8 tips for getting involved in blockchain — a beginner’s guide

8 tips for getting involved in blockchain — a beginner’s guide

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~African proverb.

Photo by Arif Wahid on Unsplash

Can I tell you the story of how I got into blockchain and share with you what I have learned from that experience?

If you prefer to read only my top tips, feel free to skip to the end, and if you have any more suggestions for your top tips, then please leave a comment.

How blockchain is changing money and business

Nearly five years ago, I watched a Ted Talk on an Uber-style delivery for sending money home to loved ones when a person worked away from home in another country.

This new financial service was offering the hope of a more inclusive economic future for all. This future hope was cheaper, safer, and did not require centralized companies to send money home to another country.

Transcript of “How the blockchain is changing money and business”

Don Tapscott’s Ted Talk captured my imagination, and I was hooked on this emerging industry.

What is this innovative new technology that seems to be challenging the current status quo?

It seemed too good to be true, as this technology was also attempting to do economic good for all global citizens.

Before I got lost in the blockchain hype, first and foremost, I am a businesswoman. I have worked in the financial sector pre and post the year 2008, so I proceeded into blockchain with caution.

I put my skeptical hat on — researching and analyzing this new technology and marketplace. In essence, I went on a blockchain learning spree, engaged with the blockchain community and some blockchain CEO’s who were generous enough to give me their time.

Shining lights

The one thing that shone through for me was all the people I met in the industry (and regardless of how this technology develops and grows in the future), there is a community of talented people working with blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.

Between my peers and colleagues, I became known as the go-to blockchain geek. Less than a year later, I delivered one of my first blockchain market research presentations to a group of Analysts, Senior Managers, and Directors in New York.

From there, I was asked to do more presentations to groups like the Association of Corporate Treasurers, combining my commercial understanding with a rapidly evolving blockchain marketplace.

Blockchain can be confusing as it goes against normal business strategies. In many ways, I think blockchain is counter-cultural, and this can make it hard to understand for anyone. Therefore, how do you know if you are backing the right-horse with your research and development budget?

Helping people to understand what this technology means for their business and dependent supply chains is a privilege.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Nearly 2 billion people do not have access to banking services

It is worth remembering that approximately 1.7 billion people in our world do not have access to banking facilitates some take for granted.

In essence, there are many reasons for this;

  1. Know your customer — Know your customer complexities in regards to identification is one barrier to financial inclusion.

In reality, KYC can hinder financial inclusion because if you have no ID, how can you set-up a bank account. It effectively becomes a vicious circle, especially when you move to a new country or have no address or utility bills.

Identity is another use case for blockchain, but I’ll save the detail for a different day.

2. Affordability — banking services are not free, and if you are living on little or no money, how can a person afford to pay for the banking services they require.

3. Lack of infrastructure — a) physically to be able to go to a local branch or b) online if you have no internet access to services.

Another problem online is also protecting people who don’t typically access services this way from online predators.

The above are only three reasons, and there are many other reasons why not everyone can take part in the global economy, which is a problem worth solving.

While some use the term “tech for good,” I am not keen on this term unless led by the person or people who are facing the problem. I applauded companies like Manumit Coffee, which is a survivor-led organization fighting modern slavery, and more organizations should do this type of business model.

Manumit coffee

Our ways are not necessarily the only or right way to implement something new when helping people.

A word of caution; I do not think blockchain is the answer to every business problem. A recent article I published in Data Driven Investor — How will we earn money to live in 2050? — lists the questions I think should be asked before using blockchain as a solution.

How will we earn money to live in 2050?

Blockchain events

In 2018 I was getting blockchain event fatigue — honestly, I had heard the same presentation many times in many ways. I had signed up to go to the Algorand blockchain meetup, and on the road, I got lost, I nearly turned around and did not go. It was cold, dark, a miserable rainy winter’s evening, and I had probably attended one too many presentations.

Sitting there in the auditorium listening to MIT Professor Silvio Macli talk about his blockchain innovation and economics was refreshing.

Silvio came across as smart, humble, and kind, even answering frosty questions from another well-known blockchain start-up with warmth, intelligence, and poise.

I sat there and thought about how do I get involved with this blockchain project because this blockchain is something exceptional. Less than a month later, I joined Algorand as part of their global Ambassador program.

In 2018 there were only a handful of Ambassadors, and now in 2020, there are over 100 Ambassadors globally. Being part of a global knowledge-base for sharing ideas on blockchain, the economy, solving real-world problems is challenging and stimulating, bringing new perspectives and opinions on the sector.

After all, at blockchain’s core, it is community-centric.

Algorand

I believe Algorand is one of the best-kept secrets in the blockchain sector. The most recent achievement to hit the headlines was monumental in blockchain and for the financial industry;

Marshall Islands to Power World’s First National Digital Currency with Algorand and SFB Technologies

SFB Technologies announced that the blockchain for the world’s first national digital currency, the Marshallese sovereign (SOV), will be built using Algorand technology.

The SOV will circulate alongside the US dollar and help the Marshall Islands efficiently operate in the global economy.

Marshall Islands to Power World’s First National Digital Currency with Algorand and SFB Technologies

Three other real-world uses cases I think are worth noting are;

1. PlanetWatch: Global Air Quality Monitoring Initiative

PlanetWatch will build the world’s first immutable air quality ledger utilizing the Algorand blockchain and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies.

PlanetWatch stores data gathered from air quality sensors onto the Algorand blockchain, and subsequently reward contributions to the ecosystem by distributing the PLANET token, a utility token, to sensor owners.

Planetwatch.io –

2. SIAE: Open and Efficient Solutions for Copyright Management on Blockchain

SIAE, the sixth-largest collecting society in the world, will be partnering with Algorand for the development of a new open ecosystem for copyright management. Their collaboration will allow the evolution and strengthening of tools & services and create new and accessible solutions, further improving efficiency and intermediation activity.

SIAE Partners with Algorand for Efficient Management of Copyright on Blockchain

3. World Chess: Plans for Hybrid IPO on Algorand’s Blockchain and the London Stock Exchange

World Chess has announced plans for a hybrid initial public offering where it will raise funds by first issuing a digital token on Algorand’s Blockchain. Made possible by Algorand Standard Assets and Securitize’s digital compliant solutions.

Algorand Partners with World Chess to Become the Official Blockchain Partner of the FIDE Grand Prix Series

I think these blockchain projects are important because they are fighting world problems like climate change and bringing traditional companies with us on this final industrial revolt.

Top tips on getting involved in blockchain

  1. Do your research
  2. Be aware of scams
  3. Learn about the many different blockchain projects
  4. Join a reputable blockchain project slack or discord channel
  5. Attend meetups and conferences
  6. Do a free online course. I started with Hyperledger it was very accessible if you have no prior blockchain knowledge
  7. Developers get involved — Algorand’s programming language is straightforward and convenient
  8. Businesses get involved in the conversation and ask the challenging questions

Conclusion

For blockchain to be successful, a radical change in mindset for both business and individuals will be fundamental.

We need to shake off the scarcity mindset that leads to unhealthy competition and stops innovation. We certainly cannot be protectionist or exclusive about our innovations in this brave new world.

I imagine our future education systems and governing bodies will look radically different than today to keep up with the pace of change in these fascinating yet sometimes fearful times we live. I think blockchain can help with this change in society.

Get in touch

If you would like more blockchain insights, then check out my other articles at the Blockchain Scout or follow me here on Medium or Twitter.


8 tips for getting involved in blockchain — a beginner’s guide was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.