“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” – founder of Garantex


  • The crisis will hardly affect fintech

  • National governments are trying "tighten the nuts" corporate cryptocurrencies

  • If you are not sure which cryptocurrency to buy, then it is better to abandon this idea.

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How the current crisis associated with the pandemic and the drop in oil will affect fintech and is it worth waiting for the full withdrawal of money into digital, said Sergey Mendeleev, founder of the Garantex cryptocurrency exchange.


What is the meaning of the word CRISIS?

– Any crisis is a disaster for some and a window of opportunity for others. For fintech, this is the first or second?

CM .: I don’t think that the current crisis has seriously affected fintech. This area is much less affected by global economic factors. Nevertheless, there is at least one aspect that fintech project managers should pay attention to – the need to create conditions for organizing or strengthening remote work. Quarantine has proven that you can work equally effectively both in the office and remotely. And if so, then it makes no sense to hire highly paid specialists, say, in Silicon Valley, when there is a line of Indian programmers who are ready to work for a salary 4-5 times lower with the same efficiency. And this, of course, will strongly affect many areas – from the level of wages to rental rates for residential and non-residential real estate in the regions where the headquarters of fintech companies are concentrated. Someone will face tough times. 

As for new opportunities, I’ve always said: the corpses of old projects are the best fertilizer for new beginnings. Google and FacebookIn June 2019, Facebook announced preparations for the release of the Libra digital currency. The social networking project immediately attracted attention … More grew out of the dot-com crash that buried old monsters like AltaVista or MySpace. The market will decide for itself who will live and who will go down in history. The average consumer will only benefit from this.


– According to statistics, the crisis will hit neobanks: clients have already fled from small and innovative financial services to transfer money to large and, in their opinion, stable banks. At least in the USA it is. Does this mean that the current crisis does not promise any special breakthrough opportunities for fintech??

CM .: For ordinary users, during periods of turbulence, panic is always characteristic. Yes, some neobanks will suffer, but I know at least a dozen new projects that are now entering the vacated market, and as soon as the situation stabilizes a little, they will definitely show themselves and take leading positions.

During a crisis, you do not need to be the first, it is enough to be a little better than your nearest competitor. Therefore, I am confident in the emergence of breakthrough opportunities.

This also applies to the world of digital currencies. With the unbridled printing of the dollar and euro by regulators, I look forward to a crypto industry renaissance in 2021-2022.

– 20 years ago, a clear trend in the financial market was the movement towards globalization. Now the pendulum, according to feelings, has swung in the other direction: there is a strengthening of borders, including financial ones, to some extent tightening of control by regulators. What is the reason?

CM .: The world, especially the financial one, has changed quite dramatically since September 11, 2001. First, the Americans, and then the rest of the participants, tightened the screws quite tough, and the emergence of cryptocurrencies was the answer to such a fiat concentration camp. Yes, they will now also try to ban, regulate, but I do not believe that this process can be somehow stopped.. 

I adhere to the position that it is necessary to draw more long-term conclusions about the need to soften the policy of traditional fiat banks, otherwise they will inevitably eventually lose to various kinds of crypto-tools built into popular messengers.. 

Yes, while initiatives to launch a digital currency from Pavel Durov and Mark Zuckerberg have not been crowned with success. But they have outlined a trend. The path is already clear, and one way or another there will be breakthroughs in this direction. The road will be mastered by the walking.


– Do you think cryptocurrencies will someday replace fiat money? Given the current desire of regulators to control all financial flows, to close them one way or another on themselves.

CM .: This is an overly simplistic approach to the question. Of course, cryptocurrencies cannot fully replace fiat. But printed money has not yet supplanted physical gold bullion.. 

Nevertheless, one cannot fail to notice that the world has greatly accelerated, and if earlier the path from idea to universal recognition took decades, now it can be covered in a couple of years. For example, now everyone uses online banking, pays for anything through the application – from a taxi to a hairdresser, from a restaurant to a store. Now imagine the same online banking, but … without a bank. That is, without the ability to block your funds, to seize them, confiscate, take away, demand some kind of information and explanation. Imagine hundreds of millions of people using such a tool, who pay each other without the participation of banks, simply by touching their smartphones to each other anywhere in the world. Will it be popular? Of course. And simple prohibitions will not achieve anything here.


“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” - founder of Garantex

– Is it worth buying cryptocurrency given the current situation in the global financial market? And which one? Only bitcoins or something else? How not to burn out at the same time?

CM .: I adhere to the rule: do not give advice and predictions on cryptocurrency rates. For me, this topic is taboo. I do not know the level of risk tolerance of other people, their financial situation, opportunities, investment horizon. Everyone should make such decisions independently.. 

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I can give only one piece of advice – if you don’t know which cryptocurrency to buy, then you shouldn’t buy it at all. When you independently study the issue, you will understand what is behind each of the coins, which team and technology, then the solution will ripen by itself, and you will not need any advisors. 


– What the cryptocurrency market lacks to become a more massive phenomenon? 

CM .: The cryptocurrency market so far only lacks time. In fact, only 3 years have passed since the mass user found out about the crypt. It is rather strange to require knowledge in integral calculus from a three-year-old child. But it is already clear that this baby has great prospects..


– Why do we need cryptocurrencies at all? Let’s be honest, for one-time cross-border payments under a contract, paying an extra $ 50 for a transfer is not critical for most enterprises.

CM .: It’s not about the cryptocurrencies themselves, but about the technology behind them. Nowadays, a huge number of innovative enterprises are transferring their business processes to blockchain. Imagine elections in which no vote can be rigged, or real estate registers that cannot be faked, or the ability to trace in a second the entire route of a product from an African garden to a Moscow store counter. It’s all cryptocurrencies. 

Few people in the early 90s of the last century imagined why the Internet is needed, and today we cannot imagine our existence without a network. Even earlier, we did not really understand why personal computers are needed in every family. And 150 years ago, no one understood why oil and electricity were needed – all this seemed to be the entertainment of some strange scientists.. 

I am sure it will be the same with cryptocurrencies. In a quarter of a century we will laugh at us today, telling children horror stories about plastic cards and paper money that could be printed in unlimited quantities. The future is already here, you just need to expose your face to the warm wind of change and enjoy.

– Thanks for the conversation!


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“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” - founder of Garantex
“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” - founder of Garantex
“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” - founder of Garantex
“In times of crisis, you don’t need to be the first,” - founder of Garantex

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