Q: Hi Max, Tell us about yourself
I’m 30 and I come from Siberia (Russia). From my childhood, I was keen on technical sciences, and in my school years I became familiar with programming. It was what I committed myself to. I have several successful projects to my name, SmartProgress being among them.
I enjoy travelling. I even remember, my first goal on SmartProgress was to try living abroad for a long time, not as a tourist, but as a local. Of course, I achieved my goal. In 2013 I moved to Montenegro and stayed there for over a year, learned Serbian language and communicated with local people in their native language. Since then, I have visited more than ten countries, lived in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and this experience expanded significantly my horizons and worldview.
Powerlifting has been among my hobbies for 10 years, where I managed to become a master of sports in bench press. I also like snowboarding, cycling and shooting.
Q: Tell us more about your team! Do they all have background of crypto?
I met my business partner, Sergey Zakharov, in the company where I was working as a website developer. I had immediately appraised his design talent and later, when the idea of SmartProgress struck me, I already knew who should do the project design.
At different times the project team consisted of 2 to 6 people, depending on the project funding, but the two of us have always made the core and the heart of the project.
I got the higher economical education, but before that I had taken a university course in “cybersecurity”, where we were taught cryptography and developed data encryption programs.
Q: What inspired you to do an ICO?
I learned about ICO only this year, when I read an article about a Russian farmer who had issued his own crypto-currency to raise funds for expanding his farming business, and this became a real sensation to me. I realized that a technological revolution had taken place in the world, which already started changing the world, but very few are aware of it yet.
Prior to ICO, the only way to raise funding for a project development was to attract money from a venture fund, government or private investor. The number of such investors is inconsiderable in comparison with that of promising projects and talented teams. In that situation, venture investors used to dictate their terms, and occasionally we received offers when the investor wanted 75% of the project for investing in the one.
Whereas ICO, has set up a completely new unlimited channel for attracting funds, since it enables to get money from 1,000 small investors instead of one large. And all this has become possible due to the blockchain technology alone.
Q: How did the idea of SmartProgress come about? Is this something you were doing before?
We launched our project, SmartProgress, 5 years ago in 2012. It all started with a dream of moving to some distant warm country by the sea. Time was passing by, and the dream remained just a dream. I realized that a dream can come true only if it is set as a goal. Then I started to go thoroughly into the question, and the SMART methodology of setting goals caught my eye. At that point, my dream began shaping up from abstract into something tangible. And I decided to make a service that would help people transform dreams into goals, keep a diary of achievements and share experiences with the people having similar goals. After all, many people feel it difficult to make the first step towards their dream, because they dread the unknown, but if they could see that hundreds or even thousands of people before them have made it all through and shared their experience, there wouldn’t have been any fear of the unknown.
Q: What is the cap for your ICO and how did you come to choose that number? What do you think of unlimited ICO’s? How much money is too much money to be raised in an ICO?
We have set the hard cap of $500,000. When choosing the abovesaid amount, we proceeded from our project development plan in the first place. We took a long time working on our action plan and identified 3 stages of the project development, which are clearly seen and which, in our opinion, should provide the greatest growth.
We had in mind holding an ICO without a hard cap, as the more funds we raised, the more likely the project would succeed, but we decided to drop the idea, because firstly, it could be regarded by investors as a scam, and secondly, by limiting the hard cap with a small figure, we set up a good drive for the price rise of our tokens in the future.
Q: If you successfully crowd sell with your ICO, where will your company be based?
One of the most favourable options is Estonia. It’s a country friendly to crypto-currencies and now many technological projects are opening their offices there, for example Exscudo (2,314 BTC collected), Polibus (12,379 BTC). Estonia also announced they are going to conduct their own state ICO. Another important factor in favour of Estonia is that the corporate tax there is 0%.
Q: To what level of scrutiny do you feel ICO’s should be held to?
We have lain a very thorough groundwork before the start of our ICO, about 4 months we had been engaged exclusively in preparation for the ICO. We are in constant interaction with the crypto community at the Bitcointalk forum, get their advice and take into account their recommendations for improving our campaign.
Q: Do you have a background in conducting due diligence on crowdfunded projects?
Unfortunately, we have no such an experience, as it’s our first crowdfunding campaign.
Q: In addition to cybersecurity, what do you feel must be understood when performing due diligence on cryptoprojects?
The special emphasis was given to the issue of cybersecurity while preparing for our ICO. We examined the experience of projects that had already conducted ICOs and took into consideration the mistakes of those projects that became subject to hacker attacks. Therefore, I can say with confidence that our ICO campaign will not suffer hacker attacks.
Q: What is your “bird’s eye view” of the blockchain industry as a whole. From what you’ve seen, what aspects of token crowdsales could be improved?
This field is still very young and is going through the stage of torrid growth, and thus is somewhat in a state of chaos now. For example, the main source of information about the forthcoming ICO for most projects is the bitcointalk forum.
Many projects that are not even related to web development have to create their own website and investor’s personal account. In 2017, when we use Uber, Booking, AirBnB, etc. it looks quite odd. In the future, convenient marketplaces should come to replace the forums, which would unite investors and projects, as well as provide a rating agency to evaluate projects on a number of criteria, such as reliability and prospects, thus not giving dubious projects a chance for a fraud.
Q: You’re clearly very passionate about the crypto space! Which projects are the most exciting to you?
I really like the idea of decentralization, it’s a very promising trend that will change the world for the better. I believe that in the future, the crypto-currencies will replace the present-day national financial systems and become supranational. But even now, they have already changed the field of project financing, and all founders and teams have received a chance of bringing their ideas to life.
Q: What kind of blockchain projects would you like to see in the future?
In the near future, I would like to see a political electoral system based on blockchain. It would be impossible to cheat on such a system, or fake the results of voting. Everyone could see how his vote was counted in the overall result. If Bitcoin, with the help of the blockchain, made a financial revolution in the world, such a voting system based on blockchain could make a political revolution under which democracy would become a real mechanism to govern the state, but not just a word.
Q: What current proof of concepts has SmartProgress completed? What projects are in the pipeline?
The SmartProgress Project has been successfully developing for 5 years and united more than 150,000 participants, 20,000 of which using the Project every week. In 2015, the Project won an international Startup Chile Grant of $35,000. This grant enabled us to develop a new section within the Project – Coaching, and raise the profit of the Project by 3 times in just six months. This illustrates perfectly well the efficiency of the Project and its working business model in obtaining additional financing.
Q: What’s in the future for SmartProgress?
In our Project road map, we identified 3 stages of development, depending on the amount of the funds raised:
$ 100,000 – we’ll perform a complete technological upgrade of the Project. For 5 years the stack of technologies for web development has radically changed, and we need to make this update to significantly speed up the site and lay the groundwork for the Project further development and scaling. We’ll also develop new mobile applications that are gonna have all the functionality presented in the web version.
$ 250,000 – we’ll split off the Coaching section into an independent project, which will provide a powerful impetus to the development of this area. We receive a lot of offers to use our coaching platform for various training centers, but unfortunately, the adjacency of SmartProgress places some restrictions on this.
$ 500,000 – we’ll enter the international market. SmartProgress has great prospects for competing with such projects as coach.me, stickk.com and 43things.com. We are sure we’ll manage to win recognition from the English-speaking audience.
Q: Have you talked with any exchanges about their interested in enabling trading of your SmartProgress tokens?
I can assure that our tokens will be traded on the Waves Exchange, where we’re gonna make our tokens PayBack. Waves is a very convenient platform that provides all the options for trading tokens.
Great, thank you Maxim, I appreciate your time and I will be watching the crowd sale intently.
ICO name: SmartProgress
ICO starts on: October 22, 2017
ICO ends on: November 22, 2017
Total # of coins: Depends on the amount raised
Official Website: https://smartprogress.do/
ICO Website: https://ico.smartprogress.do/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ico.smartprogress.en/
Official Telegram: https://t.me/ico_smartprogress_en
White Paper: https://ico.smartprogress.do/documents/white-paper-en.pdf
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