What will it take for us to gain financial freedom? Q&A with Elena Obukhova

Q. Elizabeth Warren’s crypto sanctions bill aims to crack down on Russia and track wallets with foreign ties, the bill enhances the US government's ability to clamp down on Russian cryptocurrency use and also has a provision that requires US taxpayers to report certain types of crypto transactions. Will this push more people to use crypto and have them moving away from the US reserve currency?


A.

I actually think that all of the new regulations and laws that Governments have introduced are introducing crypto to a far larger group of people. We all in the crypto space believe in decentralization and people using fiat currencies now realize how important it is to gain financial freedom. I think the situation in Russia, in general, showed how dependency on governments and financial institutions can be harmful to individuals. A lot of people faced restrictions on their accounts and were unable to access their funds abroad because of sanctions like Visa and Mastercard being canceled. I do believe cryptocurrency shows how financial freedom is important and instead of using fiat currencies people are switching to Bitcoin or Ethereum and even stablecoins.


I have personally noticed the volume of people reaching out to me regarding switching to cryptocurrency, and it’s not just people in Russia who have been directly affected by sanctions. Similarly, a lot of people in the US have realized how many limitations they face if they continue using a simple bank account because as long as you keep money in bank accounts it belongs to them not you. Do you think if you go with a big crowd to try to withdraw all your money from an ATM will you be able to do that? Of course not because this money isn’t yours unless you take control and power over it and that’s what cryptocurrency is allowing people to do. That’s why I feel the sanctions and new laws will bring more people to the crypto space worldwide.



Q. Russia may revive cold-war era currency pact. Will this secure cryptocurrency as a long-term digital asset? Do you think this will boost cryptocurrency prices at all? Do you think this is something that will secure the longevity of cryptocurrency as a digital asset?


A.

First of all, if we are talking about Russia and how the situation affected Ruble which is the national currency of the Russian Federation, I had a recent article on recent Russian activities and I mentioned that Russia was the 11th largest country by GDP. I don’t believe there is a way you can impose sanctions on a country that is the 11th major economy in the world without impacting the rest of the world. We are seeing this with local businesses in the US and Europe, with a big impact on the trade of goods and services and business settlements happening with Russia. I’ve had friends in Europe reaching out asking do I think this situation is going to affect small businesses because their largest market share was Russia and Ukraine and found themselves unable to do any transactions with both Ukraine and Russia.


With Russia removed from the global financial system, many of them started switching to cryptocurrency because that’s the only way they can have cross-border transactions without any limitations. For example, our company FAS refused any fiat currency transactions this year and we had already been paying salaries to all employees in crypto for over two years because we believe it’s the most efficient way to do cross-border payments. And of course, I think the situation will have a positive impact on the cryptocurrency market, I wouldn’t give price predictions here I don’t want to give any investment advice. However, I can say that more people are switching to crypto out of necessity because it’s the only tool available right now for easy and quick cross-border payments. Russia recently asked Europe to pay for oil in Ruble in response to the international sanctions and we will still see that small businesses will not be switching into Rubles right, we still have the US dollar used for cross border international settlements and the only way for the rest of the market to trade easily is of course cryptocurrencies that are not regulated. Whatever politicians say and try to do or introduce some new regulatory network for crypto it’s not happening!! I am always saying good luck regulating cryptocurrencies.



Q. Will this bring more people to invest in cryptocurrency by signaling another big shift in investing?


A.

There are a lot of funds and traditional financial institutions that are moving into cryptocurrencies, if we look at a list of major bitcoin holdings we will see the US, China, and El Salvador obviously where recently bitcoin was introduced as a legal tender. A lot of hedge funds and investment banks had to switch to cryptocurrency as they couldn’t miss out on this opportunity when there’s an obvious investment value in the crypto market. In terms of how it’s affecting ordinary people and retail investors, I would say all of the news is generally having a positive impact on the crypto market, as people are following the traditional financial institutions imitating their investment strategy. But, at the same time, many people understand the need for decentralization and I think many factors are driving people toward crypto adoption and we don’t need investment banks to do so. I believe access to personal funds will be a major trigger that will bring people to the space.



Q. How do You think we can start thinking more long-term instead of creating things for a short-term and quick profit? How does the current market allow for long-term positive innovation?


A.

That’s a very good question. First of all, I do believe that scams are always going to exist and it’s not just in the crypto market. If we look at previous hypes in the market it was a similar situation with people jumping ahead when they see an investment opportunity for quick money. It’s very hard to eliminate scams from a market, whenever we have a hype people will be building projects for short-term profit even if it’s not a scam. At the same time, I think the cryptocurrency market has begun maturing a little, if we compare today with 2017 when there were many projects being stamped every day and people just replicating the same ideas, using similar whitepapers. These projects were raising crazy amounts of money with just a whitepaper of empty promises. And right now, I think there are a lot of projects that have already seen the hypes in the market so when they are building an idea using a popular technology for example nft they are seizing the hype but building a long-term project. For example, when we started FlashBack which is a platform for nft tickets we obviously understand there is hype on the nft market but we do understand the idea and technology itself is very resilient. However, we think this technology can help to build a long-term project and completely redesign the ticketing industry bringing more edge and art to the space. I have noted recently that the majority of investors are becoming more conscious of choosing projects that can overcome this hype and survive.



Q. Do you think that the stigma of the scam is what’s stopping the average person from entering the space? Or do you think that it’s something else?


A.

I don’t feel it’s the case anymore perhaps in 2018 yes when people didn’t want to deal with the crypto and blockchain projects. Right now, I would say entrepreneurs understand the value of our technology and a lot of retail investors are starting to understand the value of cryptocurrencies. I have noticed a big change from saying friends outside of the crypto space who never grasped what I work in thinking it’s a scam, now they’re asking me for help setting up crypto wallets, etc. So people are now seeing the value of decentralized financial freedom and are joining the community. Look at Avalanche, for example, their development community has exploded, and on top of that, we also see web3 companies trying to emerge and get access to web2 demographics, their next users.



Q. What trends do you think we will see entering the NFT space? Will we start to see a rise in use cases for smaller businesses?


A.

I feel like the NFT space is also moving a lot and I have been mentioning it in many of my other talks quite frequently. We had a massive hype in the nft art space, so people who were going crazy about digital art. Right now, we are on the next step where nft technology is merging with several other industries. That’s how we see real estate joining the nft space and there have already been cases where real-world apartments were sold using nft technology. We obviously see a lot of other applications in insurance, IP production, and ticketing where we are trying to bring art back to the ticketing industry and let event organizers be content creators. I think now people can definitely see NFTs from different angles, also another good example is memberships and Supermoon camp will be announcing very soon our nft membership program where people will be able to purchase their nft profile pictures with exclusive astronauts and get access to members-only perks. So, it’s sort of a SOHO house of crypto with a lot of perks and access to our community. So, I do believe in the membership side of NFTs as we saw with the bored apes. I think that’s the next step in the space where projects are adding additional utility on top of art and nft technology.


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