Cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology has enormous potential, which we still haven’t understood and disclosed in full Russia has a special view on everything, and cryptocurrencies are no exception. So far, the idea of digital money has not found wide demand in this country. However, the growing interest in new technologies from the state and the private sector suggests that the situation is constantly changing. The cryptocurrency industry has entered a new stage of development. What happens after hype? Why digital money is still not popular in Russia, and what to expect from the cryptocurrency market in the nearest future? Today, we will discuss this with Ivan Petukhovsky, co-founder of EXMO Cryptocurrency Platform. What are the prospects of the Russian cryptocurrency industry? What stage of development is Russian cryptocurrency market at? Now, the cryptocurrency industry is under the formation process, both in Russia and around the world. Until the end of 2019, Russia hopefully would adopt a separate law on the regulation and issue of cryptocurrencies. Previously, such recommendations were made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international group for the development of financial measures to prevent money laundering. As for me, the only thing that currently “holds” the development of cryptocurrencies both throughout the world and in Russia is the lack of proper regulation. As soon as proper regulation will appear, the large companies and institutional investors will come out of a “wait-and-see” position and the industry will begin its rapid development. According to recent statistics, only 9% of Russians have ever dealt with cryptocurrency. This is not a very high indicator, but, for example, in Turkey and Brazil, it is approaching 20%. What do you think is the reason for the low interest in digital assets in Russia? The combination of many factors is important here. It is no secret that Turkey has recently experienced an economic crisis with all the ensuing consequences. The depreciation of the national currency has led to a massive interest in cryptocurrencies from residents. Turkish people are facing a situation where the volatility of Bitcoin is less than their national currency volatility. So, they enter the world of crypto, because it looks safer than investing in their local currency. The situation is similar for Brazil: the Brazilian Institute of Statistics and Geography (IBGE) reported that the total inflation rate over the past 12 months has reached 4.58% (in the spring of 2019). At the same time, the information that the trading volume on Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges had risen sharply to 100,000 BTC appeared. Russia is following the “European scenario.” The key factor for increasing the Bitcoin price is the growing interest of the community. The more people know about cryptocurrencies and want to Buy/Sell bitcoin, the higher the demand. The growing interest of the community is associated with a lot of positive news in the market. Such as Facebook Libra coin, and the approval of the first contracts for the supply of physical futures for Bitcoin by SEC, the release of native crypto-coins by large companies such as JPMorgan, as well as the active use of Ripple by the world banks. And, of course, the previously mentioned lack of legislative restrictions. EXMO is one of the largest exchanges in Eastern Europe, it has been operating for more than 5 years and has more than 1.5M users. What is the secret of your success? Me and my partner first got interested in crypto in early 2012. The more we studied the issue, the more we came to the understanding that crypto is a very promising area that can change the whole financial world. It took a year to implement our plan, and we’ve launched the EXMO exchange in 2013. As for me – our success is a combination of several factors: we have entered the industry at an early stage, the EXMO team consists of enthusiastic professionals, we are fully open to our community, and “customer care” is one of the main priorities in the company. And now we keep growing and rapidly gaining momentum. What are the terms of listing on EXMO? What requirements for projects that want their coin to be traded on your exchange do you have? Since our team consists of former classical finance participants, the word “compliance” is not just an empty phrase for us. The EXMO team is very attentive and strict regarding the applications for listing. It takes starting from 3 days to several weeks to consider an application. We need to be completely confident in the project, which coin we are going to list. 5 main points to pay attention to: 1. Evaluation of the project according to the done work – it should be an interesting and promising idea. We check if the project has a working MVP (minimum working prototype), how Roadmap looks, if the process is going and the deadlines are respected. 2. The project’s community: the general information buzz around the project, community and the feedback in specialized forums. 3. Team assessment: TOP-management of the project, and the team’s professional history. Most often, we prefer to talk personally with the CEO of the project to understand the motivation and plans of the team. 4. Market value – is your business beneficial and necessary for the market? 5. The readiness of the team to work on the joint marketing and PR: together we can create an interesting venture project. If the EXMO team is interested in the project and see its prospects, we sign a contract and set the listing deadlines. How do you feel about the Facebook-developed cryptocurrency Libra? Will its appearance change the cryptocurrency industry? It is important to understand that according to many aspects Libra is not a cryptocurrency because of its highly centralized structure. Let’s take Bitcoin as an example – it is a decentralized currency: no one can control the network or “censor” any transactions. On the other hand, Libra is managed by a group of private organizations led by Facebook. Also, we observe the possibility of endless emission, which contradicts the structure of the cryptocurrency market seriously.
That is a lot of criticism around the Libra project, such as access to private data, centralization, and many other statements that are quite fair. But if we move to terminological classifications, the key characteristic of the coin may be the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, which we are looking forward to. Think that everyone knows about cryptocurrencies now if false, but the advent of Libra may change the situation.
What will happen to Bitcoin (BTC) by the end of the year? Do you think BTC can repeat its historical highs in the near future? Of course, the correction is possible, but do not forget that correction is a great way to earn “easy money”. Also, after the correction, Bitcoin will be able to continue more sweeping growth. I think that a rather sharp increase in Bitcoin’s price (BTC) will be possible in the case of the introduction of legislative regulation since this fact will become a “green light” for the institutional investors. And a note for those who are still not into crypto – it’s about time you bought some! As soon as the legislative regulation will be more clear (mostly for the USA and Europe) we will see a sharp rise, which will be triggered by the entry of large institutional investors.