Rostislav Solod, 19, is the youngest lawmaker in the city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine. He’s also a crypto millionaire.
Solod is the son of two national parliament members, Yuri Solod and Natalia Korolevska. He entered politics this autumn, fresh out of school. In his obligatory property declaration, he said he owned 185,000 monero, or $24.5 million worth of the cryptocurrency.
This was, in fact, the only piece of property the young lawmaker owned himself. Everything else in his declaration, including real estate, cars and trademarks, belongs to his parents.
Solod told CoinDesk during a recent interview that he started watching crypto when he was at school, around 2014. Bitcoin did not attract him. Monero (XMR), on the other hand, seemed like a more viable cryptocurrency due to its anonymity and constant demand by the dark market, Solod said.
He accumulated monero through 2015 on exchanges, he said, using his savings and some money his parents gave him for a business project that never happened. Solod “never really liked school,” he said, so he spent a lot of time studying financial markets and learning about crypto.
Ukraine, which was rated by Chainalysis as the country with the highest crypto adoption level in the world, is now in the process of passing its first legislation regulating crypto. Solod admits that, at first, he was not crazy about this.
“For me, as an entrepreneur and a young guy, this is bad: I used to see crypto as an island in the ocean, untouched by a sinful hand. An absolutely free zone where everyone can do anything. But as a politician, I understand that this law will bring money into the [country’s] budget,” Solod said.
Monero’s privacy feature no longer applies to Solod. He must report all his property as a public official, thanks to a law intended to prevent corruption and illegal enrichment in the country’s echelons of power. Going forward, the young politician might liquidate the crypto and reinvest the money into a new business project, he said.
Solod is thinking about getting into crypto mining (no decision on what coin so far) and buying some tokens from the freshly launched Efforce project supported by Apple co-founder Steve Wozlniak. But his favorite crypto-related plan is launching his own token, Solod said.
“Elections and the political career distracted me from these plans for a while,” he said.
They distract him from his studies as well. Solod said he’s currently pursuing an economy major at the Royal Holloway University in London. He’s studying remotely due to the coronavirus quarantine, he said, although it’s sometimes hard to find time for both work and school.
Asked why he decided to go into politics, Solod referred to his family, saying that “he was born in it.”
“I was interested to figure out why the country isn’t developing,” Solod said. “I really want to change the situation with the corruption. The old methods to prevent it aren’t working anymore.”