How Top Exchange Maneuver Crypto Bull Market? - Gracy Chen | ATC #513

In this episode of Around The Coin, host Stephen Sargeant engages in a comprehensive discussion with Gracy Chen, the CEO of Bitget, and oversees the growth and expansion of global markets, strategy, execution, business, and corporate development of Bitget. She started her journey to the crypto world in 2014, being an investor in the early days of BitKeep, Asia’s leading decentralized wallet. Gracy was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2015. Gracy joined representatives from UN Member States, the UN, and social organizations to raise and discuss critical issues impacting gender equality and women’s rights at the 68th Commission in New York, addressing poverty and diversity problems and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

Host: Stephen Sargeant

Guest: Gracy Chen

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Episode Transcript

Stephen: This is Stephen Sargeant, host of Around The Coin podcast. We just had Gracy Chen on the podcast. She's the Managing Director of Bitget, large crypto exchange. We talked so much that I had to literally change my shirt because I was sweating.

We got into her previous work with unicorns and in the VR and augmented reality space as well as the metaverse industry. We go on to talk about cryptocurrency and the work that Bitget is doing for blockchain for youth. And Blockchain4Her to add more diversity to the conversation of Web3. And we go deep down into meme culture, meme coins, everything that you could think of in a crypto lens.

This is a really cool episode for those that are interested in crypto, entrepreneurship, but more importantly, all you tech listeners that want to know how to grow a unicorn. Gracy gives us a couple of different aspects of how, what it was like working with some of the best in the industry. Stay tuned and let me know what you think.

Stephen: Welcome to Around The Coin. I am your host, Stephen Sargeant. We're here with an amazing episode to speak to the managing director of Bitget, Gracy Chen. Gracy, how are you doing? Tell us a little bit about yourself, and I'm going to jump right into it.

Gracy: Sure. Hi, everyone. I'm Gracy Chen. So right now I'm a managing director at Bitget.

What I manage at the firm is mainly marketing and listing teams. So I joined the firm about two years ago, actually on the very first week of me joining Bitget, we had the lunar collapse and then 3AC, Celsus went down, later in the year FTX went burst, but for the past two years, I think most of the industry companies, including us although there are ups and downs, we just keep building.

So I'm very excited. To see right now we are in a bull market and Bitcoin has been, you know, hovering around 60K to seven, 73K, et cetera. And leading the listing team and marketing team for my company has been very, very rewarding and also challenging.

Stephen: Awesome. Do you feel like there's a bull market? Cause a lot of people are saying bull market. We don't see companies hiring like crazy. Some of the compliance consultancies are like, Okay, business is picked up. But that's just compared to last year when there was no business. Do you feel that the exchange, like, can you see the transaction volumes, the excitement, the customer service support, people asking how to, you know, sign up?

Do you notice certain trends internally that shows you that the market's picking up?

Gracy: I do think there's a bull market and I think this bull market started October ish last year in 2023. So when we see Bitcoin price increased from about 30k to right now standing at 63k today. So, so there's been, again, ups and downs and like a little bit spiraling up.

And that's what I mean by the, the, the, the bull market, but whether this is going to be, you know, crazily bullish, like hyped market, which I actually think the market we're observing now is more healthy. If you look at 2021 or 2020, the previous bull market that was. Again, a lot related to, you know, after the pandemic, lots of QE around the world, money has been inflowing into the capital market and, and cryptocurrency is just one of the smaller markets that's impacted a lot together coinciding with the Bitcoin halving and the market sentiment.

But right now, That, that, that was pretty crazy. Like you mentioned, like lots of companies have been expanding, hiring. Although I, I was just an investor in cryptocurrency at that time, I haven't started my job at Bitget. But I noticed that the hype was really different like this time. And I love, I love the fact that we're now much more, you know, rational in terms of hiring.

We pace ourselves much better, because if you look at the last cycle, one important lesson we learned is that when you grow too much or too hyped, later, you know, 2022, middle of the year, we see lots of exchanges Like high firing people or the bigger, many bigger ones, at least like 17 percent of the exchanges and not to say some other projects, VCs, et cetera.

So when you expand too much, you need to slow down. And even it's just not doing good to us. And right now I think we are in the bull market, but we're in a more rational bull market.

Stephen: I think that's a really great explanation, a more rational bull market. I think when you think bull market, you think like million dollar NFTs and people going crazy where I think, yeah, you're right.

We're not trying to hire, you know, we're not trying to triple or quadruple our companies. We are trying to be thoughtful about how we're going to approach this bull market before we go on a spending spree. And I think companies are still recovering from that 2022 era.

Talk to me about your early days.

Cause I know you just said you just started in crypto two years ago, working for crypto, you were investing, but you've been in tech. You've been around the VR landscape a little bit. Tell me a little bit about your past working in VR. Do you think you're a little too early in VR? Do you think there's You're seeing the way like crypto are picking up VR or AR augmented reality when it comes to these experiences that they're having on conferences now using NFTs and AR.

Talk to me about, you know, your work in this space.

Gracy: Yeah, so I I studied Applied Mathematics back in my university in Singapore, National University of Singapore. And after I graduated, I became a TV host, interviewing business leaders and some celebrities, including Tom Hiddleston and Michelle Yeoh. One of the business leaders that I interviewed at that time was Tim Draper.

So as we know, he is very bullish on crypto. He is one of the biggest Bitcoin holders, especially back in early days, like before mongox when, when burst. And he was one of the major creditors or losers in that in that hacking. But anyway, through him, I started to and a few other friends I started to look into cryptocurrency and did some little investment because I was just a fresh grad, only some, some, some new money that I was making.

And I put it into Bitcoin and Ethereum because after reading Bitcoin white paper, I find this decentralized peer to peer system is very interesting. And that was in 2015. And I think at that time, Bitcoin price was. Only 300, 500 ish.

Stephen: That's when I started. It was about 60, yeah, about that price. I remember those days. I remember a 10, 000 Bitcoin. Everyone's like, oh my god, I'll never reach 10, 000 back in those days.

Gracy: Totally. Yeah. And, and I, I just regret that I didn't have enough money or a lot of money to, to make more investment. If, if I did, I probably, you know, just lay down in the, in the beach right now, retired at my 30.

Anyway, so through Tim Draper and some other friends, I learned Bitcoin, but at that time I was just working on some web tool startups. So I founded, I co founded two companies since 2015 until Bitget. One on fintech, one on VR.

So back to your question I do think VR is, was very early. Like imagine I started doing it in 2018.

Also right, right in the, in the like the, the bear market of the world. There was a lot of hype in 2016 and 18. And then, sorry, 2016 and 17. At least in, in Asian market. At that time I was living in Beijing. So I, I think like timing the market or knowing, What is the industry really solving in terms of a problem, like a very solid problem, and you have a very solid solution.

That's one of the things that I learned through my VR startup journey, which I have to admit that it wasn't a success. It was a total failure. I put in some money. I put in all of my, my times, my years into And I kind of earned nothing other than lots of lessons.

But the previous company, which is a fintech company, was pretty successful.

Like, until today, it's still functioning. It serves more than a hundred, sorry, ten, more than ten billion people. It's a 10 billion, sorry, more than a hundred billion Chinese USD in terms of GMV. Like it's still functioning and still, it's a unicorn in China already. And I was just meeting my, at that time CEO, like my, my partner a few days ago here in Boston.

And we were chatting about like 10 years ago, how we started everything and, and what are the, You know, again, lessons learned. I think, I think learning from those startup journey brought me where I am today at Bitget and also largely shaped me as a leader and as a person.

Stephen: They always say your first business, you're never going to win on that first business, that's how you have to build, right?

You know, whenever it's successful on that first business maybe we could get a review from you. I saw that you had the MetaQuest and, you know, the VisionPros, like a few, A couple of months ago, everyone was wearing the Vision Pros. I don't see too many Instagram posts of people wearing the VR glasses.

What are your thoughts on that? Is it still too early? Are people, you know, craving to be outside and interacting versus the kind of virtual world that we're stuck in during the pandemic?

Gracy: I think it was still very early. There's a, there's a reason that it's called Vision Pro rather than, you know Apple Vision.

Cause the, the pro, first of all, it's very expensive. It cost me more than 3000 bucks to buy it. I think I can't remember cause I placed the order much like pretty early and I got my headset on the first week of it coming out. So very proud of that. I'm still, I still love VR and I still you know, love to explore different things on VR or in the, in the metaverse world.

But I do think it's still very far from going mainstream. Like, first of all, the price itself, it's not affordable to a lot of people. And then even if I had that. Wearing it doesn't make me feel very comfortable if I, especially if I wear it for a long time. And also content, I think content is a main thing with the, the VR ecosystem or, or VR, AR in general.

'cause this is like rolling a boat. One side, this is the technology. The other side is the the content. It has to go like technology, advanced a little bit, content, a little bit more technology and content. And right now what I see from the Vision Pro, the technology, the headset, the hardware itself is pretty good, except for being very expensive. But the content, there's so little good content in it.

Stephen: So you're just rowing in a circle, man. You're rowing in a circle.

Gracy: That's a good analogy that you came up with. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, you're, you're, you're very sharp.

Stephen: No, you're, that was a great analogy about technology and content. I'm a big content person. I have a media agency as well. So you're right though, there's not enough content there. Now let's, I want to touch on, you know, what was the landscape like?

Cause you were in Singapore, I think in 2015, you're building these, you know, Chinese based or Chinese servicing. Fintechs are reaching unicorn status. What was the ecosystem like in 2015 in Asia when it came to crypto? I know it was still very early in North America, but there were still a few people in the US, was it booming there a little bit more, were more people talking about it or was it about the same? It was still very new for everyone.

Gracy: 2015 in Asia I think crypto was very new. There were only centralized exchanges at that time. One is called OKCoin, one is called Huobi. Both of them still exist in another shape or, or like separate brands, but still very much connected with the original founders and a group of leaders except for Huobi now more.

Like change towards the HTX, I would say like immigrate to them. Like so I merged into them and, and, and, and, Okcoin is. It's known by OKX nowadays.

Stephen: Yeah, they rebranded yet.

Gracy: Yeah. But that, that was the only two exchanges that I know in, in 2015, 14. And actually one of the co-founders of Okcoin, which is her, who is the co-founder of Binance today.

She was my bridesmaid. So, yeah. So when I said I, I, I understand. I started to know. Bitcoin through a group of friends, including Tim Draper, there was He Yi as well. There was also Justin Sun. So, so this, these people who I came to know and who are also some very important leaders in the space.

And I also talked to them once in a while. Even if we work on different things or different exchanges, even like a little bit competitor, it doesn't matter. We were friends and we were, we were definitely much closer at that time. So my point is it's, it's a very small world in, in Asia, in, in crypto at that time.

And everything just kind of started to grow. HeYi actually gave me like half Bitcoin in 2015 for free.

Stephen: That's awesome.

Gracy: And I lost it.

Stephen: Of course, right?

Gracy: Heavy regret. Yeah. But yeah, like I was, I didn't care that much at that time because I bought some Bitcoin like already. But anyway, it's just so funny that, that like nowadays when that half Bitcoin worth 30, 000 and it means a lot.

And, and how that compare contrast with the old days, but the old days is really like the, the wild west world, which everyone is trying to figure out about, you know, regulation, about starting up companies, about, you know, investing in a space primary market, secondary market, et cetera, but it's such a wild west world at that time.

Stephen: You talked about FTX, you talked about the collapse, you talked about joining, you know, right before all of this happened. You probably had some maybe skeptical friends and family members like, Oh my god, what are you doing? You're getting into a crypto exchange. What would, what did you say to those people maybe back then to kind of reassure them that this is just kind of a cyclical pattern?

And don't worry, the industry is still going to be moved forward. And what would you say to those skeptics today that still say, you know, Bitcoin's a Ponzi scheme, etc, etc.

Gracy: Well, first of all, I think there is indeed Ponzi element in cryptocurrency. I have to say that cause the, you know, tokenomics design and Bitcoin price going up and down.

You buying my Bitcoin, I, I buying his Bitcoin. This is called Ponzi, like, like going up and down. Going this way, but Ponzi scheme and Ponzi scam is different. You know, a lot of things are designed in a Ponzi way. For example I would say, you know, US equity or pension fund you know, insurance, they are all Ponzi in certain ways.

But going, looking, looking at Bitcoin I, I also love the analogy of saying it's so called digital gold. If you. So, if you try to value gold, how, how are you, you know, supporting it being the largest market cap asset class in the world, even, you know, more expensive than Apple, stocks, et cetera because there's so much consensus among traditional financial industry, among countries who think, you know, Gold can store value, gold can be a representation of, you know, currency, there is an exchange rate between it and any other currency.

World's leading foreign exchange, you know, things like that. Like there is a consensus, but that, that is the gold is something that has emerged, you know, for the past hundred years. And and it's not our millennial thing. And I think digital gold. Bitcoin building more consensus, especially, you know, after, for example, SPOT ETF approved this year, January 10th in the U.S., and there are more traditional financial industry folks coming into the space. And that's, Becoming more and more interesting because there are more consensus as well. So I, I do think Bitcoin price will go up in the long run. And also even in the short run, maybe in the upcoming few months I do see it goes up from the current price. Again, no financial advice.

Stephen: No financial advice here, of course not. And if you mentioned gold, like really gold has value because people are willing to pay a certain amount for it. Just like Bitcoin, people think like, Oh, it's gold, gold. Well, gold only has value because we say it has value and because people are willing to pay, it has value.

Like, it's just like, if I have a rock and people value that rock, well, that is now the value of that rock. The same with crystals and everything else. So people saying that Bitcoin, oh, it's a big Ponzi scheme. Well, when you look at gold, like. What makes gold valuable is the fact that people are going to pay a certain amount for it.

And there's other than that, there's nothing else. Somebody said, Hey, this is cool. This is shiny. This is going to be worth something. And we, as you said, as a consensus, we all agreed to that concept. But easily someone could say, Hey, this is worth nothing. And we would value it less, right? Just like Snapchat, Kylie Jenner comes on and says, you know, why are people still using Snapchat?

The value of the stock of that goes down just based on one person's perception. And the consensus of everyone either agreeing or disagreeing with her. So I think you build up something, you know, quite amazing.

Talk to me about, you know, why do you invest in crypto? Like, why do you think some of these are use cases?

What are some of the use cases? You know, you're, you're residing right now in the US for a bit. You've been in Asia, where do you see the big use cases for crypto based on, you know, the different jurisdictions that you've been traveling in?

Gracy: Use cases. I, right now I think it's still financial industry like trading speculation, investment, et cetera.

Also not just trading itself, but also, you know, lending NFT trading, et cetera. So again, I think right now cryptocurrency, lot, lots of applications in financial industry. But another thing that I see if I'm going to bet on one sector that is more on the application basis I will say AI and DePIN.

So I'm actually, I have actually invested in quite a lot of DePIN projects in the space. And and I, and we all know like how AI has been shaping our world. You know, the, the whole chat, GPT, gene AI thing, in 2000, I think it started in 2022, yeah, September ish when the demand of AI continued to grow and has shaped how we write an article, how we do research, how we brainstorm ideas, et cetera.

And I want to see AI transforming many other sectors, including crypto, and how it can be a part of that. You know, particular important technology for the upcoming 10 years, at least. And I also want to, you know, invest and see more projects that is building on this long term narrative that will shape the future of not just cryptocurrency, but also technology and business in general, and also living in, in, at MIT and having a good connection and network here.

I think it's, it's very important. So one day I was. I was walking with a friend with his dog, which is a rubber dog at MIT. And that, that, that friend is in a PhD or a postdoc AI. So I keep asking friends like him and some other professors I have at MIT, you know, what's really happening. Sam Allman also came to MIT.

Two weeks ago. And I didn't, when I didn't go to that session because I was working on another homework that I have. But I did look at the recording later. And all these, you know, great leaders who are pushing the boundary or the frontiers in AI and in blockchain in general. I think that's something I'm very excited about.

Stephen: That's so cool. A robot dog. That is amazing.

How do you balance school? You talked about homework. How are you balancing a full time job in school for a lot of people that want to get more educated on these subjects and go back to school, but they have a full time job? How are you balancing it? And any advice that you have for anyone else that kind of wants to take a similar path as you?

Gracy: First of all, I would say Bitget is still the main thing. I definitely spend more time on company than on school. But I'm a lifelong learner. And I think even even if I'm not in the school, I'll keep learning. And learning from credited or credential kind of trustworthy materials is very important and in terms of balancing, I don't think there's balancing, there's only giving up.

So, for example, for myself, we chatted about family arrangement and, and, you know, me being a mother I actually gave up All the time that I can spend with my kid, at least now, so that I can be more focused on work and, and MIT. Yeah. So that's, that's something a bit challenging because they, they don't live my, my, my, my son doesn't live with me now.

My parents are helping me taking care of him. That's something I'm giving up, but yeah, it's, it's hard, but you need to know your priority and you definitely need to give up things if you want more.

Stephen: That's awesome, and that's a, you know, very challenging sacrifice you made.

Talking about Bitget, you just celebrated six years.

How have you been navigating, you know, starting out? Like, how have you been able to navigate? I know you've only been there for two years. How's BigApp been able to navigate, you know, bull markets, bear markets, especially because they've been condensed over the last six years. I feel like we've had a couple of each and still be like a top 10, top 15 crypto exchange around the world.

Gracy: Mm hmm. Yeah. So first of all, we think Running an exchange is like running a marathon. It's not about how, it's not just about how fast you grow, like how fast you run. It's more about how long you can last and how trustworthy you are as a player in this industry. So we don't look for a short term gain or a short term you know, expansion.

We, we think this is a long game and staying in the industry. Keep building keep hiring and keep buying valuable assets, hopefully undervalued you know, assets, meaning at a discount. That's the thing we've, we keep doing in the bull, in the bear market. So like I said, when I joined the firm, we kind of right away entered the bear market and until probably half a year ago, we started to, you know, come up a little bit as an industry, but for the first one and a half years, which is very much in the bear market, what Bitget's, like Bitget's secret sauce is just to build product innovation to serve our customers better.

For example, we establish protection fund. Very early in 2022, earlier than FTX collapse. And then after that, we published our proof reserve. We increased our protection fund. We had lots of more security checks in our system and, and, and on chain data, et cetera, we came up with strategy to purchase some assets and also to grow our market, especially the spot market, which is the Right now, very much my focus like how to how to onboard the best projects in terms of listing in order to have our users be able to capture the, the wealth effect on exchanges also being able to trade.

Some good quality projects and that's something I'm very focused on, but I think there's no secret sauce. I guess the only secret sauce is just keep building and run the marathon for the long way.

Stephen: You know, but it's interesting when you, you know, when you talk about marathon runners, nobody really knows who a good marathon runner is, right?

They know who won the hundred meters. They know the flashy people when it comes to sports.

And I think Bitget very similar, right? You don't hear about Bitget when it comes to negative reputational things. I've never heard of Bitget involved in anything negative in the industry, but then what are your thoughts on, but you also don't hear Bitget in, you know, some of the huge conversations because you're not doing anything flashy and getting that attention.

How do you, I know you talked about they're not balanced. How do you balance both? Because you are building, not getting in trouble, but then you're also maybe not getting that extra awareness that some of the other exchanges get, whether it's negative or positive publicity.

Gracy: Mm hmm. I think it's a style thing. The style that we chose, or probably we didn't even chose, we ended up being, is this, you know, not flashy person who just keep building, We'll Who trying to serve the user in the best way, rather than joining all the big conversations and to be very very hyped on social media, et cetera. That's not our style.

And we're okay with that. This is probably just like how a person is. The personality is something that you can't change. And you probably will feel bad about it. or if you're not you anymore, if you try to change. So I'm happy with where we are now and who we are as a person in terms of personality.

Because the key thing about this business, in my opinion, is just serve users and provide the best trading platform, provide the best marketplace rather than, Joining all the big fashion conversations. I mean, I'm probably the most public person in my, in my company and, and yet I, I'm not recognized on the street.

Stephen: That's a good thing. That's probably a good thing. I haven't met anyone that is recognized on the street that isn't facing some kind of penalty or, you know, some kind of inroads with law enforcement or regulators.

But you talked about your main focus is listing, making sure that customers get maybe access to some of these tokens.

How do you we're going to talk all about balance. I don't know why today. How do you balance like making sure customers get access to some of these tokens and, you know, the volatility of some of these tokens, the pump and dump schemes of some of these tokens and NFTs? How do you make sure your customers are getting access, but also protecting them from not getting taken advantage of, of these hype cycles or frauds?

You know, cartoon frogs and cartoon dogs. How do you balance that?

Gracy: Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. So, so when I, when I came up, or, or not just me, like when, when we came up with the strategic the, the listing strategy we, you, you're right, like the, the balance is the core thing. So the principle that guided our listing is a lot about number one, identify assets with growth potential, and then maintain the agility in listing popular assets quickly, and also offering a comprehensive range of options to our users.

How do we do that? So, growth potential, we look at a lot of on chain data and a lot of decentralized exchanges, trading activities. So when there is some short term price appreciation and some sustainable growth driven by robust, robustic foundations or fundamentals. Those are our favorite. Asset classes, like we want to make sure our users have access to those assets that offer them opportunities for profit, for growth. And also in terms of the timely listing we actually don't have a lot of listing manager. I know some other exchanges, they have probably 50 listing managers. In our team, in my team, there are only 10, study more than 10 of us.

But we are very fast in terms of approaching good quality projects, and we want to remain or strive to become the the first platform, one of the first platforms to list promising assets and even Before some other centralized exchange doing so let me give you an example. So 2023, before the Arbitron started their token listing, we actually have observed a lot of need or a lot of activity, a lot of trading needs.

For Arbitrum and Arbitrum Ecosystem. So what we did at that time, even before Arbitrum launched its own token, was we talked, our listing manager talked to many Arbitrum Ecosystem tokens, including GMX which takes about 80 percent of their on chain volume at that time. So that our users, and we listed the ecosystem tokens, et cetera.

Yeah. And also, right, right now exchanges have another product called Pre-Market. Even before they were listing formally it can be traded on the OTC market over the counter pre-market. So that's another thing that we, we were doing we, we are doing in terms of capturing, capturing the growth before many other players.

And so that our users can have this wealth effect where they can. Be a little bit ahead of the market.

Stephen: And that makes a lot of sense because you're not getting caught up in the hype. You've already discussed it with the team. You've already been analyzing, you know, the growth of the ecosystem.

You've already started working with some of the ecosystem players. So by the time the hype cycle, you've already been well invested in the community versus, I would say, a lot of other exchanges that just wait for it to hit Forbes or, you know, TikTok. And then they rush out to get it listed. You've already done the foundational groundwork.

And probably more importantly, you've built the relationships with a lot of the ecosystem players so that your community already knows the ecosystem before the hype even gets, you know, before that hype. That's super interesting. How do you think about listing now? Is that more so you are more proactive?

Because I feel like, you know, anyone listening to this that has a token needs them to get listed on an exchange, obviously, to get that value out of them. Yeah. Do you look at things like blockchain analytic tools like the Chainalysis of the World or Elliptics to see if their actual blockchain can be investigated or, you know, some kind of risk management can be assessed or, you know, for a lot of these before you list them or is that not part of the procedure?

Gracy: Yes, we do. So in my listing team, it's not just listing managers who are more like the point of contact or more like a, like a, like a sales or a BD person. Another portion, another big portion of our listing team is like the brain, which is, which we call a research team. So for each project that is listed on Bitget, we have done research on it.

My, my research team has been is, is compromised sorry, is composed with a lot of researchers who, who even have, you know, CFA certificate sophisticated financial and technological researchers. And the the tools that we, that, that, that you mentioned, we use many of them. For example, drawn analytics, chain analysis and some certain other websites in order to determine For example, the website visit of that project, the on chain data, how many wallets are holding it.

We even look at the wallet addresses to see if they are, they have certain patterns and those are like fake ones, or if they are real ones.

Stephen: Like have they been involved in other projects before this, more reputable projects? That's a really interesting thing.

I want to make sure we have time to talk about the initiatives of Bitget.

You, you know, the blockchain for youth, the Blockchain4Her. Tell me, and you've been part of discussions with the UN, talk to me about like, where do you feel we are right now when it comes to diversity and involving youth into Web3, and where do we need to be three to five years from now?

Gracy: Yeah, Blockchain4Her and Blockchain4Youth projects are two so called CSR projects that we initiated.

One is targeting youth. Education, innovation, empowerment of the, of the young generation and we want to bring the appeal of blockchain technology to young people worldwide. So I think as of yet no, last year we have reached over 6, 000 participants through 54 lectures and workshops around the world, from Asia to South America, et cetera.

And and then Blockchain4Her is another project that I initiated this year in, I think, Davos in in the Europe, where we want to commit 10 million. USD to the, the Blockchain4Her project, which we can empower women and promote gender diversity in Web3. As you can imagine this is a topic that is very dear to my heart because I'm one of the leaders and very few female leaders.

And I observe this pattern a lot around the world, like. There are much more male leaders than female leaders in cryptocurrency industry, which I want to, you know, make a difference and hopefully educate and empower more women to join our space as high level investors, as partners, and as project founders or co-founders, and also as like, you know, just investors.

Normal investors or traders in the space. So that's those are the two projects that we are very committed to, and we will continue building. So I'm happy to share more results about Blockchain4Her in the future, because right now it's only launched a couple of months. I'm still in the initial stage.

Of meeting more partners in order to build it more concrete. For example, when I went to, you mentioned UN, United Nation. So I went to the UN national, sorry annual women's meeting this March, early March, cause it's 8th March International Women's Day. And right after that, we had the meeting in New York and I got to met, meet a lot of female leaders.

And also male leaders who are building something in the space. And we've been discussing on some initiatives, for example, sponsoring an African based NGO in order to help their their community, which is full of women of color in order to learn more, to become more financially literate and to, to know, to gain more knowledge.

But again, this is still in the early stage of discussion and I want to share more in the future when we have concrete results.

Stephen: I know we'll definitely have you back within the year to share maybe at the end of the year. Maybe you can give us some predictions because I know you were on the media the other day giving predictions.


What do you think the issue is? Because we saw recently in tech a conference, you know, creating fake AI avatars of women speakers. To try and maybe fool people that are a little bit more diversity conscious. You know, Association for Women in Crypto, which, you know, I'm a proud sponsor of and supporter of we joined the Unmannel Your Panel.

Basically, I won't speak on a full male panel. And I had a situation just like in Dubai, where they had three men. And I said, Hey, can we have another woman on the panel or else I won't be able to speak. And they were more than accommodating. But we're still hearing whispers of, you know, conferences in Dubai and other places where they're saying, you know, it's all male, nothing we can do.

What are your thoughts on that? How can we get a more women's speakers up there? And what pressure can Bitget? Cause you are sponsoring some of these events, put on maybe some of these conference organizers, but you're not. To be a little bit more diverse, otherwise, you will pull your support to maybe other conferences that are focused on that.

Gracy: Yeah I did notice that although it's not a formal rule that we established, but I did notice that all the conferences that we ended up sponsoring do have female leaders. And not just me, not just because you know, Gracy or Bitget is a sponsor, so let's have her. We, we love the, to be more involved in the more gender diversified conversations.

And even not, you know, the binary gender of male and female, you know, we support the pride community as well. So the whole thing about our industry the fact that everyone can work remotely, I think that's a great advantage for for gender diversification in terms of, you there are, you know, in the real world, indeed, socially people expect females to take care of kids more, which I think is not fair.

But even if you need to being able to have more flexibility in terms of where and when you work should be helpful and that. By nature, part of our industry elements and we want to promote that. And another thing is I think a lot of a lot of things are about mindset. Like some females may think they are not capable enough or they don't know the space or finance technology.

I just forgot. Look at me, I'm studying at MIT. It's considered as the most technology school in the world, but yet I'm a female and I. I know that for, for our community, it's actually very 50/50 in terms of gender ratio. And MIT surprised me. Lots of people thought, you know, at least..

Stephen: Tech bros, tech bros, MIT is for the tech bros, right?

Gracy: Yeah, tech bros, which is totally not true. So that, again, that's about mindset and we want to change that mindset.

Stephen: I love it.

How do you, like, allocate that 10 million dollars? That's a lot of money. Are you kind of putting that as like 10 million, hoping other companies will say, Okay, we'll match your 10 with a 2 or a 5 or a 10.

And then how do you deploy that? That's a massive amount of money. How do you figure out what communities, what initiatives you want to deploy that? Or do people have to maybe pitch or pledge to you that, Hey, I'm a community organizer. We'd love to support. We could use your funding because we're a not for profit. How does that work with the funding?

Gracy: Yeah, so right now we do look at them on a case by case scenario. So, for example, I'm talking to MIT Media Lab, Digital Currency Initiative head, Neha, she's another great woman leading the space. So we were talking about setting up scholarship for female specific research, or like for female researchers.

Under media lab that's one thing. And then, you know exact numbers. We, we can, we can discuss it. And we are also talking to very female oriented organizations like the African NGO that was talking about. So in terms of frameworks or, or how do we measure. We look at the impact, we look at what they have done, and we look at how the vision kind of overlaps between us and them.

So, so it's very case by case. But I wouldn't say, you know, we have 10 minutes. So just come up with a plan and try to capture the whole 10 minutes because we're not going to spend our money like that. So we, we probably will invest in a lot of, or support a lot of projects, be it school, scholarship, educational program, or NGOs and, you know, hackathons and investments, et cetera. I haven't come up with exact numbers, breakdown but, but in our opinion, or like my, my, my whole department, when we look at the blockchain for youth and Blockchain4Her program it's largely, Scattered on different sectors.

Stephen: And it looks like it comes from a place like it's very dear to your heart. You can see even when you talk about it, you light up a little bit. You make sure that you're including that in your bio to make sure people recognize this is very dear to your heart. We have about 5 10 minutes left. I looked at, you know, the website.

I see that you have your own Web3 wallet. What's your thought process? But I see more exchanges now are coming up with their own wallets. We see even Coinbase came out with their own blockchain. What are your thoughts about exchanges having these waltz? And did you see that there's a gap between You know, going to a third party wallet versus the exchange having their own wallets where they can continue that customer service, maybe even do fun airdrops or, you know, they're capturing more of the customer behavior than customers using those other wallets.

What are your thoughts around that?

Gracy: Yeah, I think, I think wallet is an important product or part of the ecosystem for exchanges. As you can see, OKEx, Binance, and us, we all have our, we each have our own wallet. And for Bitget, both the Bitget exchange, decentralized exchange, and the Bitget decentralized wallet have a wide range of functions on their own.

And they kind of complement each other. For example, there are certain there are much more altcoins on bigger wallet and there are much more like the launchpad, for example threshold on the two part are quite different, like centralized exchange, because we're serving much more like newer users who, you know, may be quite new to cryptocurrency.

So we set a higher bar. Well, the decentralized wallet is serving users who might be more professional traders in the space who can interact with decentralized wallet easier. Well, more like a MetaMask swap users, etcetera. They want a better experience, Big range of coins to trade and they want NFT access, they want to do SWAT, they want to do cross bridge, cross chain bridge, et cetera, transactions.

So it's much more sophisticated, but also higher range, but meanwhile, higher risk. So we want to make sure that. That this is quite clear to our users and for our different users, they, they, they, I hope that they know the difference between centralized exchange and decentralized exchange decentralized wallet, et cetera.

But I would say the projects are quite different. They complement each other and hopefully the duality of how they function allow both of us to capture more growth. In the whole ecosystem and contribute to the overall development of the bigger group and underscope our belief that the future lies in this cohesive relationship between sex and dex.

Stephen: And I think we're all in that web 2. 5. Like I know I'm not ready to have my whole life savings on a thumb drive and most people aren't ready to be their own bank. And you kind of serve as both. Like, hey, if you want to dabble into Web 3 and be completely decentralized, we can help you through that process.

But most people maybe want to dabble, but they don't want to spend their whole Similar to VR. It's fun to go there. It's fun to put the headset on. But you don't want to spend your whole day with that headset on. I think most Web 2 And Web3 users like to dabble, but they don't want to spend their whole day, you know, scared to click connect your wallet and lose all their funds as well.

I want to talk to you before I let you go. You've invested and worked with unicorn companies. You shared before the session that, you know, that symbol of unicorn. What do you say for many of the entrepreneurs that listen to this show or maybe even small business owners? Any advice that you can give for them, what has been helpful for you in building such great successes.

Gracy: So startup, let me see, I think first of all, having the right people, right team is very important, especially from a leadership point of view, have a female leader have a, a team that compliment each other and trust each other. For example, I, I, cause I, I told you that I just met my first CEO. Also my first part, like the, the working partner in who we work together and, and, and started this company in 2015 a couple of, actually the day before yesterday, so just like two days ago and, and my friend visited Boston, so, and we chatted like in the early days, he mentioned he When he started the company, he wanted a female partner.

He wanted a female co founder, but I also ended up being the only female partner in his team. First of all, I was a CMO. So we have CEO, CTO, CMO, who are the only three C suites. Well, obviously all three of us are partners, but there are also seven other, you know, product, product seven other partners who look after product, look after financial instruments, look after.

Different things. And there were 10 of us. Still, I was the only female partner. And also when I left the company, he had another female partner. So, so that kind of says something like he wanted a, a female partner who, in his opinion, increased the gender diversity. But it seems that still not enough, you know, one out of 10 is a very small share of the group.

Again, I think. It's better. One is better than zero. But in terms of building a team, you want to make sure you have female partner and you have a team that is that is like each person is good at what they do but they also trust each other. And we have a lot of team bonding. We even went to, you know, walk in the desert for like 20, 30 minutes.

kilometers as, as a team bonding activity, which I think is very cool.

Stephen: Yeah. Sweating and almost dying together is usually a great way to bond a team. Is there any projects or any cool features or any excitement within Big Cat or even in the ecosystem? It doesn't even have to be web three, like things that you're seeing your friends building in VR.

Is there anything that you're keeping your eye on that you're excited for in 2024?

Gracy: Mm hmm. So in about a few weeks later, you will hear us. We are also announcing something that we built on the Telegram ecosystem, which I think is interesting. So, so TGBot trading is something that has been popular since I think last year.

And and we are also, you know, announcing our development there. And then for the AI part we, we have like AIBot. Prediction which, well, users have to use it with cautious because, because those are AI, AI are built a lot on past data historical data, which may not be exactly correct, but, you know, this is financial Just like some, some, some data point that can support your analysis.

But DYO, DYOR, do your own research is very important in our space. But I think the bot, the AI is quite, is something that we've been looking into a lot recently. And then for Bitget, I guess from a strategic point of view this year we look a lot into Web3, which, which actually promised to build more on the Web3 ecosystem, meaning the decentralized wallet, et cetera especially on BiggerWallet, and we, we kind of have been halfway through the promise and fulfilled that promise, like BiggerWallet also had a big One of the biggest airdrops in the world.

BWB, which is their coin that's going to be also listed soon on exchanges. So these are some Web3. And also Big Air Wallet, I think there was a few days that the swap activities on bigger wallet is even bigger than MetaMask swaps. So there's, has been some meaningful growth in our ecosystem Web3.

And then compliance. I think that's another thing that the whole industry is being, has been waiting for, has been looking into hopefully the US system, financial system or financial regulators can give us more clarity about the regulations, about the frameworks, about whether. Ethereum is a, is a security or not, whether Ethereum's SPOT ETF will be approved or not, which I personally think it may not happen.

I mean, the SPOT ETF of Ethereum may not be approved by SEC. Let's see. Yeah, I think they will have a result coming out in a, in a few weeks.

Stephen: Well, we have to fight through the courts to get the, the SPOT Bitcoin ETF. So we might have to do the same here in Ethereum. Just before I let you go.

What do you think about meme culture right now?

Meme coins are going crazy. You know, you're in the U. S. studying. You're based in Asia regularly. The two biggest, I think, meme cultures around the world. What are your thoughts on meme coins right now? Your customers must be loving it.

Gracy: Yeah, we do have some customers who are very fascinated by meme cultures.

And for me, I, I'm not a big meme coin buyer less than 5 percent of my crypto portfolio is in meme, probably less than 2%. I don't know. I've never calculated. I just bought some meme coins for fun. But, but for mem I think it's an important culture or community element, like very DJing in crypto, if you're a crypto user, you, you want to make sure that you have like a few percentage in the DJing culture, be it you know, a game that you, you love a, a mem culture, NFT that you you feel belong to.

I think that's, that's, that's, that's how I view it. So it's part of our culture. I'm not a big fan, but I know not lots of users love it. And when, when it goes to investment, I would highly suggest any rational cryptocurrency investor to Try to, you know, limit your MIM exposure in 5%. But I also do think those investors or traders who can who can earn money based on the hype of MIM is quite amazing because it's a lot about emotions.

And, and it's really hard to, you know, I'm again, it's more, I'm too rational. I'm, I'm not from MIT. I do my math a lot and my, my analytics. That way, I look at concrete data and fundamentals, but meme doesn't help.

Stephen: No emotion, eh? You're just like, nah, this is too much emotion. Too many people sweating and using emojis for you.

Where can people find you, Gracy, if they want to chat with you? I know a lot of people are, I want to talk about this more on my own socials. But where can people find and get connected with you once this podcast is launched?

Gracy: Sure. Thank you. So I can be easily found on Twitter and LinkedIn. I think Twitter is the best way because I post much more than on Twitter than on my LinkedIn.

And my Twitter handle is @GracyBitget, G R A C Y B I T G E T.

Stephen: Thank you so much. This has been an amazing conversation and we covered everything from Mean Coins to VR and everything in between. Thank you so much for joining us today on Around The Coin.

Gracy: Thank you, Stephen.