Navigating the complex realm of cryptocurrency, Rachel Conlan has recently stepped into her new role as Binance’s Chief Marketing Officer after joining the company as Vice President of Global Marketing.
With two decades of experience in marketing media under her belt, Conlan has traversed a gamut of sectors ranging from consumer packaged goods and luxury to the more regulated worlds of pharma and sports.
“So I’m a 20-year veteran,” Conlan noted, reflecting on her diverse journey and the unpredictable world of crypto,
“The best way to describe my transition to crypto is like a roller coaster. It’s ever-changing, it’s dynamic, it’s up and down.”
At Binance, Conlan is continuously adapting to the rapid pace of change, stating, “Every day, I feel like I’m getting a mini MBA in what’s next and how to transform.”
In the following exclusive interview with CryptoPotato during Token2049 in Singapore, the new Binance CMO shares with us what brought her to Binance, what are her current challenges (and there are a lot), and the million dollar question – is the Binance FUD regarding the regulatory issues justified? Spoiler – Conlan assures that in a few months, everything will turn out to be okay.
Every professional transition comes with its set of considerations, especially when moving to a behemoth like Binance. For Conlan, the decision was profoundly personal. “Purpose is missing from a lot of our lives,” she reflected, delving into the deep existential vacuum that many often grapple with. “But when you get an opportunity like this to be part of change, it’s compelling.”
It was her interaction with Binance’s co-founder, Yi He, that solidified her decision.
“It was impossible not to buy-in to what she wants to build,” Conlan added.
‘Crypto has Somewhat of a Reputation Issue’
Rising to Meet the Challenges: Binance’s Contemporary Landscape
Being at the helm of marketing for a global entity like Binance comes with its unique challenges. Conlan didn’t shy away from addressing the elephant in the room. “Crypto has somewhat of a reputation issue in the mainstream world,” she candidly admitted.
Addressing this challenge requires a multi-faceted approach, with education at its core. Conlan emphasized her commitment to this mission: “Because reputation, the challenges that we’re encountering, and the media FUD (“the Binance FUD”) that we encounter on a daily basis, the only way that’s going to be counteracted is through putting the right educational tools in the hands of our hardcore community. As a market leader, Binance is committed to educating and informing our users on crypto best practices, and it’s my job to ensure the education is distributed in the right way, at the right time, to the right people.”
Yet, the challenges aren’t solely reputational. The ever-evolving regulatory landscape has been a significant concern for many in the crypto sphere, with Binance often finding itself under the scanner:
According to Conlan:
Unfortunately, we know that countries aren’t the best at working together. So, we do that at a grassroots way. We do it country by country, individually. And Richard Teng, who’s our Head of Regional Markets and his team work hand-in-hand and are in constant contact with the regulators around the world to understand, advise on what the frameworks are that should be put in place once the framework is in place to ensure that we’re adopting them.”
When probed about the regulatory journey Binance has embarked on, Conlan’s response was emphatic:
“We’re still the most compliant exchange today.”
18 Regulatory Approvals and 90 Different Sets of Rules
She shed light on Binance’s proactive approach to these issues, stating, “We continue to work with the regulators to put better frameworks in place.” In a world where crypto’s legality and acceptance are still topics of hot debate, Binance’s dedication to ensuring compliance is not just commendable but essential.
Look, it’s not ideal. I have probably about 90 different sets of rules across different markets and different products, and it’s changing by the day, but that’s our obligation. And as our industry is still nascent, we’re going to have to navigate that over the next period in order to be able to come out of that on the other side in a way that sets us up for the next chapter. So, look, we are under a lot of scrutiny, but if I put where Binance was in 2018 versus where they are today, it’s extraordinary what journey we’ve gone on.
I think that we are in a stronger position than the market and media would say.
We are now approved in 18 countries. We just secured our license in Japan. We have exciting news happening across Asia. Our relationships are very strong with France, they’re building with other markets. Where there are changes, we adjust quickly.
The CZ Approach: Maintaining a Flat Organizational Structure
Our first interview with Binance was held with former CSO Gin Chao, during 2019. Chao emphasized about Binance as a flat organization, where CZ is reachable for almost anyone on the organization. But is it still like that in 2023?
“Yeah, of course. So, it’s definitely still a flat organization, which is extraordinary when we think we’re nearly at thousands of employees globally now,” Conlan noted. Highlighting her frequent interactions with Binance’s luminary, CZ, she shared, “We get to interact with CZ on a daily basis. He is very decisive around the times, it’s short, it’s meaningful.”
Speaking on the modus operandi of the leadership, especially CZ and Yi He, Conlan elucidated, “What I think is extraordinary about CZ and Yi, who I work very closely with, is their ability and their capacity, and their bandwidth to take a lot of information in, and to be able to understand how to make very quick decisions on what’s needed.”
CZ’s X’s (Twitter) Habits: Community Connected
Regarding the online buzz and CZ’s propensity to engage actively with various social X (Twitter) accounts, including frequent interactions with CryptoPotato, Conlan shed light on the larger philosophy, “We are built for our users, and we continue to transform by our users. I think it’s incredibly positive how our leadership team is connected to the community.”
And let’s be clear: that’s the beauty of blockchain. That’s the ethos about that exchange of ideas and that exchange of feedback,” Conlan emphasized, highlighting the importance of community feedback in shaping Binance’s trajectory.
Yi He’s role, despite being largely behind the scenes, hasn’t gone unnoticed. Conlan warmly states, “And Yi, I think she’s underestimated in the world of crypto. She’s been an essential co-founder there. And for me as a woman… to see what she’s achieved alongside the broader leadership team. It’s very inspirational.”
Further, the CMO drew attention to a vital issue, “Gender isn’t even a debate there. It’s almost 50-50 in terms of female to male, at the leadership level, and all the way down, which is extraordinary.”
Binance’s Short-Term Future
Diving into Binance’s future, Conlan illustrated, “In terms of our global expansion, we’re at over 150 million users. And if you look at the average penetration of crypto globally, that’s about right. So, we have a long way to go before we hit 1 billion users.”
Touching upon market trends and the crypto cycle, Conlan said:
I do agree with you that we’re on a cycle, and we’re so nascent, we’ve yet to have the hundred-year history that the traditional financial world has, where they can understand the cues and what’s happening. I think we can see the green shoots at the moment. With the Bitcoin halving, there is going to be more momentum.
She ended on a revealing note, shedding light on the widespread impact of crypto, “When my 75-year-old aunt called me last week when Bitcoin was rallying and asked, should she open an account and take advantage of Bitcoin as part of her retirement? I was like, ‘Wow, okay. There’s something that’s happening here that’s interesting.’”
The post We’re Still the Most Compliant Crypto Exchange Today: Binance’s New CMO Sheds Light On Its Urgent Challenges (Exclusive) appeared first on CryptoPotato.