Being 22, Anastasia is an experienced researcher in the information technology field, namely the blockchain technology sector. Cryptography and distributed systems are her “way of life”, which is tightly interconnected with the Distributed Lab company, famous in the world of crypto nerds and business corporations. This material will provide you with information about the BlockchainUA conference, as well as the Blockchain-hackathon that took place on March 22-24 of 2019 in Kyiv. The story of Anastasia will become our guide in the wilderness of science about cybersecurity and trust on the Internet.
You will learn from this article:
- Why the Bitcoin rate is irrelevant
- Why education in cryptography matters
- How to find a balanced approach towards the customers in the volatile industry
- How to ignore difficulties and conduct a large specialized conference in a quality manner, twice a year nonetheless
- The main tendencies from the BlockchainUA conference
- Winners of the Blockchain-hackathon and description of their ideas
Cryptowoman is an exception from the rule, rather than the common occurrence. Please tell our audience how it all began for you.
Pavlo (Pavlo Kravchenko, the DL founder – editorial note) was holding the cryptography course in Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics. When I came to him for the first time, I was 17 and did not understand a single thing. Then, I took a year to “think” whether I really needed it. The second year of the university was much better for me since I understood my calling. It is unfortunate that very few people were interested in the topic.
I am “technical person” and successfully defended my thesis on anonymity and confidentiality in the decentralized payment systems in 2018. To be more precise, I was writing about the cryptographic protocol ZK-snark. At the moment, I focus on business development. I follow the top European companies that are seeking to implement blockchain in their business operations. It is important, since we, crypto nerds, do not understand the business language (smiling).
Please tell us more about the company. How is it possible to conquer this new market in such a short period?
I am also surprised. It is exciting to see people starting their own blockchain quest in 2013-2014 currently having a large influence in the industry while being in the leading positions of the companies, such as Kuna, Distributed Lab, ForkLog, and others.
I became a part of the Distributed Lab team in 2016, as its global goal was “construction of the Financial Internet”. First, our laboratory is engaged in technological projects, while holding topical conferences and educational courses. We understood that for the achievement of our goal we needed to build TokenD tokenization platform.
TokenD is a programming platform that offers the developers to create their own solutions for asset tokenization. The project focuses on lowering the cost, risks, and terms of the projects in the tokenization field. This is why we switched from being the consulting company to being a product company.
Besides, Distributed Lab continues popularization of blockchain. Aside from the specialized events and meet-ups, we have published our own book in Russian, Ukrainian, and English, “Blockchain and Decentralized Systems” in three parts.
The book is written for the broader audience and emerges the reader into the history of blockchain and the related technologies, while also consistently explaining the mechanism behind blockchain. The numerous charts and refutation of the popular myths are an essential part of the book.
(As of the moment of our conversation with Anastasiya, Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics has approved the Ukrainian version of the book for its use in the Blockchain course - editorial note).
I reckon you wanted to create crypto hryvnia (crypto version of the Ukrainian currency - editorial note), correct?
True, there was an attempt of cooperation with the National Bank of Ukraine, upon their request. We created the documentation; everything was ready to test the technology, but the project got sacked. At the moment, the government of Ukraine is only considering an electronic Hryvnia, as the pilot project for the launch of this currency ended in February 2019.
It is a shame… Ukraine has a lot of smart people that lack effective management. Out banking applications are significantly better than in Europe and the U.S., while it is also easier to transfer cash to the account. We can do more and better. However, no one needs it at the moment.
What is the main advantage of blockchain for business?
Business always seeks an answer to one question, “Where is the money?” It is natural. At the same time, what they are missing is the security, offered by the technology. Hence, the essential problem being resolved by blockchain is control over data security of the business. Approximately 4.5 billion user records were compromised in the first half of 2018 worldwide. The technology may ensure compliance of the companies with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, but the majority of the companies have not made the decision yet.
BlockchainUA 2019 or those that survived the hype
BlockchainUA is the sixth conference. How did the crypto winter affect the organization of the event?
The TokenD platform became the general sponsor of the event. The usual participating companies, such as Remme and NEM, did not take part this time. The event has gathered the traditional community that was forming for years, as every time we could defend the title of blockchain-conference number one in Ukraine. This year the participants focused on details: they were discussing the technical specifics of product creation, legal concerns in the work of the blockchain projects, as well as the analysis of the previous experience and forecasting for the short term.
The main conference points from the Editorial Office of WTFBit
- Inertia is the main force moving the market today, including the investors and the developers. Crypto winter became an excellent filter: the strongest players remained and continue working.
- Crypto traders have now become a rare breed.
- Crypto scandals are a litmus paper of the traditional financial system; the recent fake transaction of EOS is a proof that blockchain is a step ahead of the banks since in case such operation occurred in the banks, no one would even find out.
- The IEO (Initial Exchange Offering) is a hype echo: previously, any project could launch their coin with an ICO, while exchanges are handling it now.
- Tokenization changes the understanding of traditional concepts, such as securities, intellectual property, and banking. The STO (Security Token Offering) is the 2019 trend.
- People that missed the Internet 20 years ago are afraid to miss blockchain now. As cryptocurrencies have gone through the growing pains during the previous years, blockchain still has to pass through this stage.
- Trust in the crypto world is a decade-long journey that is still ahead of us. The hype during the 2017-2018 has not contributed to the best reputation of cryptocurrencies, which is why Bitcoin and others need to try hard to show their difference from fiat currencies.
- Five stages of unavoidable acceptance of the cryptocurrencies: denial, anger, compromise, depression, acceptance.
The traditional hackathon included the development of the product prototypes by the teams with the use of several financial APIs, such as Blockchain, Kuna, Exonum, or TokenD. The fresh look and the new ideas could interest the investors from crypto-community, which was creating additional stimuli for the teams.
Anastasia, are you satisfied with the hackathon results?
Blockchain-hackathon, as usual, has pleased us with the quality of teams. This event has a unique atmosphere with its microclimate and warm surroundings. There were debates connected to choosing the winners and some different opinions, but in the end, we've made the right decisions. The "Di42" team were the winners, as they have created the new ASIC-resistant algorithm (as they say, on the last hackathon, they were also developing some "crazy stuff"). The runner-ups also included a team that coded Tic-Tac-Toe on ZKP.
Winner and runner-ups by nominations and their projects
3rd place – BDSM – the youngest team of the graduates from the developers’ school, meaning that they were learning to code and design a couple of months before the hackathon. The project is an application similar to Tinder that records an agreement for a sexual encounter with the private keys. The project has a significant potential for the lacking functionality in the hackathon, namely the search for those agreeing to sex in a particular radius, contracts with multi-signatures for group sex consent, feedback, ratings, and recommendation.
2nd – Kontrabanda developed a solution for tracking temperature in blockchain through sensors in containers for transporting food or medications. Unoriginal, but definitely practical.
1st – Di42 – the team has gone crazy with developing the ASIC-resistant algorithm for PoW mining. The interesting detail is that their algorithm is more “democratic” than the recently accepted ProgPow by Ethereum. The algorithm does not require the latest generation graphics cards, optimized for the graphics cards in general. Theoretically, it would be possible to develop ASICs for it, but they require architecture using PCI slots and image processing.
1st – PJ – it was a separate nomination for those creating parser for tokens in EOS. The team consisting of two people were able to succeed.
1st – Nadet – the team that created a platform for the cross-university studying.
3rd – Smile – the team consisting of one person that has created pager-wallet with a magnet on Arduino microcontroller, which may be placed on the fridge for monitoring the balance of your Bitcoin-wallet.
2nd – Sobol – the team of the teal crypto nerds. They have gotten high on cryptography and created an extension for Ethereum that allows moving the Tic-Tac-Toe to a separate node, played on ZK-Snarks mechanics. As a result, the players do not know each other, while the network knows each one of them, while not having information about their strategies. At the same time, the system knows that they were playing by the same rules, as well as the winners of the game. From the standpoint of cryptography, it is imposing. The only drawback is that the development of something more complex using the same principle would require insane skills in the field of cryptography and applied mathematics. However, in case the team can create a library that will be automatically converting any game rules in a similar anonymous concept on ZK-Snarks…
1st – ZK Geo – the team that has developed a “smart relay” for the mining farms. Basically, it is a device connected to the miner, working as a program “If else”. In case the price of electricity is lower than the particular amount, then proceed to mine. In case the price is higher than the set level, stop mining. It is possible to use the same device for balancing the work of the power plants on the energy market. For instance, it is possible to connect a windmill. In case the price of electricity is higher than a certain level, the power would go to network, if it is higher, the electricity will be used for mining.
Kontrabanda, BDSM та ZK Geo received bonus certificates from Kuna. BDSM and Shirokiy Diapazon (Wide Range – editorial note) teams received the prizes from Blockchain Hub. Shirokiy Diapazon team had coded the script that monitors the selected wallet in the network. In case the wallet has incurred a transaction higher than the set value, the script will send a notification.
Aside from prizes, some winners receive recognition. In particular, Di4 and Sobol projects will receive their own video highlights. The team having received prizes from Kuna will have be mentioned in Forklog. All the winners of the hackathon have received recognition from WTFBit.
WTFBit Media writes about blockchain and emerging technologies in a simple way, with humour. We also work with diverse clients helping them effectively deliver the message to their audience.