I have to confess that I feel like I don’t know much about this space:
- I don’t invest in bitcoin or any cryptocurrency.
- I’ve never built a blockchain app.
- When I signed up for the admissions interview, I made sure to schedule it 5 days later, so I can read up on it and not sound completely clueless.
However, whatever I did read about blockchain during my research session for the interview obviously intrigued me enough for me to shell out $3500 for the course.
I found this very useful infographic, which lists out 100+ uses in 25 different areas, such as banking, medicine, HR, and even travel:
After I got accepted, I read The Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott, a leading thinker in the blockchain space. Now this book was published back in 2016, meaning Don wrote it in 2015, which probably seems like the Stone Ages to veterans of the blockchain world.
Don takes you on a tour of the many use cases in the blockchain world. It’s pretty philosophical, laying out a utopian vision of all the improvements that the technology can bring to the world.
Two applications from the book stood out to me:
1. Giving Unbanked Population Access to Capital
Did you know that 30% of the world’s population (~2 billion) don’t have an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider? The have to save in other ways, such as livestock or land. Livestock die, and corrupt officials can seize your land. They also don’t have access to credit at reasonable rates. It makes a precarious life in poverty even worse. Imagine having to quickly sell your land or your sheep to pay for emergencies!
Moreover, women are 9% more likely to be unbanked. In many parts of the world, women still don’t have control over their money. Instead, their fathers and husbands retain control of their property, and in turn, their freedom.
One of the biggest challenges banks face when trying to serve the unbanked is that many of them do not have clear identifying information. With Blockchain, individuals can receive a digital identity for use in their banking.
2. Managing your Identity and Data
Don described this as a “black box” of identity where you’re anonymous except for your digital fingerprint. You can then build different identities and decide what information you want to provide to which organization. For example, you can share medical records with your doctor but not your Spotify playlist. You can even choose to sell your information to advertisers and earn money.
In a world of Cambridge Analytica and where companies exploit our data constantly, this sounds like black magic. I’m so ready for this to become a reality though.
Why I’m Excited For This
Working on blockchain technology have broader societal impact than what most tech companies can provide. I love being a developer, I loved working at my last company, but I could never help thinking that my work had limited impact.
Show Women The Cool Things Happening Outside of Front-End Dev
The majority of women devs are into front-end development, but seriously, there are sooo many more happening things in the tech space!
I mean I get it. It’s fun to make web pages. I was into it when I first started coding, but once I touched backend, I just knew that this is where all the magic happens and never looked back.
There’s just so much more potential here. Even if you stick with front-end dev, you can use your front-end powers at a blockchain company and help change the world.
If you like the sound of a higher salary, working remotely and having recruiters chase after you, then you should really consider getting into this space!