The first outdoor barbecue crypto conference DeCenter #CryptoBBQ took place on August 23 in Moscow, organized jointly by DeCenter and CryptoEvent. The event was attended by the biggest players of the mining and trading industries, famous experts of the market, as well as people who are just starting to get acquainted with the crypto market and want to plunge into it head first. What was said at the lectures, whispered in the lobbies, and what assumptions about the vectors of the development of the crypto industry were expressed by the speakers will all be explained in the following article.
What Blockchain Is and Who Needs It: Lectures for the Savvy
During the course of their presentations, all of the speakers presented different visions about the problems of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies markets. Despite such a wide pluralism of opinions, however, the participants of the event showed amazing cohesion in one aspect, as they are all confident in the further development of the crypto industry and see colossal potential in it.
One of the first to take the floor was the CEO of LavkaLavka and the BioCoin blockchain platform, Boris Akimov.
"I am an ardent opponent of globalization. The path that the whole world is going through lately is disastrous not only for medium and small businesses but for end users, for us. Corporations with their huge capitals and opportunities do not leave a single chance for small businesses that are on their way. There are a lot of similar cases in farming. Imagine a small shop, the owner of which sells ecologically clean and healthy chicken meat from their own production. His affairs are going well, perhaps he took his small niche in the village or town. And then near it, they open a huge shopping center with a gastronomy network, selling broilers stuffed with dubious ingredients. Of course, the prices will be lower because a small farmer's business will not be able to withstand such fierce competition and will burn up. What do we have in the end? Money from the region is withdrawn in a centralized way and vanishes, devastating the economy, the culture, and biodiversity of the locality, and people will eat products of incomprehensible quality and production. I think that blockchain allows us to give these local communities that are dying from globalization and centralization the opportunity to exaggerate their identity, thereby saving our world from the points of concentration of people in one place. For me, decentralization is connected with this potential," Akimov shared.
Co-founder of the Russian Miner Coin Dmitry Marinichev spoke of for whom the blockchain was created. "One or two enterprises are a trusted environment. It is much easier for them to exchange information through regular centralized databases, and they do not really need any blockchain. Blockchain is needed to create trusted environments for a large number of participants. But without direct participation of the state, it will be impossible to do this. Because as soon as you create some trusted environment in which you will communicate with each other, with which you will transfer value, and in which you will transfer important information for which you need an intermediary, you will automatically begin to violate the law. This is such a conceptual modern problem of blockchain. Because just a distributed database is just a database, it, of course, allows you to create records resistant to destruction and changes, but nothing more.
Now, of course, everyone is thinking about how you can automate these models in production, but nothing will work out. Blockchain by itself, the production by itself. This is the main problem of all these conversations about blockchain, about the cryptocurrency, about the industrial boom, and about where this technology is needed. Strangely enough, people need blockchain, and this is a paradox. In general, the digital world can be of two kinds. The first kind is a kind of digitized world, which is now being built by almost all states and almost all enterprises. For example, an apologist in this construction is food, where an absolutely centralized system enables clients and companies to interact in this system in the format of client and server technology. Everything is very fast and prosaic as there is an intermediary, there is a beneficiary and the ultimate beneficiary. A similar system is being built in Russia in which there is an ultimate beneficiary. It also provides opportunities for interaction between citizens and enterprises. Do we need a blockchain? Answer: Of course, no, it is not needed, because as soon as you have a single beneficiary, no distributed registries can exist. A distributed registry is needed where entities appear that are equal to each other and that need to exchange some information. In the new blockchain algorithms that will be implemented in the new chains, a mechanism will be put in place that allows to unambiguously confirm the transactions only to those participants who own the funds or own the information. And this competition of everything and everything in the new world described in a new way that will allow to form completely different structures and interrelations and to build enterprises in a different way. Therefore, my conviction is that the world must turn around, but only the consciousness of people can turn it around. Nowadays, we live in the vassal paradigm to which we are accustomed, and there is nothing we can do about it. In the new system, there will be no vertical hierarchy, each person will be their own master, will have their time and resources and will be able to offer them to the world. Who will work in such a system? Robots!" Marinichev demonstrated his vision of the new philosophy of the world order.
A somewhat skeptical attitude toward the possibilities of developing any cryptocurrency as a universal payment system was expressed by Oleg Ivanov, CEO and co-founder CryptoBazar Fund. "When we talk about investment transactions, we are talking about two sides of the same coin, as there is a party wanting to get some economic benefit from investments, and there is a party that has financial resources. It must be understood that the motives of these parties can be completely different. The market of cryptocurrencies now constitutes an insignificant share of the general financial market. If something happens to the market tomorrow, nothing will happen. When we begin to realize such a huge gap, it looks ridiculous, but nevertheless, the potential in the cryptocurrency market is rather large. Why do we continue to do something during this market? The fact is that we see certain limitations on it. It would seem that last year everything was cool, everything was "swell,” but now, everything has stopped. Because there are some limitations. One of the most basic is technical. The blockchains are slow and very energy intensive. If we compare the blockchain sector with the IT industry, then we are in the era when computers were working on punch cards. The task was in achieving more rapid calculations. And imagine that at that time, someone would come up with, for example, Snapchat or Instagram. The computers of those times were simply unable to implement such projects. The needs that now exist for large businesses, for small businesses, and for government organizations cannot be fulfilled by the current protocols. A vivid example is a comparison of the number of transactions that can be carried out in a second by VISA and, for example, a blockchain of Bitcoin. This is even disparate metrics, so any business applications of the blockchain are still premature," the speaker said.
Yegor Bugaenko, CEO of Zerocracy, spoke about his vision of blockchain technology and its use. "We all know about the 51 percent problem, which can lead to the concentration of all resources in the same hands. This in any case, should not be allowed. Interest should be spread over the network," he explained, describing the three main principles of the decentralized system according to his personal recipe:
Duplication of data. Instead of one server, you need to put several computers for complete decentralization and clear work.
Encryption. One side has a private key, and the other one is accessible to everyone. This is the meaning of cryptocurrencies.
Consensus. We have two servers, they are honest, and there are dishonest users who want to create a duplicate transaction to organize the problem of double spending. To prevent similar frauds, the consensus algorithm Proof-of-Work was introduced.
About ICOs, Cyberattacks, and Regulation
The general managing partner and co-founder of Byzantium Peter Bel told how he approaches the development of his company. "Contractors should not be trusted to write smart contracts and draft documents and ideas. This you must do yourself. If you do not find partners to scale the business and do not have a distinct model to run, then no adviser and specialist will help promote your idea. Employees need to be found before the ICO, doing so after is an absolutely stupid idea. You have to start again from scratch," he commented.
Bel also noted that one can hire a team to carry out project activities, roadshows, and speakers. One can ask how to create an FAQ, but it is even better to do it yourself. For outsourcing, it is possible to assign content creation, for example, video editing.
During the DeCenter #CryptoBBQ, participants were able to attend several discussion panels, the main speakers at which were experts from different fields. The topic of one of them was "Crypto exchange in 2018. Market trends, experience, and prospects."
Experts paid much attention to the listing of coins. "Listing did not slow down. We list six to eight tokens per month but do not do it right after the ICO. We answer with our heads for everything. The main thing is the idea of the project. It must change the world. The team and its intentions are still important," said Maria Stankevich, communications director of the EXMO crypto exchange platform.
Deex’s PR and marketing expert Peter Grubber spoke about the algorithms for calculating unscrupulous projects. "Scams are easy to identify. We have opened recently, so we are open to all. First of all, it is necessary to look at the essence of the project and the token that is being proposed. Every token believes that it changes the world. The team must have the experience to create drastic changes. It is worthwhile to understand that at the initial stage, a concept and serious intentions are needed," the speaker said.
Experts also gave general recommendations for owners of digital assets. "Do not be afraid. Exchanges will develop, expand all of its functions, and the volumes will grow. Go, try, test, and choose the exchange to your liking. The elements of hype are gone. Study the industry and just be careful. The exchanges will do everything for your comfortable work," they agreed.
The main hacker attacks and ways of protecting your company and assets were revealed by the employee of Group-IB Ruslan Yusufov.
"The cryptos have grown so much that they became interesting to serious criminal hacker groups that a year ago were engaged in targeted attacks on banks. As a result of the hacking, you can steal more money than when attacking the bank, and the chances of going to prison are much lower because the legislation is not ready and the police do not know what to do with claims for Bitcoin loss. Not to mention, the technology itself allows one to maintain maximum anonymity. If we look at the key volumes of the Bitcoin collapse, we will see that many of them are very emotional and are directly related to hacker attacks. This brought down the rates. Just a couple of weeks ago, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that security is the fundamental basis for the evolution of the crypto industry. I think he knows what he's talking about because crypto instruments are a tasty morsel for hackers. Attacks are spreading. For example, 59 percent of U.K. companies have already become victims of malicious software for the hidden mining of cryptocurrency. And these are still small indicators. Eventually, scammers will develop more sophisticated methods of theft. Remember that cyber threats are relevant at every stage of project development," the speaker reported.
How, Why and for Whom: Implementing a Blockchain
Business Development Manager at Bitfury Herbert Shopnick talked about the implementation of the blockchain in various industries. "I would like to remind you that a blockchain is a decentralized database, the history of transactions in which is immutable. Cryptocurrencies are based on the blockchain, but this does not mean that the blockchain cannot exist without a cryptocurrency. Now, this technology is being introduced into various spheres and it has practical applications. It is good that the state authorities are not rejecting blockchain, because it will help open and secure the system, bring it to a new level of development," he said.
It is no secret that the salaries in the IT industry significantly exceed the average working compensation in the country, and, possibly, in the world. In the crypto industry, the developer's requests are usually even higher. More details about specific figures were told by the manager of analytical projects of HeadHunter Nikolay Velichko. "Programmers with knowledge of the Solidity language request about 200,000 rubles. Specialists in the blockchain want to receive from 100,000 to 450,000. The applicants are adding to their CVs only the best traits, such as knowledge of the technology and fluency in English," he summed up.
The theme of another panel discussion was "Blockchain in game development. Features of implementation, monetization, and the future of technology in 2018 and 2019." "From the point of view of the user and gamer, little will change because of the blockchain. It is just a digital asset, which exists in every game and is used as a reward, and will be available at all game sites. People who make crypto games need to monetize their activities. There is no gameplay in the famous CryptoKitties. We will have to abandon hard segmentation, and those games that we have now are not quite revealing their concepts, and rather, they are gaming pyramids, which simply demonstrate the technology. If the mass market does not come to the blockchain, then it will die. Games are the only IT business that does not sell services. There, people buy experiences and emotions. Our task is to transfer the most of these sensations through the technology. Gaming is like a professional sport with its incomes and leaders. Gaming with competitions is very good for blockchain. It is just as easy to implement a blockchain in online games. Symbiosis can be found in VR too. Stability of the game coin can be provided with the help of stablecoins. The hardest thing is not the technology of blockchain, as it can be adjusted to your needs, but the legal problems are much worse. Sometimes there are reversed cases when the developer tries to implement something that often does not have a practical need," said co-founder and CPO Expload, Alexander Zelenshchikov, chief producer of Crypto Card Duels, Yegor Grishchenko, head of the DeStream community Dmitry Zorkin, and founder of Deep Gold, Systems architect, and tech lead Alexei Bystrov.
The problem of artificial intelligence was also touched upon during the lectures of speakers, as it was spoken about by the crypto investor, the adviser of ICO projects, Strategy Advisor CoinAnalyst Sergey Kharlamov. "Now, about 20 million people are trading on exchanges. There are many problems in the industry, for example:
Nobody sees the whole picture of what is happening in the market. There are projects that users are constantly monitoring, but you cannot follow all of them. You can buy two to three projects and watch only them. There are downsides to this tactic, as you can skip perspective startups. You can buy a lot of assets and forget about them. But after all, everything can change in one week.
It is a volatile market driven by emotions. There is no fundamental base backing crypto assets, therefore the price is formed on the mood of traders. Again, you cannot follow everything. To read the information, you need artificial intelligence which will help analyze all the news for the user," Kharlamov said.
Another vital topic for the crypto community of “how not to go to jail during the ICO” was touched upon by the Head of Legal at Sum&Substance Anton Petrov. "You should always determine the degree of risk. It is important to think about KYC and AML, as you need to monitor all transactions and track down questionable transfers. We need to train our own staff and prepare it for the worst events. Now, not all of them are regulated. It is necessary to choose a good legal adviser who will reconcile all documents and learn the rights when dealing with cryptocurrencies and the project," the speaker said.
The issue of education is another "headache" of the crypto industry and it also did not go unnoticed by the speakers. "Most of my colleagues perceive cryptos as something between technology and finance. Hence, there are a lot of misunderstandings at the international level," said Yuri Rusakov, the Crypto English project's founder.
"Everything that takes place in the sphere of IT education is not thanks to, but in spite of the system. Everything that is happening now is based on the personal initiatives of the universities themselves. There is a national program for the development of the digital economy, where the vector of development of university directions is registered. But they are not very much involved in the agenda. Universities are trying to adapt to the demand of the world trend, and we should not forget that this is a bureaucratic system that cannot act on its own."
If we talk about directly applied education, then, in the opinion of the majority of the speakers, now there is a catastrophic lack of communication between developers in the field of blockchains and universities. "It is believed that 25 percent of developers around the world are Russian speaking. This is a big indicator. We come to the fact that companies are abandoning the search for blockchain developers and are reeducating their programmers, who, in the future, will become professionals. Companies need to invest in laboratories for blockchain where several guys from the course will be focused on technology. Sberbank, for example, is ready to participate in such educational programs. It is necessary to conduct hackathons with a prize fund, which are similar to a competition in programming. Then, once everything becomes clear, who knows what. The best of the guys after such hackathons can go on business trips abroad. The cost of such competitions in universities is about 300,0000 to 500,000 rubles, and this is small money," said the experts in education.
The conversations did not stop at all on the sidelines or on the stage when concerning the legal side of the activities of crypto communities and projects. "South Korea paused after first banning everything, and is now studying the market and coming up with a separate good regulation for each direction, for example, one type of regulation for gaming, and another for decentralized applications," the managing partner of the cryptocurrency Inception Fund explained.
The Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Education and Science and the author of the idea of "Blockchain City," told about the necessary strategy for identifying professionals of the crypto industry in Russia. "Russia always uses its resources last. When the blockchain appeared, the state took a long time before reacting to the new system. Mining can be integrated in Siberia, for example, people themselves can do it and receive income. If the state creates a barrier-free environment and minimal support, then the population will begin to develop the infrastructure," he explained.
The speakers' speeches were concluded on a very positive note, as during his report on expectations from the ICO in 2019, Senior Partner Matrix CIB, Sergei Chmel urged to believe not in the unfounded allegations about the fall of the ICO market, but in real numbers.
It should be noted that during the event, the participants could not only listen to the lectures of the speakers, communicate with them personally in the areas for networking, and make new professional contacts but also luxuriate in sun loungers under the sunlight of the summer sun and, of course, try out some kebab and soft drinks in the lounges.