Interview with CEO of Changelly, Ilya Bere on Altcoin Magazine
Changelly — Supersonic crypto-to-crypto swaps at the best rates
Hey Ilya! Thank you so much for letting me interview you and Changelly on this wonderful day! Before we begin, can you please tell me who you are, and how you got into cryptocurrencies and blockchain?
Sure! It’s a pleasure, thank you for having me. Before going crypto, I graduated in Computer Science and worked for 10 years in Business Development and Delivery Management in the ICT sphere. I had various experience of managing products in the spheres of Mobile and Contactless Technologies, Payment and Loyalty Systems, Consumer Devices, Automotive, Education and Social Development. To say it’s been many experiences would be a very humble statement.
In the middle of 2017, a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in helping with the product development at Changelly, so I joined the team soon after that. I became COO with a huge focus on the product, so it was like being a Product Owner at the same time. By controlling the customer service quality, influencing the roadmap for the exchange service and by building relationships with a range of partners, I was setting the right direction for the company as a whole. The transition to CEO position was quite natural in my case even though I had to pick up a lot of other processes going on with the business.
So now, could you tell usa bit about Changelly? Imagine you had to give a 1-minute pitch.
Changelly is a non-custodial instant cryptocurrency exchange. We act as an intermediary between crypto exchanges and users, offering access to 130+ cryptocurrencies. The company was born with a mission to make exchange process effortless for everyone who wants to invest in cryptocurrency. We made everything for you to enjoy high exchange limits, fast transactions, and 24/7 live support.
We also offer tools such as API, a customizable payment widget, and payment buttons to any crypto service that wishes to broaden its audience and implement new exchange options. Another way to benefit from our service is the Affiliate program with a 50% revenue share mechanism.
Who are the founders and how did they get the idea of Changelly?
Our mission is to lower the entry barriers to the crypto world. The whole project started with the idea to come up with an easy-to-use exchange solution that is available for everybody who wants to invest in cryptocurrency.
The first Changelly prototype was created as a startup in 2013 by the team of MinerGate, a bitcoin mining pool. Later in 2014, Changelly was developed as an independent exchange service with a separate team which launched its beta version in late 2015.
And how do you compare yourself to other fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchanges?
It’s important to point out that our main service is crypto-to-crypto only so we can’t really compare ourselves to the F2C exchanges. All our fiat-to-crypto options are provided by our partners such as Simplex and Indacoin. Thanks to them, we can give our customer an opportunity to buy any digital asset listed on our platform for fiat (USD, EUR) but the whole buying is processed on a partner’s side. We thought that it would be a failure to our mission to exclude fiat-to-crypto on Changelly so this is how we made it happen.
What’s been the greatest challenge to overcome in the history of the company, and what’re some of the greatest achievements you’ve made recently?
Looking from 1.5-year experience in Changelly team, I would say that the most significant challenge was to ensure the highest level of product quality. We had to be on top of the situation all the time, competing with the other exchange services that sometimes couldn’t process the huge number of support tickets and answered customers in months, not even days or withheld their money for weeks. We had our ups and downs too but still succeeded on bringing truly instant exchange service: put more efforts into building and educating support and security teams, opened 24/7 live chat support, worked on improving the overall operability of our systems. That’s one of the greatest achievements as well.
Are you planning to expand the business with new products, and can we get some ideas of what it might be?
Absolutely! This time of the year is perfect for structuring and prioritizing ideas we’ve collected during 2018. We’re definitely going to expand the product line, these decisions are still being discussed. Anyway, we’ll be sticking by our mission and aiming to bring seamless user experience which has always been our keystone. Some guesses can be made about developing specialized services for stablecoins, altcoins, maybe additional fiat options.
Among the minor features, we’re going to implement the fixed rate option for making an exchange on our website http://changelly.com soon. As you might have noticed, we’ve always provided our service with the floating rate, showing an estimated price for a pair and warning that it can be different at the moment of a transaction due to the volatility. Currently, a few of our partners already enjoy using fixed rates along with our API, but we still need some time to finish the QA stage and bring this option on the website.
Are you actively looking for partnerships, and if yes, of what kind? Also, do you have any active partnerships or collaborations ongoing?
We’ve been looking for any partnership that can benefit the overall crypto & blockchain user experience whether it’s a wallet, exchange service, or promising tokens and coins. We’re coming into 2019 with around 300 partners such as Exodus, BRD, Ledger, Trezor, Edge, Coinpayments, Binance, Coinomi, Huobi Wallet and other well-known players in the crypto industry.
Since we’re working worldwide, we’d love to meet more partners who will help our growth in LATAM, Africa and Asia. Generally speaking, we’re looking for the strategic partners who can contribute to Changelly taking the leading place on the instant exchangers market.
Where do you think cryptocurrencies are heading, going into 2019 in terms of new developments?
Definitely, stablecoins and security tokens are ruling the news agenda in this industry. Just take the awaited Facebook stablecoin, it sounds like it’s going to be a tremendous B2C product that will provide a successful alternative to what the companies like TransferWise are offering.
I’m also expecting to see some new kind of ICO revival, “a light version” so to speak. You can’t believe that ICOs will die, can you? Projects will just have to find another way to raise money.
If you had to give props to one other cryptocurrency project, company or personality who really changed the game, who would it be and why?
The first person who came into my mind is Andreessen Horowitz — for his overall activity in the industry. It’s always exciting to see what’s new coming from Binance and CZ — the true blockchain worldwide movement leader. I’d also applause to Simplex, the company that helped so many people make their first step into the crypto world.
Where can we connect with Changelly or in other ways support your business?
Please follow us on Twitter, Medium, Telegram, Reddit, Facebook. You’re very welcome to express all your thoughts on what’s happening with Changelly. We love hearing back from our community and all crypto enthusiasts to make our service better.
Thank you for your time, Ilya, it’s been a great pleasure!
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