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Interview with Paul Mak, CEO of Bonded.Finance

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Here is an Interview Investorsking  Had With Paul Mak, CEO of Bonded.Finance

There is hardly any other fintech industry that is growing as fast as the field of decentralized finance (DeFi). While many investors and fintech enthusiasts had never heard of DeFi at the beginning of the year, it now dominates the blockchain sector, with some projects reaching valuations north of $3 billion.

According to DefiPulse, a real-time data platform for DeFi investments, more than $10 billion is currently locked in various DeFi protocols.Some of the most popular DeFi use cases to date include decentralized borrowing and lending, derivatives, and yield farming. Today we spoke with an aspiring DeFi entrepreneur who wants to go one step further. With his project Bonded.Finance, Paul Mak wants to leverage a dormant, unused value of 50 billion dollars.

Here is what Mak has to say about his project and the future of decentralized finance.

What is Bonded.Finance and how does it fit into the Decentralized Finance space?

Bonded finance is a new lending protocol, innovating in the DeFi space by enhancing the versatility of smart contracts and how they manage and utilise digital assets. We construct and deploy experimental new instruments that enable us to harvest non-performing capital out of almost any digital asset and then put that capital to work in a lending environment. Once deployed these products operate autonomously free from central party authority.

Why is there a need for Bonded right now and what kind of people should be interested in it?

The crypto market is a paradox because it’s nascent and highly active with millions of micro-investors in a market that runs 24/7. To some degree this fosters innovation but the combination of immaturity and frenetic activity creates inefficiencies. Two inefficiencies are illiquidity and the breadth of distribution. Capital is spread across 700 exchanges and there are some 7000 projects vying for attention. With capital continually redistributing, start-ups are not garnering the support they need. Remember, in traditional markets early stage investments are not market-traded assets as young companies find their footing. This has been an ongoing problem and we see great projects lose value unfairly and get eviscerated by angry, abandoning communities. Bonded has identified some $50b in dormant capital sitting in altcoins, and by that I mean, the collective market cap of active projects with tokens that have earning potential. Our smart instruments enable us to harvest and repurpose that unused capital to offer benefits to longer-term investors, teams and even to reignite interest in projects that may have fallen off the radar. As for who should be interested in it—we think everyone in crypto frankly. Coin issuers have an easy way to enhance utility and we may have found a way to make HODLing sexy again. It is our hope that altcoin investors the world over will rejoice but we’ll settle for an active, fee generating network that provides stability and value to help offset the growing pains of our industry. For those with boots on the ground, this is great fit for farmers hunting returns as well as less savvy, plug and play investors seeking the highest sustainable yields in the space.

What is the current status of the platform’s development? Can you share a brief timeline of what’s ahead?

Sure thing. Our interface, which is the launchpad, is built and our first lending instruments are almost ready for testing. We anticipate the debut product due for release shortly after our public raise this month. DeFi moves so fast and as innovators, we will be pushing the envelope to rapidly evolve and deploy products that cater to the fast-moving demands of today’s users. Therefore, we plan on an aggressive rollout of products following our sale without sacrificing security. Tech aside, we have some fantastic partnerships to announce in the coming weeks, a large exchange listing and of course our IDO and liquidity event.

Our website is live and gives a rough estimate of anticipated development milestones.

Can you tell us more about your personal background and why you decided to launch Bonded?

I’m a seasoned investor/operator with over 15 years in the game. Precious metals, equities, property, angel investing and start-up capital; I’ve sort of done it all prior to crypto. Personally, I’m a Dad of two boys, still on the right side of 40 with an ailing back that keeps me honest. My work life has me predominantly between south east asia, (primarily Singapore and Indonesia) Australia and NZ.

As for why I launched Bonded, I like to think of it as the perfect storm. I’ve been operating a small family fund for 7 years, typically allocating capital to early stage companies. In 2017, I was exposed in crypto with a rather diverse portfolio. In 2018, the bear market really took hold and we started taking on water. Illiquidity was a glaring problem and we ended up holding a basket of assets that couldn’t be sold down at a reasonable price. I started considering alternative ways to accomplish this. The losses didn’t deter me but I was frustrated because I felt, even in the bear market, many teams navigated poorly and made avoidable mistakes. Since then, I’ve been eager to run my own ship in this space or at least invest with a stronger grip on the steering wheel. One of the projects we invested in was a DeFi solution, looking to change the way debt and credit is managed and monetised. I was fascinated by some of their ideas, particularly the concept of programmable debt instruments. The blockchain democratizes a number of industries but decentralizing finance is really mind-blowing to me. I’ve always loved the tech and ethos behind bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. The longer you’re in it and the more you learn, the deeper your convictions become and I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines as a passive investor any longer. I wanted to contribute something to the space that is sustainable and I think Bonded can accomplish that.

Many investors are comparing the current DeFi hype to the altcoin craze of 2017. What is your opinion on that?

There are definitely some shared elements but it is entirely different. Sure there’s irrational hype, scams and disregard for protocol but the similarities end there. DeFi isn’t exactly new. It is basically the original promise of bitcoin/crypto finally coming to fruition in a meaningful economic way. Sure, it’s volatile as true innovation, pre-internet took about twenty years on average. Here we have market cycles in microwaves, community creations and the internet itself promoting it. Things happen fast with incredibly short half-lives but the underlying principles of Defi are lasting and effectuating a change that’s been a couple hundred years in the making. The banks should have never owned us; we always should have owned the banks. ICOs were about the promise of a new world order for everything, a transposition of all things; some of which is fine, some of which is not ready. Defi is needed, has measurable value and current utility. Total value locked hit a billion in June I think and it took nearly two years to get there and despite a lot of hiccups, four months later, we’re at 10 billion. That’s not market caps with zero depth; that’s actual locked value.

Where do you see the DeFi space heading in the next 12 months?

Wall Street. Where else? Crypto is finally speaking the same language. The economics are simple to grasp, all we need now is 12 months of verifiable data and better accessibility. I will warn you that I’m an optimist so maybe it’s longer but that’s how I see it. The feedback loop is lightning fast in this space and the amount of capital and the velocity of that capital means we get huge amounts of data in such short time spans. 12 months of yield-generating investment vehicles, improved security and proven sustainability of the economic models and the yields become far too attractive to ignore. The better question may be: Assuming stability, at what stage would it become negligence for a fund to not have an allocation in this asset class?

Is there anything else you would like to add? Any closing thoughts?

Yes, definitely. First of all, thanks for having me and to everyone reading; Do not sleep on decentralised finance. Use it and learn it. Don’t let the volatility, rapidly cycling narratives or anything talk you out of this because this is, without doubt, the next decade of finance. Those armed with experience and knowledge will be at a significant advantage as investors, entrepreneurs and employees. Once you get under the hood, this stuff is genuinely fascinating and can pay dividends if you’ll pardon the pun. Also, any altcoin project looking to add some financial tools to help your community grow and invest with more conviction and flexibility, give us a call. In this turbulent marketplace, our solutions could really be the difference between success and failure.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigeria Imposes Record $10 Billion Fine on Binance Over Forex Impact

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The Nigerian government has levied a historic $10 billion fine against the cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance, citing its alleged role in the nation’s forex crisis.

The fine, which stands as the largest ever imposed by Nigeria on a single entity, comes amidst mounting concerns over the stability of the country’s currency and economy.

According to Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, Binance stands accused of engaging in illegal transactions that have significantly impacted Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

Onanuga asserted that Binance, despite lacking a physical presence or registration in Nigeria, facilitated illicit activities that led to substantial profits for the platform while causing immense losses for the nation.

The crux of the government’s allegations revolves around Binance’s alleged manipulation of exchange rates between the US dollar and the Nigerian naira.

Onanuga claimed that users on the platform were able to arbitrarily set exchange rates, a practice that contravenes Nigerian law and undermines the authority of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in regulating currency exchange.

The repercussions of Binance’s actions, as outlined by Onanuga, have been dire. The unregulated fixing of exchange rates purportedly contributed to a staggering 70% devaluation of the naira in recent months, exacerbating Nigeria’s already precarious economic situation.

In response to mounting pressure, Binance has ceased naira-related transactions on its platform and pledged cooperation with Nigerian authorities.

However, the government remains steadfast in its determination to hold the platform accountable for its alleged transgressions.

The imposition of the $10 billion fine underscores the severity of the situation and sends a clear message that Nigeria will not tolerate actions that jeopardize its economic stability.

The government’s move reflects its commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s financial systems and protecting the interests of its citizens.

As the controversy unfolds, questions linger regarding the broader implications for cryptocurrency regulation in Nigeria and the global fintech landscape.

With Binance facing unprecedented scrutiny and the forex crisis deepening, stakeholders await further developments that could reshape the trajectory of Nigeria’s economic future.

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Binance Disables Naira Feature to Halt Possible Capital Outflow

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Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, on Wednesday disabled the Naira pair on its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform shortly after Financial Times (FT) reported the arrest of two of the company’s executives.

The two executives reportedly flew into the country following the Federal Government’s decision to ban cryptocurrency exchanges to rein in speculation and curb currency manipulations.

However, the two were arrested by the authorities at the airport and their passports were confiscated pending investigation into Binance activities in Nigeria.

Binance which had sustained operations on its mobile application despite the ban imposed by the government on the organisation a week earlier and even released a statement to that effect suddenly disabled its Naira pair on Wednesday after FT broke the news of the arrest.

It should be recalled that Binance introduced the P2P service to beat the impact of sanctions on its operations after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restricted all financial institutions from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions in 2021.

This means that Binance disabled its Naira pair to curb capital outflow in the aftermath of the report and it is not in compliance with the Federal Government’s position as people are insinuating.

During the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference, Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor, CBN had heaped most of the woes of Nigeria’s currency on operations of Binance and other similar platforms.

According to him, a total of $26 billion was moved through Binance Nigeria in the last one year from both unknown sources and users.

He “We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities [crypto platforms] and suspicious flows at best. In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify”.

Therefore, the news of the arrest would have triggered an exodus outflow of capital to other cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Kucoin and dragged on Binance’s activity level at a time when activity was just picking up ahead of Bitcoin Halving and the subsequent bullish run.

Nigeria is by far the largest cryptocurrency market in Sub-Saharan Africa and between July 2022 and June 2023 received $60 billion in crypto value, according to Chainalysis.

“Nigeria is one of only six countries in the top 50 by size globally whose crypto transaction volume grew year-over-year in the time period we studied. Its growth rate of 9.0% places it third among those six.”

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Nigeria Detains Binance Executives in Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Speculation

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Nigeria has detained two senior executives of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, over currency exchange manipulation on the company’s platform.

The crackdown comes amidst escalating concerns over the rampant devaluation of the naira, which has propelled inflation to a nearly three-decade high of 29.9%.

The detained executives flew to Nigeria in response to the government’s recent ban on several cryptocurrency trading platforms, only to find themselves detained by the office of the national security adviser, who also confiscated their passports.

While Binance has remained tight-lipped about the incident, Nigerian authorities have intensified their scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges as they seek to stem illicit financial flows and establish control over the nation’s monetary policy.

Nigeria’s central bank governor, Olayemi Cardoso has raised concerns over the flow of funds through crypto exchanges, citing $26 billion passing through Binance Nigeria in the past year alone from unidentifiable sources and users.

The government’s aggressive stance has prompted demands for detailed user lists from Binance since its inception, indicating a broader investigation into cryptocurrency activities within the country.

This crackdown marks a significant setback for Binance, which has been attempting to overhaul its internal operations following a $4.3 billion penalty imposed by US authorities for money laundering and sanctions violations.

The detention of its executives underscores the challenges cryptocurrency exchanges face in navigating regulatory landscapes worldwide, particularly in emerging markets like Nigeria where authorities are grappling with economic instability and currency devaluation.

As Nigeria intensifies its efforts to attract foreign investment and revitalize its struggling economy, the clash between regulatory oversight and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies underscores the complexities and tensions inherent in the global financial system.

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