Cryptocurrency and blockchain have become buzz words that ignite confusion and skepticism in many people. While a healthy dose of scrutiny should be applied to any new financial tool (crypto or otherwise), the truth is, the world should be fascinated with crypto’s potential. When I fall into conversation about my work for the last few years, I see this time and time again, and I realize that there is a core element missing in much of mainstream media coverage of our industry. They have token hype nailed, but they often neglect to share WHY that token is promising, and worthy of popcorn and suspense. Here’s what they often miss. While blockchain technology can be explained by various consensus mechanisms, protocols, and distributed governance models, the spirit of the industry is so much more than tech. At its core, it’s a technology movement with an undercurrent of social revolution, driven by developers, entrepreneurs and communities re-creating systems designed to work FOR, instead of extract FROM humanity. Blockchain is set to revolutionize every industry that is truly impactful in human existence, including healthcare, scientific research and publishing, environmental conservation, banking, and social media.
My career has spanned environmental research, communications, and marketing for startups, mission-based companies and NGOs. With every role I needed a strong “why”: a game-changing solution the company was providing. And I always found it.
But never before has the “why” been so powerful, as the mission of financial inclusion and economic sovereignty that I’ve found here. As someone who always seeks to contribute on a greater scale, finding this community has been a vision made reality. It’s a strange irony for a hippie-at-heart like me to find herself working in a cutting-edge technology field, and one I often have trouble explaining to anyone that knew me prior to this chapter. Until I describe what this industry is about, and why I’m so passionate. And then it makes perfect sense.
As the marketing lead for the first female-founded EOS block producer, shEOS, I worked alongside a team of visionaries as we co-launched the EOS blockchain in June 2018, aiming to bring gender diversity to a male-dominated industry. Our team launched nodes on several global networks, and subsequently created the shEOS Foundation, to provide tech scholarships to young women in underserved countries.
Currently at Make Sense Labs, our team is designing Sense Chat, a social messenger app reimagined. On Sense Chat, people can connect with friends and followers, and build communities on a platform that rewards them for participating. We don’t scan private messages or manipulate their feeds with algorithmically chosen content. We are champions of Web 3.0.
I’m immensely grateful for the chance to work on these meaningful projects, and to co-conspire with colleagues working in parallel lanes of impact. Here are examples of other projects with potential that keeps me up at night.
CELO — forging financial inclusion, economic innovation, environmental health and community engagement through their platform that will bring mobile-friendly stablecoin access to billions of people in underbanked communities.
Transparency Project — testing blockchain capability to bring transparency and accountability to corrupt government systems, in this case, a children’s meal procurement program for schools in Colombia.
Sense Chat — launching a new generation of social networking apps redesigned for rewarding and empowering users instead of manipulating them.
Power Ledger — building blockchain based software to facilitate trade of renewable energy.
Brooklyn MicroGrid — reinventing the traditional energy grid into a resilient, sustainable communal network where members can generate, store or trade renewable energy in a micro-grid.
Cambiatus — empowering communities to create their own local currencies in support of environmental and social objectives.
Science Matters — enabling scientists to swiftly publish and share early observations with the world.
The above list is far from complete, there are hundreds of teams building world-changing tools. Not all of them will endure. But these are the sectors of blockchain that should be the subject of more media spotlight. These visions of social impact are what we should be celebrating, instead of the incessant tracking of coin performance, and the frequency with which Bitcoin surpasses $10k. These projects aim for the heart of many crises we face in our world. If we can bring wider prosperity, economic freedom, and incentives for sustainable living to a larger population of our modern world, maybe we have a chance of saving and restoring our natural one. Because a smart way to help people make better choices, is by spreading the word that they have better options to get their needs met.
In this brave new world, we need tech that works for humans. At Sense Chat we call it human-centric technology. Right now, in tech, banking, and social media; people are often the product. It’s time to turn that around.