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Antifragile: Serhiy Tron fights to bring Bitcoin to Ukraine

Serhiy Trona former boxer, die-hard entrepreneur and editor of the Bitcoin Magazine Ukraine, fights for stability in an unstable world.

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

When Serhiy Tron was born in 1984, his hometown was Dniprodzerzhinsk, named after the founder of the Bolshevik secret police in the 1930s. In 2016, it reverted to its historic nickname of Kamianske after a nationwide rejection of communist oppression, but no matter what the city was called, it was the kind of industrial center that fuels a country and produces resilient and hardworking people.

Tron’s mother was an accountant while his father spent 25 years in the military before working with the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. When asked to describe his father, Tron falls silent and loses his train of thought – asking to hear the question again before describing him as a rigid, wayward military man who projected qualities of command and control.

Tron began boxing at the age of ten, having learned the lessons of his hard-working city and steady father, and embarked on a life of dodging punches, managing personal and financial crises, and eventually working for an open-source Software project, which he believes should fight a world stricken by recession and inflation plagued that will bring much-needed stability.

This is what awaits you in this article

heavy tank

At the age of 16, Tron channeled the tenacity and determination he cultivated as a young boxer and embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by starting a heavy oil supply company. He juggled training sessions and business demands while attending university classes in the evenings, but shortly before the age of 19 his dream of boxing professionally ended. An accident hospitalized him for eight months, where he was forced to learn to walk again. He said goodbye to boxing and decided to put all his energy into his business.

When Tron was 22 years old, his father died, leaving him as the main breadwinner of his family. By 2010, his company operated 120 gas stations and five oil depots near Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. He invested in a technology for cleaning oil tanks and sold the sediment obtained. As his financial businesses grew he was drawn to banking and in 2011 he invested in Citi Commerce Bank and quickly expanded its footprint from 40 to 185 branches. At that point, the capitalization of all his companies was almost $1 billion.

Then his next decisive fight began.

In February 2014, the Maidan Revolution, also known as the Dignity Revolution, began with deadly clashes between protesters in Kiev and state forces. With 80% of its operations located in occupied territories, Tron faced the risk of losing almost everything. But a boxer knows how to take a punch and stay on his feet, and Tron decided to give up his home and operations in eastern Ukraine and move to Kiev with his family, bringing with him any relocating employees.

“The most profitable personal investment you can make is in relationships with people,” Tron explains of his emphasis on connections, not entities. “But you have to choose the right recipients for this investment. To be completely honest, I think I made all my money thanks to my intuition, my diverse experience, my accumulated knowledge and my relationships with people.”

From there, however, events in Ukraine developed rapidly. As international investment fled the country, inflation hit 25%, a 14-year high. The currency of Ukraine, the hryvnia, lost 60% of its value against the US dollar. Citi Commerce Bank began bleeding capital as people rushed to withdraw deposits. Tron was faced with two ugly options: bail out the bank by defaulting on its obligations, or pay off its customers by depleting its liquidity.

As always, he didn’t shy away from the bigger, better fight and decided to cash out. After a six-month struggle to keep his bank afloat, Citi Commerce Bank was sold for a single shiny dollar.

Mining The Potential of Bitcoin

In 2015, Tron found himself at another crossroads and refocused on his interest in the tech industry. Steeled by the many crises in his life, he quickly saw in Bitcoin the promise of stability in a world of uncertainty. Mining the two most famous cryptocurrencies early in their history, both Bitcoin and Ethereum realized that one had intrinsic advantages over the other.

“After I both Ethereum when I was also mining bitcoin, I came to the conclusion that the fundamental principles of bitcoin are unbeatable,” he says. “Ethereum seemed vulnerable to modification and human corruption.”

After a trip to China to Bitcoin miningequipment first-hand, he bought his first 2 megawatt (MW) capacity mining machines and installed them in Romania. This exploratory gamble worked well enough to convince him to build a modern data center in his home country. He poured $40 million into a 10.5 MW capacity mining operation at the Dniester hydroelectric power plant site in Chernivtsi, a western oblast or region that is the country’s smallest.

Antifragile: Serhiy Tron fights to bring Bitcoin to Ukraine, Crypto Trading News
</figure><p>Etwa zur gleichen Zeit entwickelte sich die kleine Stadt Zug, eine Stunde außerhalb von Zürich in der Schweiz, schnell zum landeseigenen „Crypto Valley“ – ein Ort, an dem man schon damals Bitcoin-Enthusiasten und eifrigen Tech-Investoren leicht begegnen konnte.  Im Jahr 2018 gründete Tron seine Holdinggesellschaft White Rock Management in der Schweizer Stadt, indem er auf die freundlichen Bitcoin-Regulierungen der Schweiz setzte.</p><figure>
    <img src="" height="465" width="620">

</figure><p>Die Popularität von Bitcoin wuchs, seine geschäftlichen Unternehmungen waren erfolgreich und Tron war zu diesem Zeitpunkt ein entschiedener Bitcoin-Maximalist.  Er investierte in sein nächstes Vorhaben, ein 30-MW-Rechenzentrum in Kasachstan zu errichten, zog sich jedoch aufgrund schwieriger Umstände 2021 aus dem Land zurück. (Allerdings stellt er mit seinem allgegenwärtigen Kampfgeist fest, dass es dafür noch zu früh ist Schließe die Sache ab.)

After that mining company, Tron started thinking about where to expand. With an understanding of the unique incentives that make bitcoin mining such a powerful industry, he focused on the price of electricity and the stability of the jurisdiction, choosing an area in northern Sweden surrounded by hydroelectric power stations and installing equipment worth there of $85 million.

In 2022, the company expanded across the Atlantic to Texas’ Brazos Valley to work with a potential alternative to hydroelectric power: natural gas. This gas released during oil production is often either vented or “flared” — burned off — and Tron decided to explore the possibility of using it for Bitcoin mining by building a data center there.

Based on his industrial expertise, Tron suspects that major oil and gas corporations will soon be working closely with the Bitcoin industry as the latest mining technology would allow them to continue reaping profits from depleted oil fields. He is also confident that holistic mining operations are poised to usher in the next generation of industrial success.

“In 2023, the number of hosting providers may decrease because they continue to lose customers,” he explains. “Only vertically integrated companies with their own equipment, data centers and full process control are likely to survive the current declining market.”

And now Tron is working on his latest project near Niagara Falls in upstate New York. But it seems its fighting days are far from over — in November, New York State passed a two-year moratorium on permits for cryptocurrency mining operations aimed at retrofitting fossil-fuel facilities.

While some Bitcoin enthusiasts have complained about the politics, Tron remains optimistic. He believes the bitcoin community would be wise to adopt new environmental standards and sees the moratorium as an opportunity to do just that. It’s positivity that has helped it weather so many battles, including the recent crypto winter.

“I think that every crisis is a business opportunity because the market changes,” explains Tron. “The high bitcoin price leading up to the recent plunge has attracted many quick investments and unrealistic expectations. The bankruptcies we are seeing within the ecosystem have shown that the projects are vulnerable to price volatility of bitcoin and electricity.”

Spreading the message of bitcoin in Ukraine

Antifragile: Serhiy Tron fights to bring Bitcoin to Ukraine, Crypto Trading News
</figure><p>Trons Erziehung und die Herausforderungen, denen er im Leben gegenübersteht, haben ihm die einzigartige Fähigkeit verliehen, Gründe für Optimismus zu finden, während er ein Realist und ein scharfer Kritiker bleibt.  Er ist sich sicher, dass die sowjetische Vergangenheit der Ukraine ein korruptes System hinterlassen hat, das die Geschäftsentwicklung weiterhin hemmt.  Der Geschäftsmann in ihm ist überzeugt, dass der größte Sieg für die Ukrainer über die dunklen Seiten ihrer selbst sein wird.

In his view, the media is part of this problem. To change that and take on what might be the biggest fight of his life, Tron partnered with Bitcoin Magazine in 2020 and negotiated its release 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 local talent can be supported and celebrated.

“There are unbeatable magical returns when you invest in things that support the future, like technology, science, and educational initiatives,” he says

Under his supervision, Bitcoin Magazine will remain independent from the corrupting influence of political actors. Tron believes Bitcoin’s philosophy is the best way to end the corruption left over from his country’s tumultuous past. For him, Bitcoin’s destiny is far greater than serving as a store of value or medium of exchange. He sees a future where digital assets will form a new market sector on par with finance or energy.

And Bitcoin will lead the way as its unrivaled solid fundamentals ensure it remains a flagship digital asset market. And maybe, according to the businessman, it will become a reserve currency and a index for other cryptocurrencies.

Tron believes that the next step after the Blockchainrevolution is a legitimate financial revolution. On its evolutionary path, humanity is destined to break free from its dependence and servility to fiat money. For him, Bitcoin’s principles of freedom of choice and transparency will one day form a new basis for human interaction.

His belief in Bitcoin’s potential is evident in the evangelism he does throughout the region around his home country, though progress is faster in some places than others.

“During my last visit to Uzbekistan, I was confused by my conversations with some government officials,” Tron recalls. “I offered to bring quality bitcoin content and educational investments to the country, and I got the response that it would be best if the world didn’t know about Uzbekistan. They feared that outsiders would come and ruin the great little bitcoin ecosystem they have running. But I don’t understand this logic. Again we encounter a variant of the post-Soviet perfectionist mentality. I was discouraged, but we agreed to take our relationships slowly if need be.”

The fight doesn’t end

So after hearing the story of a young boxer who has tasted the filthy air of his hometown in his mouth, who was once robbed of a billion dollar business by war, who loves his homeland and its people but sees the corruption there for what it is is who never shies away from a fight but hopes to save others from them – what are we to make of Tron?

Today, Tron’s life is filled with his wife, three children, co-workers and business partners. But even as a busy man, he is always looking for new opportunities. And yet he leaves the impression that somewhere deep inside he is all alone. Somehow he still seems to be standing in the boxing ring, tall and broad-chested, agile on his feet, alert and suspicious, his mind always focused on a long game, always ready to pull and duck, teeter and weave.

Antifragile: Serhiy Tron fights to bring Bitcoin to Ukraine, Crypto Trading News

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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