New Zealand Women in Blockchain:
Part 2 - Janine Grainger, Co-Founder of Easy Crypto
Welcome to the second part of a series covering New Zealand women in blockchain. This time, we talk to Janine Grainger, co-founder of Easy Crypto.
Janine, tell me about your career path. How did you end up where you are today, regarding blockchain?
Like many others, I came to blockchain through bitcoin. I first heard of bitcoin in 2013 and found the concept fascinating. A true digital currency seemed like a natural next evolution for an internet-connected world, and something that could solve many real-world problems with exchanging value.
Fast forward four years and bitcoin had still not become mainstream, but it was gaining a lot more traction. A lot of my friends and family were wanting to get involved. But, they found the technology daunting and were unsure how to get started with cryptocurrencies. This was how Easy Crypto was born - developed by my brother Alan and I to help make it easy for people to gain access to digital assets.
Which blockchain application excites you the most?
While finance is the most obvious use case for blockchain (as demonstrated by digital currency being the instigator of this new technology), governance is what I find most interesting. Democracy is a wonderful thing in concept. However, current voting systems that give us one vote every three years are clunky, to say the least! There's a lot of experiments going on with blockchain-based voting systems and how these can be used to enable more truly representative democracy. So, I think that's pretty exciting.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing blockchain adoption worldwide? In NZ? How do we overcome these?
The massive surge in cryptocurrency prices we saw at the end of 2017 hampered development and adoption of blockchain technology. However, we've been in a much more stable period for a while now. We're moving towards a decoupling of "cryptocurrency" and "blockchain". Of which I think is very helpful for the advancement of blockchain itself.
In New Zealand, we have some key challenges around regulation and banking access for blockchain companies. Being a small country far away from trading partners, we have a lot to gain from leveraging blockchain technologies and helping New Zealand to be a front-runner in this new economy.
I'd like to see the government take a clear stance in supporting and promoting innovation in the [blockchain] sector. - Janine Grainger
What publications/blogs/podcasts do you use to keep up with blockchain news?
I actually find meetups are the best way for me to learn about new developments in the space and find out what's happening right here in New Zealand as well. This week Blockchain New Zealand hosted an event in Auckland about Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) - another fascinating application of blockchain technology. This event was a great chance to catch up with others working and learning in this space.
What is the best book (or other resource) for blockchain beginners?
If you're just starting out, Blockgeeks has some great free resources, as well as paid courses on more advanced topics. If you're interested in the cryptocurrency and digital asset applications of blockchain, check out Cryptolab run by a couple of guys here in New Zealand.
When it comes to transparency (while maintaining privacy and the security of data), how is blockchain going to change our current systems?
Being decentralised, transparent and immutable blockchain has amazing potential to improve many aspects of our society. This includes healthcare, supply chain and finance. Most importantly, blockchain has the ability to shift the balance of power back to individuals. It will give us control over our data, our identity and our interactions with others.
However, I think we need to make sure we learn from history here too. When the internet first launched, people saw it as an incredible tool for levelling the playing field. Connecting millions of people around the world would enable us to transact directly, peer-to-peer, and the power of the firm would be reduced. Obviously, we've seen the opposite happen. Corporations have grown phenomenally in size and power, and the "peer-to-peer" economy is mediated through platforms such as Airbnb and Uber. Which, of course, take a massive cut along the way.
Blockchain does have the potential to truly transform this, but only if we consciously choose to adopt blockchain applications and protocols that support this.
I think the onus is on all of us to ensure we help support and build toward the type of world we want to live in in the future. - Janine Grainger
Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial or investment advice. The opinions expressed by the author do not represent the opinion of BitPrime.
Last updated: 19/03/2019