Interview with Ben Caselin, Head of Research & Strategy at AAX


We recently spoke with Ben Caselin — Head of Research & Strategy at AAX to talk about Bitcoin and the crypto market in general amid the escalation of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. In a short interview, we asked him a few questions, and here’s what he had to say.

Q: Ben, we know you are connected to AAX. Before we get into the current global situation and the role of Bitcoin, can you provide some information about your business?

Ben: Yes, you’re right. I am Head of Research & Strategy at AAX. AAX is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. It stands out as the first to be powered by the London Stock Exchange Group’s LSEG technology. On AAX, users can enjoy spot and futures trading of popular crypto assets, open interest-bearing crypto savings accounts, and access DeFi products. We also have an AAX Launchpad, where we help new promising projects raise capital through token sales. We currently support over 100 crypto-to-crypto spot trading pairs while providing high leverage on BTC and ETH futures products.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

Ben: I have a background in creative arts, social research and fintech. As the head of research and strategy, I am deeply involved in developing insights into Bitcoin and DeFi while providing strategic direction for the growth and expansion of AAX. In addition to AAX, I am also a working member of the Global Digital Finance (GDF), a leading industry association dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of digital finance.

Q: Thanks Ben. So, as you know, the world is currently facing an uncertain situation as the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine continues. While all markets are staring at uncertainties, how do you think Bitcoin will fare?

Ben: It is indeed a worrying development. However, the only positive thing that comes out of this whole situation is a clear picture of Bitcoin’s position in the global financial ecosystem as a safe haven. In my view, Bitcoin’s value will continue to show such resilience during the conflict, along with other prominent crypto assets.

Q: Can you elaborate on Bitcoin’s role as a safe haven in the current scenario?

Ben: If there is any doubt about Bitcoin’s status as a safe haven, the past few days should remind us that in the face of war, currency devaluation or significant disruption to legacy infrastructure, Bitcoin is the safe haven of choice.

With the Russian ruble losing more than 30% of its value overnight following sanctions imposed over the weekend, we have seen a significant increase in trading volume in the BTC/RUB markets. This is not speculation – these are bitcoin purchases by ordinary people, as well as large allotments intended for wealth preservation.

There is also demand from Ukraine. Donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum and now Polkadot are being made directly to the Ukrainian government in what is a worldwide show of support. Stories also tell of refugees using crypto to store their wealth and transport their money across borders.

These developments emphasize once again that Bitcoin is more than just an investable asset for portfolio allocation and returns. The story of crypto as a lifeline in times of economic distress and geopolitical turmoil becomes apparent as the fundamental driver for adoption.

Q: But what about the volatility associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Ben: While volatility is still an integral part of the market, we can expect continued adoption of Bitcoin and with it some of the larger protocol assets. But while crypto markets tend to rise in unison, if fundamentals take precedence over hype, we should see more decoupling between different crypto markets – especially as the situation gets even more dire and stakes are raised.

Crypto and politics have become increasingly intertwined, with Bitcoin dominating as a people’s currency. It should be assessed alongside other open networks and digital environments where a global community of citizens can connect, mobilize resources and gain support.

Q: What do you think about the impact of the current situation on Bitcoin and crypto trading?

Ben: Escalation in the ongoing conflict can cause volatility both up and down. This is not a time for excessive trading, especially with leverage. War and turmoil could drive prices up and we could see Bitcoin hit new highs this year, but there is nothing to be optimistic about.

Ultimately, Bitcoin’s adoption is both the result of constructive adoption and an expression of global distress, dismay and dissatisfaction with the current state of the world.

photo by Egor Myznik On Unsplash

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