The cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise panorama is dynamic, ever-changing, and filled with a few of the most fascinating folks alive right this moment. Everyone knows the superstars and the famend personalities, however the trade is furthered by hundreds of lesser-known voices as effectively. I wished to provide some publicity to the up-and-coming individuals who assist advance all the trade.
For the inaugural submit, it made sense to interview my colleague and expensive good friend, Alexandra Prodromos. Alexandra, generally known as Lexy by her associates, is Bloq, Inc.’s Enterprise Growth Supervisor and the Government Director of the Chicago Blockchain Middle. Precocial in her skilled life, Alexandra boasts quite a few achievements and accolades whereas solely 24. She was capable of take a while out of her busy schedule to take a seat down and discuss with me about her involvement in the trade, the Chicago Blockchain Middle, and her non-crypto life.
D: What’s your present function in the house?
A: My titles are Government Director of the Chicago Blockchain Middle, and Enterprise Growth Supervisor at Bloq, Inc. Along with pursuing my grasp’s diploma at Northwestern College, I’d describe my function as that of an educator of cryptocurrency and blockchains, neighborhood aggregator, and blockchain expertise advocate. I enormously take pleasure in assembly new folks and introducing them to this thrilling trade, as I attempt to dispel the persistent and pervasive misinformation this house suffers from each day. I’m privileged to have had the chance to take action in a burgeoning neighborhood like Chicago.
D: What’s your background professionally, academically?
A: I acquired my bachelor’s from Pepperdine College in political science, with a certificates in battle administration from the Straus Institute for Dispute Decision at Pepperdine Regulation. I’m additionally an operatically skilled vocalist, and sang professionally. Throughout my time at Pepperdine, I labored as a tennis hitter on the Malibu Racquet Membership. After I accomplished my bachelor’s, I labored as the one non-government-affiliated member of the Illinois Division of Innovation and Know-how Blockchain Working Group, which contributed to the formation of the Illinois Blockchain Initiative in 2016. Presently, I’m a Masters in Info Programs candidate at Northwestern College. I’ve been very fortunate to have emerged instantly from undergrad into an setting the place I used to be capable of apply to jobs that handled improvements in expertise about which I used to be actually passionate.
D: How did you first get into the cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise trade?
A: I first heard about Bitcoin, as many have, about 5 years in the past due to its varied “scandals” and huge change hacks. I took a specific curiosity in blockchain expertise, nevertheless, in direction of the top of 2014 after I realized of a brand new cryptocurrency known as Ethereum. This new expertise, created by a superb man about my age, contained a “good contract” platform. Because the perspicacious pre-law pupil I used to be, I believed studying extra about this new form of contract would fulfill my purpose of sometime working on the intersection of regulation and tech. As soon as I understood extra concerning the underlying expertise, I noticed good contracts have been probably not like authorized contracts in any respect!
There have been many extra functions for blockchains and good contracts exterior of the authorized house. I then spent most of my free time studying how cryptocurrencies and blockchains work. I learn a number of books, sifted by means of Reddit and Twitter feeds, and attended meetups and conferences the place I may communicate with others who have been simply as optimistic about this house as I used to be. The day after I graduated from Pepperdine, I flew to New York Metropolis and attended Consensus for the primary time. There, I used to be uncovered to a concentrated group of extremely brilliant and impressive folks, all discussing the promise of blockchain expertise. After viewing former Governor Jack Markell of Delaware advocate for blockchain expertise by asserting a blockchain initiative for the state on the convention, I postponed my plans for regulation faculty and approached the State of Illinois Division of Innovation and Know-how to work as the one non-government-affiliated member of the Illinois Blockchain Working Group. Because of the foresight and imaginative and prescient of the members of that group, this effort finally produced the Illinois Blockchain Initiative (IBI). I then started a Masters in Info Programs at Northwestern College, and sought to commit my skilled profession to contributing to this house.
D: How do you are feeling about rising regulatory cases in the trade?
A: As is the case with any new technological innovation, notably considered one of this scale and that offers so instantly with actual cash, I believe it’s of paramount significance that the traces of communication between the regulators and the innovators be unobscured. There’s a high-quality stability to be maintained between disciplining unhealthy actors whereas permitting a nascent expertise to flourish to its full potential. I believe a few of the preliminary regulatory actions to cryptocurrencies, at the very least in the US, have been principally reactionary and never primarily based on an understanding of the expertise’s true utility.
Equally, I believe our bifurcated system of federal versus state presents specific challenges as to easy methods to correctly regulate this house, as some points of this expertise fall underneath the auspices of each. That stated, as a result of diligent work of organizations like Coin Middle and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, there was vital progress in educating regulators on the true implications round this expertise, easing their considerations and crafting general extra forward-thinking legal guidelines on the federal stage. On the state stage, Illinois, Arizona, Delaware, Wyoming and a number of other others come to thoughts as leaders domestically for offering readability and new alternatives for blockchain in the private and non-private sectors in their districts. That stated, there’s nonetheless a lot work to be executed, however I believe we’re shifting in a usually optimistic path.
D: What’s the Chicago Blockchain Middle?
A: Based about one 12 months in the past by Matthew Roszak, the Chicago Blockchain Middle is a publicly and privately supported non-profit that serves as an academic useful resource, occasion host and producer, and startup incubator for the Chicago space. We’re supported by the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, and organizations together with CME Group, Bloq, DRW, Lightbank, FinTEx, CMT Digital, and plenty of others. We host and contribute to occasions pretty often, and attempt to help the developer neighborhood by offering intensive workshops and technical occasions. For instance, we not too long ago partnered with BTC Media to co-host Distributed: Markets, and have month-to-month meetups highlighting fascinating startups which are headquartered or have places of work or ambassadors in Chicago. We even have a rising repository of on-line instructional supplies for the neighborhood, together with our “Chicago Blockchain Guide of Model.”
D: What’s Bloq?
A: Bloq is an organization co-founded by Matthew Roszak and Jeff Garzik and is constructing in the house in two methods. On the one hand, we’re an enterprise-grade blockchain structure supplier, by means of BloqEnterprise. On the opposite, we’re contributing to the cryptocurrency and blockchain neighborhood by offering various kinds of help to some key initiatives, by means of BloqLabs.
D: Stopping wanting an endorsement, what initiatives do you see in the house at the moment which excite you probably the most?
A: One class of firms and initiatives that excite me most are tackling points regarding digital rights administration on-line. Particularly, these which were making an attempt to reverse the in poor health results that streaming and copying recordsdata has had on compensating musicians for his or her efforts. Moreover, firms which are looking for to make use of blockchains and tokens in conjunction with on-line dispute decision I view as very promising. And lastly, firms which are tackling decentralizing customers’ private information by means of distributed IDs I view as essential work. This turns into notably related for nations that obtain many ID-less refugees each day, and wish extra clear and simply accessible information.
D: In need of a prediction, when do you assume blockchain expertise will start making a large influence on folks’s peculiar lives?
A: Firstly, we have to outline what a “sizeable influence” can be. In my excellent situation, that will be a world the place blockchains grow to be so ubiquitous and simply interoperable that customers aren’t even conscious that they’re what’s facilitating the usage of their favourite apps. The UI/UX expertise of all of the blockchain expertise and cryptocurrency-based apps can be far more seamless and intuitive, the place it could obviate the necessity for an intricate understanding of consensus algorithms and personal keys in order to function. My Yiayia (Greek for “Grandmother”) may use it! How far are we from this actuality? I believe we’re pretty far-off, however it should occur someday in the following 10-15 years. As Moore’s Regulation would predict, the tempo of innovation in this house has been accelerating fairly shortly, so it’s potential my idealized actuality could grow to be simply actuality ahead of that.
I see developments in the cryptocurrency and token house, nevertheless, impacting on a regular basis folks’s lives a lot nearer to the current day. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and their accompanying wallets have the potential to allow those that don’t belief their fiat forex (one thing in America most take as a right) to be granted new monetary autonomy. I believe in this manner, cryptocurrency and blockchain tech is affecting folks in these kinds of nations in a really possible way nowadays.
D: Exterior of cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise, what are you enthusiastic about? Any critical hobbies?
A: I’ve had glasses since I used to be about 5 years outdated, and since then have liked to learn. I notably take pleasure in biographies, and am all the time on the lookout for suggestions! I’m a musician, particularly an operatically skilled singer and satisfactory piano participant, and I discover I’m happiest making music with others. I’m additionally a longtime tennis participant.
D: What’s your final finish purpose for working in and serving to drive this trade?
A: I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to work on troublesome but impactful initiatives, and equally have labored alongside many good, effectively spoken, and hard-working folks, whom I like very a lot, the final a number of years. A part of what I aspire to, as such, is to proceed such work. Past that, I’ve seen the cryptocurrency/blockchain house come very far, notably in the final 12 months or so in phrases of mainstream recognition and acceptance, however there’s nonetheless widespread misunderstanding and essential infrastructure that must be constructed. My purpose is to contribute to constructing a world the place private autonomy over information and seamlessly transacting digital property actually peer to look will not be an idyllic dream, however is an unquestioned norm.
D: If somebody needs to observe you on Twitter or elsewhere, the place ought to they appear?
A: All are welcome to observe me on Twitter @lexy_prodromos and ship me a join request on Linkedin. Moreover, if somebody want to be taught extra concerning the Chicago Blockchain Middle, we might be reached at [email protected].
Thanks a lot to Alexandra for talking with NullTX!
Photograph Credit score, Pixabay