Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, is finishing off 2018 with a slew of expansions, large and small. On Thursday, the exchange announced that its venture wing, Binance Labs, would be expanding its startup incubator to five new cities; earlier this week, the exchange launched the full version of the “Binance Academy,” an education platform in 15 languages.
Binance Labs to Open Incubator Programs in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Singapore, and Hong Kong in March
Binance Labs is offering blockchain startups a 10-week onsite program to develop their technology and business strategy in five new cities in conjunction with the ending of the inaugural incubator program in San Francisco. Additionally, each of the new programs will conclude with a three-week-long trip to Singapore and a ‘demo day’ where each of the projects will have the opportunity to showcase themselves.
One reason for the expansion could be the high demand for participation in the San Francisco program. Eight teams were chosen from a pool of more than 500 applicants to the program; the chosen few also received $500,000 to assist in business development. The San Francisco program is scheduled to run two more times next year, although the application period for those programs has not yet begun.
JUST IN: Binance is expanding its venture wing to five new cities as part of a global expansion. https://t.co/YQfVbyAEKP
— CoinDesk (@coindesk) December 13, 2018
This year, the budget is a bit lower–each participating company will receive around $250,000, although each company will be able to promote itself through Binance. There is no minimum or maximum number of applications that will be chosen for each program; applicants will be selected based on the quantity and quality of applications.
Ella Zhang, head of Binance Labs, told CoinDesk that each of the programs is seeking something slightly different based on location. Of Latin America and Africa, Zhang said that “those two emerging markets have native blockchain and crypto use cases. So we hope to find teams solving local problems like payments, the instability of local currencies, or remittance problems.”
She added that the Hong Kong program would likely seek startups that provide products and services for the traditional financial sphere.
Binance also launched the full version of the Binance Academy this week. Binance Academy consists primarily of text-based resources for learning about various aspects cryptocurrency and blockchain technology (i.e. the history of blockchain and how mining works.)
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The Academy is divided into four ‘curricula’: tutorials, blockchain, economy, and security. There is also a glossary section for users looking to get more familiar with crypto jargon. It has been legally established as a nonprofit organization.
We are proud to announce that @BinanceAcademy is now out of beta and supports 15 languages, 400+ articles and a comprehensive glossary.
— Binance (@binance) December 12, 2018
Binance’s new education platform is the latest example of a new trend in the cryptosphere. A number of companies, including Coinbase, have launched an education platform to increase brand recognition and reel in new users.
New USDC Trading Pairs
Indeed, it seems that Binance has its fingers in a growing number of pies at the moment. In addition to the startup incubator expansion and the education platform launch, Binance added a number of new trading pairs with USDC, the CENTRE Consortia’s stablecoin.
— CENTRE (@centre_io) December 14, 2018
The trading pairs include BTC/USDC, ETH/USDC, BNB/USDC, XLM/USDC, EOS/USDC, and XRP/USDC. Binance has also paired USDC against USDT (Tether dollars), presumably to make it easier for users to switch between the two stablecoins.