Head Of NEM Foundation Ukraine: Blockchain Is A Quantum Leap For Us
On September 19, at the Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference in Kiev, the plans to establish the NEM Foundation, a huge blockchain center in Ukraine, were announced. This event easily caught attention of the Ukrainian crypto community, as the NEM has managed to become one of the first largest foreign blockchain companies that decided to extend its influence to the domestic market.
The NEM Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by supporters and enthusiasts of the NEM technology. It operates in 50 countries and provides informational and advisory support to ordinary citizens, companies and governments. The goal of the NEM is to distribute its products, such as blockchain, wallet, and platform, across the world.
Blockspoint met with the head of the NEM Foundation Ukraine Anton Bosenko to discuss the company's business development plans and its possible influence on other projects and the crypto community as a whole, and talk about prospects for distributed technologies in Ukraine.
How did the NEM get to Ukraine?
Before I got acquainted with blockchain technology in 2017, I used to be a private entrepreneur and headed projects in various areas. But since I am a creative person, I cannot sit still for anything too long. It is important for me to move forward and constantly develop. Traditional business processes became a burden, they seemed to me boring and routine. I was looking for alternative ways to diversify my business with the help of innovative technologies, and was amazed at opportunities offered by blockchain. I devoted about four months to the study of distributed technologies and finally could build a plan. I realized that I need to start with the creation of a proper infrastructure in Ukraine.
I discussed my concept with more than 50 blockchain projects but only six of them got interested. And only one was open enough to start it immediately. It was the NEM. This is how the Ukrainian division of the NEM foundation appeared. The first meet-up took place in February 2018 at Unit.City. About 50 people attended it, and we were inspired by our success.
Seven months later we managed to achieve some credibility in the global community. We conducted more than 20 meetings in various formats, signed a memorandum with the Blockchain Association in Ukraine, established a cooperation with the government representatives, became residents of the Blockchain HUB in Kiev. In July, the NEM cryptocurrency got into the top 5 most popular cryptocurrencies in the country. Together with Paytomat, we set an official record in Ukraine by the number of cryptocurrency transactions performed during the Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22. Due to our success, our whole organization started seriously considering Ukraine as a good spot for business. At the beginning of 2019, we are going to work hard to open the blockchain center here. The NEM Foundation has already got such centers in Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, and Latvia. Now it's Ukraine's turn.
The changes the new center may bring to Ukraine
Blockchain can change the world very quickly. In a year or two, we will see that many familiar processes will get better, faster, and safer. Ukraine can now be called the center of blockchain technologies in Eastern Europe. But we are focused on expanding our influence on the whole Europe and a part of Asia. In terms of the economic progress, Ukraine cannot catch up with developed countries. In fact, we are a third-world country. We need a huge quantum leap forward, and we have everything to make it. But we need the governmental decision and proper conditions for further development.
It all comes down to decisions at the state level. We have no governmental support. We signed a memorandum with the Blockchain Association of Ukraine, and all dialogues with government agencies occur through them. It is extremely important to unite key market players, since the majority has more influence on the system. In the NEM Foundation, there are projects with the Central Election Commission, with Kyiv Smart City, an educational course at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is being prepared, and we are negotiating with the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.
Our center will be registered in Ukraine as a non-profit organization. We are going to retransmit the whole NEM fund. The goals of the global company are our goals. This is the popularization of blockchain around the world, and the introduction of blockchain products to all industries. All meetings are free, we do not sell anything and do not make anyone choose any product. The opening of the center will be a powerful contribution to the development of the local community, it will help other market participants to develop and will attract more supporters of distributed technologies.
The NEM Foundation operates in 50 countries, and this is very interesting, since each of them has its own cultural peculiarities. But all representatives of the organization keep in touch and share achievements and advice. Our community does carry weight, because Ukraine often grabs headlines.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption issues in Ukraine
The problem with the introduction of blockchain in Ukraine has nothing to do with people and technologies. Historically, Ukraine is a poor country with a strong IT-base. There are a lot of smart people who want to change the world, are ready to work all day long. They are fanatics and enthusiasts. But the majority of ordinary Ukrainians do not understand new technologies and do not know why they are needed. Therefore, the main problems are the way blockchain is presented by the media and the indecisiveness — or rather the reluctance — of politicians.
We often deal with people who know nothing about blockchain. For them, blockchain is “something about cryptocurrencies” and they call it a Ponzi scheme or a financial bubble. The opinions are based on a negative news background, and the media are fond of using loud provocative headlines. They write that the price collapsed, that a large-scale leak of funds happened, or cite loud statements by crypto experts. These all are kinds of speculation.
Therefore, there are many people who have decided to make money on cryptocurrency. Many of them started trading and then got interested in ICO. But over time, the number of those who go ahead and start investing in technology and the development of blockchain is growing. The market is expanding, euphoria evaporates, and some more real and important things remain.
We try not to use abstract explanations — but to demonstrate the practical benefits of using blockchain. We explain to Ukrainians the applicability and availability of cryptocurrency on a daily basis, saying that this is the process of money evolution. The NEM technologies have an intuitive interface, thus we use the NEM wallet for visual explanation. We show how to send information, notarize documents, send encrypted messages, create accounts with multi-signatures. All these things are not much more difficult than ordinary processes on the Internet.
The real introduction of blockchain technology will be possible when the information field is cleared of speculation and hype, when there is a sufficient amount of projects that demonstrate advantages over traditional systems, when technologies become intuitive not only for developers, but also for ordinary people.
Photo: Sasha Che