The founder of Bitcoin Fundation Ukraine spoke to CoinFox on regulation issues and the first blockchain project for Odessa region.
CoinFox: First of all, congratulations on recovering your belongings seized by police earlier this month.
MC: It is a bit early for congratulations, they haven’t returned me anything. They temporise and send me some run-around replies and do other nonsense.
CoinFox: But you do have the court ruling in hand?
MC: I have the court ruling but it weights next to nothing in this country.
CoinFox: Do you believe this case can change the law enforcement policy towards Ukrainian IT industry (and bitcoin industry in particular)?
MC: This is what we aim for. It is a very good case.
CoinFox: EU allegedly plans to clamp down on bitcoin after recent attacks in Paris because cryptocurrency may be used by terrorists. Do you think Ukrainian authorities may follow this route?
MC: I have doubts that Ukrainian authorities are capable of any analysis in this sphere. I see no reasons to worry, at least in Ukraine: they could not care less at the moment. Speaking about the European Union, I don’t believe they can do anything [about bitcoin], what can they do? They can launch a smear campaign, but they will not block anything. But if they do block exchanges or close their accounts, then bitcoin may become really dark. [No one will use it] except for secret services and terrorists. And no one will be able to control anything anymore. Now one can throw some light [upon these operations] through these exchanges. [Block them, and] there will be nothing left. They will just spoil everything. But frankly speaking, I do not believe they will. A lot of money was invested in this industry; I doubt anybody will make rash acts here. Moreover, the Bank of International Settlements has recently published a document with a positive stance on bitcoin and the blockchain technology in particular.
CoinFox: Earlier this month you have announced a project to set up an E-Governance system in Odessa in collaboration with Innovecs. Can you tell more about this project? Will it be something like the Factom project?
MC: No, Factom deals with ledgers, while we build an auction system which more resembles OpenBazaar.
CoinFox: When do you plan to launch the project?
MC: It is hard to tell, we are still on foot. There are a lot of nuances to be solved, and we are solving them. I cannot say we have an out-of-the-box solution, some parts are being coded, tested or prototyped while others are still to be agreed upon.
CoinFox: So, we are not talking about the near future?
MC: We are talking about the near future. We are talking about months, not years.
CoinFox: Do you receive any support from local authorities?
MC: It is a grass-root initiative from the start. We do not count on authorities. We have a task to do; once we launch it and demonstrate it is working then we can lobby it to become officially recognised, for the government to use it exclusively.
CoinFox: So it was a grass-root initiative, not a governmental initiative?
MC: Was there any governmental initiatives in the Post-Soviet space to do something helpful for people? I don’t know any examples. It is not a function of a nation state, there is no point to wait for it to do so. Especially in this country.