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
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.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch