Interview with the CEO of Swap.Online Alexander Noxon
Today our official representative, Vladislav Sopov, interviewed Alexander Noxon, CEO of SwapOnline. Alexander answers the most interesting questions about yourself, blockchain-industry favourite games and shares his thoughts about the future!
Please introduce yourself.
Sasha Noxon, programmer, website developer.
What determined your personal development as a programmer and developer?
The market as such. From the age of 16, I accepted orders on Freelance.ru. I was engaged in everything that brought money. I will not be revealing a secret when I say that mostly it was business websites and online stores.
What projects can you be proud of from those days?
First of all, the website https://pozvonim.com — a feedback widget for sites. In second place, perhaps, the copywriting exchange noxon-text. It no longer functions now.
You said “programmer”. And you can call yourself an entrepreneur?
Of course, I am an entrepreneur. In this regard, I was interested in the blog Spryt.ru back in the day. It was run by a schoolboy earning from advertising on his websites. At the same time, for me there is no division, or an evolution of some kind. I was the creator of websites, worked for a guy, then grew up and became an entrepreneur. No, at different periods of my life I could earn more both from my own projects, and from work for others. I do not think that this is a linear process.
The most predictable question. How did you get to blockchain? What about it attracted you?
It began with an interest in Bitcoin in 2012. As trivial as it sounds, I was attracted to the idea of a free internet currency. Free in terms of emissions, in terms of movement. This is not something that Russia or the US can block. This is more understandable money for me.
So you’re cryptoanarchist?
By no means. I respect cryptoanarchists, I’m interested in them, they are cheerful dudes. But I never considered myself as one of them. Anarchy is not the final state of affairs that the world of cryptocurrencies strives to. On the contrary, anarchy is inadmissible in it.
In which projects you have worked?
Until 2016, I was rather an explorer, not a practitioner. You can learn more about this in my Github. Mostly, I investigated the practical application of smart contracts, IPFS technologies, the properties of ERC-20 tokens. Since 2017, I have headed DAO Casino as a technical director.
“I am not expecting any owners of oil companies”
You saw a huge number of block projects. What good and bad tendencies of 2018 can you name?
It is best to start with the good, isn’t it? (laughs) People had just started understanding cryptocurrencies — what is good and what is bad. They started believing less, and thinking more. Even more important is that the exchanges are now releasing their own tokens, and this leads the macroeconomics of cryptocurrencies to a new level. The model works worse when someone is sitting on commissions from exchange platforms, which they once created. The profitability of the product tokens, in particular the crypto exchanges, depends on the quality of their work, and this is much more important for the community as a whole. Finally, it’s very cool that people are starting to pay attention to cross-chain projects (like Lightning network).
But even unpleasant things are still common. First of all, this is the inertia of investors who cannot affect the teams that they have entrusted their money to. It’s no secret that before the advent of the ICO, the motivation of the team is very high, but new motivation is needed after a successful crowdfunding campaign. In this regard, a large influx of Ether into the industry has served it poorly, as some have been spoiled, others have been deceived. Maybe this is why really big investors are not yet in a hurry to enter this sector…
Another trend! And who is a big investor for you? Where did he get the money?
Investors in this case, above all, are people who have made money on the 2013 and 2017 cryptocurrency boom. It is them first and foremost. The rate of Ether has grown, and they have a lot of money, that’s all.
And, for example, old fat cats, owners of oil companies and others? If you say “big investors are in no hurry” when should we be waiting them?
Look, I do not even think about it. You do not need to think about it. It’s unproductive to wait for these people. The worst thing is that even worthy products from strong teams are now finding it harder to raise the money necessary.
I will tell you another trend, it is neither good nor bad. Now there are a lot of funny ICOs, where people work “as fans”. They just like the idea, it cheers them up, and they invest money in it. These people do not hope for a large income in the foreseeable future from their purchased tokens. It’s something like donating money in games.
So you say “worthy project”, “cool project”? And which projects are the best?
All off-chain and cross-chain ones, especially those that work directly with Bitcoin, which for me remains number 1. Well, and decentralized exchanges with their coins. The future belongs to them, I will not tire of repeating it.
Are there bad projects?
There are no such projects. I will not be hating any projects. Whoever gets the money is good, and they are awaited on the market. And it is good as long as they get the money. Nothing new compared to the “old” economy.
“It is always difficult with strong people”
You directed many projects. Who are you recruiting?
This is very difficult! (laughs). Always in different ways, depends on the task.
No, we need an answer to this question. Let us take another avenue of approach. What is the main principle of your relationship with the team?
Our principles of interaction and payment are published on the site, they can be found. The policy of payment necessarily implies the payment of a part of the work with the tokens of the project.
Payment request form on the site. Any employee receives part of the earnings in SWAP tokens.
I am an adherent of a cautious approach to the freedom of the employee and his schedule. While a person works well, while he has a lot of responsibilities, and he does not fail us, then I’m ready to give him the opportunity to work where he wants and as much as he wants. As the scope of responsibility decreases, the tasks become more specific, a person should go to the office, work on site so that I and others see him.
With strong people it’s always difficult. Strong people are hard to force to work for a common cause. You cannot force a strong programmer to do what you need, but it’s not interesting to him. Of course, a lot can be achieved with money, many are motivated by it, but in the case of really strong people, we are talking about absolutely non-market amounts.
If I pay a lot, then the person works well, and he is interesting to me, and I’m interested in him. It’s the other way around if I pay little.
Are there any categories of people you will not work with or will you quickly fire?
There are. The most dangerous people, whom I will never tolerate, are those who do not adequately assess their competence in different areas of the case, and seek to tell others how to work correctly. You have not done any of “your” tasks, but you are already advising one guy, giving orders to the second one, and criticizing a third! Such people, fortunately, are becoming a rarity, but they are very toxic to the team. As for everything else, everything is trite — I do not like lazy people, who must be constantly kicked, dreamers, projectors, etc. I do not believe in evolution here, by and large. If a person is not a professional, you will not be able to turn him into a professional, or even an average performer.
“Swap.Online is the only way”
How and when did the idea of Swap.Online appear? Probably, you will not even be bale to mention an exact date…
On the contrary (opens the computer). On November 22, 2017, in Facebook, I laid out the design of how to exchange a token for Bitcoin. Then I described this as a possible solution for exchanging fiat money and Bitcoin for the tokens of decentralized applications. I made my post in one of the Telegram chats for enthusiasts of the Ethereum blockchain. After some time, an investor wrote to me and said that he saw this text, and some of my smart contracts, and that he liked these ideas. Within a few months, we agreed on the terms, signed the agreement and I left the previous team.
Are not you afraid that by spreading these thoughts in FB that the idea of the project will be simply stolen by someone who is cunning and technically savvy?
No. Open Source in this case is the same as publishing the idea of the likes of ”I’m building a house, it has walls and a roof, as well as five floors and an entrance.” Nothing more. The implementation has nothing to do with this, and it will never suffer.
Well, at that time, in terms of implementation, were there some alternatives besides Swap.Online?
No. It was the only way.
But, after all, everyone was fine with centralized exchanges for some time? When did you realize that the time for decentralization has come?
You know, they are satisfied with almost everything nowadays. DEX is the technology of tomorrow, if not the day after tomorrow.
The time has come for some bold predictions from Alexander Noxon. When will the turnover of decentralized exchangers exceed the turnover of centralized ones?
Very soon! What problems of centralized exchanges your Swap.Online will resolve?
First, it is the freezing of funds in the KYC / AML policy types. On many sites of this kind, for example, on the Korean exchange Bithumb, you can have as much funds as possible, and you will be asked for many documents that you cannot always provide when you decide to withdraw them. When you enter the money, you do not know whether they will give it to you the next time.
Secondly, this is the rate of exchange. The hour is nigh when no one will want to wait for 10 to15 minutes to exchange the Ether to Bitcoin. One or two minutes is what we offer our users.
Thirdly, this is reliability. We do not keep your money, we cannot break something and steal it. There are other risks, they are being worked on, for example, the risk of domain locking, in this case, the affected users may suffer, but we will necessarily make isolated desktop applications.
The cherry on the cake is the rate of our transaction commission. It is zero percent. It’s very easy to remember. Mining fees are 20 cents.
Impressive. Who is your target audience?
Well, first of all, the “hodlers”. These are participants of the cryptocurrency market, who tend to hold their assets for a long time without participating in short-term exchange trading. As a rule, they have a lot of cryptos and they are afraid to transfer them on the classic centralized exchanges. I outlined the reasons above.
In addition, highly-informed people, like blockchain geeks, they will come to us. They are interested in the technological side of the exchange and they tend to use the advanced technologies that we will offer.
And who will surprise you if they come to Swap.Online? Who is the “no-purpose” audience?
Interesting, I have not thought about it. Probably, corporate financial clients. Here, “Alfa-Bank”, for example, will surprise me if they come asking for advertising.
Now three short questions about your project. What is its weakest side?
We are young. Unavoidable explosive growth can demotivate the team. But I already faced this in 2013 and 2017, and I derived an important rule from those events, and that is that you need to have global goals and never stop even if everything is very straightforward.
Does it have a scalability limit, ultimate throughput, or something like that?
There is nothing like that.
In a nutshell, turn to the people who are visiting Swap.Online for the first time.
Leave me your mail: it will be interesting.
“I will play Civilization V”
Let’s talk about the future in the end. Can blockchain change the world, and if so, in which direction?
Yes and no. On the one hand, it’s very good that many people have become interested in Bitcoin in 2017, generated wallets, bought coins. Their life will become more prosperous, reasonable and interesting, and this is very cool. On the other hand, some of the fundamental problems of planet Earth cannot be solved by blockchain technologies.
Be Isaac Asimov. Now there is blockchain, tomorrow there is cross-chain and off-chain. And then what? What’s next?
I think at some point quantum computers, fourth-dimensional technology, time warping, all of them will be involved in this. It is very difficult to describe this now. Probably, everything will begin with quantum computers.
The last question for today. The day has come when you are tired of cryptocurrency and blockchain. What will you do on that day?
The answer is simple: computer games.
Games? Write them? Play them?
Interview with the CEO of Swap.Online
"The world of the cryptocurrencies will not allow anarchy to dominate"
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