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Antifragile: Serhiy Tron Fights To Bring Bitcoin To Ukraine

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Former boxer, tenacious entrepreneur and publisher of Bitcoin Magazine Ukraine Serhiy Tron is fighting for stability in a volatile world.

A version of this article originally appeared in the first issue of Bitcoin Magazine in Ukrainian. can be purchased here.

When Serhiy Tron was born in 1984, his hometown was known as Dniprodzerzhynsk. It is named after the founder of the Bolshevik secret police in the 1930s. In 2016, after a country-wide denial of communist repression, it returned to its historic moniker of Kamiánské, but whatever the city is called, it empowers, resilience and It was a kind of industrial center that nurtured hardworking people.

Tron’s mother is an accountant and his father served in the military for 25 years before working with victims of the Chernobyl disaster. When asked to describe her father, Tron silently loses his train of thought. He asks the question again, then describes him as a stern, strong-willed soldier who projects the qualities of command and control.

At the age of 10, drawn from the lessons of his hardworking city and down-to-earth father, Tron took up boxing, dodging blows, fighting personal and financial crises, and ultimately working for an open source software project. I fought. We believe it will bring much-needed stability to a world plagued by recession and inflation.

heavy fuel

At the age of 16, Tron used the tenacity and determination he had developed as a young boxer to start his entrepreneurial career by starting a fuel oil distribution company. He juggled his training sessions with the demands of the business while taking college classes in the evenings, but his dream of becoming a boxing pro came to an end just before he turned 19. The accident took him to hospital for his eight months, where he was forced to be able to walk again. He said goodbye to boxing and decided to put all his energy into his business.

When Tron was 22, his father died and he became the breadwinner of the family. By 2010, his company operated 120 petrol stations and his five oil depots near Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. He invested in technology that could clean oil tanks and sold the extracted sediment. As his financial operations expanded, he was drawn to banking, and in 2011 Citi invested in his Bank of Commerce, rapidly expanding its footprint from his 40 to his 185 branches. By that point, the capitalization of all his businesses had reached nearly $1 billion.

And so began his next decisive battle.

In February 2014, the Maidan Revolution, also known as the “Revolution of Dignity,” began with deadly clashes between Kiev protesters and the national army. With 80% of his business activity in occupied territory, Tron faced the risk of losing nearly everything. But the boxer knows how to bounce back after being hit, so Tron decides to abandon his home and business in eastern Ukraine, move his family to Kiev, and bring all his employees who want to be transferred. I was.

“The most profitable personal investment you can make is in your relationships with people,” Tron explains, focusing on connections rather than substance. I honestly think I made all the money thanks to my intuition, my various experiences, my accumulated knowledge and my relationships with people.”

But from there, events in Ukraine developed rapidly. As international investment flees the country, Inflation reached 25%, the highest record in 14 years. Ukrainian currency hryvnia, lost 60% of its value against the US dollarCiti Commerce Bank started bleeding capital as people rushed to withdraw their deposits. Tron had two ugly options for him. Either save the bank by defaulting or dry up the liquidity to pay the customer.

As usual, he didn’t hesitate to fight bigger and better and chose to pay. After his six-month struggle to keep the bank alive, Citi Commerce Bank was sold for his $1.

Bitcoin mining possibilities

At another crossroads in 2015, Tron refocused its interest in the tech industry. Having been battered by many crises throughout his life, he quickly understood that Bitcoin was the promise of stability in a world of uncertainty. Having mined his two most famous cryptocurrencies early in history, both Bitcoin and Ethereum, it was clear to him that one had intrinsic advantages over the other.

“After mining both Ethereum and Bitcoin, I have concluded that Bitcoin’s fundamental principles are unbeatable,” he says. “Ethereum appeared vulnerable to tampering and human corruption.”

After visiting China to inspect bitcoin mining equipment first hand, he purchased and installed his first mining machine offering a capacity of 2 megawatts (MW) in Romania. This preliminary bet worked well enough to convince him to build a state-of-the-art data center in his country. He poured his $40 million into a mining operation with a capacity of 10.5 MW on the site of the Dniester hydroelectric power plant in Chernivtsi, a western state or region.

Around the same time, the small town of Zug, an hour away from Zurich, Switzerland, was fast becoming its own “crypto valley.” In 2018, betting on Switzerland’s friendly bitcoin regulation, Tron established a holding company, WhiteRock Management, in the Swiss town.

As the popularity of Bitcoin grew, his business venture was a success, and by then Tron was a determined Bitcoin maximalist. but withdrew from Kazakhstan in 2021 due to difficult circumstances. cover things up. )

Following that mining venture, Tron started thinking about where to expand. Understanding the unique incentives that make bitcoin mining such a strong industry, he chose a region in northern Sweden surrounded by hydroelectric power plants, focusing on electricity price and jurisdictional stability. installed his $85 million worth of equipment.

In 2022, the company expanded across the Atlantic to Texas’ Brazos Valley, harnessing natural gas as a potential alternative to hydropower. Discovered during oil drilling, this gas is often vented or “flared” (burned). Tron decided to explore the opportunity to use it to power Bitcoin mining by building a data center there.

Based on his industry expertise, Tron theorizes that major oil and gas companies will soon work closely with the Bitcoin industry. He also believes the integrated mining operation is poised to lead the next generation of industrial success.

“By 2023, the number of hosting providers may decline as they continue to lose clients,” he explains. “Only vertically integrated companies with their own equipment, data centers and complete process control will be able to survive the current market downturn.”

And now Tron is working on its latest project near Niagara Falls, New York.But it looks like his fighting days aren’t over yet — in November, New York state Two-year suspension of permits for cryptocurrency mining operations aiming to retrofit fossil fuel plants.

Some Bitcoin enthusiasts have criticized the policy, but Tron is optimistic. He believes it is wise for the Bitcoin community to adopt new environmental standards and sees the moratorium as an opportunity to do just that. It’s a positive outlook that helped us survive the fight.

“I see any crisis as a business opportunity because the market is changing,” explains Tron. “The surge in Bitcoin price leading to the latest decline has attracted many quick investments and unrealistic expectations. I have revealed the project.”

Spread Bitcoin’s Message to Ukraine

Tron’s upbringing and the hardships he faced in life gave him a unique ability to find reasons for optimism while being a pragmatist and harsh critic. The businessman in him believes that the greatest victory for Ukrainians is to overcome their own dark side.

In his view the media are part of the problem. In a step to change that, fighting perhaps the biggest battle of his life, Tron partnered with Bitcoin Magazine in 2020 and negotiated issuance in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. His goal is to build a medium where the latest Bitcoin innovations are quickly shared with readers and where the best locally grown talent are supported and celebrated.

“Investing in technology, science, education initiatives, and anything else that will underpin the future yields a unique and magical return,” he says.

Under his oversight, Bitcoin Magazine will remain independent of the corrupt influence of political actors. Tron believes the Bitcoin philosophy is the best way to end the corruption left over from his country’s turbulent past. It’s much bigger than just functioning. He sees a future where digital assets constitute a new market sector on par with finance and energy.

And Bitcoin will become a leader in this space, with unparalleled solid fundamentals ensuring it remains the flagship of the digital asset market. And perhaps the businessman says it will be the reserve currency and other cryptocurrency indices.

Tron believes the next step in the blockchain revolution is a legitimate financial revolution. In the process of evolution, humanity is destined to break free from its dependence and subordination to fiat currencies. For him, Bitcoin’s principles of freedom of choice and transparency will one day form a new foundation for human interaction.

His belief in Bitcoin’s potential is evident in the fact that he has spread it throughout the region around his home country, but progress has been made faster in some places than in others.

“During my recent visit to Uzbekistan, I was confused by conversations with some government officials,” Toron recalls. “When we offered to bring quality bitcoin content and educational investments into the country, the response was that it would be best if the world didn’t hear about Uzbekistan. But I don’t understand the logic of this, and here again I come across a variant of the post-Soviet perfectionist mentality.I’m disappointed. However, they agreed to develop the relationship slowly if it was necessary.

the battle never ends

After hearing the story of a young boxer who tasted the filthy air of his hometown in his mouth, war once robbed him of his billion-dollar business, and he loved his country and its people, but the corruption that lies within. See what is., never backing down from a fight, but hoping to save others from a fight—what do we think of Tron?

Today, Tron’s life is filled by his wife, three children, employees and business partners. However, he is always busy and always looking for new opportunities. But somewhere deep down he leaves the impression that he stands alone. In a way, he still looks like he’s in the boxing ring. He is tall, broad-chested, agile on his feet, cautious and distrustful, his mind always focused on the long game, pulling, bending, bobbing and weaving.

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