CIO At Association Blockchain Georgia: We Unite Government, People And Companies Around Blockchain
CIO at Association Blockchain Georgia Vano Narimanidze revealed the secret why Georgia is so popular with the crypto community and explained how to turn the whole crypto industry into a progressive and innovative sphere.
When did you first hear about the idea of blockchain?
It is a sad story. For the first time I heard about blockchain in 2010, when 1 BTC costed about 5 cents. It was not so easy to buy bitcoins back then but you could easily get some coins through mining. But I did not. There were times of some centralized currencies, like e-gold, and I thought that this bitcoin was something like that. Then, bitcoin increased to $1, but I still was convinced it was not a good project. Soon, the price reached somewhat six hundred dollars, but again, I did not invest. But I decided to read Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper. And I fell in love with this idea and could believe in cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, it was already late to become a bitcoin billionaire. But I gain something more. As far as I kept reading the whitepaper it became obvious for me that blockchain was a big thing.
What is a story behind your organization?
Association Blockchain Georgia was launched in 2017 by the group of IT specialists. We have seen the interest of people around us and decided to unite them because it was much easier and efficient to explain the thing. So the genesis of Association was the natural process as an answer to actual society's requirements. People started asking questions and started mining. It was the real trend, and many people lost a lot of money just because they were not educated enough and bought miners like Antminer D3 whose profitability was already very low once it hit the retail.
How many people work with you?
The Association was founded by eight people, and our list of members includes around 200 people. The number is constantly increasing. We also have close ties with two local organizations, Bitcoin Embassy Georgia and Blockchain Systems Institute (ISM).
What’s the goal of your organization?
Association Blockchain Georgia is a nonprofit organization aimed to unite the blockchain society in Georgia. We work to increase the awareness of blockchain technology through the educational activity. We want to support its adoption in Georgia. The government in Georgia is somewhat conservative so we are trying to incite them to start a research process. It can open new possibilities for international partnerships and associations and support the popularization, discussion of blockchain technology. Also, many people are just reading headlines and don’t want go deeper into details. They are inclined to believe in anything they are told. Today we see a lot of ICOs that are scams. We try to educate people how to define descent projects. We provide companies a place to gather and share ideas and start a new partnership. We connect companies, people and the government. We want to create a large crypto community in Georgia.
What are the main problems you want to solve?
I see that many local fintech companies still use TV commercials or printed adds which are fairly terrible in our time and at least not very efficient. We want to show them the right way with the help of modern technology boost. Our organization is looking to make everything innovative and cool instead of using ugly medieval instruments. Today, no one even clicks banners. So our association tries to educate companies how to turn the whole industry into a progressive and innovative sphere. One of our members established Blockchain Academy in Georgia which is a part of one of the largest universities in Georgia. Our members provide lecturers for beginners in blockchain programming. There are free and paid courses but they are not expensive.
Why are mining and blockchain so popular in Georgia?
I think this is due to law electricity tariffs and friendly conditions for business. Bitfury got interested in Georgia and gained some exemptions — it was freed from taxes. The government is quite liberal towards new technologies and even more towards new investments. We do not have much natural resources like oil or gas. So our resource should be blockchain business. We have to create necessary conditions for that very fast because in a few years there will likely be no more space for us in the market. For example, Ukraine is doing great job in the blockchain development now.
But we are still not so comfortable for mining as Syberia or Ireland. I mean, the electricity in Georgia is cheap all the time, but cheap cooling is available only in winter. It is a key point because, for example, Microsoft has one of the largest data centers in Ireland and they just need to keep doors and windows opened to keep the right temperature. This is called totally natural air cooling.
What is the most efficient blockchain system today?
There is an interesting moment. If you remember, last year there were very high transaction fees in the Bitcoin blockchain, and I believe Georgia played an important role there. I mean, at that moment the government launched a blockchain-based land registry platform and submitted a lot of transactions during a short period. It was like CryptoKitties for Ethereum. The Bitcoin blockchain is not very slow in terms of transactions, not scalable, and the fees there are still high. Today we have more efficient blockchain systems like Ripple or Stellar which are also more flexible. And we do not need public blockchain for everything. For example, we have a close relationship with Zencash who, apart from itson-chain projects, also develops products that are based on off-chain solutions. Their technology allows to create a crypto payment network very quickly so that I even successfully compete with Visa and MasterCard.
Does blockchain technology really need a community around it?
The world is changing, and instead of centralized teams we have some sorts of collaborations. And we also have the Internet which allows us to always stay in touch. I think everyone should adapt to such conditions. As soon as we are able to create digital decentralized global hubs, it will be possible to share ideas and create ideas instantly. We are based in Georgia and seem to be a centralized organization. But if you look closer, you will see that we have partnerships all over the world. We are also trying to build relations with neighboring countries like Azerbaijan. They have already established a kind of alliance there, and now we are trying to reach understanding. We have done several great partnerships in Ukraine. Also, we have ties with Israel and the USA. We aimed to attract new companies here and to stimulate the development of the industry.
What do you need to keep in mind while investing in an ICO?
It is important to evaluate the goals of the ICO. Sometimes, there is no need in blockchain at all. Investors should look precisely at the team members, because there are many cases of the fake profiles usage. The whitepaper must include realistic plans and realistic deadlines. Also, it is great if the team has a working model of the product. In general, you should be critical towards the ICO and try not to be soft-hearted.