Interview with Li Lin | Year after returning to the fire coin

Text | Lu Xiaoming

Produced | Odaily Planet Daily (ID: o-daily)

Inside the new Zen-decorated office, the window is leaning against the classical Chinese circular shelf. Li Lin sits opposite the solid wood tea table and squats down the temple.

Li Lin, who is rare in Beijing, has a tight schedule: before the interview, he just received a partner from Indonesia, and the newly arrived guests are waiting outside, and then the executive meeting has been postponed repeatedly.

The intensive journey may be the normal state after Li Lin’s return.

In 2015, Li Lin had faded out the management of fire money due to physical problems. "I feel that I can't hold it anymore. I don't want to influence the company's development. Will it be better to change someone?"

However, he also had to “return”: the last time was 2017, this time is the return of July 2018.

“Why would you return to the fire coin?”

"Because the company has encountered some problems."

After the comeback, Li Lin gave a major operation to the fire currency: focusing on the core business, strengthening the construction of the middle and back office, adjusting the marginal departments, and strengthening the internal risk control.

He asked all departments to reorganize the system so that the future can be strictly enforced. During the period, every penny spent on fire coins was approved by Li Lin. "After that, you have this level of authority, how much is it." An example of an employee. Li Lin hopes that the culture of integrity and rigor can be implemented in management.

Now that Li Lin has returned to the fast one year, has the problem of the fire coin been solved?

"There is no complete solution, but there is great progress." Li Lin answered the Odaily Planet Daily reporter.

The repurchase/destruction amount of HT in the third quarter of this year increased by 70.6% compared with Q3 last year.

At the Firecoin Group Cooperation Fire Partner Conference in September, Li Lin also publicly stated that Firecoin has obtained a compliance exchange license or formed a compliance team in many countries and regions around the world. In terms of business, the fire currency was changed last year. The situation has achieved good results in a number of core businesses.

At the World Internet Conference on Sunday, he revealed that Firecoin has invested in more than 60 enterprises in the upstream and downstream of the industry, hoping to help the real economy to digitize and block the chain and improve operational efficiency.

Fire coins brake, Li Lin come back

In 2018, the fire coins experienced a rapid expansion: the team scaled from more than 300 people at the beginning of the year to more than 1,300 people in the second half of the year, and the business was from the exchange only to the globalization of horizontal trading business. South Korea station, Japan station; vertical full industrial chain layout, including wallet, mining pool, capital, research institute, fire, fire letter, public chain and other industries.

When the outside world seems to be the best of the fire coins, it may hide the risk.

The development of the fire coin is too fast and dangerous. When asked about the most wrong decision ever made, Li Lin said that there are many, and there is no "most". But in the end, he said: "In the period of strategic expansion, the strategy is too extensive, the decision is too hasty, and the company has gone a lot of detours."

At that time, the blockchain industry was in a bear market, and the trading volume and user activity of the trading platform declined. At the same time, the trading platform as the "discourse power" center of the blockchain industry is a "close to the money" role. Corruption and other behaviors are easily generated within itself. As the head trading platform, the fire currency is no exception. In addition to the rapid expansion, the business volume and management issues are more prominent in the industry.

The radical business expansion has distracted the team, diluted the original culture, and failed to have supporting management support, which affected the development of each business, and even reflected in the performance and market share.

Li Lin had to come back.

Recently, he accepted an exclusive interview with the Odaily Planet Daily, sharing the changes in the fire currency since the resurrection, the philosophy behind the layout of the fire currency business, and the views of some of the cutting-edge businesses.

He told the Odaily Planet Daily reporter that his energy is mainly in three areas: corporate strategy, management and talent.

In his words, there are two main changes in the fire coin this year: focusing on core business and strengthening internal management.

Return to the core and explore the boundaries

In the letter of the whole staff in early 2019, Li Lin pointed out that the layout was too fast and the global “fire strategy” was not focused enough and the tactics were not clear enough.

The trading business is the core of the fire coin, and it is also the group's “cash cow”. The decline in the performance under the bear market touched the bones. Undoubtedly, the fire coins need to return to the core business and clarify their energy distribution.

Business adjustments are inevitable, core business is strengthened, and marginal business is reduced or even abandoned.

“The entire fire currency is a digital asset management platform.” The contract business, which is extremely transaction-related, has been significantly strengthened this year. Firecoin has even introduced a fee reduction policy to compete for stock users. Application business such as Fire has been abolished.

According to third-party data, this year's fire coins have achieved good results in core businesses such as coins and contracts. According to Li Lin's personal WeChat public account in July, the trading volume of the fire currency currency is basically the same as that of other head exchanges, leading alternately.

To focus on the core business, we must also focus on the core background construction.

Fast front-end business expansion requires strong mid- and back-office support to provide adequate support for the front desk. "We need to build the back-end capabilities of global expansion, our production, research, marketing, administration, finance, etc. This is why we made a strategic contraction last year, because we found that we have not kept up." Fire coin COO Zhu Jiawei also After that, he was mainly responsible for the management of the middle and back of the fire coin.

Li Lin said that unlike the light-weighted Bitfinex exchanges, the strategy of the fire coin is to “do the ecology”. In addition to the “focus on the core”, the fire coin also needs to explore the boundary.

"Wallets and mining pools are all businesses that belong to the front and back of the transaction, increasing the user's stickiness." In Li Lin's eyes, these are the basic businesses that must be made by fire coins. There are still some that don't need fire coins to do, but the market has not done very well. "We also want to try." Fire letters and public chains are such innovative businesses.

Rigorous control, strengthen management

Li Lin believes that rapid expansion brings management problems, and loose wind control is to put the brand of fire coins under great risks.

"Many outside are not fire coin employees, but they are under the banner of fire coins. For example, Fire Coin Club, Fire Coin Super Cooperative Fire Partner, Fire Coin Cloud, they signed some partners, these are the non-staff of fire coins, but they play The brand of fire coins. This is the problem of management."

Perfecting the company system has become one of the key points of reform, and even some employees have “slightly discomfort” during the period.

Comprehensive rules and regulations and business sorting are the basic work after his return. According to the employees of the Firecoin, the boss has asked the various departments to write the duties, implementation procedures and rules and regulations of the department for a period of time. After being reviewed by the functional departments such as legal affairs, risk control and administration, Li Lin will then look at the whole and finally to the whole The employee posted.

This process lasted for about two months. During this period, the finance department needs to re-establish the authority and specific project budget standards at each level. The financial department will suspend the review before the standard is finalized. At that time, every dollar spent on fire coins was approved by Li Lin. "After that, you have this level, how much authority, how much. There are also before, but not so strict." An example of an employee.

After the fire coins, there is convergence in the external strategy. In terms of marketing style, the 2018 fire coin has held a public chain leader election and a "fire love" in the public chain propaganda. It is quite high-profile. This year, it is relatively stable, and the external caliber is strictly reviewed. . In terms of external cooperation, the former Fire Coin Club was also low-key.

We are a financial enterprise and need to have a rigorous culture. Before we were not rigorously managed, we were in a riskier industry and we must be cautious. ” Li Lin hopes to use strict internal control to remind employees of the positioning of fire coins. And the values ​​of "righteousness does not do evil."

Attached to the Odaily Planet Daily interview with Li Lin Essence:

Decide whether to do a business and see two ideas

Odaily Planet Daily: What is your current work focus and work status?

Li Lin: I am currently focusing on three areas:

The first is strategy: including the direction of the company's development, thinking about how the industry will develop.

Global compliance requirements and attitudes in the blockchain and digital asset sectors have been changing. Firecoin has maintained a relatively leading pace of compliance; the emergence of Libra has inspired different countries and companies. This is a new scenario. Inspired by libra, some countries such as Indonesia are also considering the development of stable currency. At the same time, Libra may also have application opportunities after coming out, so I am also paying attention to the application opportunities in the blockchain and digital assets.

The second is management: culture, organization and talent. Firecoin now has offices in more than 10 locations around the world, with more than a thousand people. The management is very difficult, and there are many rules and regulations that need to be sorted out.

The third is talent: it is also mentioned in the management section. Recently, I have spent a lot of energy on interviews and finding the right people. (Odaily Planet Daily: Who are you looking for recently?) People in all positions need marketing, research and development, and products.


Odaily Planet Daily: You have forwarded Bitfinex's white paper and lamented that they are streamlined. Today, there are thousands of employees in the fire coin. The scale of the trading platform team is relatively large. How do you balance the team size and business development?

Li Lin: People don't mean you don't need to recruit people. Good people can help you improve your efficiency. We have a large number of people, probably because there are not enough professionals.

Bitfinex is indeed leaner than us, which is what Firecoin needs to learn, but at the same time our strategy is different. I prefer pragmatism, what do you mean? For example, 100 people can earn 400 million US dollars, 1000 people can achieve 500 million US dollars, I may choose the latter. It is not easy to make a business 70 points, but it takes more effort to upgrade to 70-90 points.

Bitfinex has no customer service, and there are fewer businesses, but the architecture is better, so fewer people are needed. If the fire currency abolishes the customer service team, the cost can be greatly reduced, but it will affect the user experience. We don't use human-effect ratio as a KPI, but whether we can provide better services to users. In addition, Firecoin takes a global compliance route, has offices around the world and corresponding localized trading platforms, as well as mining pools. Eco-business such as wallets, these are not available in Bitfinex.


Odaily Planet Daily: The team of fire coins is very large. The people in the mainstream exchanges are the most, and the business lines are also many. The more controversial business lines such as Firecoin Wallet and Fire Letter continue to exert their strength this year. How to decide which ones? Should the business do or should not do it?

Li Lin: The business we do is based on two concepts.

A basic idea: that involves assets, we must do it.

Trading is our core business, and the mining pool is a basic business, complementing the trading business. Although there are not many resources invested, we have to do it ourselves when it comes to assets. The entire big fire coin is an asset management platform. Wallets and mining pools are all businesses that belong to the front and back of the transaction, increasing user stickiness. As for the application class, such as the information class fire, we have not done it.

There is also a philosophy: if it is not necessary for us to do it, the market has done a good job, we do not need to do it.

We believe that we did not see that the market is particularly good and has various restrictions, so we decided to give it a try. In fact, these businesses are some innovative businesses, and there are not many resources invested. They may not have one tenth. They do not occupy core business resources and belong to innovative businesses.


Odaily Planet Daily: What is the current progress of the fire currency public chain?

Li Lin: The public chain is also an innovative business. We are using a traditional technology to make a new trading platform. Although the main business of the fire coin has a certain leading edge, the future industrial structure of the blockchain asset exchange may undergo profound changes. The exploration of the public chain technology and business model is both an innovative breakthrough and a strategy. Defensive.

The fire currency public chain is still under development, and we will open source code in October this year.


Odaily Planet Daily: You place great emphasis on compliance across the globe.

Li Lin: Yes, because Bitcoin itself is borderless, the trading platform naturally needs to conduct business around the world.

Second, compliance is a trend, and we need to seize the opportunity to enter this market. Japan, the United States (more than a dozen states), Europe (Gibraltar), Thailand… Our strategy is that any mainstream country and region has a license, and we will take it for the first time.

We also need to build the mid- and back-office capabilities that support globalization, our production, research, marketing, administration, and finance. This is why we made a strategic contraction last year because we found ourselves not keeping up.


Odaily Planet Daily: The executive team of the Fire Coin Department has left a lot of business. How do you see the flow of talent? Will you worry that the business can't find someone to trust?

Li Lin:

1. The flow is very natural. Any company will appear. In the final analysis, the development of the platform does not match the expectations of the employees. It may be that one of them cannot keep up.

2. Our philosophy is that any executives leave, give blessings and maintain good relations with him. This is our business philosophy: not to regard him as a betrayal, but the current needs of the two sides do not match. You are a former colleague, and I certainly hope that you can develop better.

3, you can never expect to find a person to replace you, impossible, the founder can not be replaced. But it really needs to be cultivated, but the process is very long. A thousand troops are easy to get, and one will be hard to find.

I thought about leaving the company, but not because of the bear market.

Odaily Planet Daily: You mentioned that the bear market in 2015 was a very difficult time for the industry. Can you share the most difficult moments you have ever had since you started the fire coin? Do you want to quit and not do it?

Li Lin: I never wanted to leave because of the bear market. On the contrary, in 2015, the physical condition of the individual was very bad. Therefore, I thought about leaving, and I don't want to continue doing it. I feel that my body and ability can't hold back and I don't want to affect the company's development. But it is not because of the bear market, because it depends on your judgment on the industry. If you think that the technology development is good, it is only the cycle of industry development. If there is this trend judgment, it will not be withdrawn.


Odaily Planet Daily: Fade out for physical reasons, what prompted you to come back later?

Li Lin: Because the company has encountered some problems. Mainly business direction and management. My principle is: I don't show up when the company doesn't need me.

Odaily Planet Daily: Has the recent problem been solved?

Not completely solved, but we are constantly improving. At that time, management was very confusing, and various business developments were affected, even affecting the company's core performance and market share. The company's performance has improved significantly today.


Odaily Planet Daily: Since the reunification, the adjustments that have taken place inside the fire coin have lasted for more than a year. What do you think is the biggest change of the year?

Li Lin: There are a lot of changes. It is difficult to repeat them. Overall:

1. The strategy has been more focused, and the business has returned to the core, focusing on the capacity building in the middle and back office.

As you can see, we have not paid much attention to the business and publicity of the front desk recently. Instead, we have strengthened the management of the middle and back office and built a middle and back office that can provide a strong backing for the business.

2. Strengthen management.

Management problems, any fast-growing company will face, business development is too fast, management can not keep up, culture and values ​​are diluted or even alienated.

Odaily Planet Daily: What is the culture of the fire coin?

Li Lin: There are many values ​​written on paper, but I think the simplest and most intrinsic is "righteousness, no evil." We need to think about whether things we do can bring value and positive energy to society.

Enterprising, innovative, and the qualities that these Internet companies need will be emphasized. Because we are a financial enterprise, we also need a rigorous culture. Before we were not rigorously managed and our risk control was poor, we were in a riskier industry and we must be cautious. Many outside are not fire coin employees, but they are under the banner of fire coins. For example, Firecoin Club, Firecoin Super Partner, Firecoin Cloud, they signed some partners, these are the non-staff of fire coins, but they are branded with fire coins. This is also a management issue. These two cultures are very important, and others are not introduced one by one.

Odaily Planet Daily: How to do it right and not do evil?

Li Lin: We must write these values ​​into the rules and regulations, and also write them into the system. For example, not gambling with users, not inducing uncontrollable prices, not making false propaganda, not cutting leeks, these are all prohibited. On the system, you can view the user profile without giving any employee rights, and the employee can't use the information advantage to gamble with the user. Internal processes can also allow internal audit departments to investigate whether there are these issues within the company.

There are many ways in which trading platforms can make money. In a nutshell, the fire coin must "make a good money" and only earn a service fee. Every transaction on the trading platform allows everyone to earn money. It is impossible for a market to trade or someone to make a loss. What the transaction needs to do is to create a fair and transparent trading environment.

In addition, we do some non-profit businesses such as the China University of Fire and the Research Institute of Fire and Money, and contribute to the industry.

Odaily Planet Daily: Can you share the “most correct decisions” and “wrong decisions” that you feel you have done in your business?

Li Lin: The correct decision is to create the fire coin itself. It is not only that the blockchain market is not bad, but that it has made me very rich. It is very imaginative and has not seen the border. I think the choice of this direction is very correct.

There are many wrong decisions, many, many, and I can't think of which one is "wrong". The impression is that in the strategic expansion period, the strategy is too extensive, the decision is too sloppy, and the company has gone a lot of detours.

Bitcoin is an experiment, Libra is practice

Odaily Planet Daily: How do you view the current stage of development of the industry? The stable currency that was thought to be insufficiently decentralized has become the most highly regarded application. It has been a highly anticipated decentralized application, but it seems to have to wait for a long time.

Li Lin: " Decentralization represents the spirit of the blockchain." This is actually a divergence. Some people think that the blockchain does not have to be decentralized, but to improve efficiency.

Personally, I divide the technology into three levels:

The first level is data mutual trust. In order to achieve trust, the two parties who are difficult to trust each other will no longer need to introduce third-party institutions. Instead, they can deposit certificates on the blockchain and the data cannot be tampered with.

The second is value interoperability. The specific application is peer-to-peer payment, such as bitcoin and stable currency, which will bring huge changes to cross-border payments. Of course, Bitcoin also has the feature of decentralization.

I think these two levels have been implemented, and I can see applications and changes.

The third is equity sharing, changing market relationships and economic operating models. This has not yet reached the time window, it requires several variables to change: First, compliance, non-compliance also caused problems. The second is to implement the quality of the main body. At present, many implementations of chain reform or currency reform have made people feel the demonization of the blockchain. These companies have limited users and limited influence. This is why Libra is born with global attention. Finally, the problem of user penetration, which explains why the current economic model of blockchain has been successfully transformed, only the digital asset trading platform, because of the high penetration rate of users in the industry.

When one day the best company can choose to use tokens or traditional stocks to motivate users, then we can really see the changes it brings. At present, this application in small industries is quite successful.

Odaily Planet Daily: Once the token is included in the regulation, will it become the same as traditional securities, and what is the difference between stocks and stocks?

Li Lin:

1. Token is more flexible, and it can be either a right to use or a security.

2. The Token distribution method is more flexible and more precise. For example, the current early investment only rewards investors and employees, and users can participate. For example, early rice noodles can be rewarded.

Odaily Planet Daily: Many blockchain projects in the early days did use the token to successfully finance, but later the token became a way of making money.

Li Lin: Yes, so the issue of tokens is also included in the supervision, and companies that issue tokens must also publish financial reports. After the token was alienated, it was the problem of complete liberalization and foaming. The early Wall Street, the Internet bubble, and the early A-shares all experienced similar stages. In essence, there are no supervision, no bubbles, and too high expectations.

Dialectically, rapid capitalization has also brought about rapid development, and the industry has tried all directions. Now no one has discussed the immaturity of public chain technology. Nowadays, the reality is user penetration and the role of capital. . This is very similar to the early US stock market. Anyone said that they can raise money by repairing a railway. There is no shortage of white gloves and white wolves, but it also promotes the improvement of American infrastructure.

Odaily Planet Daily: Data mutual trust, value interconnection, and equity sharing. Which is the focus of the fire currency business?

Li Lin: The three levels are inherently related and can only be the first level under the supervision framework of many countries. The first level is actually to do science and test water for some countries, and once the supervision allows, it can be linked with the second and third levels.

For the fire currency, 80% of the current trading volume comes from the top six mainstream digital assets. Stabilizing coins is a bridge between legal currency and digital assets, and is very close to the trading platform. Bitcoin and stable currency are two proven applications, and the future will be the focus of our strategy.

These two levels are called value Internet, allowing value to flow across borders. At this level, “Bitcoin is just an experiment, and Libra is a practice. Libra may change the financial infrastructure.

Odaily Planet Daily: How do you think that the market value of Bitcoin now accounts for more than 70%, and other so-called mainstream currencies have repeatedly followed up?

Li Lin: Essentially the return of value. These projects combined with the application, issued a token themselves, was too high expectations in the previous bubble period. If it is just giving them a valuation that is more in line with their current stage of value.

As mentioned earlier, the third category of application timing is not yet available, requiring changes in compliance and user penetration. Of course, not all industries are suitable for the “+ blockchain”, 99% of projects may die, and 1% may survive.

Odaily Planet Daily: Bitcoin and blockchain have experienced ups and downs in a few cycles. In the process, will you be disappointed with the “ blockchain revolution” and how will the attitude towards the industry change?

Li Lin: At first, I just thought that Bitcoin was very special and very imaginative. At that time, the price of the coin was 10 times, and it was considered to be a global currency. I also essayed at the time that it would not become a global currency, but more like gold.

Later, in the bear market in 2015, it fell to 900 US dollars. Everyone worried that this experiment might fail. This is the most difficult period.

It has been a bull market for a long time, and it has risen to tens of thousands. Although the Chinese government introduced stricter policies in 2017, we later saw that some other countries have a more positive and neutral regulatory attitude and started to issue licenses. We have also applied for some. This also gives me confidence.

By the end of 2017, the market has entered a group of madness, and in 2018 it is a bear market, which can be described from the desire to the valley of despair.

Among these ups and downs, I may be more reflective: what direction is right, what is wrong, and what direction each direction and scene is at.

I have to talk about Libra again, opening up new windows and revelations for us. Let us see that the blockchain has more power on the value Internet.

Odaily Planet Daily: Libra is still a role in the enlightenment market. It is still resisted by many countries. Is it difficult to produce?

Li Lin: It has driven this market, and the governments of various countries have been ignited. It is better to do it than to let a commercial giant do it. The introduction of Libra should not be a problem, but it is still optimistic where it can be launched in a country that may have a question mark and no capital controls.

Why do I say that it is likely to change the future financial landscape of the world? Because if it succeeds, it will strengthen the financial position of the dollar and further marginalize the currency of the country that was particularly marginal. This is very similar to the Internet age.

Odaily Planet Daily: How do you view the competition in the current exchange industry?

Li Lin: The exchange industry has entered a strange circle. Once the market shrinks, the exchange will enter the competition and game stage of the stock users, and even discredit each other, which is not good for the industry.

Odaily Planet Daily: Fire Coin has been established for 6 years. What is your ideal industry, or what industry do you expect to develop in the next 6 years?

Li Lin: What I can see, based on blockchain technology, has formed a value Internet and formed a stable digital system.

We are looking forward to changing the production relationship with blockchain. I hope that in this direction, many applications have been born, and they are running more efficiently than today. Everyone has digital assets. In this period, I want fire coins. Is an important promoter and leader. This is our expectation.

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