Transcription Episode 6

Hi everybody, welcome to Living on Blockchain. Today we will be interviewing Christina. She is working at Cointelegraph.

She is Managing Editor and the Head of Features there. I think this is going to be very, very fascinating. Let’s deep dive right in.

Hi Christina, thank you so much for taking out the time to talk to me today. You know, let’s deep dive right in. How are you doing today? Thank you very much, Tarusha, for the invitation.

It’s a pleasure to talk to you. And well, everything is great, even though this weekend we had some surprising news about the SEC banning the TAN ICO. So it was something that we have been working since Friday, during all the weekend.

Yeah, okay. Yeah, you must be working overtime. Absolutely.

That was quite a surprise. So tell us a little about how, you know, you got involved in blockchain, a little bit about your background, perhaps. Sure, with great pleasure.

Well, my first specialization is philology. So I’m graduated in Ancient Greek and Latin. And I was really passionate with languages, not only because I adore literature and poetry, etc.

But because in my opinion, the history of humanity is based on the innovations that are translated with different languages through communications between people. What always fascinated me, and my first thesis was written about the ancient theater. And it may seem something very old and outdated, etc.

But actually, it was so innovative, right? My interest was to try to understand how it was presented on how to connect the architecture, we have the relics of the architecture, the text we have, and some understanding of ancient people. So my second specialization is in political science. Yeah, I was always very interested in the international relations.

Also, because it’s a part of international communication. And my particular interest was in energy politics, and green technologies. Okay.

So this brought me to my working experience. And I’ve been always working in innovative field in different facets of it. So journalism is one of them.

Another one is events and communications. And basically, I was always in search of people who are seeing future differently from the majority, right? Who want to innovate who dare and ambitions enough ambitious enough to innovate. And my passion was always to translate their ideas into different languages.

And here, I’m not only literal, not only languages, but also language of media language of business language of academia, language of government. Because in my opinion, communication is the basis of every, every new development. Yeah.

Those ideas out, right? You have to actually communicate it in the right manner. Not everybody has that ability to sort of translate brilliant ideas into a manner that is sort of easily assumable to, you know, people in general, like, as you said, there are different sectors, and you have to speak to them in a different way for them to assimilate what is being said. So this is a brilliant, absolutely.

And you know, it’s so interesting that you, as you said that, you know, you have a background in literature, etc. And literature, I think, in my opinion, I also have a background in humanities, by the way. So, you know, that is something that I do understand, I think, literature and fiction, they tend to mirror life in such a beautiful way.

And you know, you people sort of take humanities a little less seriously than the science. I think there, you know, there is a balance that is required, because you have to take it, you know, side by side, only then can you get a proper picture of the world and why the world is the way it is. So I think that is so completely very important.

So how did this transition into blockchain and crypto happen? Oh, thank you for the question. Actually, it was by chance. So I was working in the innovative field, I was organizing events, most related to the energy sector, but also IT and healthcare and all the other industries that require innovative approach.

And then I was just invited to try myself also as a mediator for the crypto industry. It was two years ago, a little bit more, but that’s a lot for our industry. Yeah, I was late for with Bitcoin and blockchain, to be honest, but there’s nothing anybody can do.

I think that more the people join in and at any time, it’s a good time. You’re not late at all, I think. Yes, yes, sure.

But it was something that was completely new for me, even though it was an interesting discovery that basically people with whom I worked before in other industries, construction, energy, healthcare, IT, etc. They were somehow like, I’ve been meeting them at different occasions related to crypto projects now. So in my opinion, 2017 was the kind of key year where people really started to implement blockchain into all different industries and sectors.

That helped me to see that that is one of the technologies that is definitely revolutionizing the world. Because it’s not only the nerds who are developing their coding strategies and developing some projects that are completely independent of the rest of the life. It’s a technology that is being applied everywhere.

And of course, we are still on the very beginning of the process. But that’s a very interesting and fascinating time to live now, to see how it will be developing. Yes, absolutely.

I think what you said, 2017 was a good year. I think there was a lot of buzz as is there now. But I think that was perhaps the time when actually people started thinking and trying to understand crypto and blockchain in general.

So it’s been quite an exciting journey for you. I can see that you’ve also worked with the Global Entrepreneurship Network. So tell us a little about Jen and what was your experience working with them like? Well, I’ve been organizing several events with them.

And I met incredible people there. I told you, so my passion is people. And I think it was one of the first projects where I definitely started to appreciate the power of the team behind every project.

Because every entrepreneurship has an idea of a passion behind it. Something that creates fire in one person, and then this person attracts other people who are of the same idea. And they are creating something new.

So my work basically consisted of communications between different entrepreneurship communities for events and meetups, etc. And I was really fascinated how many people in the world are ambitious enough to create something new, to try to make errors, to fail, and then to restart, always restart. So this period of entrepreneurship is a very fascinating thing.

And in my opinion, it’s pushed human development since the prehistoric times. Absolutely. Yeah.

Yeah, I think that that is so true. It’s almost intoxicating. Entrepreneurs are a crazy bunch.

But you know, they are the ones who sort of push innovation into everyday life. And I think that is what everybody requires in this day and age with technology. How can technology really help them? And in other ways, as you said, so how is it? How is it? How has it been working with Cointelegraph? And what do you see? How do you see the media role in blockchain and cryptocurrency? Oh, thank you very much.

That’s a very important question. And of course, every media makes people who work there responsible for every word we use. But in my opinion, in the crypto sector, it’s even more acute.

Our mission is basically to bring quality journalism into the sector that is so new and not very much structured yet. Yes. And we basically didn’t have right to an error.

We were one of the first in the industry. And of course, it started quite sporadic. But our role was to create stable relationships with all the newsmakers in the industry.

Right. Find these people who are behind the projects. And it’s not so obvious in the blockchain industry because it’s very much anonymized as an industry.

Yeah, right. But we are doing well, in my opinion, to create the standards for the industry. That’s very interesting to see that even mass media now started to cover blockchain and crypto more seriously, more based on the concrete facts and prepared analysis.

Because it was, in my opinion, a little problem several years ago where mass media really demonized the industry. Yes. So our mission was basically to understand that crypto industry is as every industry.

Of course, there is fraud. Of course, there are scams. Of course, there are people who are not very pure handed.

But at the same time, it’s a technology that can revolutionize the world. And we tried to approach different types of readers from the beginning. Those who are more technology oriented.

So for them, we always try to prepare the best technical analysis. There are people who don’t know anything about crypto. And for them, we try to prepare something that has a bit of human touch inside.

And under this, I mean, communication with people. So in interviews and materials that reflect the human personalities are very much helping people to understand that behind all this bitcoins, cryptos, blockchain, there are people, real people as them that have their ideas, that have their plans for the future, wishes, desires, etc. So our mission is to bring quality into the journalism at the same time to build confidence and trust into the crypto and blockchain.

Yeah, that’s very important. You know, as Andreas Antonopoulos said, you said, you know, you talked about fraud and how that is like a part and parcel of every industry. He said that there are more of us than them.

And as you know, as against the people who are trying to do bring this particular sector a bad name in some way, but there are more people who are trying to solve so many different problems. And it’s very important to actually bring those stories to the service so that, you know, there is a larger audience and the masses are able to understand that this movement is actually for the better, because only with education, I think that can happen with the right kind of information being disseminated. I think Point Telegraph has been doing a wonderful job of bringing our project.

So, you know, more power to you guys. So you’ve been, Point Telegraph, I think, has been working with the World Economic Forum, right? With the annual conference in Davos. So how has your experience been with that? You must have interviewed a lot of leaders.

And what did you, what was your takeaway? Vis-a-vis the crypto industry? Yeah. I’ve been personally to the World Economic Forum last year. And it was the first time where we had blockchain word everywhere.

It was one of the key topics discussed. There was also blockchain. I don’t remember the name.

Well, it was a pavilion dedicated only to crypto and blockchain community. But the question was that blockchain was discussed throughout the program and everywhere. But crypto was kind of a project non grata.

And people didn’t want to associate crypto and blockchain. And that, in my opinion, is a fundamental issue. Yeah, that is changing.

But that was especially especially strange to see at the Davos in 2018. Because there is no blockchain without crypto. There is no crypto without blockchain.

It’s two sides to the same coin. People sort of fail to understand that. Exactly.

Yes. And the technology behind crypto is blockchain. Yeah.

And of course, it can be applied everywhere. And that is why it’s so important to bring blockchain experts in at the events of the scale of the World Economic Forum. Right.

I think that skepticism now is kind of going away. Yeah. Maybe because everybody’s already kind of used to have crypto around.

And it’s not only Bitcoin now that is talked about. But even if you name some other altcoins, you already recognize them. That’s a big thing we acquired all in the industry.

So how far do you think we are from, say, mass adoption of cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology? And you know, just being accepted because a lot of startups I talk to, they say that as soon as they talk about, as you said, that cryptocurrencies are looked at with a lot of suspicion. And that perception is slowly changing. But in your opinion, how long do you think until it becomes something of a mass movement, something that would have mass adoption already? That’s a very interesting question.

And I think I would share my personal thoughts on this. In my opinion, this idea of decentralization is something that the world needs so badly. And then the way it will be applied can be, of course, different.

In my opinion, there will be also applications where we won’t even know that it’s based on blockchain. Blockchain is sort of an anonymous thing that is not so seen on the interface, but that is present in the software. As for crypto, I’m really looking forward to the Libra project and how it will develop.

Because, of course, even though there are a lot of discussions around the project, Facebook is something that everybody has now. So if we will see Libra go live, it can completely revolutionize the way we approach cryptocurrencies. Absolutely.

Yeah. You can hate it or love the project in itself, but you have to agree that Facebook, as you said, if Libra is sort of pushed out, it will help so much with mass adoption because everybody has Facebook. And then because Facebook is doing it, there’ll be so many other people who perhaps look up and go, okay, perhaps now is the time I should understand a little about crypto.

So I think that would give, you have to agree that it’ll give a huge, massive adoption push. Definitely. And if anybody doesn’t have Facebook, you will have either WhatsApp or Instagram that is also part of it.

Yeah. So it’s one way or the other. I think it’s a massive project.

I think it’s important that it’s sort of pushed out because this would really, really help with adoption and making crypto mainstream. It would absolutely revolutionize the way people sort of view crypto, I think. Yeah.

So how do you see the, you know, what has your experience been like? You’re talking to, you know, perhaps you’ve talked to some policymakers, which country or which, you know, policymakers are more forward thinking when it comes to crypto and the blockchain space, according to you? That’s a very interesting question. I think countries now have really different approaches to crypto regulations. There are a lot of governments who are kind of observing what others are doing.

Yeah. They’re waiting and they’re watching. Of course, the simplest way to regulate comes from the countries which are small and which have favorable business climate conditions as Malta or some other little countries.

But in my opinion, it’s not that will push the adoption on the high level just because they are small and not so numerous. Yeah. In my opinion, the European Union has been doing some interesting things.

But what misses for the moment is a bit of continuity between different countries. Right. So we have we have regulation in France, we have Switzerland, we have Austrian regulations, but there is not yet some universal approach.

Yeah. But I think it will come, it will come. And Europe has always showed that it can be very unified on projects that are important.

And, for example, if we get back to the energy issues and climate change, Europe is really in the avant-garde of this movement. And in my opinion, crypto is something that can also create a social impact on the climate change issues and green technologies. So maybe this can be also as a push for some regulations for Europe.

Okay. Yeah. So that is absolutely true.

I think, you know, with this particular technology, even though it’s in its infancy, there are so many problems that can be solved and that are being solved by innumerable projects. And hopefully, all of us are hoping that we can come up with policies that would be more business friendly so that more innovation can actually take place in this particular sector. So now coming back to the main media, so the mass media portrayal of crypto generally.

So how do you think it has evolved over the years since 2017, perhaps, when you have actually gotten in the space? That’s a great question. And I think if two years ago, we just had Bitcoin as the keyword everywhere, now mass media started to delve more into the technology and know a bit more about the actors involved in order to also divide between scammers and serious actors. Of course, projects as Libra brings mass media to talk about crypto much more and to start understanding the technology behind.

Still, I sometimes stumble upon articles that are, in my opinion, completely out of the narrative that criticizes crypto as being an evil actor of creating frauds and scams. And naming the projects, so sometimes very, I don’t know, creating some hype around this idea of fraud that I don’t like very much. And it can be found everywhere in, well, in big media less, but in little small medias all around Europe, I get quite often, unfortunately.

Yeah. Okay. So I think, you know, the mass media has a huge role to play because ultimately, you know, people who come to websites like Cointelegraph or these niche websites, particularly are the ones who are actually already well versed in this particular.

Okay. Let me just pause for a minute. Let me just see what is wrong with my voice.

Okay. I’m really sorry. No worries.

Hi, I’m back. I’m so sorry. There was basically all good.

Yeah, it’s all good. There was somebody at the door and there was some delivery. So they started barking.

Anyway, coming back. So what kind of projects does Cointelegraph look for while collaborating or perhaps throwing more light on in this particular space? Well, that’s an interesting question. And our role is basically to observe all the projects as many as possible and see some trends and to see some developments that maybe are not still on the radar for mass media, which can really bring value to the industry and overall to the economy.

For me, to be honest, there is no projects that I don’t want to know about. Of course, there are scams and that’s very important to study them and to understand what are their strategies, et cetera, in order to be able to identify scams in the future. There are projects that, of course, are big and we have established relationships with different companies, big exchanges.

There are also traditional businesses that, of course, we follow because they are experimenting with blockchain. I don’t know, IBM, for example, that has, I think, the biggest number of patents related to blockchain recently, like big banks, JP Morgan, Bank of America, et cetera, et cetera. But as I said before, even though sometimes we can’t talk about little projects that are, I don’t know, passing their ICO at the moment, for example, because, of course, it will be ethically incorrect to promote projects under ICO.

But personally, I’m trying to know as much as possible also about these projects, because our sector is fascinating with the fact that a project can become a big one in a month, in a week. So how do you judge the potential that a particular project might hold? What are the metrics in your mind when you’re trying to go through perhaps a project’s white paper or the website and checking out the product? How do you decide that, okay, this particular one might have some potential? Well, it’s always research. Of course, we have our anti-scam colleagues who are basically working on concrete tools to identify scams.

But as a journalist, more information you have, more judgment you can do. Talking to people in the team, trying to read their materials as much as possible, trying to understand the logic behind their partnership, and trying to understand their mission. What are their ideas of transforming the future? So in my opinion, even though our industry is about codes and numbers and software, but the real impact is coming from the people and from communication with people, as I said before.

These are key for me, at least, to understand what is behind every project. Right. So basically, the team is very important.

As you said, sharing the vision, how are they exactly changing the world for better or how their solutions are driving innovation. But what you said here was very important. It’s not just about the code.

It’s not just about, as you said, the nerds writing programs. There is so much more to this movement. Because unless there are other people who are not coding and they become a part of this movement, only then would crypto or blockchain, for that matter, become adopted in a massive manner.

Because you cannot have a movement which is not inclusive. So it’s so important to bring in this kind of inclusivity to a movement. So I think that’s absolutely amazing.

Which brings me to my next question. So who are some women thought leaders that you follow in this space and that perhaps our listeners can follow as well? Well, thank you for the question. Yes, women in blockchain are fascinating.

And it’s a pleasure to see that our industry is especially open to women’s minds. As for personalities, I think, and that’s really fascinating, but almost every project now has women on board or those who came maybe from traditional industry, helping with communications and PR. And I wouldn’t like maybe to name people just because I will definitely not name some of them who are important.

But if you look at the biggest projects in the industry, you will see that there are women everywhere. And that’s fascinating. And I think it’s a characteristic of our industry, this diversification of different views, perspectives on the future of technology.

And that’s really great. I also had, for example, a conversation with Marta Pekarska from Hippoledger. And she told me that, well, she’s a bright woman, really incredible that is following the coding industry for years and who can talk about this subject completely as a man.

And sorry for this maybe feministic phrase of mine, but… You don’t have to apologize. We’re all feminists here. It’s all good.

You don’t have to apologize for being there. I think that does nothing to apologize for. If women are a part of so many movements and they have to be a part of this one for it to actually further, how can you have half the population not be a part of this? Yeah.

And she told me that there were some issues when she started being in the industry and the computer industry is especially… Very male-dominated. Yeah. Very male-dominated.

I understand that. But blockchain is completely different. And that’s the thing that we need to think of.

And it’s a very valuable addition to the sector, in my opinion. Yeah, absolutely. I think, as I said, and I keep saying this, this is something that this is my mission, I think, that women need to be so much a part of this particular movement.

And obviously, our industry is very receptive and very open. That kind of masculine glass ceiling of sorts and the masculine sausage fest that we see at all these deep tech fests, that is not necessarily the case with blockchain because we are much more open as a community. Perhaps it’s because we are in our infancy.

But it’s absolutely wonderful to see that. And I think women bring a different kind of leadership and a different kind of approach to this sector. I would really invite you to check the team list of every big project.

And that’s impressive that we have a lot of women there. There are also a lot of associations, groups in LinkedIn, women in blockchain. And still, at the same time, I don’t see it as a very like war-focused feminism.

It’s very common. Women in blockchain really like the technology and want to change the future. And that’s really passionate and fascinating.

I also would invite people to follow such figures that are maybe coming from the traditional industry. But they have very interesting ideas on crypto as well. And here I’m talking about Christine Lagarde, for example, from IMF.

Also, some countries’ leaders who are englobing technologies within their projects. I don’t know, there is a wonderful chief informational officer of Vienna, for example, that is a woman. So women are everywhere.

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s absolutely amazing to see how receptive I have already said this particular sector is to women coming in and sort of furthering this particular cause. So that brings me to my almost penultimate question.

This is something that I ask everybody. So how would you suggest our listeners, what can we do to start actually living on blockchain? What do you think should be the first steps? Well, I think the first steps are already done. And every technology has its own evolution within our minds.

Now, we don’t need to be separate in creating applications because we have all sorts of communication between people, projects. So we just need to keep working on it together. The most important and fascinating applications of blockchain should be found in conversion of different technologies.

And this is something that keeps us a lot of surprises. Because I don’t know, it’s like the invention of electricity. You couldn’t imagine that in 100 years, everybody will have smartphones based on electricity.

And the same is with blockchain. Of course, there are sectors that are like dying to have blockchain in it, in my opinion, healthcare, energy sector, green technologies. But at the same time, the most interesting application is something that is to be found.

In my opinion, more people are involved in the blockchain, more applications we can find. I just studied the statistics of blockchain engineers. And the thing is that out of the overall number of developers in the world, blockchain engineers are just a little fracture of it.

More we have people who are experts of blockchain applications, who can develop products based on blockchain, more applications we find. Absolutely. So what do you think that perhaps a person who is just getting into this field, what do you think that they can do to sort of get it right and get into this particular sector and in crypto or in the blockchain space? Are there any actionable steps according to you? Well, I think as with every new concept, you have to make your own research.

As much as possible. And I’m not inviting you only to read Cointelegraph because in my opinion, more diversified content you meet, more thoughts you develop on yourself based on what you read. Also, our sector is very, very young, not only in terms of the Bitcoin invention, but also the people who are involved.

And they’re always open to communications. It’s not a chance that there are so many Bitcoin crypto meetups all over the world. And that’s something that is accessible for everybody.

So if you can check whether there is some Bitcoin meetup at your place, I would highly recommend you to go there because you will definitely meet interesting people who are young and who have their ideas of transforming the world. Right. The blockchain industry basically eliminated this very complicated hierarchic career path.

Now, there are so many entrepreneurs who are, I don’t know, 20 years old. Yeah. But they have their idea.

They know how to find developers who can help to them to create the product. And that’s a characteristic of the industry. And these young people are dying to talk to you.

They want to talk about their projects, about their ideas, about their visionary thoughts. So communication with the Internet and with the real people is something that is definitely helping to know more about the industry. Absolutely.

I think that’s absolutely key. You know, just go and check out the latest meetup. And if nothing else, you’ll come back with some new information and a lot of ideas.

So absolutely amazing. So any last thoughts, Christina, before we close this? Yes. You know, last thing that I wanted to add maybe as a first step is I invite everybody to read the white paper of Bitcoin.

It may seem something complicated, but actually it’s just eight pages. And it’s a fascinating document that is accessible to everyone. And of course, if you want to make acquaintance with the world of crypto, it’s something that is fundamental for you to start.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. OK.

It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you, Christina. Thank you so much for taking out the time. Even with all the technical glitches, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

I hope that it has been the same for you. It was definitely the same for me. Thank you very much for the invitation.

It was a very fascinating conversation and I’m looking forward to talking to you again on other occasions. That’s really a great thing you are doing, bringing voices of blockchain into something that every person can listen to. Thank you so much, Christina.

Thank you. Have a great day ahead.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *