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World's top-ranked crypto venue added 240,000 users in hour
[TOKYO] The world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange keeps getting bigger.
Hong Kong-based Binance.com is adding "a couple of million" registered users every week, with 240,000 people signing up in just an hour on Wednesday, chief executive officer Zhao Changpeng said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Demand is so high that the company is limiting new customers, he said, though Binance may fully reopen in the coming weeks.
"We did not expect this kind of growth to be honest," Mr Zhao said from Tokyo on Thursday.
Binance was the world's most active crypto exchange over the past 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap.com, hosting US$6 billion worth of digital currency trades. The most popular asset was Tron, which accounted for 11 per cent of volume.
Mr Zhao said his average customer was male and aged 25-35, though Binance is "beginning to get a lot of interest from institutional investors."
Professional money has largely shunned the frenzy accompanying cryptocurrencies, with Warren Buffett becoming the latest name from the world of high finance to voice doubts, saying on Wednesday that "they will come to a bad ending." Mr Zhao said he was unfazed by the comments.
"Warren Buffett is a guy I truly respect from an investment point of view," he said. "But I do not think he understands cryptocurrencies at all. It is what it is. I still respect him in other parts of his expertise. But I think on cryptocurrencies he's making a big mistake."
Traffic on Binance has been so high that the company hits the limit of servers per account permitted by its cloud provider Amazon.com "every day", Mr Zhao said. Amazon Web Services is the world's biggest provider of cloud computing services, powering large companies such as Netflix.
"We have a guy whose full-time job is just requesting servers," he said. "Every day they say, 'OK, here are 200 more,' but we just ask for more." Representatives from Amazon didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.
Mr Zhao also said that his company is working to receive an exchange license from Japan's Financial Services Agency. The country passed comprehensive cryptocurrency regulation that included oversight of exchanges in April, and has issued 16 licenses to date.
"Japan is the most progressive country in the world in terms of regulations," he said.