Thanks very much for being here, welcome to BULL.IO, please tell us little bit about yourself and about your company
Well, it’s great to have you here today as well, thanks for coming to our event here in London at the Hard Fork decentralised and my name is Alexander Kolupaev, people call me Sasha that’s short for Alexander in Russian, I am from Russia myself and I work for a blockchain company called waves platform. It is a technological company that provides a blockchain based solutions and infrastructure and we are building an ecosystem for the upcoming web 3.0 in short.
What can we expect from you guys in 2019?
We got a lot of stuff planned out it’s on the technological side it’s full turing-complete smart contracts so it’s the further development of smart contracts that we have now, those are gonna be able to do computations on blockchain well more complex computations in logic and on a client side we have a lot of applications coming up and integration tools that will be used by developers so to make it easy for developers to integrate blockchain to their ideas businesses MVPs and so on and yeah on the legal side we have a few projects coming up that will facilitate the transition of well the evolution of the financials sector, where blockchain plays a very important role I think .
Why did you first get involved in blockchain what inspires you to pursue this path?
That was truly random actually I got involved with blockchain bit over two years ago, I was just studying in the library and then there was a guy sitting in front of me and he was like, oh man have you heard about this thing called blockchain? I was like no I have no idea then he showed me a few things I thought oh that’s cool because I’m data scientist by education and economists as well. So I kind of had the perspective of both worlds, business and technical so yeah and I thought blockchain is really something unique technology that tackles, that fits into both of those pictures yeah.
What do you think the future might hold for blockchain, there’s been a lot of price jolts with Bitcoin & major cryptocurrency, you think the future still right for blockchain?
For blockchain absolutely well for cryptocurrencies maybe not so much but blockchain is alive and well. I mean we are hiring blockchain developers like crazy, our headquarters so yeah we’re fairly positive and there’s a more and more companies coming forward and experimenting with blockchain, integrating the technology itself so I think on that side everything is pretty cool.
So let’s talk a little bit more about you and your personal story, you told us about how you kind of got involved into blockchain and a bit of a random way, when you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid that’s that’s always a difficult question for me because I don’t think I had any idea like a particular profession or direction in life that I wanted to take so I first studied engineering way back when I was living in Russia and then I switched to Business Economics and data science, so my personal path was a bit twisted in a sense.
Do you remember the first moment that you became interested in technology?
Yeah when I was when I was doing my masters in economics in econometrics. I got familiar with lots of tools to do data analysis and data visualization and this is the moment where I realized okay this is cool to combine humanitarian and hard science so that was, then I discovered in the process of my studies I discovered tools like machine learning and AI algorithms, so I was playing around with those a little bit.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the blockchain industry right now?
Don’t jump on the hype train I say, so just really take a sober look at where technology is going, and iy actually make sense to integrate it and don’t just you know do blockchain because its blockchain, do blockchain because it makes sense and sometimes it does sometimes it doesn’t.
How important you think blockchain could be for the future of humanity let’s go big, why not?
Well we see it as becoming like this infrastructure layer for other stuff to run on top and to be connected with because now we have the Internet of data and I mean it’s slowly involving into becoming internet of value and this is something where people technology companies and entrepreneurs, they all connected with you know on the societal and also technological level. So and this is where we see blockchain coming into play as a connective tissue.
Is there a lot of interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency in Russia?
In Russia yeah, for sure. I think big part of blockchain developers, good ones they are from Russia in one or another way like there are lots of startups in Silicon Valley for example which are run and founded by Russians, so on the tech side like I mean historically we have one of the best developers in the world in Russia. Blockchain is something that is bit hard to get into because it’s a completely different software development cycle. so in that sense yeah I think in Russia we have a good basis for blockchain technology and therefore it’s quite popular there, so lots of meetups lots of startups, lots of you know they start to teach blockchain at universities and stuff so it’s fairly big.
Are you based here now?
No our headquarters is in Moscow and we have a European office in Amsterdam and that’s where I am based actually.
So do you see a big difference in the attitude towards blockchain in regards to what country you are in?
No actually from country to country when it comes to serious of blockchain companies we kind of speak the same level so in that sense 2017 was a horrible year for blockchain because everyone was just greedy and talking about prices and not really working on the technology but yeah so that was a bit destructive let’s put it this way but this year I think blockchain has taken a bigger step towards adoption and this is kind of what companies and startups in blockchain you know realize no matter what country you’re in.
Satoshi Nakamoto, who do you think he is and what he looks like, or he or she or they? This is just a fun question really, what’s your personal visualization?
Yeah, well I tend to think personally that it’s a group of people, that got together and came up with the idea, came up with the technology and maybe contributed and maybe there was one person who was the visionary but for sure in my opinion at least I’m quite sure that it was a collective effort.
You don’t invest in projects you invest in teams so that’s something that is true in the startup world and also true in the blockchain world so you know waves has a great team we are almost hundred forty people right now and we’re hiring more so yeah that’s basically it.
My favourite movie actually I think Goodbye Lenin yeah that’s a German made movie about the period when the wall went down, So yeah that’s really cool because I lived in Berlin for a while and so it’s really cool always to watch a movie where you actually, you know, know places and stuff and I think it was a very crucial moment in the European history so and also a funny comedy so really it’s hard to it’s hard to find good comedies these days.
I agree with that, so what was like living in Berlin?
You feel too normal because there’s so many freaks around so yeah, it’s fun it’s a lot of fun and it’s it’s free, like you feel the freedom of the city the people from all over the world from different backgrounds doing different things and it’s a very rough city so, dirty but sexy they say.
What’s your favourite place in the world?
Where I can surf, it’s my favourite place in the world where I can do some surfing.
What’s your favourite place to surf?
Morocco so far, yeah I’m actually going there in two weeks to spend my vacation New Year’s New Year’s Eve and vacation there.
Final question, if there was no such thing as blockchain or crypto currencies or waves, what do you think you would be doing with your life?
I would be involved in one way or another in some sort of a start-up for sure yeah but in the
technological sector in the IT.