Two years ago, on the eve of the US presidential inauguration, I appeared in a documentary on the British TV station iTV. A friend of the family asked my mom if she would be willing to be interviewed by the show’s journalist who was traveling across America speaking with voters on across the political spectrum. My mom wasn’t particularly interested so she nominated me.
Now, admittedly, most of my life, I’ve been politically apathetic. My approach to politics was to put my head in the sand because even if I didn’t pay attention, life worked out. As immigrants, my family and I created prosperous lives for ourselves in the American Midwest. We lived in safe neighborhoods with great public schools. We made enough money, we bought real estate, and moved up the economic ladder. My sister and I both attended great universities. Outside of academic achievement, I never worried about much. So I never cared much about politics.
That was until two years ago. On the eve of the inauguration, the documentary aired. Watching the broadcast, you would never know I was formerly a political schlep as I shared my aversion to current events. I’d like to say that I didn’t know what had come over me, but, I did. I was broken by the year-long public war on the American people, by the American people.
To cope with my upset, I learned how to meditate. Focusing on something besides current events made me less anxious. Eventually, I began to feel better. Over the next year, I stumbled upon Bitcoin and blockchain technology and slid down the infamous rabbit hole. I watched the documentary Banking on Bitcoin and immediately the topics and themes made sense. I started researching Bitcoin and altcoins and the underlying blockchain technology.
Like many, I became fascinated by the potential of digital currency to transform financial systems and tried to learn as much as possible. I learned about the implications of government-controlled fiat and how crypto could shift control to individuals. Domestically, Americans didn’t have to remain at the mercy of “too big to fail” banks. And abroad, crypto could be used as a strong hedge again national currency devaluation resulting from political turmoil. I read about economic issues in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, India, Greece. Learning about the rise of digital currency gave me hope. Imagine if crypto could do for banking what the internet did for media; to give access, power, and control to individuals rather than governments or financial institutions. This was thrilling.
For the remainder of 2017, I enjoyed the dramatic rise in crypto prices and continued to learn as much as possible. Of course, at the start of this year, prices tanked but luckily, these new valuations did not completely destroy my enthusiasm for space. I began to learn about blockchain technology and the potential impact of decentralization. I learned about the 19 industries blockchain will disrupt. Heck, it can even help us with election tampering. I immersed myself wholeheartedly into this new space. I loved the technology and the quest for solutions to long-standing issues of money, control, centralization, power. I was hooked!
But what I enjoyed just as much as the promise of this new technology, was operating in a world where politics didn’t matter. I mean, how could they with so little regulation? This was uncharted territory where the same forces of polarization and manipulation did not exist. There was no precedent. There were no rules until we made up our own. DYOR, HODL, and BTFD applied to everyone. Politics didn’t matter because we all wanted the same thing — mass adoption. In this ecosystem, our desires were aligned. It was magic. Forget putting down someone else’s candidate. We were having too much fun speculating about the market, comparing shitcoins, and choosing our lambos!
Fortunately, my understanding of and appreciation for blockchain today extends beyond making money. Of course, the bear market has forced me to manage my expectations and to adjust my portfolio. But it has also eliminated weak hands leaving only true believers to BUIDL a decentralized future. These believers include members of two outstanding, international teams I have worked with — first with Bitcoin for Beginners (BFB), a crypto education website, and now Kambria, an open innovation protocol initially focused on the robotics and AI verticals. At BFB, I was the only woman on the small, core team of leaders living around the world. At Kambria, our leadership team is all-female and split between Silicon Valley and Vietnam. In both organizations, team members value growing the crypto/blockchain ecosystem by sharing their knowledge, with integrity, with their respective communities.
In my work, political parties do not apply. We don’t need to take sides in a zero-sum game because we know that connected communities are stronger than divided ones. We are all students and teachers at the same time, innovators intent on creating a new reality. I am grateful for my work, my colleagues, and this new space. Bring on the future!
Laura Guy for the Kambria Network
Kat is sold to be used on the Kambria platform.
Also published on Medium.