Two years have passed since Roman Sulzhyk resigned from the Moscow Exchange as managing director, following the annexation of Russia to the Crimean region of Ukraine.
A couple of years after, the former senior-level executive came back as Board of Directors Chairman of Ukraine-based Distributed Lab, a blockchain startup from his native place that he himself invested on.
But while making the leap into the blockchain industry is a religious experience for most people, the former managing director has reasons that lean more on the political side of things. Having spent many years working for banks, Sulzhyk resigned from the futures market of Moscow Exchange back in 2015, and has given support for one another ever since.
“Unfortunately, the political situation between our two countries at the moment does make it difficult,” Sulzhyk stated. “Let’s just say, I’m opposed to the politics of Putin.”
Still, the now chairman of the board of directors for a blockchain startup sees a clear opportunity for cryptocurrency and blockchain, despite being a former well-known advocate for financial market transparency.
Sulzhyk said in an interview:
“It’s a natural evolution of my career. I don’t view this as a sort of setback, I view this as a massive opportunity for me personally to be part of a revolution.”
Road to blockchain
Sulzhyk said he knew zilch about the blockchain industry before he resigned from his previous position, and is thankful for the education he got from the founders of Distributed Lab.
Then, back on July, it seems as if he’s educated enough on the ins and outs of the technology that the company invited him to say a few words at the stage of its BIP001 conference for cryptocurrency held in Odessa, Ukraine. It went well, since by September he and Distributed Lab already had an agreement, and Sulzhyk already backed up the company with funds by then.
Founded back in 2014, the startup currently has 50 people on its team all working together to develop top-grade systems that focus on producing traditional assets that is on a blockchain.
“I’m not day-to-day running development,” Sulzhyk said. “I’m more trying to work together with the guys to develop the vision of where the company wants to be in a year from now.”
Among the many projects that Sulzhyk is a part of at the moment is consulting with the National Bank of Ukraine, which since November 2016 has been exploring the possibility of putting their native currency into a blockchain. And although most of the project details are kept under lock and key because of a non-disclosure agreement, one of Distributed Labs’ founder by the name of Pavel Kraychenko recently confirmed that they are looking at moving “e-money on a blockchain” by working with the bank, a move that the bank itself has been exploring with their own native currency since last year.
“Once central banks understand this,” Sulzhyk said, “I think they will start moving in that direction because it gives them better visibility into the financial system,” elaborating on the potential of cryptocurrency to banks in the future. This statement is a clear contrast to him previously stating that cryptocurrencies are incarnations of the U.S. Federal Reserve that failed, proving that the former managing director has now dropped his skepticism with digital currencies in general.
As of the moment, the most brilliant effort produced by Distributed Lab is TokenD, which is a carefully-structured framework that provides help for groups of enterprises in digitizing their assets. In addition, the TokenD framework is also made up of a “best practices” list and security standards, on top of the codebase that builds systems which convert the traditional assets into digital tokens.
Additionally, the aforementioned standards are being explored by Sulzhyk along with Ukraine National Depository CEO Mindaugas Bakas to push through legal concerns and obstacles one may encounter when placing assets onto a blockchain.
Another project that will soon be released is BullionCoin, which also uses TokenD and is already registered with the Financial Services Authority of the Isle of Man.
When asked where the company is headed, Sulzhyk said that he’s pretty excited with Distributed Labs going more in-depth with other business models than the usual high transaction fees.
“This is a fundamental game changer,” he finished.