EXPERT OPINION

Take a moment to appreciate our team’s personal vision of business

  • All
Learn more +

On this issue, experts can be divided into two groups: optimists and pessimists.

The first ones are confident that the era of electric cars will begin in ten years and the oil prices will fall down to $10 per barrel.

The second group thinks that electric cars cannot affect the oil market for the next 50 years. Where is the truth? Most likely, it is where it often lies – in the middle.

Not all forecasts are created equal

The Volkswagen Group is planning to increase the share of electric vehicles sold up to 25% by 2025, while Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi – up to 30% by 2022. These plans were announced by the Japanese Toyota as well.

If these three giants arrive at their aims, then the market will be literally flooded with electric cars in 10 years. Which are also going to be price-wise according to the last year study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The authors connect the trend for cheaper cars with the decrease in prices for batteries.

В 2016 году их стоимость снизилась на 35% и, по мнению аналитиков, продолжит снижаться дальше. По прогнозу авторов BNEF, цена электрических авто сравняется со стоимостью обычных уже через шесть лет.

In 2016, their value dropped by 35% and the analysts think it will continue to decline. According to BNEF, the price for an electric car will align with the fuel car as early as in six years. At the same time, the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) provides entirely different numbers. According to OPEC, the share of electric vehicle sales by 2040 will only amount to 1% of the global economy. This forecast is supported by Ryan Lance, CEO of the major North American oil company – ConocoPhillips. He believes that electric cars will not have a significant effect on the economy in the next 50 years.

Of course, the reluctance of oil producers to believe in the early arrival of the green transport era is understandable: it is a sign of their business demise. On the other hand, they are not entirely wrong in their assessment either.

New energy brings new challenges

Moving to the new type of transport is quite a complicated and formidable task. It requires changes to the traditional infrastructure and, in a sense, a change in the attitude of people.

People should get used to driving in a new way. It comes easier in the Western countries, where the idea of ecological transport has been developing for a long time and electric vehicles are no longer uncommon. Local governments have contributed to this in no small measure. They see transitioning to electric cars as a good way to deal with the environmental pollution and that is why they encourage their people to purchase pursuing this trend by giving them grants and cutting taxes.

However, it applies only to dynamically developing states, which is not the case in less developed countries of Africa and South-East Asia. Most of them have virtually no legislation and infrastructure to use electric vehicles.

As a result, and since the oil prices are falling, the demand for fuel cars in such countries will increase on the contrary. That has already been confirmed by the recent study of the International Energy Agency.

Moreover, a transition to the new type of transport will require plenty of electricity. Apart from the nuclear sources, the coal, oil, and fuel oil are used for this purpose now.

Coal is the cheapest of these. However, if we assume that electric cars flooded the market and oil price has fallen as a result, then it becomes the most efficient commodity to generate electricity.

Finally, there is a problem with the electric batteries. First, their production is still imperfect. We are promised that there will be ultralight batteries in the future based on graphene/MXenes capable of retaining the charge for a long time. But when they appear on the market is unknown.

So far, we have to settle for bulkier batteries that significantly increase the vehicle weight and are unable to sustain the engine running for several hours without charging.

Secondly, there is a problem with the worn-out battery disposal. They cannot be simply thrown away as they contain toxic substances. A well-designed and safe processing system for these batteries is needed, but it has not been invented just yet. Still, scientists work hard on this.

So, will the oil market collapse or not?

For now, it is difficult to answer this question clearly. On one hand, the rapid blooming of electric vehicles is anticipated in many developed countries already. And it will definitely come.

But new cars will hardly flood the market quickly and immediately. It is more likely to be a gradual transition, which means the demand for oil will not disappear overnight.

Perhaps, the most dangerous situation is that many governments accelerate the transition to new types of transport.

The USA and Europe toughen up the laws primarily related to environmental protection, which forces car manufacturers to increase their share of electric vehicles sold even though the technology itself is not fully “polished”. The Chairman of Toyota, Takeshi Uchiyamada has commented on this more than once.

He thinks that we need at least two or three technological breakthroughs for the electric cars to match the conventional vehicles in every aspect.

The business should not idle by as well

Even though the electric car market is struggling, it will continue developing and significantly affecting other economy areas such as non-ferrous metals market. The latter will grow in price substantially because they (nickel, cobalt, and copper to be precise) are widely used when producing batteries for electric cars.

Let’s not forget that many countries give special discounts to the purchasers of electric cars. Soon, these can also be introduced in Ukraine – the relevant bill is already registered in the Verkhovna Rada.

Yet again, ecological transport is a mainstream. It attracts consumer’s attention simply by ensuring the environmental safety. Thus, it is now very profitable to develop services associated with electric cars. For example, there are “green” taxi services in Ukraine now. They transport clients exclusively by electric cars.

Creation of charging stations is also on the front burner now: they are few in Ukraine and their number is insufficient even for that small number of electric cars already driving the roads. However, companies developing charging stations for electric cars are also few in Ukraine so far. In other words, the niche is free and it makes sense to fight for it given its potential.

Learn more +

The subventions distribution system has provoked a mixed reaction among the farmers themselves. People were particularly outraged by the fact that Myronivskyi Khliboprodukt gets most money being the most successful agribusiness in Ukraine.

Many people think that the owner Yurii Kosiuk gets a “gratitude” for his services this way because he was the Vice Chairman in the Presidential Administration not so long ago.

This reason is quite convincing given the Ukrainian realities. But it’s hardly the only one.

Subventions for farmers: distribution logic

This year, the Ukrainian budget provides for ₴4,774.3 bn. to be allocated for supporting the agro-industrial complex.

₴1.91 bn. of subventions were paid to farmers in the first semester, from which ₴809 mn. (the largest share) were allocated to Myronivskyi Khliboprodukt that works in two agrarian segments – horticulture and poultry husbandry.

That said, its net profit amounted to $210 mn. for the last 9 months, which was more than the vast majority of Ukrainian agrarian companies.

Another ₴141 mn. were allocated to Avangard, a poultry husbandry agriholding. The rest of the funding was distributed among other producers.

The companies engaged in the animal husbandry and gardening are traditionally among the underperforming Ukrainian companies by profits compared to the horticulture and poultry farming ones.

Such distribution of subventions seems rather illogical. Indeed, these payments are ought to stimulate the development of loss-making and underperforming enterprises in the first place. And we are doing exactly the opposite. Which brings us to a question: how come?

Of course, we can blame the corruption for everything. The fact that Yurii Kosiuk, the owner and founder of Myronivskyi Khliboprodukt, has ropes to the top echelons of power and held a high office not so long ago is indeed incendiary.

And even the owner of Avangard holding, Oleh Bachmatiuk, is no stranger to Ukrainian political elite: he was the Deputy Chairman of the Board at NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine.

A conclusion on corruption schemes in this situation is self-evident. However, there’s also another explanation.

What goes around…

Let’s take a look at how the subvention distribution system is functioning now. And it works simple enough.

First, agrarian companies have to apply for a subvention to the Fiscal Service. Applications are received only from enterprises that produce no less than 50% of their agricultural products independently. Moreover, over a half of their profits should constitute the proceeds from primary agricultural products sold.

The list generated is to be submitted to the Treasury. Then, it analyzes every candidate’s solvency – the VAT amounts paid, to be precise. The calculations determining a subvention size are based on them. Companies giving a high VAT receive more subventions and vice versa.

This approach is really good in many ways. Namely, due to its transparency, which many politicians and experts have already noticed – from the Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to the Chief of the Chamber of Tax Advisors in Ukraine Olha Bohdanova.

Firstly, it prevents the representatives of shadow economy from intercepting the state payments.

Secondly, companies not directly involved in the agrarian sector (such as bakeries that do not produce agricultural products but process them instead) are denied in this opportunity, same as the enterprises engaged in grain crop farming.

The latter are officially excluded from the list of candidates to receive subventions as they do not need governmental support. And finally, the entire process of allocating money is now less tied to the decisions of bureaucrats, who can be bought. The economic performance of an enterprise is the determining factor.

Unfortunately, the system’s transparency is not enough to make it good. In this case, the calculation through VAT is ruining everything.

This approach benefits only those areas of agriculture that are able to survive regardless of the governmental support. It is the poultry husbandry I speak of, which is Ukraine’s second profitable industry after horticulture. The profits of poultry companies are stable and high, and thus, they pay a high value-added tax.

Therefore, the government simply wants to support those who give more money for the budget and replenish it the sooner the better, instead of waiting for the less profitable businesses to find their feet and generate high GDP.

From a business perspective, this approach is logical: it is better to invest something profitable other than some business ready to go down.

But in this case, it is not about private investments but the government ones. That is why such business approach may not be 100% correct in this case.

Most experts on agrarian markets still insist on changing the current system. As an alternative, it is proposed to calculate subventions based on the margin between tax liabilities of agricultural producers and a tax credit. Such approach would indeed allow the subventions to be distributed more evenly and, above all, make it seasonally adjusted.

By the way, the latter is something that the current subvention distribution system also takes no account for.

The specific nature of poultry husbandry is designed in such a way that they cannot sell their products all year long. The vegetable and fruit growers only prepare to get their harvest in the first semester, which they can only sell in the second one.

Hence the difference in their income, and thus in the number of subventions received.

Source: finance.ua

Learn more +

Annual Reports constitute an integral part of public companies.

They make them clear and transparent both for the investment community and for other market participants – buyers, suppliers, company officers.

Regulators from different countries are trying to form the reporting and disclosure requirements generally based on the practices of financially advanced participants, mainly such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the British Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
We can observe a peculiar evolution in FRC as far as the requirements and guidelines for Annual Reports are concerned. The Council understands that corporate reports can be a powerful tool to attract funding and ensure that the initial investment assessment is conducted properly. Currently, a great emphasis is put on monitoring the company operation once the investment is finished and liabilities are fulfilled.

The Financial Reporting Lab (FRB) is designed to enhance relations between the companies and investors making them simpler and clearer.

How can the British experience be useful to Ukrainian companies?

The research and guidelines of FRB allow the Annual Report not only be attractive for investors but also to improve communication with the business partners. For example:

— convincing large suppliers of goods or equipment to provide advantageous company terms (discounts, deferred payments, etc.);
— draw attention and hold productive talks with new large buyers;
— find funding for an investment project;
— convince the owner not to change the company management and pursue the course of the current team.

However, the production of an Annual Report becomes a prerogative of both the public companies and the ones with solid capabilities to promote closed companies that interact with a limited pool of stakeholders.

What information do investors consider important to be in the Annual Report? According to the FRB studies, the information on the business model is considered fundamental for investment analysis and understanding of the company’s development prospects.

Defining the business model in the context of Annual Report – what the company does, how does it operate, and how the company generates a value.

What information do investors look for in the business model disclosures?

According to the FRB survey, which included 19 companies with a size from AIM to FTSE100 and 38 members of the British Investment Community, investors are most interested in: income and profit drivers, key markets and market segments, competitive advantages, etc. Many investors want to know about direct threats and market shares of the companies. Some expect a disclosure of information on the culture and values, investment plans, ROE, ROA.Basic RGB

business-model-attribute-structure-1

Core advantages of exposing a business model in an Annual Report underscored by investors:

— by making the business model understandable and detailed, companies avoid the risk of being misunderstood by investors and getting bad business estimates on their part;
— a demonstration that the company’s management understands its business and its key drivers raises investors’ confidence;
— a description and promotion of the business model essentials can significantly enhance the unified mindset inside the company.

Many investors believe that business models should be more detailed other than those that are currently included in an Annual Report. However, only 1-3 pages are allowed for this content. The majority of investors agree that there should be more specific, concise and essential information provided both textually and graphically with a balance struck between these two.

How do business models presented in the statements of Ukrainian companies for 2016 meet the expectations of European investors? Will we see progress in reports for 2017?

Learn more +

Online lending is a rather new service to Ukrainian market. And it can soon become of the most promising ones. But on a condition that several key problems hindering its development are solved.

Subtleties of Ukrainian online credit system

Usually, a person who needs money wants to get them as soon as possible. In this view, an opportunity to get a loan almost in half an hour without living home is very tempting. That is why the online credit market, which offers exactly that, is tipped to bring a great future.

The experience of such global companies as Lufax (China) or Zopa (UK) shows that an online credit business can bring a huge profit ensuring an annual income gain of 300 to 700%. Many Ukrainian businessmen seek to replicate the success of their foreign colleagues.

It is worth noting that banks, being the traditional operators of online lending, are gradually leaving this niche. Now that they have more problems with transitioning to IFRS, they will simply have no time to deal with the online credits. It gives green light to other businesses, whose activities are unrelated to banking. These businesses are financial and credit companies, credit unions, pawnshops.

There are also some new interesting IT projects in the Ukrainian online credit market (such as Beyond Broke – a service for purchasing goods from online stores on credit). All these businesses actively take the cleared seats by offering various interests and due dates. Ukrainians have much of a choice.

Yet this huge number of companies is difficult to control. The law prescribes that the online credit market must be supervised by the National Commission for the State Regulation of Financial Services in Ukraine. It has not paid much attention to this segment even before, and after the outburst in entrepreneurship occurred it may not be able to keep track of everyone. Alas, the shadow economy benefits wonderfully from such conditions.

However, it is too early to say that the industry is saturated. All because there is a high turnover (using the HR parlance) in the online credit industry. Companies come and go, while their place is immediately occupied y other enterprises, most of which do not stay up long. The reason behind such inconsistency is trivial: entrepreneurs blinded by the prospect of quick profits have little thought of the subtleties of the online credit system. Sooner or later, they make gross mistakes bringing their business to a state hardly recoverable from.

Overall, 90% of the companies in the Ukrainian online credit market fail – according to statistics provided by Ihor Shevchenko, a banking expert, on his blog.

A credit of trust is limited

There are still not many people willing to get loans online in Ukraine. Most consumers are simply afraid of the risks involved, afraid of encountering fraudsters in fact. And from what we can see above, they are not entirely wrong.

Therefore, the problem of engaging clients is also rampant for Ukrainian companies involved in online crediting. It requires orchestrated marketing campaigns and therefore certain financial investments from the business.

Not all is lost

Yet despite the accumulated problems, the online lending in Ukraine continues developing. According to the studies conducted by Ukrainian E-commerce Expert, the non-banking online credit market grew threefold in 2016.

Moreover, the experts from Ukrainian E-commerce Expert conducted a survey among consumers and found out that over a half of respondents (67.9%) are not aware of the online credit existing. 16.7% have already used that service at least once. For comparison: a similar survey conducted in 2015 showed that only 9% knew of online lending.

Much of the positive trends in remote lending occurred as a result of activity of the National Bank of Ukraine, which aimed to create a cashless economy. The key objective of this policy is to raise the number of cashless payments in Ukrainian economy, which positively affects the development of online lending in turn.

Pros of online lending

Getting a loan online is quite a quick process free of any paperchase. A customer only needs to visit the company website offering this service, register, fill out the form and chose the credit terms. The entire procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. Then the money enters the client’s account. It is very convenient indeed.

Among the other advantages of online lending is the client’s ability to access multiple organizations and then choose those that will process his request more quickly or offer more favorable credit terms.

Finally, an online credit system enables you shopping at online stores if your account lacks money to make a purchase. It is very convenient for many, especially on the eve of big holidays, when the demand for shopping is increasing dramatically and waiting for the payday is not an option.

Cons of online lending

Firstly, there is a high risk running into fraud. Fraudsters often use online credit services to fool Internet users into divulging their personal data about their wallet and credit accounts.

But the business takes risks as well. After all, malevolent lenders have been there all the time. But even the modern Ukrainian legislation, unfortunately, has not yet outlined the regulations on subtleties of this issue. This brings us to the second disadvantage of the online credit system: it focuses mostly on consumer loans.

A startuper wishing to get funds for developing his/her business has no gain here. At least, in the case of legal remote lending systems as they usually offer loans of 5 to 15 thousand hryvnas. The maximum loan a client can obtain using this service first time does not even exceed 3 thousand hryvnas.

Learn more +

 

In 2015, the number of requests from mobile devices in Google exceeded the number of search requests from PCs once and for all. At the same time, Google commenting on this landmark event noted that the world is at the dawn of a new age – a mobile era. And as it always happens the company was just right. Smartphones are already at the center of our lives. And experts call mobile commerce to be the future of business.

Mobile Commerce in Ukraine and the world

The term “mobile commerce” or “m-commerce” has come into use quite recently, even though both the notion itself and the business area was created nearly 10 years ago.

As early as 1997, Coca Cola installed “cashless” vending machines in Helsinki. You could buy a drink there by sending an sms.

At the same time, Merita Bank of Finland introduced mobile banking. A year later, a service for selling mobile ringtones was launched again in Finland. These three events became a launch pad, a springboard boosting the m-commerce popularity.

In 10 years, the segment has grown greatly. It is catching up with e-commerce fast in sales volume. And soon it will be ahead.

The experts from Mobify think that it will happen for this year’s end by the Black Friday – a huge sale in Europe and USA, which traditionally takes place in November’s end. And by 2021, the share of m-commerce in the Internet commerce will exceed 50%.

In 2016, according to the Mobify report, an average purchase amount in mobile applications exceeded the average order amount from a desktop by 27%. For comparison: the average amount of orders from mobile devices was below the desktop orders only by 9% in 2016.

Investment in mobile commerce is also growing exponentially. According to Сoupofy, in 2014 alone, the number of investment in the industry increased by 32 bn., which is 255% more than in 2013.

The largest number of mobile buyers — over one half of population — has been recorded in China, as well as in Turkey and UAE.

China is also among the leaders in the growth rate of m-commerce. According to Coupofy, this segment grew from 23 to 52% between 2013 and 2016. And the countries of Western Europe have even got ahead of the Land of the Rising Sun. For example, in Denmark, m-commerce grew from 11 to 55% for the same period, and from 11 to 54% in Norway.

Ukraine is behind by every measure for now. According to Google last year’s report, there is only 35% of people who use smartphones actively in our country.

The number of mobile searches reached 42%, which is much less than in the developed countries of Europe and Asia.

However, the situation should soon change for the better. A reduction in smarthpone prices is the first factor to facilitate it and the dissemination of 3G is the second. On that basis, we can assume that over a half of Ukrainian internet users go mobile in a year or two. The business should prepare for this in advance.

Why mobile commerce is a profitable thing?

The logic here is simple. A cellphone is always near and once it around, you have an access to your credit cards and e-money. Just click a button and the purchase is made. No need to go anywhere or even turn your PC on.

Additionally, mobile shopping is often a spontaneous thing. A person may be simply surfing the internet and accidentally stumble upon a website, then something picks a client’s attention up, which he/she eventually purchases. And the internet user might not even think about buying in the first place.

In this sense, e-commerce resembles advertising as it allows you to “capture” an internet user, then get his interest and impose a product or a service. Moreover, mobile commerce can sell them at the same time. Advertising is obviously not capable of that.

Subtleties of promotion in m-commerce

In order to develop a business in the mobile commerce segment, the first thing you do is creating a mobile version of your website. And not just making it, but doing it well so that a client would feel comfortable visiting your site from a mobile device.

According to Google statistics, over 60% will leave a website if they feel uncomfortable going through the content. Over 40% will leave immediately if it loads for more than 5 seconds.

You should also turn your attention to mobile ads. This is a very vibrant area globally. As early as 2011, the market of mobile ads was estimated at $5.3 bn. Same estimates applied to the outdoor advertising.

Mobile ads work differently. For example, they allow you to place information about your product inside apps and mobile services. Some types of mobile ads only run when a user enters a site via smartphone.

The cheapest and simplest kind of mobile ad is sending SMS and MMS messages to the users. You can also include push notifications to this category.

A WI-FI advertising gets popular the last couple of years as well. This advertisement is triggered only when users try to connect to the public internet network and can reach a large audience.

M-commerce challenges in Ukraine

One of the m-commerce problems in Ukraine is, oddly enough, the Ukrainians themselves. In the case of entrepreneurs, most of them have yet not fully understood what m-commerce is and what benefits it offers.

Many perceive it as something intangible, distant or meaningless. People simply do not understand why should they spend money on the same mobile ad on the internet while they have traditional context ads also running on the internet.

And the WI-FI advertisement is something they overlooked completely. And in Ukraine itself, there are very few companies offering this service.

According to Google, only 2% of Ukrainian entrepreneurs invested in the mobile advertisement last year. That is an incredibly small number and utterly unacceptable one compared to the other countries.

In the case of buyers, they have a high level of distrust towards mobile payments. Many fear to purchase goods online and are eager to visit offline stores, where they have a complete control over the purchase.

Still, this issue needs time to be resolved. People need to get used to the changing trends. However, for the entrepreneurs to be on roll, they need to act now while the Ukrainian m-commerce is free of tough competition and it is easier to take a niche.

Yet the skeletons are buried elsewhere. In many Ukrainian banks and other commercial structures, mobile payment technologies are underdeveloped. For example, the same Privat24 – the best Ukrainian banking service for mobile payments – hardly has all the functional features implemented.

The security is also limping in Ukrainian commerce. For example, the American MobilePay tied all accounts to the social security numbers, which ensures a greater protection against hacking. That is not the case in our country because we lack a single digital ID for the citizen. Although we actively pursue that direction and perhaps one day we will arrive at that aim.

Ukraine also had had challenges taxing the mobile commerce for a long time. Initially, the pension fund fee applied to the mobile payments. Because of this, many users were unwilling to pay via cellphones as it was expensive.

Therefore, the development of m-commerce in Ukraine was procrastinating. In summer, however, this problem was finally resolved. Now, the pension fund fee for mobile payments is no longer assessed, which should boost this segment in our country.

Source:  www.finance.ua

Learn more +

The development of agro-industrial complex (AIC) faces challenges as it is. Military actions in the Donbas region, the lack of the law on land – all this steadily deters investors and prevents farmers from running their business.

Another protest in Kyiv is likely to add up to these problems. As a matter of fact, no one can damage the agrarian sector or economy anymore – things are nowhere to get worse. Only time can tell if it can worsen the situation. Because much depends on the actions of authorities first and how quickly and efficiently they can resolve this conflict. Secondly, the IMF’s opinion on this can also influence the situation greatly.

It is no secret that the Cabinet of Ministers has long promised to adopt the land reform and anti-corruption laws among many other things. Much of this list has not been implemented. For instance, an adoption of the land reform was promised in spring but that not happened. IMF took this failure rather calm and no one left Ukraine without the loans promised.

But when it comes to other requirements, particularly, gas prices and taking anti-corruption measures — the IMF is inexorable. Pursuant to the agreement, Ukraine pledged itself to raise the gas prices by 17% for 2017-2018. Yet authorities do not intend to honor that pledge and their attempts to enter an agreement with the International Monetary Fund have led nowhere. Now, the question on raising the gas prices is postponed until April 1. Such position, as well as other non-feasance, makes the next tranche difficult to obtain.

The protests in Kyiv, however, can suspend cooperation with the IMF completely, which is crumbling as it is as we can see. Suspend until the year’s end if not for more. So, it is hard to tell when Ukraine obtains the new loan. Without this money, it will be hard to provide a sufficient financial support for the Ukrainian agriculture. In addition, the country must settle $1.1 bn. of the external debt and another $1.47 bn. as service payment. It is a lot of money and a big test for the Ukrainian budget.

And protests may interfere with the timely approval of the state budget for 2018. The Verkhovna Rada was ought to review the current draft on October 19 but postponed it until the next session scheduled for November 7. Would parliamentarians again be prevented from doing so? There is no exact answer. But the longer the budget is being adopted, the later the payments envisaged begin, including for the agrarian sector.

Finally, the protests can cause panic on the western exchange markets, where the shares of Ukrainian companies float. In this case, the latter will substantially drop in price. The panic on exchange markets can also result in appreciation of the dollar and prices in Ukrainian stores increasing with it.

On the other hand, all this is just an assumption. The situation in the agrarian sector is now relatively calm. Foreign investors continue to invest in Ukrainian agrarian enterprises. Thus, the Singaporean Olam International Ltd plans to build a grain terminal in Ukraine. One of the largest agrarian groups in Ukraine “Kernel” has also stated that they received investments from the European banking syndicate amounting to $200 mn.

Ukrainian investors are also alert. For example, the agrarian company NIBULON plans to build two new grain elevators before July 1, 2018. All this shows that neither European nor domestic investors do not see the protest as a relevant problem yet. Only time will tell if they are right to do so.

Source: www.agroportal.ua

Learn more +

The conversations around Bitcoin as the most popular cryptocurrency are never-ceasing lately. It has been referred to as the digital gold and everyone is talking about it now.

Let’s try to systematize the key messages observed around this crypto euphoria:

Bitcoins are limited in their technical capabilities, which hinders their widespread dissemination; A bitcoin is too volatile to be considered as a saving tool. It is simply unreliable.

Although gold changes its value too, it reflects the value of money unlike a Bitcoin, which is more of an asset supported by speculative capital flows.

As far as securing the real value of a Bitcoin is concerned, we can distinguish two main scenarios. It is believed that cryptocurrency is used to perform illegal transactions on the black market, and these transactions largely result in a conversion to cash. Moreover, it can be a tool for saving the value of money over time, despite the hyperinflation and national currency losing its purchasing power.

According to the Gresham’s Law: “the money overvalued artificially by the government will drive artificially undervalued money out of circulation”.

People will be more willing to spend fiat currency inclined to permanent depreciation but issued by the government, other than the decentralized cryptocurrencies.

The number of transactions in the Bitcoin operation is extremely low worldwide. It is caused by a large energy consumption, which in turn greatly complicates and makes it impossible to replace traditional money.

In addition, a high micropayment fee narrows its application scenarios to the medium and large transactions.

Just like all other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is uncontrollable and unpredictable; In addition to the speculative element, the cryptocurrency price consists of the mining costs, which tend to grow constantly (they can be predicted); This significant speculative component of the Bitcoin value (and any other currencies) is extremely susceptible to any negative news on regulating the market of cryptocurrencies/exchanges/exchange offices/ICO. Can Bitcoin replace the gold now? – I highly doubt it. I think that Bitcoin is still too much of a “niche” instrument. It has existed for a small period of time and its credibility is low, especially for those conservative investors, who look for a safe haven to preserve their savings in gold.

Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, or most probably the blockchain technology is the future! The birth of something similar in a rapidly growing digitalized world was inevitable and a matter of time.

I am confident that cryptocurrency is not a bubble. They are overvalued indeed, but that is rather caused by the hype around it. As soon as the hype goes down, the Bitcoin quotations can decrease (even though it can take some time).

The practice shows that destructive actions of regulators from world’s leading countries have a huge effect on this market and scare venture capital investors off. Because the demand for cryptocurrencies is connected with the lack of regulation by some digital financial democracy (ochlocracy).

I think that the future will be able to utilize the cryptocurrency: new rules of the game will be developed and their format will change.

As the time goes by, it is inevitable that the market of cryptocurrency, ICO, etc. becomes regulated one day.

It is perhaps another reason for its high demand, an attempt to jump on the train before global regulators find a way to control or even influence the digital decentralized financial world.

Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency to already demonstrate some technical difficulties in use. New cryptocurrencies already become more perfect and I think there will be new crypto euphoria leaders with time. Well, let’s see, there is a lot more coming!

Learn more +

In August 2017, Ukraine became the first country in the world to join the Global Register of Beneficiary Owners – the Transparency International initiative to promote transparency and prevent corruption.

As a result, the country has fully disclosed information on the final owners (beneficiaries) in all Ukrainian companies.

The process began as early as in November 2014, when the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law No. 1701-18 “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts Related to Identification of Ultimate Beneficiaries of Legal Entities and Public Figures”.

Arsenii Yatseniuk, the Prime Minister acting at that time, articulated the key purpose of disclosing the data about real owners perfectly well: “Companies today are registered in offshore havens, while the real company owners can be public servants, government members, or officers of the Presidential Administration, and to find that out is impossible. Therefore, the first key objective of this law is to disclose all the real owners of any Ukrainian companies”.

Among the positive aspects, we can underscore the following:

It is somewhat easier to verify counterparties on the part of creditors or other counterparties. Creating new “self-exploding” ephemeral companies, while the shareholder’s business reputation stops being treated as a dead sound because it can be easily verified.

For the society (journalists, public opinion leaders, NGOs, etc.), it will be somewhat easier to monitor corruption risks using the data from the open registers of beneficiary owners. Then again, there will only be small “candle factories” within sight — companies owned by the low and middle tier officers, their wives and relatives.

The real money in Ukraine has long been structured via foreign jurisdictions, including the use of trust, stock or agency structures, which are virtually impossible to trace.

In practice, the disclosure of the Register of Ukrainian Beneficiary Owners has confirmed the prudence of Ukrainian beneficiaries who had structured their assets through foreign, including offshore jurisdictions.

The thing is that Ukraine still lacks real tools to disclose beneficiary owners abroad. It is no secret that many offshore structures of the Ukrainian business have “figurehead” directors and sometimes “figurehead” owners.

Formally, the law of Ukraine requires the disclosure of real beneficiaries. In practice, a Ukrainian company can submit information on the “figurehead” beneficiary, with the real beneficiary remaining outside the scope. And the foreign assets of Ukrainian citizens, including the public officers, stay in the shadow (their declaration is voluntary) by default.

Among the negative aspects, we can underscore that:

It has become easier to identify the business owners (who do not use foreign jurisdictions and the mechanism of “figurehead” owners) and wealthy people. In a situation where the law enforcement system in Ukraine has difficulties in coping with its responsibilities (to say the least) and the state has virtually lost its monopoly on violence, the availability of data in open access on thousands of beneficiaries often containing their registration address is an additional roadmap for looters, racketeers and fraudsters of all kinds.

The risks of competitors conducting Illegal takeovers and other illegal actions due to political or commercial reasons are potentially increasing (especially in the countries with a volatile political and judicial systems). However, the entrepreneurs’ safety has been never secured, and now the register is open to the general public, whereas oversight authorities, in fact, had one functioning before.

Thus, there is no need to overestimate the beneficiary disclosure initiative in Ukraine. The real solution to the corruption problem and tax evasion in Ukraine is possible only in the global context of preventing and countering tax base erosion and profit shifting, namely:

  • Commitments to disclose beneficiaries in foreign structures: these processes are already underway in the UK, BVI, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and other countries;
  • OECD transfer pricing initiatives (which reduces the economic sense for structuring through law tax jurisdictions);
  • Occasional information leaks similar to the Panama Papers, which removes the confidentiality insurance even in the absence of the legislative requirement for disclosure, etc.
Go up