Evelina Lavrova was nice enough to answer some questions for me. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.
- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I’ve been in the tech industry since 2004. I started as Sales Manager in a software company, but then moved into Marketing and spent several years in FMCG and real estate. I moved back to tech when I joined Gett (https://gett.com/juno/) in 2012. I love technology companies for their dynamism and innovative ideas. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great people, both within the companies I’ve been apart of and outside of them in the course of my career, and have learned a lot from them. I was even named one of the Top 10 Females in Crypto for 2017!
- What got you into blockchain and crypto?
My story with blockchain started at the beginning of 2016 when I was working as Head of Marketing & PR at Pay-Me (https://www.pay-me.ru/), the Russian equivalent of Square. The founder of Pay-Me, Vladimir Kanin, along with Igor Barinov, co-founder of Block Notary, decided to make a KYC solution for Pay-Me’s clients via a video interview on the blockchain. That was when Vladimir explained blockchain technology to me. Later I joined the Waves Platform and learned more about this technology.
- How did you get involved in Waves? (I actually invested in Waves awhile ago)
It was easy. I saw Sasha Ivanov, Founder & CEO of Waves, post on Facebook that he was looking for a Marketing & PR Specialist, and I wrote to him. We met and after a while joined the team in September 2016. At the time there were only 10 people in the Waves Moscow office, and a few more who worked remotely. I was the only woman in the team. I had many different responsibilities, but it was like a second family.
- What is Waves’ goal long-term?
We want to become the foremost custom tokens blockchain in the world. Tokenisation is clearly going to be a major use case for blockchains, and there’s lots of demand for this from businesses right now. We want to make a set of tools and services that will bring the benefits of blockchain technology to as many people as possible.
Waves is going about fulfilling this vision in a different way to other projects, by creating a whole ecosystem of interconnected services – blockchain tech at the core, but also compliance services and influencers, fiat and crypto gateways, crowdfunding specialists and marketing, research and development, and more. We also want to develop private blockchain solutions for enterprise, since this will be a major area of interest in the future.
- I have yet to use the Waves Dex, can you explain the benefits of it?
The DEX is a decentralised exchange, so your funds are very safe and the exchange can never be hacked or shut down. Unlike a regular exchange, you don’t give up control of your crypto when you use it. All orders are settled on the blockchain, peer to peer. But despite that, it’s very fast because it uses centralised matchers to pair trades, so you get the best of both worlds. And we’ve worked really hard on the interface, so the user interface is just like a traditional exchange!
- I saw Waves helped Kazakhstan regulate cryptocurrency. What was that process like?
The approach of Kazakh authorities towards blockchain is complex and mature. It is based on a deep understanding that digital technologies are rapidly growing as a total share of the global economy. Kazakhstan’s plan to turn the country into the ‘Singapore of blockchain’ is based on objective realities, and we’re glad to be working together. Earlier this year Waves Platform signed a strategic partnership with AIFC. The goal of the partnership is the creation of an advanced ecosystem for financial technologies, using the latest blockchain tech.
- What regulations are you trying to get set up?
We are confident that our partnership will bring to Kazakhstan the most advanced practices in the field of blockchain technologies and will turn IFCA into one of the foremost centres for the development of the industry in the world. Thanks to the experience accumulated in the course of our cooperation, we will also be able to replicate the right solutions elsewhere, which will have a positive impact on the development of the entire blockchain ecosystem in the CIS. One of the purposes of the collaboration will be to support startup companies as they engage with new financial and blockchain technologies, providing them with access to Waves blockchain solutions. Waves will also help attract foreign startups to the IFC Acceleration Program and conduct training events.
- Waves partnered with Deloitte to develop a legal framework. What framework has been set up?
Waves’ partnership with Deloitte is aimed at providing clients with comprehensive initial coin offering (ICO) services and customised blockchain solutions, tailored to specific business tasks. Moreover, we are now in the process of establishing a self-regulatory body that will provide reporting, legal, tax & accounting, KYC and business due diligence standards for ICOs and the blockchain industry. This self-regulatory body will be working with the ICO Governance Foundation (IGF) and other professional foundations to coordinate on cross-platform ICO disclosure protocols.
- How many tokens have been launched with Waves?
I believe over 25,000 tokens have been launched on Waves. Perhaps a more meaningful measure of adoption, though, is the trading volume on DEX. We’re regularly seeing $2-3 million, and recently hit $5 million daily volume, across all our tokens. That figure is rising all the time.
- What sort of regulation or government support do you have? Just recently Wyoming passed a law that defined virtual currency as a legal currency. They passed several other bills that helped crypto. They are the first to do this and several other states are following. There is a link if your curious to hear it. https://abovecrypto.com/news/crypto-now-a-legal-currency-in-wyoming/
It’s clear that we need some kind of regulation in order for crypto to be fully adopted. Businesses won’t use it without knowing what kind of framework they are operating in, especially larger corporations. But that regulation needs to be proportional and appropriate, to avoid choking off innovation and preventing this new set of technologies from developing further. I think a lot of jurisdictions are taking the right line with a fairly common-sense approach. If it looks like money, it should be treated as money. If it looks like a security, it should be treated like one, and so on.
- What do you see for the future in crypto both long and short term?
Short term, there’s the fallout from the obvious bubble in the crypto markets at the end of last year. Inevitably that has led to a temporary loss of confidence on the part of the public, and the mainstream news cycle doesn’t help with that. In the medium term, though, the picture is looking very good. There is a lot of interest, for good reason, some very strong use cases being developed behind the scenes, and business and institutional interest is growing all the time. In short, this isn’t a technology that is going to disappear.
- How do you think we can get it adopted faster?
By developing and releasing useful applications, and by continuing to build the infrastructure of exchanges and services – exactly what we are doing, in fact.
- Biggest hurdles we may have to get it mainstream?
Popular perception and the normal market cycles aren’t helping at the moment, but the fundamentals are there, so that will sort itself out in time. At the moment, a lack of regulation means that we don’t have the necessary clarity for widespread adoption. Once that is in place, a major barrier will disappear.
- What are your favorite currencies?
I believe in Russian tech entrepreneurs, so my favorite currencies are Waves, Ethereum, Ergo (https://ergoplatform.org/), and so on. But I also watch with interest other coins like Stellar, NEM, EOS, etc. It’s always good to know what’s going on in the wider crypto world, what technologies are being developed and what problems they aim to solve. There’s a lot we can learn from each other – Waves-NG, for example, was adapted from the Bitcoin-NG proposal.
- What is something you wish everyone would know or understand about this industry?
This isn’t just about money. If you see the news coverage about crypto, you’d think it was all about cash, but there’s far more to it. Blockchain represents a shift in the kind of society that is possible, disintermediating existing businesses and services and helping to build a fairer, more people-focused economy.
Thanks again for doing this.