Imagine that instead of paying for gas you are given bonuses and discounts in restaurants. And that you can transfer money instantly without any significant expenses. Even if you have lost access to your account you can quickly restore it. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, many people have been enjoying such benefits for a long time. Vladimir Okhotnikov, a businessman, a crypto enthusiast and just a good man, will tell you how this happened.
Vladimir has a unique vision of the future of digital assets, and his influence on the development of the industry can hardly be overestimated. He is actively working to create an ecosystem focused on merging the virtual and real worlds.
Vladimir has repeatedly shared his knowledge and experience with the crypto community, helping us understand the principles of blockchain. He is therefore an inspiring figure to many, and his view of the future of decentralized technology makes him a key figure in the DeFi field.
Vladimir Okhotnikov: how giving up bank cards changes the rules
I have used the Visa card for a long time while traveling and was pleased with the convenience. Payment in shops, restaurants and hotels was processed quickly through terminals. Just by touching, I could make a payment in a split second, which was really cool.
However, at a certain point, I switched to using cryptocurrency. Why did it happen? Because crypto offers a number of unique advantages, among which complete anonymity and complete control over finances were important to me. This is exactly what I could not ignore.
Vladimir Okhotnikov, “It seems to me that one of the main reasons why people do not switch to crypto may be lack of knowledge of the technology and the habit of traditional banking services. However, with the development of infrastructure and increasing levels of education in this field, more people will begin to pay attention to crypto and appreciate its benefits.”
Perhaps for some, switching to cryptocurrency is not yet an urgent need, since existing financial instruments, including bank cards, provide them with satisfactory conditions. However, crypto continues to develop, and its role in the financial system is growing every day.
Vladimir Okhotnikov about risks
What does it mean to switch to a new type of payment? In the light of recent events, when fraudsters hack blockchains at various levels almost every day, the prospect of a transition looks vague.
Take, for example, the recent incident with the theft of $870,000 from American billionaire Mark Cuban. “I think it was MetaMask with some kind of virus that was to blame,” Cuban objected to DL News. Mark said that he wasn’t actually looking for MetaMask but Circle.
What to do? Maybe we should pray near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele did. But this is unlikely to help.
There is an opinion that a new bull run will again provoke interest in crypto. After all, let’s remember how in the period 2020-2022 even those projects that, frankly speaking, looked like an absolute scam, grew by leaps and bounds.
At the end of 2019, the “999” coin appeared on CoinMarketCap in the top 30 cryptocurrencies by largest capitalization. The startup promised to connect Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, and American Express into one network. But, alas, the enthusiasm ended as soon as the token was pumped with money from gullible investors, “Nowadays such people are usually called “hamsters,” Vladimir Okhotnikov expressed his opinion.
Growth inevitably attracts attention. During the hype, many startups greatly increase in price. However, what then? Let’s say the token stops growing. Why should people continue to show interest, further supporting the liquidity of the project?
Given the current apathy that is present in the cryptocurrency market, projects have not exactly stopped growing – most of them have formed a “double bottom” and some have updated their minimums.
Here is another “Ether and Bitcoin killer.” As the developers promised, the Balancer platform strived for a high degree of decentralization which automatically meant that participants had a great influence on the decisions made. However, at some point something went wrong.
BAL serves several functions in the Balancer ecosystem: token holders can vote and receive rewards for providing liquidity
Within the platform, users create and manage their own cryptocurrency funds, called “liquidity pools.” These pools can contain different cryptocurrencies and holders must earn using the BAL token by providing liquidity to these pools.
But apparently the project turned out to be so popular that the token managed to update its bottom several times since the previous low.
Vladimir Okhotnikov about the situation on the market
Then the year of 2023 came and many of us, reverently recalling the days of sweet optimism that were present in the crypto market at the end of 2021, asked the question, “What happened?”
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) seemed like the future of art and the digital economy, but now they’re dragging their feet on the ground. Casual investors who were talking about the benefits of blockchain are now looking at their portfolios with faces as if they had been robbed.
You tell me, what about the FTX empire led by Sam Bankman-Fried? After all, it seemed indestructible, but now it has found itself on the outskirts of history. But I want to remind you that the larger the cabinet, the louder it falls.
Let’s remember that Silvergate Bank and Silicon Valley Bank collapsed in March, and in May, “upon the request of the government,” First Republic Bank was bought out.
However, despite all the blows to the industry, the cryptocurrency is still trying to maintain its status. Generous donations and an army of lobbyists are rapidly trying to whiten the DeFi market, but so far it’s not working out well – asset prices continue to nosedive.
Bitcoin, which seemed to be the main player, fell more than 60%. Sam Bankman-Fried, who some called the modern genius of the decentralized finance market, quickly turned into a scoundrel. Heather Morgan went down a slippery slope and it is not surprising that she was accused of several crimes. NFT prices have collapsed, and now it seems like we’ve always lived this way.
Distorted mirror of decentralization
Let’s look at the situation from the other side: remember how one of the loudest cryptocurrency slogans was the idea of decentralization. This certainly sounds wonderful – no one controls anyone, no one is responsible and everything remains in harmony.
But it seems that last year decided to prove us wrong. The digital asset ecosystem was seemingly created to avoid the concentration of power in one hand. But what do we actually see?
The biggest players suddenly found themselves connected like spiders sitting on a web. And if someone pulls the thread, others immediately respond.
We have witnessed how the largest cryptocurrency exchanges and companies have enormous power and they are not shy about using it. Everyone else looks and realizes that they are not as free and independent as they thought.
There is an amazing distortion of values in our time. What was considered unacceptable and even wrong yesterday is perceived as the norm today. Amid fear, major exchanges imposed sanctions against those who did not want to undergo verification and KYC and AML policies quickly swept the DeFi market.
Now they are trying to impose on us the opinion that DEX exchanges are incomparable to large centralized exchanges in terms of security and reliability. And this certainly raises questions about the future of decentralized finance.
So far, the idea of freedom, on which many cryptocurrency projects were built, is beginning to give way to regulation. This is what gives rise to concerns about the future of DeFi and what values and ideals will continue to be pushed forward.