Binance Veterans Launch Blum: A New Hybrid Cryptocurrency Exchange

Binance Veterans Launch Blum: A New Hybrid Cryptocurrency Exchange


Gleb Kostarev and Vladimir Smerkis, who previously held executive positions at Binance — the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange — have unveiled their latest project, Blum exchange, a few months following their departure. This new platform is designed as a hybrid exchange, integrating the features of both centralized and decentralized systems to enhance the trading experience for traders of all levels of expertise.

Blum enables its users to execute trades directly from third-party cryptocurrency wallets across various blockchain networks, promising a more seamless and integrated trading environment. The exchange is scheduled for its initial launch later this month.

Significantly, Blum has received backing from Binance Labs as part of its  Accelerator Program Most Valuable Builder (MVB), distinguishing itself as one of 13 protocols selected from a competitive pool of more than 700 global submissions. Following its announcement, Blum quickly gained momentum, attracting over 50,000 sign-ups within the first 48 hours of its launch.

What Is Blum Exchange?

The goal of Blum exchange is to simplify trading by providing access to any token available on centralized exchanges (CEXs) or decentralized exchanges (DEXs), as well as streamlined derivatives through a Telegram mini-app. Its hybrid model combines off-chain order books with on-chain settlement, offering users the choice between centralized management and self-custody. This enables traders to seamlessly conduct transactions directly from popular wallets like MetaMask or Trust Wallet.

According to the founders, Blum's primary mission is to simplify the trading of digital assets. Smerkis and Kostarev have pointed out the current complexity of decentralized exchange interfaces and the lack of straightforward registration procedures that are available on centralized platforms.

Distinct from traditional exchanges, which often have lengthy and complicated vetting procedures for new listings, Blum intends to simplify the token listing process. The exchange will enable crypto projects to list their tokens automatically, drawing on data from reliable protocols and platforms to offer universal token access. This process will be supported by software performing preliminary evaluations of a project's technology, market liquidity, and user base, aiming to lower the entry threshold for promising new projects.

Source and Copyright: Blum

Who is Behind the Blum Project?

Gleb Kostarev previously held the position of Binance's regional head for Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, Vladimir Smerkis served as the General Manager for the CIS region at Binance. Kostarev stepped down from his role at the cryptocurrency giant in September of the previous year, coinciding with the exchange's strategic withdrawal from Russian markets. 

Vladimir Smerkis, who also departed from Binance around the same time as Kostarev, held the role of General Manager for Binance in Russia and the CIS. Smerkis has since taken up the mantle of chief marketing officer and co-founder at Blum. In addition, Vladimir Maslyakov, the Chief Technology Officer of Thekey.space, has been announced as part of the Blum project, according to a statement from Kostarev on Telegram.

The platform has indicated that further details regarding its core team members will be disclosed at a later date.

What’s Next? 

According to a Bloomberg report, Blum is in the process of identifying suitable locations for its headquarters, with a focus on jurisdictions known for their favorable cryptocurrency regulations, such as Dubai, according to the platform. The hybrid exchange is aiming to establish a worldwide footprint, prioritizing growth in emerging markets, particularly in central and southeast Asia.

Additionally, the founders are currently in active talks with potential external investors, with the goal of closing the funding round by the end of this month. Despite this expansion strategy, Blum has opted not to serve U.S. customers, citing the complex regulatory environment in the country. Nonetheless, the platform is committed to adhering to global cryptocurrency regulations, amidst ongoing debates regarding the classification of cryptocurrencies as securities.

A spokesperson for Blum highlighted that, as part of their initial launch phase, the platform is introducing a system where users can earn points through engagement within the Telegram mini-app and future mobile applications. These points may eventually be exchanged for tokens, reflecting a growing trend among crypto startups to stimulate community involvement and user growth through reward-based activities. This approach encourages users to engage more actively with the platform, accumulating what can be considered internal capital via transactions and other interactions.

Blum is not the only venture created by former exchange employees. For instance, last month, alumni from Alameda and FTX managed to raise $17 million at a valuation of $120 million for a new platform named Backpack.

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