Sukesh Kumar Tedla is CEO & Founder of Unbiased, GreenEOSIO, TelosGreen, CTO of Zeptagram, Chairman at Swedish Blockchain Association.
Could you tell us how you get into the blockchain industry? Tell us about your background
I come from a tech background basically having a master’s degree in Telecommunications. I have always had interest in the technology space. I´ve been working as a system administrator and project manager for Ericsson- managing their data center and so forth. While I was in that space, I was interested in technology pretty much.
I first came across Bitcoin in 2017 and then I got brought into the vision and mission of Bitcoin and the reason for blockchain technology. I started learning the technology and understanding the architecture behind it. That’s how I got into this space and since then it’s been quite a long journey.
What did you personally find most challenging in the blockchain journey?
The challenging part was that there was an overall misconception amongst the audience in general. Since I used to do a lot of public speaking when it comes to blockchain. Doing seminars, events, workshops, majority of the time I usually got responses like “okay this is something related to scam or money laundering and these kinds of negative opinions”. This has been really challenging in the last, maybe two years, or one year.
Today I feel it’s changing. People are realizing the importance of technology, and the rise of the mainstream, the public governments, and digital currencies in Sweden and other countries as well. I think people are realizing it’s not something bad, it’s a good technology and can solve a lot of issues.
How do you see European Commission helping the blockchain industry?
From what I observed so far, one of the good initiatives from the European Commission was to fund different startups and projects in this space. There are quite a lot of accelerators right now just focused on the blockchain sector. European Commission is working on the 2030 agenda which is mainly focused on digital transformation and one of the core topics is blockchain. So, they are putting together quite a big fund, I think it´s 100 billion dollars or so. This will really boost the EU companies and startups ahead compared to other countries.
What in your opinion, is the biggest threat to the blockchain?
Well, I think legislation and regulations will be the biggest threat to blockchain technologies. We are already seeing some restrictions, but for right now on different exchanges and different wallets and service providers doing KYC processes and these kinds of compliance requirements which are not mandatory and loses the whole purpose of blockchain technology. So, I think that’s one of the biggest threats in my opinion. At the same time, if we have good and flexible regulations, I think it really helps to further the innovation, but at the same time, it can be a big threat as well.
What do you mean by “good regulations”?
Well, I’m not an expert in this space but like there is this new regulation that is being proposed at least in America, which is basically adding a KYC layer on top of every valid provider or an exchange, which means every user who is using cryptocurrencies or even transferring between themselves needs to do the KYC verification. This in my opinion is a challenge for the mass, because if I do a transaction, and it takes me quite a lot of time and must go through KYC and all these hurdles, then people will lose interest. This doesn’t really help drive innovation.
Which countries do you think have the most advanced blockchain regulations?
I wouldn’t say advanced, but I think the most favorable would be Estonia, Malta, and all small Island nations. Their business model is more flexible towards this new technology so that they can attract more Fintech corporations. It can help their economies to grow so that´s one of the reasons that you see countries like Malta or Estonia have favorable regulations, including Singapore as well the list.
And how do you see Sweden in this scenario?
Sweden doesn’t really have proper regulations in my opinion, even though there are some legal opinions that were stated by Skatteverket and Finanspection in Sweden but the banking system still doesn’t allow or follow those regulations. It’s kind of limiting the growth of startups blockchain here in Sweden because if you go to the bank and say you´re a blockchain startup here with the banks in order to get a bank account and open a company, the banks will say no.
What do you think lacks in the blockchain industry?
As I always say, it’s the blockchain itself which is a complex technology and when you’re bringing the mass adoption use cases, people often forget the importance of user experience. That’s one of the biggest lacking points in the blockchain industry in my opinion. Users do not want to spend a lot of time doing different kinds of activities on the internet. They want everything quick and instant. So, you cannot have delays in processing transactions.
Irish & Swiss Blockchain associations seem to be in frequent dialogue with major banks and financial regulators in their respective countries and even engaging in a dialogue at the EU level recently. Finnish blockchain association has started a joint venture company with the capital of Finland, Helsinki. How do you see the Swedish Blockchain associations’ collaboration with the Government, the public sector in general, and companies, what has been and is now happening here in Sweden?
As I earlier said, Sweden is quite behind in terms of general awareness among the regulators and governments. I know if people hear about blockchain and Bitcoin they still have that negative stigma attached to it. But one good thing that is happening right now in the Swedish ecosystem is that Sweden is trying the digital e-kronor concept for instance – and that is based on blockchain technology.
Now they’re trying to use blockchain to basically run the whole economy and currency system. So, it will be interesting to see how that works out, but I guess with the Swedish blockchain association basically each organization is quite different because most of those organizations or associations today are funded by the government and they have a lot of resources and some are even for-profit organizations as well.
When it comes to the Swedish Blockchain Association it’s a completely voluntary based contribution so far. None of us are getting paid. It’s just that we are passionate about the technology so we are willing to take some time from our personal time and spend it talking with people, educating them and trying to motivate them, but maybe in future we will have some collaboration with the government and public sector, it’s just that we need more active contributors in the association.
And how long would it take to come to that level?
It depends on the public sector here. In general, Sweden is conservative about these kinds of new technologies or new innovations so it’s going to take a while. Maybe a couple of years before we reach that point of engaging nonprofit organizations in this decision process or getting guidance and so forth. But also, you need super passionate people to drive it and in Sweden, we have less people like that.
What kind of development can we expect in blockchain in coming years?
The NFTs-The Non-Fungible Tokens or digital assets markets, that’s going to be the next big thing in blockchain in my opinion, like we saw the Defi decentralization finance in recent months. I guess the future is going to be when things get much more matured. It will be mainly the supply chain tracking and the digital assets trading on the blockchain.
There are many blockchains, public, hybrid, private and Hyperledger, Ethereum, Cardana, IOTA, new ones such as Cosmos and Polkadot. How do you see the security maturity amongst these?
I can’t really comment on every blockchain, but when it comes to public and private I would definitely choose public blockchain. Because it’s obviously in the public domain, and when it comes to security issues people probably will figure out when something is in the public domain rather than compared to the private blockchain out there. One good example would be Hyper ledge. It’s being adopted in many organizations because the word blockchain makes sense or makes them excited or interesting in their meetings. But at the end of the day, it’s basically like a distributed database, right? And if you don’t set up your cloud infrastructure properly, it’s still not secure. Basically, it can be corrupted, or it can be hacked, and it could do quite a lot of stuff. I think private blockchains are secure in general compared to public blockchains. Specifically, about IOTA, for instance, IOTA had an issue with their chain or tangle work. I don’t think IOTA is super secure. Today, if you have enough resources you can hack the chain.
As many such frameworks emerge, what can you advise on choosing which one to start with? how do you keep yourself updated and skilled in all of them? or does it matter?
When people or companies come and ask me which blockchain to choose I usually have this decision tree that I give them. It presents you with a step-by-step evaluation process like if you have this requirement, you should probably choose private blockchain, or if you have that requirement choose the public domain, which doesn’t have fees, gas fees transactions and that kind of stuff. My personal preference would be blockchain which is faster scalable, and which doesn’t cause any user issues.
Thank you, Sukesh Kumar Tedla, for taking the time for this interview and for sharing your story and expertise. We wish you all the best of luck for all your current and future projects.
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