Peering into the Future of Web3 with Binance's Head of Product Mayur Kamat
Web3, known as the decentralized web, is the latest technological paradigm shift gripping individuals, businesses, and organizations. This form of innovation continues to gather momentum, attracting significant interest and investment from venture capitalists throughout 2021 and 2022.
The growing capital inflow into the Web3 industry is also attracting the attention of industry leaders from the traditional web, referred to as Web2. Many experienced professionals from Web2 companies are transitioning to Web3, bringing their skills and expertise to emerging products and technologies that fit this newer, decentralized mold. Besides shaping the industry's future, this migration is driving novel advancements.
The decentralized nature of Web3 offers many benefits over traditional web services. For example, Web3 applications can be built on decentralized networks that are more secure and resistant to censorship. The model also supports more transparent and fair value distribution, thanks to an underlying architecture that enables trustless transactions.
Mayur Kamat is the Head of Product at Binance, leading Binance's product development roadmap for Web3. Mayur commands a wealth of experience in product development, having led the teams behind some of the most widely used mobile and web products, including Gmail for mobile, Android for Work, Hangouts, Google Voice, and Windows DRM.
With his experience and expertise, Mayur is sure to provide valuable insights for anyone interested in the Web3 space.
What were some key lessons you learned transitioning from Web2 to Web3 and how have you applied them to your role at Binance?
Mayur: I’ve learned a lot and have been able to bring much of the experience from Web2 to the Web3 world because essentially - building products and the philosophy for building products is not that dissimilar across industries.
The core learnings that I try and employ every day at Binance are:
To design for scale
Always be experimenting
Fail fast but fail small
Opportunity cost is greater than actual cost of building any product
Never compromise on user trust
Focusing on the user experience, finding product-market fit, improving onboarding, looking at user engagement and retention, building great platforms for users to educate, engage, communicate, and last, but not least, trust and security. These are important in Web2 and are equally important in Web3, in fact - I’d say even more so.
How do you approach product management in the dynamic and rapidly evolving world of Web3 and blockchain technology?
Mayur: Every day I push myself and the team on a number of things, these foundations allow us to stay dynamic and innovate at scale.
We have to engage with the users. Stay close to the community. Crypto is too early and too dynamic - unless we have our ears to the ground, we will not be fast enough to respond. And we have to experiment, not debate - it is a lot faster and efficient to run a quick experiment and observe the data instead of long discussions.
At Binance, the product team owns their projects - product managers (PMs) are owners instead of coordinators - PMs at Binance own the outcomes, not just the inputs.
We don’t optimize for the short term - it is very easy at our scale to optimize short-term vanity metrics. But it will hurt us in the long run. We are in the first innings, so the Binance product team has to focus on building the right user experience and trust for the next decade or more.
Everyone who works in product has to be a product power user - unless we use our products and products in the industry, we will not know the pain points of our users or the next big innovation potential.
We have to stay humble - I’ve found we learn a lot more when we approach our users and partners with humility.
Binance recently launched the Binance Team AMA series, in which you and other team members answer questions from the community. Please tell us more about the role that user feedback plays in the product development process at Binance.
Mayur: Hearing about features that the community wants and improvements that can be made is an important element of innovation at Binance. We get thousands of examples of user feedback every year - and we genuinely look at all requests to really understand what the community is asking for; you’ll see us looking for ways to make this even easier for people to give the product team feedback this year too.
Crypto is still very early and we need to be very responsive to our user needs to be able to build this nascent industry.
In your experience, what are some common pitfalls that businesses new to the Web3 space should avoid?
Mayur: I don’t think Web3 businesses need to do anything significantly different from Web2 companies. The basics remain the same. You need to be able to iterate fast till you achieve product-market-fit. You have to know your customer - it is not always obvious who the customer is, and you have to listen to them to hear what they are asking for.
You have to move fast, so design for scale and the long term but execute for pace. And I know I mentioned it before, but you need to build for the long run - this is probably the most important one for Web3. It is easy to create short-term hype and gain vanity metrics, but it is not sustainable.
How do you think the Web3 landscape will change in the next 5-10 years, and how is Binance positioning itself to take advantage of these changes?
Mayur: It will change a lot, here are a few things that I personally am very excited about.
Crypto could be a great tool for fund-raising - either for charitable causes or product missions. ICOs are already doing this to some extent but the scope and impact of this can be 1000x more.
Sending crypto will become easier and more used - sending money abroad, especially for immigrants, is very cumbersome and expensive. Crypto can be a game changer here. We are already seeing traction on this with Binance Pay.
I think there will be a shift to portfolio-based crypto investments (instead of trading). Binance Earn recently launched a top-10-coin index which simplifies investing for casual investors. We will see more on this in 2023.
I’m also really excited about the developments we will see in NFT Ticketing, the development of crypto credit cards and the ability for cross-border B2B settlements.
ny specific products and services that we will see from Binance in 2023? Could you provide us a quick scoop about any new products or functionalities that Binance has planned for 2023?
Mayur: You’ll see a lot more from us!
So, the short answer is that people can expect a lot more innovation from us, already we’ve been tweeting daily through #BinanceBuild about our product updates and we’ll be sharing regular updates on our blog too. We’ve added small innovations with things like being able to view the most traded crypto in your country, easier ways to track your portfolio and the option to choose whether to show or hide your balance - small updates that are important to our community.
We introduced a content feed in 2022 - a community-first platform for Web3 content creators, influencers, and thought leaders to share content and for people to access the latest news and opinions from the industry - you’ll likely see more developments here too.
I mentioned earlier that we will also make it easier for our community to give us feedback on products they want to see - and we’ll respond with letting them know which ones we will develop.
And then you’ll continue to see us focusing on user trust and transparency and CeDeFi is another area of interest and of course - compliance. Binance is now the exchange with most licenses/registrations. We work closely with regulators around the world to help build the right regulatory framework for Web3. In 2022, we made huge investments in improving our KYC product which now allows users around the world to sign up in an efficient and compliant manner to Binance. We will continue to invest in compliance and regulation throughout our products in 2023.
In light of the recent FTX meltdown and dozens of exchanges running out of liquidity, what has Binance learned, and how does the platform intend to move ahead given that it is now the most dominant player in the crypto ecosystem?
Mayur: Binance has always been user-focused, and this hasn’t changed. Recent events have highlighted the importance of being transparent with users and with this in mind we’ve launched a number of transparency initiatives. This includes publishing the details of our hot and cold wallets, sharing regular updates on Proof of Reserves as well as outlining our six principles for centralized exchanges.
There has been a massive surge in the number of cryptocurrency service providers in the past couple of years, with some offering “too good to be true” returns. How should the average user verify APYs before investing? We always recommend that people do careful research before investing.
How should the average user do that research?
Mayur: We have created a wealth of articles on Binance to provide information and education for people. Besides, anyone investing in anything should spend a considerable amount of time verifying the authenticity of the product or service.
In addition to the basic research, users must check the provider's website and whitepaper for information on the APY. Look for explanations of how the APY is calculated and any disclaimers or limitations. It is also a good idea to research the provider's reputation, review regulatory compliances, and check the provider's social media and community presence and historical performance. Users can even contact the service provider directly to clear up any doubts or questions.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.