Nataly Drik is executive director of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine, a non-profit organisation that actively promotes and fosters the integration of blockchain technology into the economy in Ukraine and works globally.
She says she became involved in blockchain and was “using our knowledge and experience to facilitate positive shifts in Ukraine, as a result we formed the NGO IDF Reforms Lab which I headed.”
“All our first conferences, hackathons, meetups were held in our office, in particular Blockchain.ua and Bitcoin Talks Ukraine,” she says.
In her previous role, she is proud of the anti-corruption bureau – which represents a new format for the prosecutors’ office. “My colleagues also developed technological aspects for the Prozorro public procurement system. This project is recognised as the biggest technological breakthrough in Ukraine,” she says.
“We always work following a cyclic principle PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Action). Therefore, we always analyse our achievements and work on our mistakes,” she says.
“One of the results of this work was the updated E-auction procurement project. This is an auction on the blockchain platform that we proposed for conducting privatisation in Ukraine. This project has grown into a business and it is known as the Shelf Network project.”
She describes technologies as “so diverse and insanely powerful. They can make our world a better place, more easy and friendly to humans, even though it sounds like a paradox.”
“Yet, the world still has bureaucracy, and very often this is what prevents technologies adoption and implementation in our country,” she continues.
“So solving this problem and making the lives of people more easy and optimised by means of technology inspires me the most in all projects. Also, what inspires me is the philosophy, urbanistic studies and smart people.”
She says the technology is quite complex and global and she’s “worried” about the recent increase in projects that could discredit the technology itself. “After all, people can get the impressions that the technology is not working,” she explains.
“Very often these projects are not that completely bad, but simply weak in terms of implementation or business model,” she explains.
“I want to emphasise that without optimised processes together with deep business model and their consensus, blockchain technology hinders much more than helps.”
Ukraine has a great blockchain community and “we are united not only because of the altruism, but also because of the pace and complexity of the tasks and challenges appearing as well as because of the people who form the community.”
Women in blockchain
On the perennial issue of gender imbalance, she says there are many theories about why there are so few women in blockchain.
“One of them is based on the fact that since at school many of us have been taught that hard science and high-tech professions are not for girls,” she adds.
“Blockchain, as technology that comes from IT, also shows this tendency. We do have to balance this, however, I would say it is not that bad in Ukraine. Yet, girls are still timid to go to the stage and speak, when they might have much stronger skills.”
On mass adoption, she says: “I am not a McAfee or Nostradamus. I can say for sure that there is a progress, but still we want a lot more.
“Now the blockchain is still in its ‘early morning’ phase and we have everything ahead. What can be in the forefront of using technology, in my opinion, is accounting of various bonuses, electricity and medicine.”
She believes 2019 will be a year of “detox and building.” “We will have many quality and strong projects implemented,” she adds.
With ICOs, she says: “Time and quality heals everything. Not many people now remember the dotcom crisis, although the scale in this case was much larger than the ICO.
“Despite the legal side and regulations being there, 95% of the projects failed. However, now we remember only such wonderful fruits, such as Facebook and Google,” she says.
There are now the quiet battles between freedom and regulation, she adds. “There are many examples in history and they all confirm that people love to sell their freedom for a sense of security.
She continues: “Therefore, it would be good if the world community would not close its eyes to existing problems because of profits, but thought about what should be done in order to prevent these problems, and analysed what led to the fact that current financial market does not work well. But what and how exactly it will happen in this course, we all will know later.”
She says stable coins are “one of the first hybrid ways of mass adoption improvement. I think in the near future we will introduce our community to the new stable coin.”
Cryptocurrencies still small
Now things are developing and “we are not taking our infrastructure seriously,” she adds. “Various regulators and law enforcement agencies do not push on us too much. It seems to me that this is happening because almost all cryptocurrencies are still very small.
“But from the point of view of the state in its current understanding – mass adoption – is bad.”
“I am sure that very soon they will need to change their rules greatly. They also understand this, but they don’t know how to do it yet,” she says.
“Neither the regulator nor the people. And everything that people do not know, regulators prohibit or blame people,” she says.
“Therefore, as you can see, we all need not only time, but also a well thought-out policy for adoption of changes. Now I see only the organic way, as the most correct, but in the future it will be necessary to apply a more methodical approach.”