An international conference for professionals working on Blockchain and Crypto, glorying in the name of Blockchain Incredible Party (BIP 001), took place in Kyiv, now for the fourth time. Meeting together were experts from 15 countries. They spoke about the future of Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrency, and the challenges and opportunities for their applications under the conditions of a transformed world and new economies.
The major benefit of the conference was that it brought together not only the professional players, but also representatives of various regulatory bodies in Ukraine, who understand that they need to be involved with such progressive technologies and their implementation in the today’s real economy. And so, for example, Tymur Khromayev, Head of the Ukrainian National Securities and Stock Market Commission (NSSMC), gave a presentation at the conference, highlighting that the regulator sees its goal as introducing transparent rules of the game in the capital market. “In Ukraine we have the conditions that make it possible to build solutions under blockchain, whether for smart contracts or other such instruments, developing new market niches and businesses,” – stated Tymur Khromayev. He highlighted an importance not to forget cybersecurity at any point, and to establish clear rules for cybersecurity, because as soon as any risks manifest themselves, development is hampered. He continued, describing how today in Ukraine there are conditions in place to introduce innovation, and the piloting of new technologies to support such projects as the ambitious venture of the National Bank, the National Cashless Economy project. This aims to reduce the volume of cash in circulation from 14.3% of the GDP in 2015 to 9.5% of the GDP in 2020. As for the capital market, there is also an innovative pilot to be mentioned. It started late last year, was supported by the NSSMC, and so far is unprecedented in the world. Now that the Ukrainian Stock Exchange has received its license from the Regulator, it has launched futures trading on the Bitcoin Index, becoming the world’s first platform for trading in cryptocurrency derivatives. Alexey Sukhorukov, Managing Director of Univer investment group and member of the Ukrainian Stock Exchange Council, spoke on a case study that had been made, noting that the regulations for the exchange have already been registered and the contract specified. Alexey Sukhorukov confirmed that the technical contract is already at the Ukrainian Stock Exchange and has all the necessary attributes. But the start of trading will actually begin when there will be a market maker, who will be one of the members of the Ukrainian Stock Exchange, and within which trading can take place. According to Alexey Sukhorukov, launching onto the market a new instrument is an answer to the complex situation on the Ukrainian stock market. It is expected that Bitcoin Index futures will attract new participants, such as companies from the IT-sector and their employees, many of whom are paid in Bitcoins.
Another example is the implementation of new technologies in the financial sector – the Attic Lab product solution for the banking system of Ukraine (SmartMoney) at the end of last year, having received approval from the National Bank.
“Applying IT-solutions developed by Attic Lab is a strategic pathway to the development of innovative financial services in our country,” – it was mentioned in the letter of the Ukrainian National Bank. In turn, the company working on the product believes that the development harmoniously augments the National Bank’s strategy for building a cashless economy.
You may recall that at the end of 2016 the Board of PJSC Alpari Bank and executive management of Attic Lab LLC have signed a contract to implement blockchain based banking system SmartMoney, in order to build an infrastructure for electronic money processing according to the rules of National payment system “PROSTIR”. According to the parties, this open source banking software will significantly reduce total cost of ownership of banking IT-infrastructure, increase security and transparency of banking operations and provide an ability to offer new functionality to the bank’s customers. In particular, the functionality includes p2p transfers between mobile wallets, smart contracts, trustless escrow, joint management of accounts etc. The parties also mentioned that they were interested and currently working on building decentralized payment network that would involve other banks, and will allow creating the whole ecosystem.
The blockchain experts believe that the future is in open-source software. Pavel Kravchenko, co-founder of blockchain provider Distributed Lab, spoke specifically on this point assessing the future of digital payments-2050, saying that everything would be digitalized and free of charge, and payments will be carried out as easily as sending an SMS message today. In the first instance, service is all-important, and only then, who provides it, said Frank Roessig from Telindus-Proximus.
As for the benefits to banks in the context of the introduction of blockchain technology, many speakers contributed, among whom was Mark Højgaard, CEO of Coinify. Nevertheless, he also noted that it is important to integrate blockchain technology across various sectors. And according to Roman Sulzhik, CEO of PS Capital and former VP at JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, disruption in the context of the implementation of blockchain technology in the traditional financial markets can only be expected by the use of useful but cheap solutions. Giacomo Zucco, CEO of BlockchainLAB and blockchain guru, regards the integration of traditional and innovative markets as essential. He stressed the problem of lack of knowledge about new technologies by both startups and traditional players, noting the importance of sharing knowledge and know-how through eco-systems for the accumulation and transfer of knowledge, as well as actually investing in the idea. For example, BlockchainLAB has created such an eco-system. It allows for the incubation of start-ups by providing young project mentors and investment, so that investors can obtain shares in the promising projects.
It is also valuable to say a few words about the presentation by developer and researcher Vlad Zamfir from Ethereum, which was eagerly awaited, and talked about personal responsibility.
“If people take individual responsibility, it is easier for people to take collective responsibility, communicating openly with others, helping them not to be negligent, and preserving others from bad intentions. This will lead to better ability to make community decisions,” – he said.
editor-in-chief of “Future” magazine