Jacob Yasha Polyakov is the recently appointed CEO of financial technology developer Leverate. He recently sat down to talk with Finance Magnates about his new role, the company, and the state of the industry. Polyakov was formerly the CEO of Rynat Trading Ltd. and before that he was the CFO of Trade FX Ltd.
How did you get to join Leverate as CEO?
After I was invited by markets.com to join its financial team, I moved to Cyprus and spent a year with the group. Then the regulator’s decisions led me to find myself questioning if this was the right place to stay.
Investors from Poland asked me if I wanted to build up a regulated broker in Cyprus for them, so I spent time doing that. I was creating structures for a lot of companies and as part of this operation I was a customer of Leverate and learned that the CEO position was open.
Would you say you were brought in as a regulations expert?
I think that I see the value of regulations, but I see myself as an operations guy. I came from this kind of operation and I think it’s important that Leverate has the tools to provide to regulated brokers.
Part of what we’re doing is trying to see how we can bring regulations to the tech side – all the reporting that CySEC requires already, how we from the tech side will be able to help the compliance officers and the managing directors to get along with that.
Is Leverate having second thoughts about selling products to unregulated brokers?
I don’t judge my customers, everyone works with their own understanding of the business. Regulation in the Far East doesn’t mean the same thing as regulation in Europe. A regulated broker needs assistance in complying with regulations, and Leverate is here to provide those tools to regulated brokers.
How would you describe the changes at Leverate under its new CEO?
My vision is to step up from the forex industry, although it’s our basic product. I would like us to expand to new fields, and crypto is definitely one of them. Online marketing is another. Optim8 is a great tool and will definitely be our first entry to this market, to build a solid affiliation network to provide value to our clients. I want to see Leverate offering a full solution, in gaming, health, marketing services, as a service provider and as a technology provider. In the future i’ll be able to tell you about additional products.
How do you see your position in the crypto platform market?
In general, I wouldn’t say that Leverate is a valuable player on the crypto market yet. We have a crypto specialist, his name is Oren Mizrahi, and we are definitely using Sirix to provide a crypto platfom for crypto trading.
My point of view is that if you want to be a valuable player in this field, you cannot just offer a platform, you have to come with extra tools – a full solution for you to run your business.
What is the difference between your cryptocurrency trading platform and exchange?
The exchange is not ready yet, it’s a future development. Our trading platform allows you to trade with leverage and regular currency. The exchange will allow you to deposit and withdraw your cryptocurrency, not only your dollars.
I would like to bring a simplified product. Conversions between regular currencies and cryptocurrencies on a more easy and efficient basis.
How do you see the status of regulations in the cryptocurrency world?
Everyone who goes for an ICO needs to check the regulatory environment in the state where it operates. In general, I want this company to stop being just the tech guy, I want it to become a services company, where we are the partners of our clients’ success. I don’t mind investing, because I know that when my client is enjoying success, we will enjoy profits too.
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Part of this is the ICOs – we are communicating with lawyers because we want to be in a place where we can provide everything you need for an ICO – regulations, technology, security, back office.
Regarding cryptocurrencies, I think that they’re here to stay, and regulators should embrace them and not avoid them.
If a regulator really wants to do something, they will do it. You saw how China just banned all the exchanges. A regulator can block access, they can block the bank accounts.
In 2009 a friend of mine said to me, let’s go and buy some Bitcoin, and I told him that there’s no chance that people would believe in a currency without any base. Ten years later, I wouldn’t give you the same answer. I think it’s a growing vertical, I think there will be a lot of changes, and I don’t know which currencies will survive, but I do think it’s here to stay. There’s a reason that all the big banks are setting up their own blockchains.
So how would you describe all your verticals?
Crypto – forex – online marketing, this is what we will focus on in 2018. Not in this order, forex is our core business. Online marketing is connected to that vertical. Regarding crypto, although the knowledge was acquired prior, there is some delay because we are learning from other people’s mistakes.
Activ8 is a different approach. It’s an add-on that should be able to communicate with Sirix, and every trading platform. It’s an interface for the end client, designed to be more client-friendly, and it can cooperate with any platform provider if they would like to use our interface.
What about the forex industry in general?
I think that in everything in life, there should be balance. When you tighten the regulations too hard, the unregulated players are blossoming. The minute that forex was banned in Belgium, unregulated firms appeared. If I’m unable to provide bonuses in Cyprus, someone else will be able market this and offer to do this in an unregulated manner.
I welcome regulation, I think it’s important for retail clients to use regulated brokers to make sure that their funds are safe. But there should be balance between the powers. Some clients told me that these are the first years that they are unable to make profits, because they are regulated, so people are considering quitting it.
It’s a tough time in the industry?
It’s not like 10 years ago…I remember Leverate 2 years ago was the strongest, best, first place in everything.
Today we have a lot of competitors, but it’s all a matter of quality and the service that you get.
What’s your plan for success?
First of all, innovation.
Second, we want the client to feel that we are here for him.
I think that the company has a great workforce, I’m really satisfied with the people on the team, as well as the clients. We have very high-quality people and I’m very happy that I found myself in the position to manage them. I hope that this quality will express itself outwardly in the service that we provide.