Interview With Tezos Ukraine Co-founder Sergey Vasilchuk

Interview With Tezos Ukraine Co-founder Sergey Vasilchuk

We have talked with Sergey Vasilchuk, the co-founder of Tezos Ukraine and Everstake founder.

Sergey shared with us the history of Tezos Ukraine’s creation, talked about the things that make the Tezos community special, shed some light on the potential risks attached to staking via centralized exchanges, and unveiled the three things he expects from Tezos most of all.

How did you first come across Tezos and its community?

Shortly after I started building Everstake, which is a staking service. Initially, we focused on non-custodial staking solutions, and I got interested in Tezos while researching them.

We started by getting to know the local community. In Kyiv, we met Mihai Tsibuliak. He was happy to know that there were new active Tezos community members in Ukraine, and offered us to launch Tezos meetups together right off the bat. Mihai introduced us to Tezos Commons, who offered us their support in organizing meetups and other events. This is how Mihai and I organized the first Tezos meetup in Eastern Europe. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how friendly and caring the Tezos community was. This convinced me that I had made the right choice even more.

So how did Tezos Ukraine actually come to be?

Back when we started organizing Tezos meetups, the idea of ever creating Tezos Ukraine has not even once crossed my mind. I had it much later. I was in the U.S. and got to know the local Tezos community better. Ukraine is famed for its developers, so I saw a value in creating Tezos Ukraine as a center of attraction to Tezos for local developers.

At first, it was just a hypothesis, so we decided to test it by organizing a Tezos hackathon. Even though there was no Tezos Ukraine at the time, everyone helped us organized it: the founders, Tezos Foundation, as well as other organizations from the ecosystem. We felt powerful support and once again realized that no one will ever remain alone in a strong community.

The hackathon was a success, both in terms of quality and quantity of participants. Our hypothesis of the value we could give Tezos was proven, so we decided to create Tezos Ukraine.

So, what is Tezos Ukraine involved in now?

We created Tezos Ukraine back in 2020 almost simultaneously with the start of the lockdown, so of course we had to switch our plans. We temporarily moved online to solve the same problems: create educational materials, hold webinars, workshops, and hackathons. We still seek to develop the local community and attract developers to Tezos, so nothing has changed here.

Why do you call Tezos an academic example of staking in your speeches?

Everstake works with dozens of PoS coins but if I have to explain to someone the concept of staking, I always use Tezos as an example. The system has no limitations in terms of validator numbers. There is no lock-up period for a stake. Staking is directly related to network governance. Bakers are chosen not by their fees but by the quality of network governance in line with the voters’ expectations. This is a responsible staking, and it’s pretty rare. It’s a unique feature of Tezos.

What do you think about staking via centralized exchanges?

In terms of competition, centralized exchanges aren’t a serious threat to professional staking services. Staking has never been their prime business area, so it shows in the quality as validators. They miss blocks and neglect infrastructure. In the long run, it doesn’t bid well for them as their operation data are public and users are no fools.

In terms of security, staking via centralized exchanges entails serious risks. Thus, in Tezos bakers have to deposit their bonds to accept stakes from their customers. Bakers are economically incentivized to play by the rules as they would lose their bond if they break them. Exchanges can use their customers’ assets for bonds, so they are not incentivized to obey the rules. The Steem situation is proof that exchanges can use their customers’ funds to vote for their personal goals without even asking for permission.

What do you expect from Tezos the most?

First, I want all the basic DeFi blocks to be built as reliable basic DeFi apps that will underpin the further development of the ecosystem. Second, I expect those DeFi apps to be filled with liquidity as they won’t work as designed without it. Finally, I’m really waiting for the consensus algorithm Tenderbake that would shrink the block generation time. This would increase the responsiveness of apps while reducing the clutter and discomfort for users who work with DApps. This will easily make the network more attractive to the masses.

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Tezos Foundation Biannual Report: What’s Inside (March 2021)

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