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Vangeli’s Tsapas interview in Athenian magazine

Vangelis Tsapas, CEO of HNC the first Greek cryptocurrency, explains in detail what we need to know about cryptocurrencies.

What exactly is cryptocurrency?

What is the definition of cryptocurrency and what is its purpose?

A cryptocurrency is a digital token you can use as an online means of payment for services or goods without the need of an intermediate third party (eg bank). All cryptocurrencies’ transactions are secure, instant, transparent and very cheap.

Of course a cryptocurrency, as being a token, is totally free of any kind of inflation, control or intervention.

Why do you say that cryptocurrency is the future?

Cryptocurrencies is mainly technology. It is a technological protocol called blockchain that works behind any cryptocurrency and ensures security, transparency, speed and minimal transfer fees. It is the same technology that can be used in any kind of industry such as logistics, transportation, shipping, health industry and so on. It is the same protocol that provides speed, ease of accessibility and complete security for any kind of records or transactions.

So when we speak about an internet protocol we do not assume that this technology is the future, we know exactly what we’re talking about.

Nevertheless, cryptocurrencies are already accepted from companies like Mastercard, VISA and of course PayPal, and at the same time, more and more huge companies own cryptocurrencies on their balance sheets as a deflated asset and as a fast, costless and secure means of payment.

The technology behind a cryptocurrency plays a major role. Decentralized currencies are resistant to censorship but even more so, it is nearly impossible to just shut them down.

What determines the price and how its value been affected in times of economic crisis?

Unlike fiat currencies such as euro and dollar, the value of cryptocurrencies is not determined by central banks, but by the rule of supply and demand.

The simple principal of Supply and Demand is a big factor that determines the value of anything that can be traded, including all digital currencies in the market. For instance, if more people are trying to buy cryptocoins, while others are willing to sell them, the price will go up and vice versa. And since the supply of many cryptocurrencies is limited, the increased popularity of those has been driving prices up.

If a currency gains mass adoption, its value can shoot through the roof. This is because the total number of most cryptocurrencies are limited, and an increased demand leads to a direct increase in price.

The long-term value of a digital currency will be determined by many factors, such as true mass adoption and the real value that such currencies bring for our everyday lives (when compared to other traditional payment methods). Another critical factor will be whether governments and central banks embrace the new technology. Last but not least, the usability and safety is a key component that has to evolve beyond today’s standard to allow everyone to keep their cryptocurrencies ready and safely available for use in our everyday life. 

How easy is it for someone to invest in cryptocurrency?

In the first years of cryptocurrencies trading was quite difficult and could not be easily understood by individuals. After 10 years, we can say that things have become much easier and the term cryptocurrency is more familiar to everyone. Registering in a cryptocurrency exchange as well as creating a digital wallet has become very accessible and most important, security has been greatly improved. So right now everyone can trade cryptocurrencies quite easily and quickly.

What would be your advice to a new investor?

Most investors encounter cryptocurrencies as stocks and not as a technological, digital asset that will create a Decentralized Financial network (DEFI) and change the financial world as we know it so far. Cryptocurrencies’ technology (blockchain) has come to conquer the financial and industrial world.

A big part of a cryptocurrency’s success is the underlying technology. Every time a new cryptocurrency like HNC, is released, they usually bring out a white paper. This will outline the purpose of the coin, it’s technology, how it works and its overall vision. A white paper is one of the best toolkits to evaluate the fundamentals of a coin – and you should never invest in anything until you’ve read their white paper. A white paper can also assure you about the cryptocurrency’s professionalism and credibility.

Of course you can find all the above in the white paper issued by the HNC foundation.

What are the risks one faces when investing in cryptocurrencies?

Even though more and more companies and countries are adopting the blockchain technology, digital currencies have not gained complete adoption in everyday life. The real risk of trading cryptocurrencies is mainly related to a great volatility.

HNC is a startup project not with 100% success but more importantly with a solid, reliable, secure and proven technology. With a team of successful and determined members, it aspires to become one of dynamic players in the exchange and trading field. A holistic plan and a white paper that explains everything in detail, further secures the relentless potential of HNC. HNC has the foundation to succeed both as an investment and as a complete means of digital payment.

Cryptocurrencies are the new kid in the block and people do not know how to handle this unprecedented technology. Allegedly this is the actual risk of cryptocurrencies and not the digital asset itself.

What would you say to those who associate cryptocurrency market with the stock market risks?

Obviously there is nothing common between the cryptocurrency and stock market ideology as we explained previously. Stock trade is critically affected by international transitions, governmental policy shifts and financial turbulences, whilst cryptocurrencies are objectively immune to most economic phenomena such as inflation and economic instability.

Are cryptocurrencies taxed?

There is still a long way in answering this question concerning the greek financial authorities and taxation policy. Unfortunately there is still no specific taxation plan issued by the European financial commission concerning cryptocurrencies. Our prominent legal department led by Mr Boutopoulos Konstantinos, president of the EC and a member of the BoG, remains in constant touch and narrative with the authorities responsible, in order to form a clear policy as soon as possible.

What was the stimulus that urged you to become involved in cryptocurrencies?

The truth is that I saw from the beginning a big opportunity to participate in the genesis of a revolution for a new decentralized digital financial world. Today, I am convinced that digital currencies are the future of the world’s economy and that they are about to take the largest part of the world’s future transactions.

Our team took over the Management of HNC Coin in March 2020 and since then we are working hard to establish HNC as a major payment network by investing in technology and staff and we believe that very soon we will be able to achieve this.

We would like you to tell us a few words about HNC the first Greek cryptocurrency.

HNC is an open-source blockchain cryptocurrency based on the blockchain technology of Dash Coin focused on offering a faster and cheaper global payments network that is decentralized in nature. According to the project’s white paper, HNC Coin seeks to improve upon Bitcoin (BTC) by providing stronger privacy as long as faster and cheaper transactions and thus to become a useful digital currency worldwide, penetrating the real economy.

HNC, whose name comes from “Hellenic Coin,” was launched in 2015 as an instant of Litecoin (LTC). Since 2021, HNC Coin has grown and adapted Dash blockchain technology to include features such as a two-tier network with incentivized nodes, including “master nodes,” and decentralized project governance; InstantSend, which allows for instantly settled payments; ChainLocks, which makes the HNC blockchain instantly immutable; and PrivateSend, which offers additional optional privacy for transactions. So it became a fully decentralized peer-to-peer protocol that is independent of any governmental and central bank control.

The maximum number of HNC tokens that can be issued is ­­­100M. Until this moment (1st of July 2021) 93M coins have already been issued and 7M are available for mining.

Who Are the Founders of HNC?

HNC was developed back in 2015 by Greek developers and became a fork of Dash Coin in June 2021.  The project was originally called Hellenic Coin, changing its name to HNC Coin in June 2021 exactly the time that changed the technology of the blockchain focusing on security and speed of transactions.

HNC Coin network currently consists of a team of more than 20 highly expertise professionals scattered across Europe. All team members come from financial and/or technological fields such as stock exchanges, banks, software institutions, etc.

What is the mission of the HNC?

HNC’s unique mission is to enter into the real economy and become a well-trusted alternative means of payment for goods and services on a global scale. HNC aims to provide a Dual-purpose Asset, fully transparent, which combines an extremely fast and secure alternative way of payment as well as an investment asset.

Additionally, HNC’s main goal is to become the catalyst of a new ecosystem bridging the digital and conventional world. By using traditional banking methods (e.g using a Visa Debit Card), HNC aims to solve the issue of demand that all cryptocurrencies face since their creation. HNC will create a perpetual demand day by day & year by year through its unique business model – a challenge that no other cryptocurrency has ever overcome so far.

The HNC team intends to be a key trading tool with substantial industry support, volume but also transaction liquidity.  It could be a vehicle for know-how to create new Blockchain applications, to connect with electronic trading platforms as a payment option as well as with the emerging sectors of energy, electricity, and environmental management.

The introduction of HNC in sectors such as tourism will be the main concern. Such platforms will use HNC as a means of payment while a refund will be provided as a reward, not only to the customer but also to the entrepreneur. Incentives will be provided for both parties.

Expanding the use of cryptocurrencies will lead crypto to adopt terms and practices to acquire the characteristics of traditional investment products such as legal framework, standardization, licenses, reliability, prestige.

HNC Revolution anticipates and invests in this change, expecting to be in the club of crypto assets that will participate in this expansion.

What Makes HNC Unique?

According to the founders that recreated HNC in 2020 the major goal is “to be one of the most user-friendly and easy to use in day-to-day payments cryptocurrency in the world.” To accomplish this, the project relies on a network of master nodes, which are servers that are designed to provide advanced services securely and governance over HNC’s proposal system. In exchange for part of the block rewards, master nodes provide a second layer of services to the network. They facilitate functions such as InstantSend, PrivateSend, and ChainLocks.

Masternodes were used to ensure the blockchain is readily available to all network participants. Masternodes also perform several other functions related to the health and efficiency of the network, such as governance, securely storing user data, processing transactions for light wallets, and facilitating instant and private transactions.

Masternodes are rewarded with 99% of mined coins and miners of the public pool with the rest of 1%.

How does InstantSend work?

Unlike conventional blockchains, where it is necessary to wait for transaction confirmation in a block, HNC COIN leverages the network of master nodes to validate that the funds specified in the transaction have not already been spent and then locks them within 1-2 seconds so they cannot be spent again until the transaction is complete. Any transactions attempting to use the same funds will be rejected by the network, even in the case of a 51% attack.

How does PrivateSend work?

HNC COIN offers optional transaction anonymity through a feature called PrivateSend. PrivateSend allows you to break up your HNC COIN into specific denominations and “mix” these with other participants, thereby obscuring the origin of funds used in the final transaction. PrivateSend offers superior privacy to centralized mixing services because each round of mixing is facilitated by a different master node, making it effectively impossible to track funds on the blockchain.

HNC is marketed to both individual users and companies, including merchants, financial services, traders, shipping companies, and those who need to send international remittances. In 2020, the HNC team announced that its main objectives moving forward include building its ecosystem, ensuring that users are satisfied and further advancing the technology behind the network.

What makes HNC Network Secured?

HNC uses a two-tier network to secure its transactions. The first tier consists of nodes that carry out mining operations under a proof-of-work consensus protocol, meaning that they compete to solve complex cryptographic problems and at least 51% of nodes must approve a transaction for it to be added to the blockchain.

The PoW algorithm used by HNC is called “X11” — an algorithm used by Dash blockchain uses a sequence of 11 hashing algorithms. According to Dash’s documentation, X11 is “one of the safest and more sophisticated cryptographic hashes in use by modern cryptocurrencies.”

The second tier consists of master nodes operating under a proof-of-service consensus algorithm in which master nodes are rated based on their history of providing good services to the network. Masternodes oversee the network and have the power to reject new blocks added by nodes if they were approved improperly.

What are your plans for the future in payments regarding HNC Coin?

HNC plans to execute payments using mainly the following means:

Visa/ Mastercard: Potential integration of HNC in a Prepaid MasterCard and/or Visa, which will allow the exchange of HNC coins into fiat currencies and vice versa within a certain Mobile application and/or its desktop edition. After the exchange, the consumers will be able to add funds (fiat currencies) to their prepaid Mastercard / Visa and use such funds and/or withdraw money from Banks’ ATMs worldwide.

POS Terminal Gateway: customers will send payments in HNC either from their exchange accounts or from their computer (HNC native wallet) or their mobile device (mobile wallet like “Coinomi”) directly to a payment HNC address. POS Terminal Gateway will display the invoice on the POS device. The customer will pay the invoice at a locked-in exchange rate. The customer’s payment will be converted into local currency. POS Terminal Gateway will initiate bank settlement – transfer into the bank account in local currency – which takes place within 24 – 72 hours- or store the amount in HNC wallet. Only blockchain (for nodes) transaction fees are to be requested.

 What will be the impact of the HNC Debit Card on the HNC’s Ecosystem?

HNC plans to be accepted by millions of merchants on a worldwide scale. Undeniably, HNC entering into the real economy will give a tremendous value to its investors as well as a perpetual demand will be created at the same time through its partnerships with groups of large chain stores and Key – Accounts.

Potential integration of HNC in a Prepaid MasterCard and/or Visa, which will allow the exchange of HNC coins into fiat currencies and vice versa within a certain Mobile application and/or its desktop edition. After the exchange, the consumers will be able to add funds (fiat currencies) to their prepaid Mastercard / Visa and use such funds and/or withdraw money from Banks’ ATMs worldwide.

We estimate that for the year 2022 about 20,000 HNC Debit Cards are going to be issued as well as in 2023 another more than 20,000 HNC Debit Cards and so on.

We assume that 30% of the total issued cards is going to be used as a means of payment in everyday life. This means that for 2022 about 6,000 HNC Debit Cards are going to be used in a daily basis.

As individuals use their Debit Cards they will gain more and more rewards from their purchases and so the demand for HNC will rise accordingly. Shortly – where the loyalty program will take effect, both the consumers and the merchants will have high incentives for using and accepting HNC as a means of payment.

Where can someone find information about HNC Coin and crypto in general?

In addition to creating our own HNC Coin and HNC Revolution exchange, we have created a channel οn YouTube and social media pages, where cryptography experts, members of our team, educate on the evolution of this promising technology. Also, there is our HNC public site where you can find any information you want and we are willing to assist everyone with any problems or questions that might occur.