Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain™ where we get the best in the business to answer diverse questions.
This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.
Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Evelina Lavrova herself.
1. We would love to know more about you, Evelina, and your journey into the Blockchain space.
The first time I heard about blockchain was at the beginning of 2016. At that point I was working at Pay-Me (a Russian mPOS service, the equivalent of Square). I asked the founder of Pay-Me to tell me more about this technology. In the summer I found a post on Facebook by Sasha Ivanov, founder of Waves Platform, about a vacancy, and I joined the team.
I helped to promote the company globally and 2 years later I joined Waves World – a Waves Mining Pool and crypto marketplace based in the US. In the autumn of 2018 I launched my own company, DeCrypto PR, and I now consult for blockchain startups.
2. Can you tell us more about Waves and your role in it?
Waves was one of the first companies to raise investment in an ICO. It was a new way to raise money and before it became so hyped. I joined the team 3 months after they raised 30,000 bitcoins or around $16 million. I started to promote the company in Moscow, then other countries. We increased our activities in Europe, US and Asia. I communicated with media and events organizers. I also worked on partnerships with Microsoft and Deloitte.
3. We would love to know about DeCrypto’s role in the Blockchain space
I realised I had the right skill-set to help other Russian startups – and not only blockchain startups – to expand into developed markets, so I opened my own agency.
4. How is blockchain adoption in Russia? What future do you think it holds for the Russian people?
Russia has a very strong technical culture: there are a lot of blockchain developers and a strong technology community. This is why blockchain companies like to open offices in Russia and CIS, but we only have a small market. So founders typically need to think about how to go global. The Russian government is working on cryptocurrency regulation. The first federal law about digital financial assets could be accepted by the State Duma in 2019, so we will see how this works out.
5. The current market crashes have created fear. What are your views on the market prices?
It has felt pretty brutal, but this is very characteristic of bitcoin. It has happened before, many times! The market got ahead of itself, just like the dotcom bubble, then crashed. Right now traders and investors are waiting to find out what’s coming next. Some are waiting for the price to start going up again before they buy, others are waiting for new and clearer regulation. You can’t fight market cycles, you just have to wait them out.
6. The STO market is on the rise. What importance do STOs have for the future of Blockchain?
STOs are essentially a regulated form of ICO that fit much better within the conventional regulatory framework. Investors have more rights, the picture is far clearer, and the rules are stricter. We haven’t seen the end of ICOs, but STOs are the preferred way of raising money right now – especially larger sums – due to the regulatory questions around ICOs.
7. What do you think is required to boost global adoption rates for blockchain technology?
More use cases in business, corporations and government organizations. But honesty, I think it will be several more years before blockchain will be used across many industries, because huge financial institutions and exchanges don’t want to lose their own power and control over financial transactions.
8. What shortcomings do you feel are present in the blockchain space? How can we overcome them?
First of all, security. We’ve seen so many scams in the last year. We also need to be very careful in the use of our data. The blockchain is a transparent and permanent record, so anything you upload to it will stay there indefinitely and is accessible to the public. Access to that data needs managing carefully, perhaps via use of a private blockchain with limited access.
Another shortcoming is the lack of regulation. If we had better regulation, all participants would understand their own rights and responsibilities.
9. What are some blockchain projects you think have the potential to change our future?
There are many!
Property registry: this is a major use case that is already being explored, streamlining the process of registering and updating the owner of a building and thereby making buying/selling and moving faster and easier. Australia is already experimenting with a blockchain land registry.
Provenance/supply chains. Transparent supply chains avoid the siloes of conventional models, where different points on the chain (suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers) frequently don’t have visibility of what the others are doing – leading to inefficiencies and waste. This approach can also be used to trace provenance of goods, proving the product the consumer buys has been sustainably and ethically created.
Voting is another non-financial use case. Polls can be conducted transparently and in an auditable manner, but without undermining the anonymity which is vital for a flourishing democracy.
Further applications include decentralised e-commerce, notary services, identity verification and online gaming/e-sports.
10. What innovative marketing strategies can work in improving the adoption of blockchain?
I think we can promote the technology from two sides:
From the bottom up – developing community and educational programmes – and From the top down – government and lawyers should be ready for open dialog with developers and startup founders.
In terms of marketing, a combination of offline and online activities is always most effective. It’s also interesting that podcasts are very popular in the crypto industry, such as Bad Crypto by Travis Wright and Joel Comm, Unchained and Unconfirmed podcast by Laura Shin, and so on.
11. Any last motivational words for the people working in the Blockchain space?
Believe in yourself and do what you enjoy! I want to say thank you to many people who believe in me. Also I’m so thankful for Anshul Padyal for this interview.