Tue. Mar 19th, 2019

Interview with Mr. Tadej Slapnik – Former State Secretary – Slovenia, Director – TOLAR | Humans of Blockchain

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Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain  where we get the best and brightest to answer a diverse set of questions. 

This series will attempt to clear the air of doubt in the Blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers. 

Our guest today is Mr. Tadej Slapnik, Former State Secretary for the Republic of Slovenia, Chairman of Advisory Board and Principal – European Blockchain Hub, Director – TOLAR. 

Mr. Slapnik is an experienced individual in many fronts which is presented by his positions held currently and in the past:

  • Former State Secretary – Republic of Slovenia
  • Chairman of Advisory Board and Principal – European Blockchain Hub
  • Director – TOLAR

Now lets hear it out from Tadej himself. 


1. We would love to know more about you Tadej. Your journey and how you got into the blockchain space?

Well I used to be a state secretary in cabinet office for the prime minister of the Republic of Slovenia, responsible for the transition of our economy from linear to the circular economy and we did a lot of activities and strategies, then we started to find out which technology will enable us to reach our goal and we found out that Blockchain technology could be a disruptive tech which if implemented in the right way could change things for the better. Thhere were a very few startups/ companies in Slovenia for this technology at that time and when we found that out, I started exploring it myself and I read a lot leading me to this stage. 


2. How long have you been into Blockchain Technology? Tell us about your ventures and what companies are you associated with?

I have been into this technology since 2014. After Slovenia, with a lot of knowledge on legislation and building an ecosystem for blockchain startups, I finished my mandate in September this year and then we established the European Blockchain Hub where I am the Principal. With European Blockchain Hub, we are involving four stakeholders inside the organization, government, blockchain companies, research academia, and civil society. In order that we make capacity building for new project, that we make good answers on how to regulate and also to initiate the project. But beside that

I am director of TOLAR, a Hashnet company, it’s a blockchain startup that is being developed for a new phase of their blockchain technology with a proof of stake consensus algorithm. 


3. Tell us more about your startup. What it is doing? And what is its current status?

It’s actually a startup which is implementing Hashnet protocol. Hashnet protocol is a proof of stake protocol, it’s much more sustainable like proof of work and much more scalable. Our ICO was conducted in September, we already have two public presentations of our demo, in January 2019 our testnet  will be up and in June next year we are focusing on making the platform public. We’re one of the very few startups in this segment that is very near to developing a Hashnet protocol.


4. What is the role played by European Blockchain Hub? How does one get access to their services?

The European Blockchain Hub is opening national nodes we can say because that way we have a distributed way of organizing our organization. We’re currently searching for partners in each European country and that they already have an established framework, different stakeholders as I mentioned. We have already established the Asian Blockchain Hub which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur . Now to make a bridge between Asia and Europe, we recently established the European-Asian Blockchain for Sustainable Development Goals Tour which has been functioning for 3 Months now. We have eleven events in Asia and nine in Europe.

Now coming to Mauritius, I am also advising the Mauritian government to prepare their national strategy for blockchain technologies but in that time we met a lot representative of the blockchain ecosystem here and we announced the preparation for the establishment of the African Blockchain Hub.


5. What is the regulatory state in Slovenia towards blockchain?

In 2017 we have had 50 ICOs in 20 different economical verticals that meant, the government and regulatory authority were faced with different challenges and it was not like how to regulate blockchain technology because you cannot regulate the technology. You should regulate the application governed by the technology, through that thinking we learned alot. We didn’t take the approach of changing the law or making a new law too fast because we try to find the implementation or explanation of the law that fits the business model. Quite a lot was done but we also faced challenges, for example our main goal for next year is to have a law about the distributed ledger technology implementation.

Some really forward-looking ideas would be initiating a completely new type of digital company that didn’t exist before but also trying to find answers with smart regulation to make a stable legal environment for the blockchain companies, not just in Slovenia but in also in Europe because we are in the European Union.


6.Suppose we have a start-up in India and we want to establish in Slovenia, so how can we do that?

A first good move would be to contact the European Blockchain Hub because main headquarters are in Ljubljana and the capital, in the bitcoin city, actually it’s a city within the city and there are more than 40 blockchain companies incorporated there. You can also get all the legal advise and all the support accelerators. You can also look at many other national associations like bitcoin association in Slovenia, European Blockchain Alliance also have headquarters that you can contact but generally I would advise you to contact European Blockchain Hub because it was established with a reason to help the companies from abroad if they are coming to Slovenia, if they are going to Madrid we have node there, Zug in Switzerland we have a node there too, all in all wherever you decide you can engage you might find our node to contact.


7. Apart from the topic what is your say about the recent market crash?

This was expected you know as the price was going up everybody knew that somewhere in the near future it will also fall. It’s a real test for the blockchain companies that are developing blockchain technology because now it’s harder to get investments which is not good and that is why we have to develop a new way but I think that in the long term the prices will be more stable.


8. The recent fall in the market has instilled a fear to get into the blockchain market so how do you think this will affect Blockchain Adoption?

Well with regulation comes safety, which leads to confidence again. Different type of investment like Security Tokens is one of them, Security Tokens are more influential on an investor as to how the money is to be spent but also that you are the owner of the utility token gives you access to being the co-owner of the company that you invest in. These are some moves that should be made but it’s a process .


9. People are saying that STOs are the copy of regular securities. What do you think?

This is what I am afraid of. If this is only accessible to the big investors, it will not be okay. In Europe we are trying to find solutions connected to the crowdfunding investment but also mainly to invest in hybrid tokens which is where I see solution and that it will be still possible for common citizen to micro-invest. This should be the goal here.


10.There are a lot of shortcomings in the Blockchain Technology such as speed, security, and other issues that need to be solved and how can we solve them?

Blockchain today is energy consuming so it’s expensive, slow speed of transactions and a main issue for scalability. For example with Hashnet we are answering all these questions. We have tested 150000 transactions per second, 100 nodes and its one way, however there are others. I’m afraid that a lot of existing miners are backing up. What will be with ledger if too many back of  is a big question mark.


11.Do you want to say anything to your audience? Any motivating words?

We have this wonderful technology, we should put in a lot of energy to use it for the common good. We see this materialization of common good in sustainable development goals as there are 17 of them from lowering the poverty to equal rights. We should really partner on that and all the knowledge from companies, the academia and the government to implement the blockchain technology to actually realize sustainable development goals.


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