Ukraine’s Bitcoin Community Starts a Blockchain Revolution

News and Analysis

Following an unjustified search at his apartment Tuesday night, Mikhail Chobanian, leader of Ukraine’s bitcoin community, initiated an urgent discussion concerning government pressure on the country’s IT businesspeople.

The next day, executives and market leaders who had suffered from illicit searches and law enforcement pressure met in Kyiv. According to Chobanian’s post on Facebook, the meeting confirmed that the issue of pressure on IT industry in Ukraine is systematic.

The community has met the other day. […] Attending were executives, renowned IT market figures, lawyers, journalists, and those not related to the IT who nonetheless had suffered from searches. It is clear that the problem is systematic. For statistics: during 90 days of summer, there had been 100 searches at the premises of a single legal company’s customers. Let us multiply it by the number of legal companies in the country, and then add those living away from Kyiv and having no money for lawyers. The decision is one and only, unite. When apart, we are an easy target. We lack financial resources, administrative resources, and power. We should understand very well who our adversary is: it is not particular officials, not law enforcement, or judges. It is the prevailing SYSTEM. Any system always performs a friend or foe test. It accepts friends, and ruthlessly destroys foes.

One has to agree with Chobanian: the problem is not so much in people as in the system those people have to deal with. A person is usually meek and easily influenced when approached promptly: some get intimidated, some are bought, and some are deceived. This is the way of traditional centralized system, and it does not really matter where it happens. The principle of the pressure is the same in Ukraine, Russia, Israel, or the US, only the degree and the style may vary.

Intimidation, bribery, and deception are the three pillars of government and municipal management in 2015. If back in the end of the 20th century one could excuse oneself with absence of alternatives and cruelty of the outer world, nowadays the humankind has tools to change the course of things. Those tools would allow one to change the way it is right now.

“We have identified our adversary. What happens now? That’s where we fall back on bitcoin. It’s not a mere payment system, a payment unit, or an internet protocol. In the first place, it is ideology; an ideology of a decentralized society where everything is transparent, and personal data are protected and private, and where all source codes are available from the start, and no one has to play blindfold. This is the system lacking intermediaries, and it belongs to everyone and nobody individually. It has proved its resistance to attacks: many had tried to break it down since 2009. But this is the future,” Chobanian added.

The enthusiasts will start with maintaining a unified register of searches and arbitrary rule, and lawyers and media will assist them. Simultaneously, they will launch a decentralized governance system.

The initiative from Ukraine’s bitcoin community is not a political offer, as the country is abundant with those nowadays. In the first place, the offer is a voluntary union of businesspersons and private persons in order to implement systematic amendments countrywide. Ukraine maintains an e-gov project, which proposes to build up the relationship between citizens and the state in electronic form. September 2015, Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine signed a relevant memorandum with the project.

There are many projects and concepts as to application of blockchain in covering fundamental managerial issues (all the way to complete automation of some procedures). It is the matter of so-called DAO and smart contracts. One could also recall the project dubbed BitNation working on creation of a complete blockchain-based tool kit for government management. Ukraine is in desperate need for systematic changes, and it might become the leader in developing those technologies and concepts, given that the society has accumulated a critical mass of pretensions for the prevailing system.

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