Dmytro Budorin, CEO of blockchain startup Hacken: I faced sabotage and bureaucracy in the defense industry of Ukraine

Dmytro Budorin, CEO of blockchain startup Hacken: I faced sabotage and bureaucracy in the defense industry of Ukraine

Dmytro Budorin spent eight years working for one of the world's largest auditing firms, a member of the ‘Big Four’ – Deloitte. After that, he moved to Ukroboronprom, where he wanted to change the work of the concern for the better. However, after facing bureaucracy and sabotage in this organization, Dmytro decided to start his own business.

Today Dmytro is known as one of the leading experts on cybersecurity in Ukraine and CEO of the successful blockchain startup for computer protection – Hacken. In an interview with Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Kyiv, Dmytro shared his impressions of his work in the military industrial sector of Ukraine, told about the creation of Hacken and gave some advice to the beginning crypto enthusiasts.

“Conversation with the rabbi helped me to win the Deloitte contest”

When I worked at Deloitte, I participated in the contest Deloitte CIS Audit with the audit of the SAP Big Data solution.

The contest on the best idea of how to make Deloitte more efficient was organized in Deloitte around the CIS, involving the whole company: from junior employees to managers. The inspiration for my decision was an incident happened to me in Israel.

I traveled from Eilat to Jerusalem. During the trip, I talked to the Rabbi who was sitting next to me. We had a very philosophical position about life. At the end of the trip, he asked my e-mail, saying that he wanted to send me one very important video. This video was a performance on Ted Talk about Big Data. It was the incident that I remembered very much, in spite of the fact that I already watched this video.

My idea was that employees should collect more information about the project they work in. We’ve developed an add-on in which employees should provide additional information on the hours spent for the projects. Additional information allowed managers and partners to see much more clearly how their employees are involved and how to distribute the human resource more efficient. I won the contest with this decision.

“I didn’t believe that one can change situation at Ukroboronprom”

Then I was invited to Ukroboronprom, it was back in 2014. At that time, I refused, because I didn’t really believe that there is a chance to change something in such a bureaucratized company. Despite this, However, Denis Gurak (Deputy General Director at that time) continued to invite me to his team constantly.

I agreed only in the summer of 2015, when I saw that the new team was really able to carry out real reforms.

Ukroboronprom required high-quality audit, and I had eight years of experience in Deloitte – I understood that I could really help.

“I faced sabotage of employees and bureaucracy”

The first thing that caught my eye was the reluctance to change anything and complete sabotage of employees: they carried out assignments for as long time as possible, didn’t provide information that I requested. From the management point of view, these are very difficult conditions for work.

The second aspect is bureaucracy. In order to change anything, it was necessary to get tons of signatures. For example, to change the system of contractual accounting, I had to get about 30 signatures, and sometimes from third party companies that were not even associated with us.

“After the Petya virus attack, I realized that no one need cybersecurity”

I learned about cryptocurrencies back in 2012, during the financial crisis in Cyprus. I was working at the Deloitte office in Cyprus, when people lost their deposits. At this time, the whole island talked about cryptocurrency. But then I didn’t affix more meaning to this – I was focused on my career.

The turning point for me were two landmark events that occurred in 2017 in one day: a mass cyber attack (the Petya virus) on Ukrainian state-owned enterprises and a long conversation with one of the Ukrainian crypto influencers. He told me about the ICO.

The next day our team attended one of the leading state-owned enterprises for providing free assistance to eliminate the consequences of Petya. Our help was refused, despite the orders of the Ukroboronprom management. It was a sign that nobody needs cybersecurity in the public sector, as there will be no motivation to continue buying expensive hardware and antivirus software.

“It is worth risking and raising money through ICO”

And then I had an eureka moment: I realized that we need to focus on the international market. And, having got acquainted with the new method of fundraising – ICO, I realized that it's worth taking a chance and raising money for a cybersecurity campaign through ICO.

I understood that it should be done right now. Unfortunately, when working on the state enterprise, it was impossible to do it quickly. I came to the conclusion that it is better to create your own business and help the state in cybersecurity issues. A year later, time showed that I was right.

“I talked with Steve Wozniak. His energy is incredible”

So we created Hacken. In the title we wanted to play around with the words ‘hacker’ and ‘token’. We combined these two words and got Hacken. For the first time, we presented Hacken at the D10e conference, where we took the second place in the ICO startup competition and received 33 BTC prize pool.

After that, in September 2017, we arrived at HackIT Сup 2017. As part of the event, I managed to talk with a co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak. Steve has an absolutely incredible energy; I was really inspired after talking to him.

“We started to develop a client base, but I think we were lucky as well”

Then we carried out ICO, betting on the team and hiring the best specialists. We focused on developing a customer base. As soon as we built the processes and the client base, we had confidence in ourselves and in the way we’ve chosen.

I think that luck was an important aspect of our success as well. We were at the right time in the right place. Currently, cybersecurity in crypto projects is an incredibly hot niche.

I would like to also note the fact that we started our business in Ukraine. There is an incredible number of very talented people in the country. If we’ve started in another country, I don’t even know if we could have done the amount of work that we’ve managed to do in such a short period of time.

“Ukraine is not ready for the crypto industry development”

Nevertheless, I believe that the Ukrainian government is not yet ready to develop the crypto industry. First of all because the authorities adopted a wait-and-see attitude: we’ll look at other countries and wait for their results. Although, I believe that we can take responsibility, make decisions and be an advanced country in the development of the crypto industry.

I often communicate with top managers from the public sector. Officials understand that cryptocurrencies have more positive aspects than negative ones. Cryptocurrency is one way to bring more money to the economy, build companies, create workplaces. Of course, we shouldn’t neglect possible risks (money laundering, terrorist financing, etc.).

“If someone promises mountains and marvels, there is 99% chance of fraud”

The important thing is that cryptocurrency are here to stay. Bitcoin proved to be a reliable exchange medium, and this is a definition of money indeed. Whether we like it or not, cryptocurrency has already become a part of our life with all the opportunities and risks.

To avoid risks, I strongly recommend ordinary users to start self-education. Get a crypto wallet, buy some cryptocurrency for a couple of dollars, understand how wallets and exchanges work. Don’t be fooled by bright and colorful advertising messages. If someone promises mountains and marvels, there is 99% chance of fraud.

Use different passwords for different services. Use two-factor authorization, but unbind it from your smartphone. Yes, it is inconvenient, but it will save you from most problems. In the today's world, one cannot overestimate the importance of the security on the network.


On September 19, Dmytro Budorin will speak at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Kyiv. He will make a report on how to choose a cryptocurrency exchange and avoid scammers.

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