The Scrooges of the future

The other night I was having dinner with my family, just the usual, and if you know how Italian minds work, you should understand that dinner with the family is actually a very important moment (not to sound too much like Don Corleone, but it’s true). In my case, we often tend to engage in very serious conversation after dinner and topics can range from ethics, to politics, and to the economy as well.

I have never actually been all that interested in the economy until I launched my own startup. It was only then that I started educating myself and discovered a whole new world to it: cryptocurrencies. You’d think that it’s about time that I did, and yes, I say that to myself too.
So, as I was saying, at that very much Italian dinner, I was trying to explain to my mother how cryptocurrencies work.

If we think about money and the economy, we always think about it as something physical, tangible, something we can actually hold in our hands. It’s funny how we have this image of Uncle Scrooge diving into a pool of gold coins, and this, for us, is the apotheosis of money. When 80% of the population (maybe even more) think about money, like I said before, they think of something material, and often cryptocurrencies are still being written off as something malignant, something we should all stay away from. All because it’s not tangible.

So here I was, having my Italian dinner with my Italian family, asking them a simple question: can you actually touch the money you have in your bank account?
Obviously, the answer was no. Most of the time, they are mere numbers on a piece of paper or on your screen. So my next question to them was, “how is that any different from owning Bitcoin or other similar cryptocurrencies?”. I believe that this disconnect is one of the main causes of distrust towards cryptocurrency.

If we really do stop and think a little more deeply about it, the answer to my last question is “there is no difference”. We can’t actually touch the money we have in our bank accounts because there is no physical money. We imagine these big vaults, filled with gold coins just like Uncle Scrooge’, and while that may have been true just a decade ago, in the 21st century, all those gold ingots have turned into numbers.

So how are these numbers that define the values of the US dollar and Euro any different from the ones that define Bitcoin, Ethereum, and so many other cryptocurrencies? Wouldn’t you say that they’re pretty much the same?
If we had a time machine and we were able to travel back to the 18th century or even further, and if we were to bring a person to the future and make him or her see how our banks are working now, they would be extremely shocked by the fact that there is nothing tangible.

Since the beginning of time, humanity has always lived on economy and some sort of money. First there was bartering, the most tangible currency. We knew that a cow was worth 3 sheeps and 2 chickens, so this is how transactions were made long time ago. Then our necessities evolved, so in 600BC the first currency was actually invented by King Alyattes in what today we call Turkey. This created a roar that is still aching today. Coins became cash, cash became credit cards and in 1946, when the first credit card was invented, it was the first moment when the actual money started not being tangible anymore. With just a swipe, we were able to pay sums that we weren’t actually physically owning anywhere.

We are no longer just reasoning on silver and gold, we no longer have ingots in our banks and this might sound like the weirdest thing for someone from 1740. And I can bet, that if we take the same time machine and we jump 100 years in the future, we would maybe be surprised to see that every transaction needs to be done not in USD, not in Euro but in cryptocurrency. Truth be told, we already are in the midst of entering that future.

The future is scary. It’s not easy to just jump into the unknown, not without fear. Once upon a time there was Star Trek and they had phones in their hands, something that was completely unthinkable for us in the 80s… and then Steve Jobs invented the iPhone. The rest, as we say, is history.

About The Author

Europe Executive

I’ve just turned 32, and my name is Erika, with a ‘K’. I’ve always loved communication, both in its digital and traditional forms. Everyday relationships, work partnerships, and even simply contacting someone else, all of this is communication.

Enter Blockchain episode 2 – Manila edition

After spending some times in Kuala Lumpur, I went back to Manila with my amazing travel buddy, Lina, to hold the Enter Blockchain event in this city.
The days in Manila were pretty hectic, however, thanks to our friend Miguel Cuneta, we were able to take a look around town. From a European point of view, it was almost shocking to see such a different way of living in one city; it was surprising to see how the city changes with just a few meters distance.

What was even more surprising, was once again our Manila community. We can’t believe how involved our audience is there and it was refreshing to see so many people interested in blockchain technology, how the future is evolving and how this industry can help the development of this country.

Enter Blockchain is a concept that we created to let the professionals share their experience with our audience. I come from a background of digital communication and fashion (yes, I’m so Italian, I know) and as a rookie of the space myself, it was amazing to hear these wonderful stories and learn about blockchain from the very own people who made it in this space.

The Blockchain space is so wide and so international that it’s amazing to see how different each and every experience can be and it was very interesting to see how blockchain uses can variate from company to company and country to country.

In a country like the Philippines, blockchain is very much accepted and it’s starting to be adopted in various fields. This industry could actually be used to solve a lot of problems and just like Ivan Kan said during the panel, this is what people want to see:

“People are really trying to solve their every day issues. In San Francisco or LA, everyone is trying to become the next Uber or the next Google, but here it’s really refreshing to see how blockchain companies are trying to find a solution and solve issues that are real and impacting the daily life”

However, being blockchain such a new industry and unfortunately sometimes connected to negativity and scammers, there are many people that are still sceptical about its use. Nonetheless, not all blockchain is bitcoin and not all the projects are here to cheat and fraud, and this is what Alenna Dawn pointed out during the panel:

“People are getting more and more involved even if they are still afraid of all these bad feelings surrounding the blockchain space. However, once they get involved they can see with their own eyes and through their own experience that this could be something bad, but it could also be something good and really great”

What’s also beautiful about the blockchain space is that everyone is so collaborative and opened to suggestions and to different point of views. Everyone is ready to listen and to improve their own knowledge through meetups and other events. Like Rafael Padilla said:

“Many successful startups have born from a simple meetup. The Filipino people are very active and interested in this space so it’s easy to go to meetups and find friends but also someone that could be your next business partner in the future”

However, lately the general public seems to have connected Blockchain with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general, which is not exactly right. Like Mark Vernon said:

“We see a lot of people connecting blockchain to cryptocurrency and strictly to financing, but right now what we need is to connect the blockchain space outside the money, so too see more project that will make the general public change their mind about it”

We as BlockChats are also actively looking for new projects with a new take on the blockchain space. This industry has infinite potential and we still have to reach the core of it. The Filipino community has once again surprised us with its amazing love and passion for this topic and we really can’t wait to be back again. We know you didn’t want this event to end (even after 3 hours of talk, and on a Sunday!) so stay tuned because we are going to fill your days and your minds with even more blockchain related fun, promised!

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About The Author

Europe Executive

I’ve just turned 32, and my name is Erika, with a ‘K’. I’ve always loved communication, both in its digital and traditional forms. Everyday relationships, work partnerships, and even simply contacting someone else, all of this is communication.

Enter Blockchain episode 1 - Kuala Lumpur edition

Sometimes, when Europeans think about Malaysia, they immediately go “Jungle” or “Sandokan”, but that’s not actually right.
I was in Kuala Lumpur as a tourist a couple of years ago, and before that I was only able to look at this city through the eyes of Instagram. When you live any city as a tourist, the feeling you get is different and you usually spend your time in a sort of dream-like state. But this time, I was able to experience Kuala Lumpur more like an actual person living and working there, and I have to say I was surprised by how beautiful this city is. A mix between all the Asian rigor and the European free-feeling (or chaos if you prefer it), with amazing and super forward looking architecture but still with that small town feeling that makes you feel at home and like everything is utterly familiar.

But what surprised me even more was our amazing community in Kuala Lumpur, which I was able to meet for the first time during our Enter Blockchain event on September 25th.

It was the first time also for this series of events! We chose this amazing city and this amazing community to introduce this new event series focused on delivering educational content to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a Blockchain developer, a geek or just a crypto fan, what we want to convey with these event is the passion that there is behind this world, to empower people and to let you all be informed about this industry.

The wonderful panel was composed by founders, developers, and entrepreneurs from around the world, sharing their experience in the Blockchain industry.

As a rookie of the blockchain industry, I am still learning the basic ropes of it but during this event we were able to hear a lot of interesting points on how this world works.

One of the first misconception is that, like any “traditional” project, we think that blockchain is something that is actually restricted to certain countries. But it’s actually not like this; Blockchain is global, Blockchain is international. There are endless possibilities and there are no confines to blockchain so the experience we can have in Malaysia or the Philippines might be different from ours but it’s something that will enrich us and that will help us develop a different point of view.

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One of our panelist, Alenna Dawn, shared her view during this session.

“Blockchain is not just coding. Blockchain is adaptable to yourself, blockchain can be personalised to each and everyone of us and it’s all about how you want to enter this world and how you want to learn about it”

What I’ve learned in my brief time in this space, is that this is all true. You don’t need to be a coder to talk and work with blockchain. You don’t need to have a computer engineering degree to be in the blockchain world. You can tailor your experience according to your needs and your skills, you can learn about blockchain even if you don’t understand anything about computer or financing, it’s really all about how you want to learn it. You can reach out to communities, to network and to meet experts and learn about blockchain from the actual people that create it and have been working with it since the beginning.

Not only you don’t need to have a computer engineering degree to be part of blockchain, but this industry can also be applied to various fields, just like Kyri Andreou said:

“Blockchain can help people that don’t have a state, that don’t have an identity or financial services. These are all things we take for granted but for certain people, like the Rohingya, having all of this is something special. There are some problems with the current financial system and blockchain technology can help with building a new architecture for it, re-inventing it to get a more fair distribution and a more accountable one to help disadvantaged people”

Another very important point raising from the audience and the panel was about startups and how they should move in this space.

First of all: get your team in place. Just like Kirsten Roy-Reid said:

“Whenever you have a project, whether it is an ICO or something else, you need to surround yourself with people that are good in different aspects. Surround yourself with a team that will work with you and that will help you bring your vision to shape. Blockchain is not just coders and developers, blockchain is also business people, communities, marketing and much more”

More advices on this subject came also from Max Lautenschläger:

“Having a just a good idea is not longer enough in blockchain today. You need to build your project, give it a solid ground to stand on. Put everything you have in it, all your passion and your hard work and create a team that helps you validate your vision.”

We have seen so many project be born and die after a few in the last year and this is not just a matter of the current situation of the blockchain market. Just like in the “real world” startups have their struggles but here’s what Dr Marcus Voo has to say:

“As a startup you need to have a more practical approach, people do need to think about the bureaucratic aspect but they need to have a more easy and practical approach when working in blockchain industry”

I’m still new but what I am learning from these events and from the people in the industry is that Blockchain’s potential is endless, you just need to find the right fit for yourself, the right topic and the right team to work with.

This is how you Enter Blockchain.

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About The Author

Europe Executive

I’ve just turned 32, and my name is Erika, with a ‘K’. I’ve always loved communication, both in its digital and traditional forms. Everyday relationships, work partnerships, and even simply contacting someone else, all of this is communication.

The Crossfire kicks off in Manila!

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My first time in Manila started with a shocking revelation: traffic is CRAZY. I’ve always complained about the traffic generated by commuters in Milan, but after seeing how it is in one of the major cities of the Philippines, I understood that what we have is actually not that bad. Being this my first time in Manila has brought me also to understand better this city and this country, which, for many reasons, has something in common with Italy.

However, one of the most special things about Manila is our incredible community! I was finally able to come here and join my dear colleague Lina in one of our events. As some of you may know, on 22 September, BlockChats held the “first episode” of our offline series called The Crossfire.

Three Blockchain startups pitched their projects to an amazing audience and an even more amazing panel of judges. This event started off as a competition between ICOs, but then we realized that what is really cool about this is that projects are able to receive an unbiased opinion; what works and what doesn’t, what are the strong points and what are the weakest ones. Let’s face it, ICOs are not really having the best time right now, and it’s really rare to have the chance to stand in front of personalities such as Max Lautenschläger, founder of IconiqLab, Miguel Cuneta, one of the most prominent and vibrant personalities in the Filipino blockchain community and also also the co-founder and Chief Community Officer of Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), Mike Abundo, Chief Technology Officer of Reelmedia, a digital marketing firm catering to a diverse array of clients in the Southeast Asian blockchain space, and Rennie, founder of Crypto Valley Singapore, and being able to pitch your own project.

The first project pitching at the event was BrikBit, a blockchain-based Lisk sidechain and a ecosystem that develops and manages entire operations for the Real Estate industry. Real estate industry is now booming in Manila, thanks to the new laws of the Government of the Philippines, and this could create an advantage for BrikBit ecosystem where all main players involved in the Real Estate projects will be able to use the potentiality of blockchain technology to automate, disintermediate and make more transparent both typical and implicit processes during all steps such as fund collection, design, creation and management of a Real Estate enterprise.

The second project, took us in a complete different direction: Willtoken! A utility token issued by Digitrust Corporation that can be used as a payment tool for WILL writing services. The ultimate goal for WILL Token is to provide a non-complicated, fully automated and simple to use crypto wealth assignment as well as settlement service to all crypto investors and the crypto community. What Captain Selva and his team are trying to achieve is to provide a safe blockchain environment for crypto investors to build wealth and empower their beneficiaries to inherit this wealth when the investor is no longer around, just like you do “in real life”.

Third one on the stage was Crowd Create and its co-founder Ivan Kan, a marketing agency that offers elite level community management and a large network of crypto influencers. Having a strong community is very important in today’s blockchain market and what Ivan Kan and his team are helping you with is to improve your support system to get you and your project to the next level.

At the end of each pitch, all the speakers and the audience were able to hear some very insightful thoughts from our panel of judges.

“If at the end of the day, you feel exhausted by your job, then this is not the job you need to be doing. I haven’t slept in 3 days and I am still thrilled and charged to go on doing what I do”

– Rennie S.
Crypto Valley Singapore Founder

“No matter what you do, you should always put all your passion in your project. You need to cherish it and make it grow as part of who you are, truly and strongly believe in your project”

– Max Lautenschläger
IconiqLab Founder

These were just some of the inspiring words that I was able to hear during this event and this is also what the Crossfire Serie is about.

At BlockChats we put passion in everything we do and we want to help startups to get a stage and an audience were everyone can feel welcome and can find people willing to listen, willing to confront themselves and most of all willing to share their passion and love for what they do. After all, we are like a big family and family always supports one another.

We want to thank all the people that joined us in this event, all the speakers and the judges, you really made this day really special.
Crossfire will return in Milan and London in November, so make sure to stay tuned to these screens for more inspirational moments like these ones!

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About The Author

Europe Executive

I’ve just turned 32, and my name is Erika, with a ‘K’. I’ve always loved communication, both in its digital and traditional forms. Everyday relationships, work partnerships, and even simply contacting someone else, all of this is communication.