We ask blockchain and crypto-currency builders what they think about the industry…. And we tease them a bit at random to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 questions to Sanya Kon, CEO of Utrust.
Sanya Kon is CEO of Utrust, a blockchain-based payment ecosystem that aims to bridge the gap between tomorrow’s money and traditional e-commerce. At Utrust, the focus is on partnering with key international players to improve access to digital assets and increase the share of cryptocurrency traders. Prior to joining Utrust, Mr. Kohn spent more than a decade in the corporate world at several Fortune 500 companies. At eBay, she led the European partnership strategy and built key global relationships to improve the selling experience for eBay’s professional sellers. At PayPal, his team was responsible for delivering and implementing a payment experience solution for market players. Con has a passion for tech innovation and disruptive startups, and is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion.
1 – What does decentralisation mean to you and why is it important?
Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, I witnessed the devastating economic and political impact of the war on individuals and businesses in the former Yugoslavia. Most of us are privileged to live in a developed country with relatively stable currencies and governments. Therefore, we often do not think about the consequences of trusting governments, institutions and organizations. But today billions of people live in countries with unstable governments, wars and high inflation. Decentralisation plays an important role in this respect. To me, decentralisation means putting control of money, finances and wealth in our own hands. So it’s not at all surprising that cryptocurrency adoption is higher in countries where financial systems are collapsing and national currencies are massively devalued, such as Turkey, Brazil or Colombia. People are finally finding a way to cover and control their assets.
2 – What do you think will be the biggest blockchain trend in the next 12 months?
I really want to see more introduction of DeFi in the next 12 months, and I will be watching this trend very closely. For those in the crypto space, DeFi is already old news. However, the biggest challenge will be to make the services more accessible to people who are not yet so cryptologically savvy. The early numbers and growth are very interesting: The total value locked up in the DeFi has already grown from $680 million in January 2020 to $41 billion in February 2021! People need to understand the principles of decentralized applications, such as the fact that these applications are owned by the users and therefore the users not only benefit financially, but also help to improve the products themselves. So, I look forward to seeing how the educational aspect of these platforms will improve to attract new customers. Finally, simplifying the user experience will also be an important aspect in driving adoption.
3 – What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
When I worked at Vodafone, I did a postgraduate course at the start of my career, changing roles every five or six months to see as many departments as possible. During my second shift, I was assigned to a corporate sales team where I had to shadow a sales representative for a few weeks. On my first day, when my executive colleague introduced me to the team, I didn’t notice that there was a huge cardboard box in front of me on the floor, and as I walked, I fell into the box in front of the entire office! People still talk about it even though it was over 10 years ago!
4 – Which book has had the biggest impact on you? Why?
When my grandmother passed away many years ago, I entered a phase of spiritual exploration and enlightenment. I wanted to understand the deeper meaning of life, what life is all about, and especially what happens after physical death. I have read many books in this area, but Dr. Brian Weiss’ Many Lives, Many Masters is the book that profoundly changed my outlook on life. The book describes the work of Dr. Brian Weiss, a traditional psychotherapist who accidentally began regressing patients to past lives. As a physician and scientist, he initially did not believe in supernatural events at all, which resonated with me at a time when I did not yet doubt life as we know it. I highly recommend this book because it offers very strong scientific evidence for reincarnation. The more I know about it, the less I feel like I really know, and I find that very exciting, because our existence is so much deeper and richer than what we see.
5 – What will happen to bitcoin and ethereum in the next decade?
I see a different path for Bitcoin and Ethereum in the next 10 years. I think bitcoin is gaining popularity and solidifying its position as a store of value. We saw this particularly in 2020, when bitcoin’s growth was driven by institutional investments. The participation of such key players in this field gives the company the legitimacy it needs to ensure its future growth. I believe that over the next decade we will see more and more companies, corporations and individuals interested in distributing their portfolio holdings in a single vault of value. Unreliable and unlimited network functions and fixed volume offers will bring additional growth to network owners, followed by foreign currency payments. As for Ethereum, I think it will stimulate a whole new subset of our economy by accelerating the adoption of decentralized financial services. In this new economy, it will no longer be necessary to rely on central financial intermediaries such as banks to provide traditional financial services, as blockchain’s smart contracts will create protocols to replace existing financial services more seamlessly. Ethereum will also increase the availability of money by becoming a tool that is accessible to all and will increase financial inclusion worldwide.
6 – What do parents/acquaintances/friends/children say you should do?
My impatience! I’m very goal-oriented and fast, so I get very impatient if I have to wait for something or if other people are slow. This manifests itself in everyday things, like waiting in line; I’ll probably choose not to wait in line at all at the grocery store instead of waiting even five to ten minutes. Fortunately, most purchases can be made online! Another thing my friends often tell me is that I need to relax more: I’m always moving. When I’m not working, I’m learning something, exercising, or somehow feeding my mind. This is something I’ve improved greatly in recent years, by making more time for things like meditation, mindfulness, or just small pleasures like watching a movie or TV show.