Max Vorovski - the most dedicated athlete in Estonia
Max Vorovski (32) is probably one of the most undervalued athletes in Estonia. He began practising martial arts at the age of eight but has had to put up with poor financial support and a series of unfortunate events throughout his career. Nonetheless, he has managed to create a name for himself in the world of kickboxing, and over the past few years, Dagcoin has continued to have his back. In his own words, his teenage life wasn’t easy. “I got easily irritated and I couldn’t control my emotions, nor my reactions. I had the tendency to get violent once provoked, and of course, I followed the steps of my older friends, even when it would have been wiser not to. Therefore I sometimes find it difficult to express the gratitude I owe to kickboxing. So many of my beliefs are based on what I learned through this sport, mainly, of course, self-discipline and respect for others.” Max is the polar opposite of the image that comes along with his choice of career and sport. Instead of a murmurous, harsh-handed, and unpredictable martial arts professional, he’s a restrained, humble and utterly down to earth man sitting across the table. All this despite (or thanks to) a rather difficult emotional and professional path. Every professional kickboxer in the world probably dreams of making it to the kickboxing elite league, Glory. Max was close to getting a contract signed twice, but life had other plans for him. Before getting a chance to take part in Glory, things took a tragic turn as Ramon Dekkers, the kickboxing legend, trainer, and friend, suddenly passed away in 2013. Max had been living in Breda, Holland for three years and training under Dekkers when the tragic event occurred. The incident had such a severe emotional impact on Max that he returned home to Estonia and decided to turn down the offer from Glory. The second time Glory offered Max a chance to compete, he was struck with unfortunate health problems. After the first unsuccessful attempt to make it big, Max decided to start training and competing on his own. Instead of a professional team, he had friends and family accompanying him to competitions. He managed to win six consecutive matches against ruling world champions. This, of course, did not go unnoticed by Glory, who for the second time offered Max a chance to compete. On the day of the fight, Max woke up with a 39-degree fever and tonsillitis. Only through pure willpower he managed to force himself to the ring but lost the fight to Yassine Ahaggan 1:4. “Kickboxing has taught me that self-pity doesn’t create value in your life. Being unhappy and not doing anything about it doesn’t take you anywhere. You have to collect what’s left of you and force yourself through hardships. What needs to be remembered is what got me to where I am, and to have a clear vision of what’s next and how to get there. This doesn’t only apply to sports but to life in general,” states Max, on why he has never surrendered to any sort of pain in his life. One thing Max always does after a fight is thanking the opponent: “A dignified winner knows what his opponent will have to go through after the match. To see your wife or mother in tears because of the injuries or for your child not to recognize you, how you handle that and still find the strength to return to the ring is what shapes a real winner.” That is why Max finds the bashing culture very problematic. In his eyes trash talk should not be tolerated by the sports community, as for him, kickboxing is first and foremost about respect and discipline, not about showing off and clout. In his opinion success doesn’t come from the perfect routine and fast reactions, but rather from a smart strategy and mental balance. “My aim is never to seriously hurt or cause permanent health damage to another. In my training, I never let pupils who do not have professional ambitions fight against each other. Also, I no longer react physically to a provocation because I know what this might cause. As an athlete, your aim can never be to deliberately hurt someone. The person you are actually facing in the ring is yourself. It all starts and ends with one person and that’s you. How you leave the ring, whatever the result, will determine who you are as a person and what is it you still need to work on yourself,” says Max. This is why Max also finds it extremely important to talk about bullying at schools. In his eyes, the perfect people to touch these topics are athletes like himself. “You have to bring the bully to the ring so they’d know what it means to get hurt. And the ones being bullied, need to learn how to protect themselves.” This, however, is only one way to approach the problem of bullying. In reality, it’s a multi-faceted situation where the bullies normally come from difficult families, or the issue is rooted in something deeper. Practice, however, can offer a support system to a child. Students need to be disciplined, but not only that, they also need a friend who’ll listen and be there to give advice. “I was lucky enough to have trainers who grew to be my confidants and through that, I found purpose in life,” says Max on the importance of dedicated trainers. This makes it all the more surprising that Max has come to a decision to quit kickboxing and turn to classical boxing. “I have been a professional kickboxer for 17 years and I feel it’s time for a change,” he says, adding that today he has grown even more fond of boxing. “Traditional boxing requires cleverness. If in MMA and kickboxing you’ll have an advantage based on pure physical strength, then in boxing you need to have a very thorough strategy. You can not win only by hitting someone.” Also, the fact that boxing offers more opportunities and higher competition funds. Classical boxing is an Olympic sport and has a different kind of audience. “Boxing tends to be loved by a more colourful and mature audience. While in MMA it’s acceptable to hit your opponent who is already lying on the ground, in boxing this is prohibited. So there’s less violence and more sport,” says Max on why he came to the decision to quit kickboxing after 17 harsh, but successful, years. Today, more than ever, he feels that certain sports have lost the essence of respect for the opponent as for sport in general. Instead, we see a parade of big but vulnerable egos playing a dangerous game. This might be one of the reasons why very often, martial arts are seen as a violent sport. However, the violent seeming blows and kicks are mainly polished techniques and decisions which have to be made within a fraction of a second which will then determine the further course of the match. Max, however, believes that people who are happy and satisfied with their lives should not think about going professional at all. “Within these sports you need willpower. Not only in the ring but in life in general - willpower to live. This willpower comes mostly from hardships. Kickboxing gives you the opportunity to use this power consciously and purposefully. Not on the streets.” Over the last 10 years, the popularity of kickboxing has consistently been growing in Estonia. There are world-class fighters such as the sibling duo Mosairs, Kevin Renno, Edvin-Erik Kibus, Andra Aho, and others. Despite all this, financing is still poor and there’s a lack of professional trainers, managers, teams et al. Max says, on one hand, this is caused by the poor reputation and on the other hand the lack of work within the community itself. “Firstly, kickboxing is not an Olympic sport. Secondly, we as athletes need to show the public that we’re not animals. If you cannot control your emotions like a professional, you’ll never be successful. Of course, sometimes the emotions get the best of you, but what you should learn in practice is to not pay attention to them.” Max says that if this kind of level in kickboxing has been reached within the current conditions then it can only get better from here. That’s why he is thankful that Dagcoin has been supporting his journey for the last few years and believing in his mission. In addition to changing his path in sports, together with Dagcoin his dream of a sports school will come true. “I want to become a trainer. I have dedicated my whole life to kickboxing and now I want to pass this knowledge on.” Max is a father to a five-year-old daughter, who, for the sake of her parents, has chosen dancing over kickboxing. “I’m not familiar with any professional kickboxer who’d want their children to choose the same path and go professional,” he laughs. He’s happy that his daughter is into dancing but if she decides to start (kick)boxing, she’ll have the full support of her father. In Max’s words, sport is akin to meditation which forces you to live in the moment, 100%. Understandably you need to take good care of your health but if you love what you do and strongly believe in achieving anything you want, you’ll push through whatever obstacle lies on your way and in the end, leave the ring of life as a champ.#Cryptonews
How should cryptocurrency be used?
More and more often, the opinion is heard that cryptocurrency will start to replace our current fiat money (i.e. legal tender backed by a central government) because all transactions, including international ones, will be faster and more affordable than what the current banking system can enable. It is not possible to “print” more cryptocurrency and people have full control of their transactions. While people living in Europe, for example, find making bank transfers and instant payments in a matter of seconds over smartphones to be commonplace, there are about 2 billion people in the world who have no access to banking at all, which means they also have no access to digital currencies. They have no credit score to show financial institutions, telecommunications or even insurance companies their creditworthiness. Therefore, if they wanted to apply for a loan to advance their life or business, financial institutions would not be able to provide it. They can buy and sell products or services only on the limited local market for cash, leaving them without access to greater product choices or a larger client base. The way cryptocurrencies are designed, gives these people access to digital currency, as anyone with access to the internet can create their own cryptocurrency wallet and then make transactions. Access to the internet varies regionally but it is only a matter of time until it spreads everywhere in, for example, Africa. However, as infrastructure and general societal preparedness is simply not quite ready for cryptocurrencies to be taken into daily use, the internet still has time to spread wider. Bitcoin is often thought of as digital gold. While not its primary goal, Bitcoin has set a course for the financial world and future digital currencies. Of course, today, ten years later, there are better and faster solutions and a different financial model available for this. Bitcoin will likely never be this kind of “people’s money” to help those 2 billion we mentioned earlier, but at best, it could become “people’s gold”. There is no cryptocurrency today that is truly and widely usable and proper competition for our everyday currency. Depending on the cryptocurrency, you might be able to purchase products and services here and there, but more often than not, this process goes through a third party, i.e. a platform that converts the cryptocurrency from the client into fiat money, like the Euro, that the provider then receives into their account. This service tends to carry huge fees or use terrible conversion rates. Cryptocurrency should properly be used without a conversion process. The vendor should accept cryptocurrency and use it to pay their supplier. Today, we’re at a point where this is implausible for many, as price volatility has made vendors very cautious. Merchants don’t want to accept money whose price fluctuates day-to-day.#Blog
What’s going on with China’s Crypto Crackdown?
You’ve more than likely seen headlines and various mutterings around China’s war against cryptocurrency trading and mining within the country, but what’s exactly happening? Recently an official document was released by the Chinese State Council, stating that “We should crack down on bitcoin mining and trading activities and prevent individual risks from being passed to the whole society.” Although the reasoning behind this may not be clear, it was cited as being due to “environmental concerns.” While this is indeed a concern, especially regarding the trading of currencies such as Bitcoin, many have found this justification dubious. Regardless of the validity of this reasoning, immediate shockwaves have been felt in digital currency markets both domestically and abroad. Most notably, Bitcoin took a sudden tumble in value to under around $30,000 following the official statement’s release. However, Bitcoin wasn’t alone, with just about all major cryptocurrencies seeing similar drops in value — Ethereum, XRP, and Ripple to name a few. While no definitive plans have been made, nor any direct actions taken by the government itself, crypto miners within China are now desperately scrambling to move their mining operations further afield, with the US being a prime location. “I have been having conversations all weekend, starting since last Friday, with Chinese miners looking to co-locate in the U.S.,” stated Ethan Vera, COO of Seattle-based mining firm, Luxor. The intercontinental migration of mining ventures will not only be costly but may take up to months, leading to a significant break in operations. Despite the projected goal of Chinese mining groups continuing operation as normal later down the line, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty due to the alleged crackdown potentially being shelved. This has further soured expectations, and has thrown the importance of these migrations into question, leaving many in a state of limbo. “Miners in China I’ve spoken with are unsure of the impact right now.” tweeted Thomas Heller, co-founder, and CBO at Compass Mining. The upcoming weeks will be critical in getting a handle on which steps the Chinese government intends to take on the issue, whether it be restrictive regulations, or an outright ban as many are expecting to be the case. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any developments as they emerge.#Cryptonews
India Seeks Crypto Regulation, Avoiding Total Ban
In the midst of tumultuous news around major cryptocurrencies seeing a dramatic fall, the crypto landscape is looking less bleak for the crypto landscape in India, with advocates within the nation rejoicing over reports that the Indian government plans to scrap their initial plans to enact an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading. Like most countries, India currently lacks any solid regulation around the sale and purchase of digital currencies which has led the Government of India to explore the idea of disallowing the usage of cryptocurrencies, nationwide, over the past four years. These plans have met progressively more resistance from enthusiasts due to crypto edging ever closer into the territory of the trading layman. A recent attempt by the Indian Central Bank to block banks from dealing with crypto-related businesses was successfully thrown off-course by the country’s Supreme Court in 2020, yielding a glimmer of hope the government would reconsider their stance on future bills. However, that glimmer of hope has now taken the form of a shining beacon, smiling down on Indian citizens who have been championing decentralised currencies. A report from the Economic Times states that the Government of India is considering refreshing its panel of experts who’ve previously been chairing discussions on regulation of cryptocurrencies, with finance secretary Subhash Garg’s ban recommendations being outlined specifically. “There is a view within the government that the recommendations made by the Subhash Garg are dated and a fresh look is needed at use of cryptos rather than a total ban,” said an unnamed official. This has paved the way for more open and accessible regulations to be considered, with the aforementioned report indicating that discussions will commence within parliament this summer.#Cryptonews
There is hope left for Estonian skiing
Alvar Johannes Alev is a 27-year-old Estonian cross-country skier whose results have been adversely affected by the poor winters at home, a lack of supporters, and the scandals that have torn through Estonian skiing circles in the past few years, making a career in skiing an even more difficult undertaking. However, Alev has a brighter outlook towards the future, as he has secured two training seasons with the Norwegian ski club, Heming. For nearly half a year now, Alev has been training with Heming, one of the best ski clubs in Norway and as a part of Team OBOS Norway. The skier knew that if he wanted to accomplish anything in the field he loves, he’d have to look further afield from Estonia. That’s how he ended up choosing between four Norwegian ski clubs and finally picking Heming. “Norway is the best skiing country in the world, so who better to learn from than the best? Secondly, the conditions here are great with regards to weather and there are still things to learn from Norwegians about technique,” says the young skier, optimistic about the future. Taking into account what has happened in the Estonian skiing field in the past years, both formal and private financial support for skiers has practically dried up. Thus, Alev has had to deal with his career on his own. Looking for training and competing opportunities, financial support and everything else that goes with this profession. Inevitably, this will have an effect on skiing results and as it is, his results have remained below his true potential. Because the athlete gets to focus mainly on the sport itself while training in Norway (the club is responsible for administrative tasks) Alev is hopeful, “Thanks to coming to Norway, I can at last focus almost only on the sport itself and I hope that with the support I have behind me, I can show some results in the 2021 WC and the 2022 Olympics.” Dagcoin and Alev crossed paths or, more appropriately, skis, in the spring of 2020, when Nils Grossberg, the owner of the company, saw that despite the poor state of Estonian skiing, Alvar Johannes hadn’t let his wish to ski and dream of making it to the Olympics fade. Therefore, it was decided to support the determined athlete for the following two seasons, without which, the skier admits, he’d only have been able to participate in the preseason training. Alev is really making the most of this sponsorship, with training hours clocking in at nearly a hundred a month and competitions every weekend. “I’m not complaining, but living in the moment and being happy that I still get to ski today,” says Alev, currently a student of Physical Education and Sport at the University of Tartu, who has also previously studied and skied in the USA. “In light of the current situation, I can see an opportunity to rebuild the skiing field in Estonia. Of course, athletes themselves will have to show good results but they still can’t do it alone. If, in addition to the physical and mental preparations, you have to take care of the administrative tasks, then inevitably, in a field where every hundredth of a second counts, your results suffer,” Alev says, explaining why support for athletes is so important. On our part, we wish Alvar Johannes success in and determination for the upcoming and following seasons and we hope that the best in Estonian skiing is yet to come! Alvar Johannes Alev is an Estonian champion in both the 15 km freestyle and the 15 km + 15 km skiathlon. Additionally, he has placed 2nd in the 20 km mass start freestyle of the esteemed North-American students’ NCAA Championships. He has won the Balkan and Slavic Cups in, respectively, 10 km and 15 km Classical, and 10 km freestyle events. His results also include an 11th place in the Scandinavian Cup classical-style sprint and a 20th place in the FIS Junior World Ski Championships 10 km freestyle event in Liberec. He has been a member of different Estonian teams since 2012. He has taken part in the Lahti WC and represented Estonia on several occasions in both the Junior and U23 Championships.#Blog
Reality Hits as Dogecoin Tanks in Value
Despite seeing a tremendous increase in value since its inception, Dogecoin saw a sudden drop in value this past weekend, despite considerable confidence in its performance from supporters. The -5.8% change in valuation followed the appearance of Elon Musk, Dogecoin’s most prominent champion, on the U.S. comedy show Saturday Night Live. Musk’s actions have historically had a great deal of impact on Dogecoin’s increase in value, with single tweets encouraging many to buy up the currency en-masse. Musk’s appearance on SNL was expected to have a similar effect, with supporters purchasing more dogecoin in anticipation, only to be met with a disappointing dip. By Sunday, 9.am. ET, dogecoin had dropped to 0.56 USD, undoing all of the previous week’s gains. Due to Dogecoin not having a finite number of coins, it’s often referred to as an ‘inflationcoin’ or ‘memecoin’, the latter term referring to its value being mostly affected by memes generated and shared by public figures. Although holders still remain confident that the coin will breach the 1.00 USD mark, there’s little if no evidence that this will happen, with the current trajectory taking a somewhat chaotic path. Fortunately, there are safer coins to make long-term investments in, one of them being Dagcoin, which has steady and consistent growth in value over the past 2 years.#Cryptonews
Why is the future of cryptocurrency uncertain?
Cryptocurrency is the better, simpler, and inexpensive version of our regular everyday currency, which is mainly used for interpersonal transactions. Most people have, unfortunately, misunderstood the idea behind cryptocurrency. It is often thought to be similar to stocks and only meant for trading on the stock exchange – buy cheap and sell for profit. According to Kris Ress, the strategist and visionary behind the Estonian cryptocurrency Dagcoin, “(...)if we don’t change this attitude and continue to ignore the significant benefits of alternative currencies, then the future of cryptocurrency will become uncertain.” In September 2019, a short and snappy news title announced: “Bitcoin Chaos Continues”. The contents were ominous – “Cryptocurrency values have collapsed this week and bitcoin has lost nearly a fifth of its value. Bitcoin currently costs 7,346 Euros. As recently as on Monday, the cryptocurrency was valued at over 9,000 Euros.” If you weren’t familiar with the background, you’d think that it was indeed an awful story. Someone will have lost a lot of money. Sadly, this is just another news story that adds to an already distorted picture of cryptocurrency as something to be traded. How has this image developed? We’ve all heard incredible stories in the media of people becoming millionaires almost overnight by investing in the right cryptocurrency at the right time, or the kinds of price changes this or that crypto has undergone. A large part of mainstream media focuses primarily on price changes and money-making. We’re also told that institutional investors, consisting of investment funds, venture capital funds, pension funds, insurance companies and commercial banks, are just about ready to enter into the crypto market, explaining that when this happens, cryptocurrency will become real money, causing a huge buying craze and a price increase. They paint a hopeful picture to get more and more people to start buying crypto right away so that when institutions do finally enter the market, their investment values will be increased. In reality, it isn’t known if, when and in what direction institutions will enter the crypto market as it will be influenced by future regulations and global developments. However, if these investments are made and funds buy up large amounts of coins, the division of crypto assets will change from what has already been criticised as a very concentrated distribution, where large amounts of assets or coins are held by a small number of people, to even more condensed distribution. As a result, the danger of volatile crypto prices will increase even more, as holders of large amounts of coins can flood the market, causing a great rise in offer and decrease in price, which in turn can cause serious financial losses to many people. Ideologically speaking, the holders of one cryptocurrency should be quite dispersed and hold small sums to guarantee stability and wide distribution. However, as cryptos are currently seen as investment options, everyone looks for opportunities to increase the value of their investment portfolio. There’s no room here for wide distribution and use. In addition to the media, training courses and crypto chat groups are very one-directional: how to trade better with crypto? When to buy and when to sell? Which project to invest in? How to read graphs and patterns? What news to follow and what not to take seriously? On the other hand, groups and courses that talk of long-term holdings, the true uses of projects or cryptocurrencies and real value creation, are like the proverbial needle in a haystack. The future of cryptocurrencies is uncertain if things go on like they have, with the mainstream media and instructors talking of crypto as a financial instrument.#Blog