Interview with Gerbert Shopnik from Bitfury: blockchain to become an ultimate solution

Interview with Gerbert Shopnik from Bitfury: blockchain to become an ultimate solution

The critical mass of blockchain-fueled projects will grow but intermediaries and monopolists will stay in their way. That is an expert opinion of Gerbert Shopnik, Key Customers and Partners Relations Manager at Bitfury who will deliver a presentation at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus. We interviewed the speaker about the prospects of blockchain implementation in various spheres and accompanying aspects.

Gerbert Shopnik is a Key Customers and Partners Relations Manager at Bitfury that focuses on industrial mining and software solutions. Bitfury offices are located in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Europe, and the USA. Being an expert on application of cloud technologies and blockchain, Gerbert has many years of experience at such large international corporations and integrators as Microsoft, VMware, and Lanit.

Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus (ВСB).

Respondent: Gerbert Shopnik (G.S.).

BCB: Which countries are the best to effectively and quickly introduce blockchain technologies? Why?

G.S.: It’s difficult to be precise. As a distributed ledger technology, blockchain is currently actively implemented across the globe in various industries. Bank of America has recently estimated blockchain market growth at $7 bn. According to analytical agencies, blockchain technologies would on the whole attract $9.7 bn investigations in 2021 (source: MarketsandMarkets). What is more, a mid-annual growth rate until 2022 would reach about 80%.

BCB: What advantages can blockchain provide for government?

G.S.: The main benefits are as follows:

  • growth of credibility in a state among the population;
  • combating corruption, fraud, and local authority abuse;
  • complete data and solution transparency, excluding a human factor and saving citizens’ confidentiality;
  • optimization of routine processes, excluding intermediaries, and expenses reduction;
  • elimination of the possibility of losses, deception of data, and backdating prevention;
  • increased quality and convenience of state services;
  • transparent audit and quick violations detection.

BCB: What global examples of blockchain inclusion in government can you provide?

G.S.: I can provide several examples of implemented cases and pilot projects at Bitfury:

  • Land Registry (Georgia);
  • State Property Auction (Ukraine);
  • registration of partnership agreements at the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography of Russia, the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending of Russia, real estate developers (Russia);
  • logistics and maintenance of mounted wheels of Russian Railways;
  • verification of university diplomas (Russia);
  • electronic arbitration court for Sberbank (Russia);
  • e-acquisitions and supplier qualification (Kazakhstan).

Other scenarios are:

  • authentication of citizens using shops and services;
  • e-voting;
  • verification of personal medical data (universal medical card);
  • payment for state services (taxes, fines);
  • insurance/education/etc.
  • Utility services:
  • coordination of loads and resources distribution;
  • accounting and registration of utility services users;
  • control over payment for provided services;
  • kindergarten waiting lists;
  • state registers;
  • supply chains;
  • issuance of certificates and licenses.

BCB: What are the blockchain advantages for business?

G.S.:

  • process optimization, expenses reduction;
  • elimination of unnecessary intermediaries, and added value lowering;
  • addressing the problem of confidence in partners and counterparties;
  • complete data and solution transparency, excluding a human factor by using smart contracts;
  • elimination of the possibility of losses, deception of data, and backdating prevention;
  • transparent audit and quick violations detection;
  • general business scenarios including fight against counterfeit, logistics, supply chain control, a marketplace of services and goods, automated audit of business processes and relations with counterparties;
  • in the future – creation of transparent blockchain-fueled consortiums based on fair auctions and smart contracts.

BCB: What affects the peculiarities of blockchain implementation in business? For instance, does it influence a legislative framework or a level of digital economy development in the country?

G.S.: Judging from my personal experience, the point is as follows: if businessmen see and understand the importance of the technology and its advantages, they invest in it and implement in practice.

A more mature legislative base in this sphere will undoubtedly back the DLT and allow to gain maximum profit from its fully-fledged inclusion and use of all blockchain possibilities (decentralization, smart contracts, payment systems, elimination of intermediaries and single verification institutions).

BCB: What are your forecast for blockchain inclusion in state and commercial segments across the CIS?

G.S.: It’s difficult to predict. I can only say that economical digitalization programs of most CIS countries present blockchain as an indispensable part of the future solutions. A lot of public agencies gave instructions to put through pilot projects, which entails scenarios of the DLT fair use, special tests, and new budgets.

I reckon that the world will discover more and more case studies of blockchain implementation in all state and commercial structures in the nearest 2-3 years. This will continue until the technology becomes an ultimate solution in the course of digital transformation. Within the last 5-8 years, I personally witnessed a similar way and evolution of inclusion of such emerging IT solutions as virtualization and cloud technologies.

BCB: Which aspects would accelerate the process of implementation and which would prevent it?

G.S.: The following aspects will undoubtedly accelerate the process:

  • critical volume of pilot projects and products that prove blockchain efficiency compared to traditional solutions;
  • growth of credibility in the technology;
  • blockchain standards approval (NIST has recently published the first 8202 report describing the technology’s underlying aspects);
  • support of a legislative framework (legal and financial practice);
  • establishment of commercial and state blockchain-based consortiums;
  • support of blockchain-fueled solutions by IT heavyweights, their partners, audit and legal alliances;
  • budget allocation for technology testing and implementation;
  • expansion of the blockchain community and the number of experts, architects, and advisors.

Obstacles include:

  • opposition to changes that accompanies the entrance of any innovation;
  • old-fashioned processes in both government and business;
  • expenses needed for implementation, optimization, and replacement of current solutions;
  • unawareness of decision-makers;
  • fear of losing own business and profit on the part of intermediaries and monopolists;
  • time for legislative framework renovation and processing.

At Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Belarus, Gerbert Shopnik will deliver a presentation titled ‘Blockchain technology application in public and commercial sectors’.

The speaker will talk about the current successful application of the blockchain technology in the public sector and business, existing scenarios of using blockchain (without cryptocurrencies). He will also give examples of the successful implementation of the technology in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the United States and will do a review of the scenarios for the public sector and commercial organizations.

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