However, in two years, this has risen to $655 billion. Bitcoin is trading at around its new all-time highs of over $24k. Meanwhile, the cumulative transactional volumes of all stablecoins soared to over $1 trillion, a new record. With more developments--and maturing legislation in 2020, analysts are optimistic of more gains.
Bohdan Prylepa is the CTO and co-founder of Prof-it Blockchain Ltd. Bohdan heads Prof-it, a company that is developing Bitcoin Ultimatum. It will solve the functionality problems found in the "first cryptocurrency" by introducing several features, including smart contracting, private transactions, and a mechanism to protect against strong price fluctuations. He is also a COO of Bitcoin Ultimatum—a Bitcoin hard fork.
In today's interview, Bohdan takes us through the state of the cryptocurrency market, his view of emerging sub-sectors in Ethereum, the crackdown of privacy coins, and the state of DeFi.
We'll dive straight in;
Aman: Bohdan, tell us, Bitcoin Ultimatum and Prof-it, both are cryptocurrency-focused projects. What draws you to this "untested" space?
Bohdan Prylepa: Thanks for inviting me. Well, there are many faces in crypto and blockchain. First off, the only change is constant. And if this holds, Blockchain is an idea whose time has come. The ability to move value without a middleman is novel. Crypto is the future. We got banks and governments now. Bitcoin Ultimatum and Prof-it are two firms that want to be on the right side of history. We want to build an open-source future. Helping in financial inclusion but privately, efficiently, and securely.
Aman: Bitcoin Ultimatum. Tell us why now?
Bohdan Prylepa: Together with my team, we noted that Bitcoin had a problem. A transparency problem most importantly. It is its strength and weakness. There are monitors sponsored by corporates and governments to watch and track every transaction. This won't end. It is just the beginning. We reckon that we could fork the Bitcoin code and launch a better high bandwidth network with smart contracting—to keep up with times, and with privacy features to keep financial transactions as meant, private.
Aman: Talking of privacy, several authorities in the United States and the European Union are now urging exchanges to delist privacy coins like Monero. ShapeShift did so to "de-risk". What do you think of this?
Bohdan Prylepa: Well, as I said, crypto and blockchain is an idea whose time has come. Regulators and policymakers are slow to catch up. What's driving this 11-year old sphere are not regulators but ordinary folks. They are innovative and demanding better. Governments and regulators want stability and rightly so. However, formulating law or interfering with businesses will have more of a Streisand Effect. While the IRS has contracted Chainalysis to crack Monero, a Chainalysis employee said Monero is smartly designed and hard to crack. Meanwhile, Monero is already researching implementing an atomic swapping solution to by-pass centralized exchanges that are being targeted for listing private coin.
Aman: What will differentiate Bitcoin Ultimatum from Monero and Bitcoin?
Bohdan Prylepa: Bitcoin and Monero are market leaders in their respective categories. Bitcoin Ultimatum, on the other hand, is forking from Bitcoin and quite literally revamping the source code integrating what the community wishes. Scalability, smart contracting, and privacy. We shall also use LPoS mining in conjunction with Proof-of-Authority (PoA). Notably, the network shall provide for only 20 validators. 10 to be selected by the team, the other half by the community. The number of validators will be expanded to 50 from the community for decentralization. With this, the network will have a higher bandwidth, automatically resolve scalability challenges, and we hope smart contracting is what is needed in any modern blockchain.
Aman: Is there a future in Proof-of-Work? What do you think of Ethereum's shift to a new consensus algorithm?
Bohdan Prylepa: Proof-of-Work is certified secure, and if there are amends, it can guarantee decentralization. However, there are concerns about them being environmentally unfriendly and talks of centralization creeping in. With time, I'm sure more projects will consider adopting staking strategies over crypto mining to "stay green." Eventually, if environmental groups raise alarm over Bitcoin's energy demand, its developers might consider migrating to a Proof-of-Stake system, or its variant, like Ethereum. Ethereum is shifting for strategic reasons, righting the wrongs of Eth1 and finally baking-in means of on-chain scaling.
Aman: Bitcoin halved in 2020 but is yet to outperform Ethereum since May even with Bitcoin rallying to over $24k, any explanation for this?
Bohdan Prylepa: Comparing Bitcoin and Ethereum is comparing Apples and Oranges. They are driven by different fundamentals. The expectation from the investment community, based on historical charts, was that Bitcoin would likely print higher within 15 months. It only came higher after Coronavirus catalysts. With fiat debasement and a paradigm shift, Bitcoin is now treated as a store-of-value, more than a Medium-of-Exchange (MoE). On the other hand, Ethereum is a smart contracting platform, the home of DeFi. They are also working towards addressing the Gas fee problems through Layer-2 options and eventually shifting to a new chain. As you can see, these are different drivers, and each performed differently with ETH likely to print even more gains in 2020 depending on how smooth their transition is.
Aman: Talking DeFi, do you think it will in the future help steady the global economy as the Chairman of the United States Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) Claims?
Bohdan Prylepa: DeFi is still experimental. With crazy APRs and heists sending chills down investors, it may be years before this happens. Even so, DeFi is interesting but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. It is still the Wild West, and more work—structural, legislation, and infrastructure, needs to be done before DeFi plays a crucial part in steadying the global economy.
Aman: But, we have $14 billion now locked—and growing, it grew exponentially, isn't this a hint of what is to happen?
Bohdan Prylepa: Unfortunately no. As I said, and this is my opinion, the space is still nascent, more needs to be done. Look, even with $14 billion TVL—and more, established crypto funds like Grayscale provide institutional exposure to ETH, the base currency, and not DeFi governance tokens. The $14 billion is mostly from retail investments, who while experimenting are making decent money in the process. However, I'm not being dismissive. The rise of decentralized exchanges like Uniswap could take away some of the centralized exchange's market share.
Aman: I concur, are centralized exchanges scared? Changpeng Zhao has introduced CeFi and claims Uniswap and its variant will tap liquidity from CEXes. Will 2021 be different?
Bohdan Prylepa: Honestly, things happened so fast in crypto in 2021. Admittedly, CEXes still play an important role as conduits for new traders and investors into crypto. Their impact can't be dismissed. Therefore, while Uniswap is growing—with its volumes surpassing those of Coinbase Pro in September this year, it will only appeal to experienced traders and those in DeFi. For newbies, Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, and others will be their preferred exchanges because of their fiat support, regulation, and ease of use. It will take time before one masters how to hop from protocol to protocol, swapping tokens, and redeeming rewards where one step can lead to irreversible losses.
Aman: Talking of Coinbase, they are planning to go public? Did you see this coming?
Bohdan Prylepa: Their submission of the draft legislation to the SEC goes on to show crypto is maturing and is overly bullish for the sphere. A while back, this was not fathomable. But now, Coinbase has a $10 billion valuation, owns several licenses about custody even in New York, plans to expand, and is rapidly adding more assets. Depending on the SEC's review of their Form S-1, it won't be surprising to see more firms applying to go public not only in the United States but across the globe.
Aman: Indeed, and already, institutions—and previous anti-crypto commentators are now backing Bitcoin? We got PayPal now…what does this mean?
Bohdan Prylepa: PayPal is an interesting one. MicroStrategy and Square are a nice addition as well. However, it appears Square's Cash App was making decent money and PayPal didn't want to miss out. Their announcement, coupled with other applications like Revolut and Robinhood now make it easier for retail investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. PayPal plans to roll out its plans to its 325 million users in 2021. Although there are limitations, their support of several coins, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and more, is a massive shot in the arm for crypto and respective assets whose upward momentum was tapering off from non-action. Once PayPal makes the trading of supported crypto a global affair, the crypto market valuation will likely soar.
Aman: Bitcoin Cash received support, will their internal wrangles affect its performance?
Bohdan Prylepa: I don't think so. Their November hard fork was necessary. The miner tax, or the Coinbase Rule, required eight percent of rewards to be distributed to BCH ABC for protocol development. It is everything against the blockchain principle of decentralization and open source. Development of public chains is pro-bono unless there are developer incentives like in Ethereum. With their rejection and a hard fork, Bitcoin Cash remains a public project driven by the community running to be a scalable and decentralized network aiming to be better than Bitcoin.
Aman: Cardano is also hard forking but is part of development, do you think it will outperform Ethereum once Voltaire is live?
Bohdan Prylepa: Well, time will tell for now and I won't pick sides. Both are amazing products and Cardano--let's not forget its command of a huge market cap, is still in development. Different from Bitcoin Cash's hard fork, Cardano's transition from stage to stage---Byron, Shelley, and in February 2021 to Goguen, will be via Hard Fork Combinators that are thoroughly tested before activation. Eventually, they will launch smart contracting, Proof-of-Stake, and more via Voltaire but Ethereum is also developing with a fast mover advantage. If, however, Ethereum reaches Serenity before Cardano activates Voltaire, ETH—from an investor's perspective, will have the upper hand.
Aman: The Cumulative On-chain transactional volumes of Stablecoins just surpassed $1 trillion in 2020, was this inevitable?
Bohdan Prylepa: Yes, stablecoins are an indispensable part of crypto and DeFi, especially. Traders yearn for stability without restrictions, and stablecoins like USDT, DAI, and USDC available in various platforms like Ethereum, Tron, and the Omni Network, provide exactly what they want. For each stablecoin in circulation are cash and liquid assets backing it and maintaining the peg. I expect blockchains to process even more stablecoin 2021 as DeFi matures in Ethereum and other networks like Waves—whose founder Sasha Ivanov is our brand ambassador, Kava, Polkadot, IOST, and others.
Aman: Any parting shot and crypto projection for 2021?
Bohdan Prylepa: Bitcoin Ultimatum will go live, and we will build more, launching products that solve the scalability and privacy problem. Overly, if 2020 sets the pace, 2021 will likely be a spectacular year for crypto in terms of adoption and investment. A correction of Bitcoin price is likely but a rally to a new high in 2021 is also on the table.
Think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below.