This is my first post here on LeoFinance and I hope it will be the first of many. It is also the start of a series of linked posts where I will ask a few questions of members of the community or staff from another project. The aim of this is firstly to learn more about individuals in the community and from outside and secondly to understand more about what people have learnt in their crypto journey.
If you have some interesting crypto stories and would like to take part in a Q and A get in touch.
Today’s guest is the CEO of Koinos and former Head of Communications at Steemit Andrew Levine. I have put 10 questions to Andrew and he has been kind enough answer them.
How did you first get into crypto?
I was lucky enough to come across the Bitcoin whitepaper before “crypto” as a space really existed, but as a non-engineer I struggled to find my place in the industry until steemit.com came along and I was able to convince Steemit to hire me on as a part time “community liaison” in 2016.
What is it in the industry that excites you most at the moment?
All that’s old is new again. DeFi, NFTs, none of this stuff is actually new. I guess what’s exciting is that the space is finally maturing to the point where the things we knew would probably add a ton of value finally seem to be delivering on their promise. That being said, existing platforms are not capable of supporting these use cases at scale. So I guess what excites me the most is that people are starting to focus less on specific use cases and more on enabling the platforms to support those use cases at scale, thought the directions they’re taking and the speed at which they’re moving aren’t nearly good enough for us, which is why we’re building Koinos.
What do you feel is the biggest risk to crypto?
utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Edwin Hooper on Unsplash
Losing all your money? Lol. Crypto is risky, that feels like a feature to me, not a bug, though that probably says more about me than the space. So maybe I’m not the right person to ask. The risk to me has always been in missing out on an amazing opportunity to be part of a transformational and positive change to society. The space as a whole has a ton of scams. I like to say that there are three kinds of crypto projects; projects that know they’re a scam, projects that think they’re legitimate but are actually a scam, and of course legitimate projects. The problem is that the first two categories dominate, and I think the second category is even more common. Building a business is hard. Building disruptive technology is hard. Doing both is practically impossible and yet you have so many projects claiming they’re going to do both when they have no experience doing either. In many ways I am very down on the space. The problem is that the platforms can’t support pleasant user experiences and certainly can’t scale them. So entrepreneurs and developers are pretty much up a creek, even if they have the best of intentions. That’s why I prefer to focus all my time and energy on Koinos instead of thinking too much about “crypto” or “defi.”
What do you know now that you wished you knew when you started out?
Just how important simplicity is. I’ve always wanted to build amazing products, but when you’re young and inexperienced you think that the way to build something amazing is to keep adding features. But that just makes everything more complicated and impossible to execute. The key to building amazing products and companies is to remove features. To make things as simple as possible. And I’d tell myself to not to trust people who don’t understand this.
What is it that you would like to achieve in crypto?
For me it’s always been about dramatically increasing the opportunities available to people to acquire wealth. After 2008 I came away with the belief that the problem was that we all only have access to basically one economy. If you can’t make it in that economy you’re screwed. But what we had access to an ever-changing and ever-evolving landscape of economies that we could go in and out of without friction? People could find the right opportunities for them instead of being forced to conform to a single option that was controlled by people who are probably very different than them, and probably don’t care much about them.
Where do you see Blockchain development going in the next five years?
I believe with Koinos, in the next 5 years, any application developer will be able to integrate blockchain technology into their application in a very short period of time. Maybe just one day of straightforward programming in a programming language they’re already comfortable with (not solidity or C++). I think that’s where we need to get to if we want this technology to reach common people. I don’t really see any other projects that have a good plan for achieving that, but if they do, that’s great.
Who or what inspires you most in crypto?
That’s easy, my teammates and co-founders at Koinos Group. They’re brilliant, kind, and genuine people who just want to deliver the best blockchain possible. I’m sure there are great people working on other projects as well, but that’s the thing, I think the people I respect the most are the people working behind the scenes, doing the insanely difficult technical work required to make these platforms function, not people on social media claiming to be experts who clearly know very little about how any of this stuff works. Watch my discussion with Michael Vandeberg about NFTs and you’ll hear us talk about obvious technical challenges with NFTs that you won’t hear anyone else talk about because they barely even know what NFTs really are at the database level.
Which real world industry would you most like to see widespread Blockchain adoption?
Well, we’d love KOIN to be the currency of Mars. So space travel?
What message would you have for someone coming into crypto now?
Check out Koinos, it’s the blockchain for common people :)
What has been the hardest thing about being involved in crypto?
It’s insanely stressful. Startup life was already notoriously stressful, when you add the price volatility of cryptocurrencies into the mix, that takes things to a whole other level. That’s why it’s really important to insulate yourself, and your organization, from that price volatility. That’s why one of the things we thought long and hard about at the beginning of our journey starting Koinos Group was what products we would ultimately offer to generate USD revenue so that the organization would not be vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the market. Ironically, this is also better for the Koinos protocol because it means we can continue to work on it even in bear markets. It’s easy to build things in bull markets, but bull markets don’t last forever so any project that is ignoring that reality isn’t being smart.