Cyrus Fazel (Swissborg): "There is a cartel of centralised exchanges".

Cyrus Fazel (Swissborg): "There is a cartel of centralised exchanges".

The Swissborg exchange platform has just launched a "Meta-Exchange". According to its founder, Cyrus Fazel, this solution should give customers access to more tokens at more competitive prices.

The Big Whale: you've just announced the launch of a Meta-Exchange (MEX). What exactly is a Meta-Exchange? How does it differ from centralised or decentralised exchanges?

Cyrus Fazel: For some years now, there has been a kind of clash between centralised exchanges (CEX) and decentralised exchanges (DEX). CEXs, like Binance or OKX, are interesting because they're easy to use, but there's no blockchain so they're centralised black boxes, which doesn't really fit in with the Web3 philosophy.

On the other hand, there are DEXs like Uniswap or Curve, which are much more Web3, but still have a user experience that is too disappointing, to put it mildly, not to mention the operational risk for beginners.

So we needed a solution that took the best of both worlds. Since the launch of Swissborg in 2017, our aim has been to bring together the on-chain and off-chain worlds, and thanks to our smart engine we have succeeded in creating a kind of aggregator of all the platforms that allow you to buy traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies.

How does it work in practice?

It's actually quite simple for users: just go to our app and you can buy both euros, Swiss francs, as well as cryptos available on CEX and now also DEX.

How many cryptocurrencies are available?

More than sixty.

What's the point of going through your MEX?

You're going to have access to an increasingly wide range of tokens at very attractive prices.

How do you manage to get better prices?

What people don't understand is that there is no fixed price on the Exchanges. There is a lot of arbitration. At the moment, only professionals are able to take advantage of these arbitrages, but our aim is to ensure that this is also the case for private individuals.

Are you not just another middleman?

That's a good question, but in reality, all you have to do is look at the prices we offer, and they are the best. We are not the best on all tokens, but for example on Helium, compared to the Swiss franc, they are the best prices, you won't find better.

You have chosen to integrate Solana into your MEX. Why did you do this? Are other blockchains on the way?

I was never a big fan of Solana, not least because of SBF's considerable weight in the project. But things have changed in the last year with the fall of FTX, and especially the CTO of Swissborg, and our DeFi team, have always developed things on Solana. They were doing it in their spare time.

Early in 2023, our CTO came to see us and told us that there were things to do on Solana, in particular because they had managed to create Phoenix, which is an on-chain Central Limit Orderbook, and which precisely allows us to go and make arbitrages throughout the Solana ecosystem for our clients.

Currently, only the Solana ecosystem has this type of tool, but our bet is that the other DEXs, such as Uniswap and others, will have to launch the same type of tool, otherwise they will become obsolete, because it is the order book orders that enable market making and the creation of trading systems like Swissborg.

Are you sure the others will launch the same type of tool?

They don't really have a choice. It's like asking whether all cars should go electric. It's just an obvious choice. So for the moment, Tesla is Solana, but Mercedes and the other manufacturers are going to have to get on board...

What does this MEX represent for Swissborg?

Thanks to Solana, we have managed to decentralise finance a little more. We are super bullish on Solana despite the fact that TVL remains modest. We are convinced that TVL will increase. People will realise that there are things to be done on Solana. Uniswap and the others are working on these issues.

You mentioned the fact that there is still little TVL on Solana. Isn't that a problem for liquidity?

Sure, today we are able to do trades of a few hundred euros or Swiss francs, but we won't be able to do 100,000 euros.

In a few months' time, we hope to be able to do trades of 5,000 euros, but it will be difficult to do more, at least in the short term. There's still work to be done to do better than CEX!

Are you the first to do this?

1Inch has done something equivalent on DEX. Tagomi (acquired by Coinbase) did the same on CEX. There are market makers who do this like Wintermute, but no one has managed to make a hybrid product on CEX and DEX like we have.

What's next for MEX?

With our MEX, Swissborg will initially be able to list any Solana token, and we will gradually do the same with the other blockchains.

No one will need to ask a CEX to list their token. They will be able to do it in a decentralised way. This is a fundamental entrepreneurial and philosophical freedom.

There is a CEX cartel. Whether we like it or not, the centralised Exchanges are pushing their blockchain and the projects they have an interest in pushing. The question of listings and access to tokens is extremely political.

With our MEX, the long-term aim is to succeed in creating a decentralised launchpad with the user experience of centralised launchpads.

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