How did you get interested in Web3 and what you're currently working on?
I first heard of Bitcoin in a direct way in 2017. A friend of mine told me to buy it. I did not pay much attention then, being busy with other responsibilities such as studying for my bachelor`s, working, etc.
I wish I did. For me, the interest began during the pandemic, when I had more free time and stumbled upon a project called OriginTrail which uses the traceability and transparency of blockchain to track the history of the production of products and their authenticity.
I was blown away by the project and wanted to know how they do it and blockchain was the answer. When I went into the technicalities, terms such as “blockchain agnostic” “top layer of blockchain”, “token economics” and more popped up and I had no idea what I was reading but was determined to understand it.
Thus, I had to go back to WEB3 101: Bitcoin. Coming from a country that has its fair share of corruption on the political level, I fell in love with the decentralization, transparency, and incorruptibility of Bitcoin. Moreover, I loved the fact that absolutely no one can censor the transactions which happen immediately and for a fraction of the cost that you would otherwise have.
Additionally, the openness of Bitcoin, meaning that anyone with an internet connection can use it to participate in a global economy, even people who live in corrupt countries or can not afford to open a bank account - look at El Salvador amongst others, spoke to me on so many levels that I can talk about it until the end of time.
With Bitcoin, you can finally have an inclusive global currency and internet economy where people from different backgrounds cultural and economical, geographical locations, education, perceptions, sexual preference who may be persecuted in their country, who may not be able to afford bank accounts or are censored through politics and sanctions such as countries like Iran can finally participate in a global economy as long as they have access to the internet.
As a side note, I am not endorsing the Iranian government in any way but all these sanctions hurt the common everyday people of a country who couldn't care less about politics and want to just make a living through business.
After understanding and falling in love with Bitcoin, I thought: “What is this Ethereum thingy” and then you discover smart contracts, DAOs, NFTs, Decentralized Finance, and you never look back to our current corrupted and slow global economy.
I am currently the community lead of Litentry, a Polkadot-based digital identity aggregator which allows people to use their past activity on any blockchain to build a credit score in the peer-to-peer economy.
In short, depending on how good the credit score is, the collateral one may use for taking a peer-to-peer loan is reduced. In addition, it helps in other use cases as well. For instance, it helps people authenticate their NFTs through different chains. We also aim to reduce the governance problem of whales having more voting power over an economy by shifting the voting power from the number of coins collected to their credit score. Another use case enables the whitelisting of active accounts based on credit score and thus reduces scams in airdrops and peer-to-peer funding mechanisms.
What is your definition of web3? Why should we care about it?
In short, Web3 is the third generation internet.
It allows users to own their digital products and if they wish so, they can trade and sell them. In addition to already existing digital products, people can tokenize their assets.
For instance, if they have a house, they can fragment it into 100.000 tokens and sell a part of them to someone anywhere in the world to get cash on hand while the buyer has bought physical real estate. If the real estate happens to be rented, then a part of the rent flows automatically to the person who bought part of the real estate. This will not only happen with houses but with any asset imaginable. As such, it will destroy existing intermediaries.
In addition, no matter where you are from in the world, and no matter your background, web3 allows you to invest through various means. Thus, no intermediary to do so.
Finally, you can use all these tokens, where they represent money, stocks, real estate, or any other asset, and use them as a medium of exchange as you do dollars or euros now to buy goods and services.
I love how it can potentially transform democracy and business organizations through DAOs. DAOs are organizations whose rules or laws are encoded on a smart contract thus, needing no lawyers to enforce them since they are self-enforceable.
This allows for one person in the US, one in Russia, one in Nigeria, one in Europe, and one in Australia, with different backgrounds, political ideologies, and economical background to create a company.
It has to be noted that all this technology is entirely new and is in its infancy, we can only create very simple DAOs now due to limitations.
However, technology improves dramatically fast. For instance, look at how life was in the early 00s and how it is now. In 20 years we have, through technology, changed our lives dramatically. The same goes for blockchain. It needs its time to flourish and improve. However, soon, once it does, it will be very interesting!
What hard and soft skills have been most helpful to help you succeed in Web3?
The single most important soft skill in Web3 is social networking. This may sound like a surprise at first but blockchain, Web3, and digital currencies are first and foremost a community-based technology.
This is because, with your token, you are building a global community which in the long term, becomes a mini and vibrant economy. Thus, the more you meet new people and projects through networking, the more communities you get access to, the more communities/economies get to know you and other communities get to know your community. Then, you can talk about partnering, cooperating with the different communities in various ways to create a win-win situation for everyone involved. In addition, you have to be socially active online as well since if you do not take care of your community/economy, people will lose interest, exchange your token for another one, and then, your economy and community, are dead.
If you possess the skill to translate Web3 jargon into simple sentences which most people can understand, throw in SEO and classical digital and traditional marketing skills, many projects would love to have you onboard, Product management and IT business analysis are other ones too.
What would you say is the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The most challenging and satisfying thing is that no day passes by that I do not learn something new. This industry does not progress by the day but by the minute or hour, it seems.
Tell us the greatest working day of your life. You're at home in the evening, thinking of what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
I think nowadays you do not necessarily need to go to a University to develop skills. As long as you have an innate drive to improve yourself and your position, you can buy courses online or watch videos for free or read books or find a mentor - although a University allows for a more wholesome education on many different levels that a course or book or two can not provide.
Thus, I have nothing against Universities, I am going to one myself and will be doing a second master's after that but not everyone can afford them for whatever personal reason. This is especially true for people who may not be able to afford to go to a University, especially in countries where the education level may not be up to the required standard due to corruption or countries like the USA or UK where the tuition fee of a good university can be through the roof and thus not accessible to everyone - although many of them recently started uploading lectures on YouTube such as Jordan Peterson’s on psychology and religion or the lectures of Gary Gensler on Blockchain and Crypto from MIT.
Another reason is because life is complicated and through your life circumstances or early “wrong” choices you could not get financial or any other education and you arrive at an age where you realize that you may have screwed up.
The internet now allows you through content and cryptocurrencies not only to get education for basically free but also participate in a global economy which allows you to invest in different projects from startups to movies and get revenue from it improve your financial situation no matter your geographical location or background as long as you have a vision and drive to work, learn and improve yourself and your and your family's situation.
So, my ideal workday is when - no matter my responsibilities, although ideally the more responsibilities the better - I contribute to the democratization of finance and investments to people who possess the drive to improve themselves but can not due to an accident of birth in an underdeveloped country or any other one such as war, etc.
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What are the best decisions and the worst decisions you have made in this industry?
The worst decision is listening to my peers and especially older people on Web3, about the industry and how it is a scam or a flash in the barn and will not last.
Older people may have experience and know life better than younger people but they are awful with technology. I wish I had been involved earlier and not necessarily buying bitcoin earlier - although that too - but the industry is swarmed with awesome and friendly people with all of them having their own vision of what web3 should be.
What part should Community Leads play in web3?
In a project, the community lead is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. It is the community lead that takes care of the existing community/economy and looks to expand it through bringing in more people to the mini economy and collaborates with other economies/projects to achieve win/win situations and bring to the economies value.
As the adoption of crypto grows, I see the Community Leads positions taking an even more important role in Web3.
What is your favorite Web3 project? Among the people, you've worked, or interacted with in Web3, who do you admire most and why?
Besides Litentry and Polkadot I would go with Bitcoin as, without it, none of us would be here today and OriginTrail as without it, I would not be here today. I also like Floki Inu. At first glance, it is a meme coin but it has strong fundamentals. Please, the above is not financial advice, please do your own research before investing left and right.
I do not want to single out one person specifically that I admire but I would say I admire everyone who came before me irrespective of age and tried to build something here because thanks to them, we can call what we have today - as small as it is - an industry.
In addition, when they came to the space there was literally almost nothing so they had to endure doubt from their surroundings and brave their own doubt even more so than I did when I started the Master’s degree.
I can not imagine how hard it must have been for them - although they were rewarded with multiple bull runs.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What development in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
First and foremost, I foresee NFTs being adopted massively through virtually every industry imaginable from video games to healthcare. I am looking forward to DeFi being massively adopted! In addition, surprisingly, I am looking forward to major banks adopting the technology to its fullest.
They have so far been quite skeptical about the technology but without it, in the long term, I doubt they would survive in any shape or form. In addition, I think they would possibly love the openness of open blockchains and protocols, having customers from all over the world irrespective of their background may be something they would find beneficial.
Although many in the communities do not like banks, the brilliance of blockchain is that irrespective of whether you like someone or not, you cannot stop or censor them from using the technology.
For this to happen, however, wise and correct legislation has to happen. Correct in the sense that it does not legally prohibit people or entities from open access to the technology and internet economy irrespective of their location and background.
Any tips for beginners who aspire to work in this domain, but feel completely overwhelmed to even start competing?
There are certainly many trustworthy sources of education for all budgets.
If you want free education, then the University of Nicosia offers an introduction to blockchain and digital currencies course entirely for free, in addition, UNIC offers an introduction to Decentralized Finance course, and starting from next year, they are preparing an introduction to NFTs and Metaverse course.
Having gone through the first two courses, I can freely say that they are so much more than just an introduction and go far deeper than any other course I have had so far. Moreover, other wonderful free resources include the 6-week Unit Master’s program.
If you are a woman interested in blockchain, then the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center has put together a free 18-week mentoring program exclusively for women to be trained and mentored in different aspects of blockchain: technology, finance, regulation, investor.
Last but not in any way least, the Web3 Foundation has put a free MOOC on YouTube about Web3 and Blockchain
If you have a small budget to spare, I would definitely recommend Moralis Academy and especially the yearly subscription as there is so much to learn in the academy!
Finally, if you would like formal University-level education and the deepest possible knowledge, I would go with the Master’s degree in Blockchain and Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.
The guys from UNIC were working in the field and developing it from an academic perspective since 2013 when all the other universities in the world were laughing at them for their “Bitcoin degree” now everyone is running to catch up with their knowledge…