A serial entrepreneur, Taras Dovgal has more than a decade of experience in the technology industry. An experienced web developer and founder of several successful companies, he entered the crypto space in 2017. Due to his extensive background in traditional and crypto entrepreneurship, as well as web2 and web3 development, he has a wealth of knowledge to share.
My attention was captured by Taras’ insightful article about blockchain of the future and his thoughts on the industry’s future from his vantage point as a web3 developer and entrepreneur. It inspired me to reach out to him for an interview.
First thing I asked Taras was the same question I ask anyone I interview. While it may not be a very insightful question, it’s still always interesting to learn how someone first got into crypto and how they felt about it.
“Having a background in programming, I found crypto fascinating. The experience was like being introduced to an entirely new world filled with people speaking a different language and discussing things I couldn’t quite grasp. Crypto seemed reminiscent of both banking and e-money at the same time, yet it was also something entirely new. As I learned more about it, I realized it’s an evolution of internet money that unites communities, but in a whole new way.
There also was a buzz at the time about smart contracts and their potential to disrupt the industry to the extent of replacing lawyers and other professionals in a couple of years. It piqued my interest even further. Crypto winters, however, made us realize that we still have a long way to go, but crypto appears to be on the right track,” he said.
Crypto isn’t more complex than banking, it just has bad UX
“Prior to entering the crypto space, I had already found several web2 businesses. And I wondered, “Well, that sounds promising and makes sense to me as a programmer, but how can I explain crypto to my mother?” So I pondered how to communicate this techy concept to the general public. My first crypto startup was born this way,” he recalled.
Taras said he realized that crypto was not something extraordinary, but just a concept that needed to be explained clearly. “It struck me that blockchain technology is in no way more complicated than banking, or financial market trading, which was once the sole domain of professionals – but now anyone can trade stocks using easy-to-use apps. It’s just that the crypto industry has a bad UX. I have therefore committed myself to building crypto products with smooth web-2-like functionality,” he said.
According to Taras, the popularity of crypto payments has increased exponentially since the last crypto summer because they offer users features that rival conventional money, and users still want crypto products, even though they have flaws. “This is what you call a disruptive technology that won’t be given up on despite initial weaknesses,” he said.
Make it better than web2 and keep the user in mind
I asked Taras what crypto developers can do specifically to make crypto more mainstream.
“Crypto won’t gain widespread acceptance until it offers standards lower than those offered by web2-based products. Efforts should be made to improve blockchains on a larger scale, focusing on areas such as networks’ security, scalability, reliability, transaction fees, cross-chain solutions, among other things.
Regardless of what product they create, they need to focus on users and don’t be afraid to learn from successful web2 products. All of this needs to be done in order for web3 to be as successful as web2. There are some chains that have shown promising results and are likely to gain mass adoption in the not too distant future,” he said.
Both institutions and users contribute to adoption
My next question was whether mass adoption is a user-level or institutional-level process.
“It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. End users and institutions both play an important role in mass adoption. In response to the user’s demand, an institution reacts and prompts even more adoption. Think about a hair salon in which 40 percent of customers ask to pay in crypto; the salon expands the payment option to crypto, and customers who haven’t heard of crypto also start using it.
Specifically, many gambling sites have already added crypto payment options after they noticed some interest from users, although it wasn’t as significant at that time. In some cases, an institution may need a slight push from a few users before taking action and spearheading a greater adoption wave,” he explained.
Will crypto make a comeback in 2023?
As the global economic crisis unfolds at a rapid pace, no one knows what 2023 holds for crypto, making predictions is akin to peering into a crystal ball. In spite of this, I hoped Taras could still provide us with a glimpse of the future as a long-term player in the crypto sector. I asked him if FTX’s downward spiral is over, and what crypto market trends he sees in 2023.
“We can’t predict things like the crash of FTX, but we can learn from what we’ve got right now and use logic to anticipate what comes next. Regarding the FTX collapse, I think the dust has not yet settled, and the shock waves will likely continue to affect the market for a while. It’s unknown how many companies are associated with FTX since many of them are decentralized and private. There’s no way to predict when and where the next house of cards could collapse, or what big company it would be,” he said. “Hopefully, none of the popular stablecoins will go under, since that would be disastrous. It’s important not to dwell on doomsday scenarios nor to be naive,” Taras added.
According to Taras, this crypto winter is the most difficult because it coincides with a global financial crisis caused by the pandemic, which then got worse due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Thus, either crypto will follow its usual path of correlation with traditional financial assets, or it will become widely accepted as a replacement for traditional monetary systems.
In regards to crypto regulation this year, Taras said regulators tend to show less interest in crypto during bear markets, perhaps due to the belief that it is on its way out. In contrast, when its market cap rises, they appear to be watching it closely. According to Taras, it’s unclear how things will turn out during this year. It’s possible that regulators are more concerned with resolving their own acute problems rather than intervening in the cryptocurrency market right now, he said.
“It’s inevitable that crypto regulation frameworks will one day be finalized across countries and as a next step unified globally. However, when there’s a crypto winter, changes tend to be slower, while when there’s a market boom, they tend to accelerate,” he added.
At present, Taras is finishing up the development of Munzen, a platform that will connect the fiat and crypto worlds seamlessly so that everyone can use it, no matter how technically savvy they are. Anyway, Taras expressed optimism about crypto’s success, calling on developers to make high-quality crypto products in order to bring the web3 future closer.