanks to this, Bitget has the potential to become the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform in the coming years.

In this interview, Gracy Chen provides insights into Bitget’s future plans and her own leadership philosophy, further strengthening the company’s position in the global market.

Let’s start with the beginning of your career. How did you first become acquainted with cryptocurrencies, and what was your initial impression? Did you see them solely as speculative assets, or did you perceive other value in them as well?

Around 2014, when I was still working at Phoenix TV, several close friends such as He Yi, the co-founder of Binance, and Tim Draper, the legendary investor in Silicon Valley, introduced me to the crypto industry. Right away, I got fascinated by the technology and the idea of financial inclusion, so I started investing in major coins like BTC, ETH, and XRP. After dipping my toes into the fascinating world of digital assets, I became an early investor in Bitget Wallet (ex-Bitkeep) and decided to join Bitget as Managing Director in 2022. After 2 years working with the team and achieving great results – Bitget has now ascended to become a top 5 futures trading platform and a top 10 spot trading platform – I recently got appointed as CEO.

Regarding if cryptocurrencies are speculative assets or assets with value. I believe it has both. Traders view crypto assets as highly volatile, influenced by market sentiment, and largely lacking clear regulation in most countries, leading investors to “bet” on their future value.

On the other hand, cryptocurrencies also possess unique value. For instance, Bitcoin is considered digital gold, with decentralization and security. Ethereum offers innovative financial services through smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi). These characteristics lead long-term holders to believe that cryptocurrencies have the potential to become valuable assets in the future.

As a female leader, it can be incredibly challenging, especially in the tech industry. What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career path similar to yours, particularly in the cryptocurrency industry?

Being the leader of a team like ours is a great responsibility. For me, it’s important to be able to manage it taking into account their needs and at the same time empowering their ideas and skills. This is essential not only to establish stable and reliable communication channels between employees and managers, but also to continue to achieve our goals as a company.

For us as a company, it’s necessary to have diverse and inclusive teams that offer different ideas, opinions and points of view. While we are seeing more and more women in leadership roles and positions, there is still a long way to go before female participation in crypto companies can increase and strengthen over time.

My advice would be to not be afraid to enter the market. It is a male-dominated sector, but it is also an industry that seeks to create a more inclusive and democratic financial system, so there is a place for everybody. The difficulties should not discourage you but instead motivate you to make a difference and provide benefits to the space.  The blockchain technology is so vast and is applicable to so many areas that it offers loads of opportunities to create new businesses, grow and expand tremendously. Therefore, study, work, and do not hesitate to take responsibility, and it will pay off with success and recognition.

How would you describe your leadership style? How do you weigh decisions, and do you follow any specific philosophy or methodology?

I think I’m more of a visionary leader. In Bitget, I encourage especially 3 things as a leader

  • Vision Driven: Focus on our vision and mission where we empower the future of finance by ensuring secure, efficient and smart digital transactions.
  • Open communication: Encourage colleagues to establish simple and fresh relationships, firmly opposing all forms of upward public relations. Address problems directly at work; do not be overly kind or retaliatory.
  • Deliver Results: Every employee should be results-oriented and data-oriented. Obtaining results is our ultimate pursuit, and only then can we be worthy of our efforts. Managers can not rely on subjective judgment or personal preferences. They must establish a fair, impartial, objective and fair assessment and salary incentive system, and formulate corresponding mechanisms based on individual contributions and actual results to ensure that those who make outstanding contributions can receive more rewards.

What was your first impression when you joined Bitget? What makes it stand out in this rapidly evolving industry?

When I joined Bitget, my impressions were incredibly positive. Bitget’s commitment to innovation and its customer-centric approach were evident from the beginning. What truly made Bitget stand out to me was its robust technological infrastructure and the emphasis on security and users. The crypto industry is where trust and security are very important. Bitget’s proactive measures to safeguard user assets and data were particularly impressive. In 2022, Bitget launched a US $300 million Protection Fund with transparent wallet addresses and guarantee no withdrawal for 3 years. Moreover, the company’s vision of making digital assets more accessible and its continuous efforts to educate and engage with the community resonated with my values and professional aspirations.

As we discussed earlier, the cryptocurrency industry is extremely dynamic. How does Bitget plan to increase its market share, and why would you recommend its platform over other exchanges?

I believe the focus on transparency and user experience is fundamental to our strategy for increasing market share. We plan to achieve this by continuously enhancing our platform to meet the evolving needs of our users. Here’s how:

  • Being Transparent: We are proud to be the first exchange to release a Protection Fund Valuation Report. Launched in August 2022 with an initial value of $200M, our Protection Fund was increased to $300M in November 2022, accompanied by transparent wallet addresses and a guarantee of no withdrawals for three years. Additionally, we launched our Proof of Reserve (PoR) page in December 2022 and have committed to publishing the PoR report monthly. These efforts underscore our dedication to transparency, protecting investors, and enhancing asset transparency across the industry.
  • Enhanced User Experience: At Bitget, we invest heavily in UI and UX design to ensure our platform is intuitive, responsive, and user-friendly. Exceptional customer support is a cornerstone of our strategy, providing 24/7 multilingual assistance to address any issues or questions. This ensures a smooth and positive experience for all users on our platform.
  • Security and Compliance: Ensuring security is crucial for building trust. We employ advanced security measures, including robust IT systems, continuous monitoring, partnerships with top security vendors, and full lifecycle data encryption, to protect against hacks and theft. By emphasizing security and adhering to regulatory requirements, actively working on KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures and anti-money laundering efforts, Bitget aims to make cryptocurrency trading safe and compliant for all users, and adapting to new regional laws.
  • Innovative Products: We continuously develop and introduce new products and services to meet the diverse needs of our users. This includes advanced trading tools, a wide range of digital assets, and innovative financial products, offering more opportunities for users to grow their investments.

These points highlight Bitget’s advantages. Since our inception, we have been committed to providing insightful information and making crypto accessible to everyone. Our Bitget Academy offers daily market information and analysis, along with tutorials for beginners. Additionally, our Blockchain4Youth initiative organizes events to empower young minds with profound knowledge of crypto.

Bitget primarily operates in the Asian market. Why might the European market be interesting for the company?

The main reasons we value European market are:

  • According to Chainalysis’s 2023 Adoption Index, European users are among the global leaders in both DeFi usage and activity on centralized exchanges (CEX).
  • The EU generally maintains an open stance towards cryptocurrency regulation, providing a relatively stable and transparent regulatory environment.
  • The userbase is still rapidly growing, with significant increases in traffic to centralized exchanges from European users over the past year.
  • Centralized exchanges remain the primary platform for cryptocurrency trading among European users, with traffic data indicating they receive about ten times more visits than decentralized exchanges.

Cryptocurrency regulations are extremely multifaceted. How does Bitget manage different regulatory environments? What are the biggest challenges in adapting to these regulations?

Bitget takes a proactive approach to regulatory compliance as it expands its operations globally, continuously making efforts in areas such as KYC (Know Your Customer), anti-money laundering, and timely adaptation to new regional laws. Bitget has been exploring the licensing requirements and application processes in all target markets to ensure it gains the proper authorizations to operate legally. A specialized legal and compliance team monitors developments in cryptocurrency regulations around the world to keep Bitget apprised of the latest trends. This allows Bitget to stay ahead of regulatory changes and keep its practices compliant. Over the past two years, we have obtained two new AML registrations in Lithuania and Poland. Currently, more licensing projects are underway, and we expect to share more positive developments this year.

In the coming years, the regulatory systems and laws for cryptocurrencies in various regions will become more refined, but achieving consistency across regions will still be very difficult. Cryptocurrency companies will need to adopt different strategies in different regions, offer different products and services, and continuously adapt their localization strategies to accommodate new changes in each region.

The importance of ESG—Environmental, Social, and Governance—factors has significantly increased for companies in recent years. How does Bitget contribute to sustainability and social responsibility? Are there any special programs or initiatives you are particularly proud of?

Since the very beginning, we have been committed to provide insightful information and to make crypto accessible to everyone. Indeed, we have the Bitget Academy which provides daily information and analysis on the market, as well as tutorials for beginners. The Bitget Insights platform is a social hub where experts share their tips with the trading community. It was only natural that we start to scale the education initiatives with a much bigger project: the Blockchain4youth.

The Blockchain4youth, supported by a $10M fund, aims to create a blockchain future by empowering and inspiring younger generations to use Web3 and сrypto tools to create and engage in a decentralized space. It includes online blockchain courses, as well as a series of lectures in several universities worldwide. Within this program, some events are being organized to further empower young minds with the profound knowledge of crypto. Indeed, we held our first Crypto Experience Day last August, aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of the crypto industry and giving the opportunity to crypto newbies to meet experts and share their crypto journey.

Blockchain4Youth is meant to become a powerful role model promoter. The platform will also collaborate with other leading blockchain firms to incubate innovative projects by young entrepreneurs and host U30 (Under the age of 30) hackathons to identify the most promising ones.

Now we have started the Bitget COO apprentice program, which is one part of the Blockchain4youth. This program is designed to empower and nurture the upcoming cadre of crypto pioneers. We aim to immerse more people deeply into Web3.

As a leading figure at Bitget, what personal goals do you have, and what do you aim to achieve with the company?

I want to grow it into a top 3 in derivatives and top 5 in the spot market. For this, we focus on:

  • Token listing: Our coin listing strategy balances between being aggressive and maintaining quality, with the overall approach focused on seeking quality assets for our users.
  • Liquidity: Increase liquidity by building strong relationship with Market Makers.
  • Partnerships: Regional collaborations to drive up trading volume and user base

Above all, I think of running an exchange as running a marathon; our focus is on the track and the finish line, not being led by the pace of our competitors. The crypto race track continually introduces new hotspots, like the recent Bitcoin ecosystem and blockchain technologies such as ZK (Zero-knowledge) or TEE (Trusted Execution Environment). While I formulate long-term strategies, we’re also ready to adjust our direction promptly based on market dynamics.

How would you describe Bitget’s short-term and long-term goals? How do you see the future of cryptocurrencies; will they be able to play an indispensable role in the future of finance?

We will be focusing on 3 main goals this year:

  • Strengthening the Bitget Ecosystem: Beyond being a centralized exchange, Bitget is enriching its ecosystem through investments, following the launch of the Bitget Web3 Fund and EmpowerX Fund last year. This approach will remain a key long-term focus.
  • Linking Traditional Finance and Crypto: With spot crypto ETFs receiving approvals in major markets such as the US and Hong Kong, more institutions and retail users are expected to add crypto into their portfolios. We are committed to supporting this trend long-term.
  • Integrating Crypto into Daily Life: We launched the Bitget Card in late 2023, a crypto-backed credit card usable wherever Visa is accepted. This innovation helps make crypto a part of everyday life, beyond just an investment. And we are developing more services to support this integration.

In the next three to five years, I plan to bring Bitget to the top position and solidify our role as the leader. To achieve this, we will need to increase our user base and the quality of our services, while continuing to support and implement the highest security standards.

Regarding the future of cryptocurrencies, I believe we are currently in the process of mass adoption of the cryptocurrency. With BTC and ETH ETFs getting approval from the U.S. SEC, and future advancements like Lightning Network technology making crypto payments more convenient, along with the gradual clarification of crypto compliance policies in various countries, the crypto market is very likely to have a strong impact on the future of finance.

Gracy Chen, the CEO of Bitget, revealed key information about Bitget’s operations and future plans, demonstrating that her leadership mentality fully aligns with the company’s values. In the coming years, Bitget has the potential to become a prominent player in the crypto industry, with its focus on technology and transparency being essential for gaining the trust of market participants.