Anatoliy Zhuravlev: How a technological innovator and creator discovered a new passion
Anatoliy Zhuravlev first gained notoriety as a flamboyant musician from a rock music band ANJ> After immigrating to the Untied States, he retired as a musician and became world-famous for his invention iCTABLE–the world’s first multifunctional computer-integrated desk PC. But that’s not where his connections to technology end.
-Anatoliy, many remember you as the founder of the rock music band. But you have not abandoned your passion for music, right? How did you transition from being a musician to being a founder of a technology company?
It is impossible to abandon music, because it’s not just part of your life, it’s part of who you are. It’s just that some people can focus solely on music, but I could focus on other things as well. And when life forces to make you a choice , sometimes you have to choose a different path.
-Do you have a desire to return to the stage?
I always do. I am in great shape, I can return, but I have to understand the why, the how, the where. I still write new songs, but I am focused on my other projects that are no less important. And they do not really intersect with music.
-Sound interesting, please tell me more about your project.
iCTABLE is a universal workspace environment with built-in monitor arms and integrated computer components. iCTABLE was used as a basis for the world’s first 16K monitor gaming station, built for LinusTechTips, a top tech YouTuber in the North America. Linus approached us with his idea and released a video review, which garnered 6 million views, which put us on the display and we were able to significantly increase our sales numbers. Specifically for eSports, we developed a new iCTABLE model, iCTABLE eSports Machine. This model is compared to a F1 car, and brings a new level of professional atmosphere to eSports. Recently, we also developed a concept for the eSports arena. Event organizers and arena owners can use our product as a base to quickly develop a business and receive maximum return from each machine.
-You are also exploring new ventures. Evangelist of American Bitcoin—that’s a strong statement. How do you understand this role?
I was immersed in technology from my childhood. I always enjoyed inventing, creating, and fulfilling. Some of my inventions came to life, and some are biding their time. My main emphasis is on hardware, but I follow the software industry, and cryptography in particular. I wholeheartedly support new and interesting ideas and projects, and help spread the word.
Many people still do not understand that Bitcoin functions because of the time and effort and enthusiasm of thousands of evangelists, advocates, and followers that also make up this sort of “social blockchain”, not because of isolation At the same time, economical shortcoming of the creators of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are already evident to many.
-When did you start delving into blockchain technology? Was it before you began working on iCTABLE?
I began work on iCTABLE when I decided to make a universal solution. I spend the majority of my time behind a computer desk, but all of the workspace components are separate: computer, monitors, desk, chair, and there was no solution that would be comfortable and functional. And so I decided to make this idea reality. It too a lot of time and effort, but the end result was worth it. Now, with the rise of eSports, I have a new model just for them. The cryptocurrency angle comes from our customers—many of them are people that are interested in new technologies. Through interactions with them, I learn about the latest and greatest, including new cryptocurrencies, like DollarBit. We cannot discard this cryptocurrency trend, and when you like a project, you want to tell the world about it. That’s what I consider the purpose of what I call the “social blockchain”. The idea of DollarBit is not just in cryptocurrency that is based on blockchain( and not all cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology). Every single one of us who is involved, invested, became a user, created a CryptoBank. Became an advocate, started spreading the word. This is somewhat similar to a Ponzi scheme. But there is not concrete social inter-relation, where a person hopes that there will be others who will invest.
-Going back to the American Bitcoin, DollarBit. What are its advantages over Bitcoin?
I consider blockchain technology as a genius creation with enormous potential, first introduced with Bitcoin, and I had to support it. A neat use of a decentralized system in a form of cryptocurrency allowed the blockchain technology to attract attention. I see blockchain technology as an excellent tool that works great for certain applications, but not as a universal mechanism that will solve all of the world’s problems at once. Any attempts of using blockchain technology without considering the specific applications of the blockchain are doomed to fail.
-Please tell us more about the DollarBit Project. What are tis advantages over Bitcoin?
In continuation from my answer to the previous question: the creators of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies that came after Bitcoin miscalculated. Their miscalculation lies in the economic plane of cryptocurrency. Many evangelists already noticed that, but the founders of the DollarBit project were the first to clearly formulate a change in paradigm. In reality, the rewards model for miners used in Bitcoin contradicts Thorndyke’s law of effect. In the real world, miners would simply abandon the mines, knowing in advance that their “reward” and salary would diminish over time. Or, they would take up arms and go protest at the White House. In the Bitcoin system, miners continue to operate on the assumption that the market value of Bitcoin will rise.
Any volatility adversely affects the image of cryptocurrency and the progress of other projects. To counter that, DollarBit provides a constant reward based on the participation coefficient (Qp). Qp is dependent on the level of participation in mining and transactions within the system. This allows Qp to become the major factor in affecting the behavior of the participants. What does it mean? If your Qp is higher than other participants, then your rewards from mining will be higher, and your transaction fees will be lower.
This new DollarBit paradigm is changing the order of priorities from transactions, mining, storage, to storage, mining, transactions. The result of this change in paradigm is the concept of a CryptoBank. In essence, CryptoBank is a wallet, but in conjunction with the participation coefficient, the creators of DollarBit propose calling them CryptoBanks, in likeness to the Swiss Banks. CryptoBank in the DollarBit system is your personal Swiss Bank because it is safe, secure, and private and the transactions are anonymous.
Another key advantage that DollarBit has over Bitcoin is the dynamic block size. Tens of thousands of queued transactions in the Bitcoin mempool are impossible in the DollarBit system. This is not new, but since Qp also affect the block size, the dynamic is smoother. For example, Monero uses a similar solution, but it has a demotivating factor in the form of penalties for going over block size. In DollarBit, there are not penalties.
Not the least important are the CryptoBanks. Each CryptoBank(and by extension, user) has a unique Qp with a history that is reflected in the blockchain(which means it’s irrevocable), and there is a potential market where CryptoBanks can become valuable assets for sale. This long-term thinking makes DollarBit’s prospects very interesting.
-But aren’t most blockchain projects are set to improve Bitcoin?
Certainly. Bitcoin by itself is wonderful. But the situation is similar to Butyrin’s Ethereum: the idea of smart contracts is great, but at times unfeasible. Everyone is thinking about replacing PayPal and other payment systems. But why? You cannot buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin. It’s a long, difficult process. There is no reason to enter into sectors where good solutions already exist.
Is this a national cryptocurrency? Why do you think governments want to create it for? What do you think it should be like?
I am against the idea of sovereign nations participating in the creation of cryptocurrency, this contradicts the very philosophy of a system without central authority. More often than not, these projects are built with 100% premine and the desire to use the hype around cryptocurrencies.As I see it, government officials should focus on their core jobs, improving the lives of their people, and change their laws to match the current realities, not banning and not turning great ideas into piles of ash. But they have the opportunity and they do what they want. But I do not like the prospect of being under the yoke of some ruler.
-How is blockchain seen in America? How well do the people understand the technology?
The process is ongoing. The government cannot ban cryptocurrencies outright, but they can circumvent the process of obtaining crypto assets or prevent liquidation of cryptocurrency. The bank are going a similar route: J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, and Citibank no longer allow their products to be used to purchase cryptocurrency, and there were instances where the banks were blocking transactions associated with cryptocurrency, and sometimes, even cancelling the accounts.
At the same time, this hard stance policy presents an opportunity for the ‘third world” countries, whose national currency is in a state of disarray. The can use the reluctance of nations with powerful currencies to legalize cryptocurrency to create safe havens, similar to Gibraltar. They can give more leeway to crypto exchanges and streamline the process of creating an account. Such measures would not be amiss. Any attempts at prohibiting cryptocurrency trading and use of cryptocurrency are asinine, and I support measure to legalize crypto. The reasons that the governments state are understandable, but why is there a belief that cryptocurrencies are only used for criminal purposes? US Dollar is still the most widely used transactional vehicle amongst criminals, not Bitcoin. But I think that a significant portion of government officials understand this and are looking for ways to influence this market.
-But I read that the process is faster over there…
Tough to say…for example, I believe that ICO is the biggest threat to blockchain and cryptocurrency. And it’s tragic—ICO is such a chaotic process. Butyrin, when creating smart contracts, truly wanted to make something good. The issue with ICO is that the fundraise is no made using fiat money, and governments still do not get this. They see these big numbers, $600M, $150M, $250M. But if you take a closer look, you can see that these projects raised nothing in fiat money. This led to the systematic ICO events, where people “hyped”. But what’s the endgame? Are you making a project, or are you raising money? For me, that’s the real question.
There was this one terrible project, technically illiterate. It raised a lot of money. The idea was in using the entirety of calculating power of the nodes, even from mobile devices. Hypothetically, this is possible. In reality—practically impossible. We had our own project based on blockchain technology for decentralized storage of particularly sensitive files—password and the like. It’s a good project, without any technical difficulties. But I decided against ICO because I do not want to be a part of this vanity fair, it’s bad for reputation. There are major risks involved, and it’s good that I stopped in time. All because SEC got into the fray by making an announcement. Even now we can see that ICO had to change in a significant way, and that change has to be fast.
-As far as I know, cryptocurrency in the United States is considered an asset. What other laws are being planned?
In the US, there is an interesting view of cryptocurrencies. They are considered virtual, while ICOs are considered differently. They use a series of qualities that determine whether an offering is for securities or not, but they have considered every ICO thus far a securities offering. And so, they say that you must register with SEC. Several projects went through the legal hoops and registered, and were able to raised good money, like the project that uses smart contracts for football ticket sales. It’s a good idea, and a good example of how ICOs can be conducted. Because now, SEC is using its power to halt ICO fairly regularly. Recently, they stopped AriseBank, “the world’s first decentralized bank”. And we can expect this more active regulation to continue.
-To finish off, how about a message from an innovator and creator. When we stepped into the 21st century, everyone expected a new, better life in the information age. And still, we have only seen more of the same. How do you think we can maintain this flame of hope for a better world?
Dramatic and traumatic events are always more impressive in their effect on the world. There have been so many amazing inventions and revelations that we begin to grow accustomed to them, even though they would be considered revolutionary only 10 years ago. Technology, as incredible as it is, is not relevant if it does not solve our everyday problems. A humans, for all the technological advancement, remain reliant on their emotions. Music, poetry, cinema, theater, literature reinforce our emotional side. Art gives us power that is impossible to gain through technological means.