We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Olga Kupchevskaya, vice president of research and development for MyEtherWallet.
Olga is vice president of research and development for MyEtherWallet. She has a strong passion for learning, which brought her to blockchain technology and led her to complete a master’s in computer science, with research emphasis on blockchain scalability solutions. In her role with MyEtherWallet, she oversees the research, development and production of software products ranging from the Ethereum Blockchain data tools (EthVM) to wallet management.
1 — What kind of consolidation do you expect to see in the crypto industry in 2021?
As far as price is concerned, Ether (ETH) will go to the moon, of course. We already saw that staking increased interest in the chain and brought the price higher than it was in 2017. If the Ethereum Foundation executes its promise of merging to the Mainnet and Beacon chains by the end of 2021, the value of ETH will be even further secured.
In addition, we will see more consolidation in decentralized finance cross-chain functionality and bridging. Following the previous DeFi boom years, more and more users are interested in participating in different DeFi projects. It’s the next step for the projects to create maximum value for their users and gain an even higher market share.
2 — What are the top five Crypto Twitter feeds you can’t do without, and why?
I do have a Twitter handle. However, I do not have a friendly relationship with Crypto Twitter. I will usually dedicate several minutes a week just to see if there is anything worthwhile. Most of the time, I am just checking our company’s partners or other big DeFi projects for interesting news or some educational content. Often, I get overwhelmed by the amount of speculation and misinformation out there in other channels and how much manipulation goes on in the feeds.
We all have seen recent examples of Twitter activity where a big-time investor tweets some speculations or threats regarding their investments. Then, right after, we see people start vigorously buying or selling. As a result, we get significant price changes. Besides the fact that market manipulation is illegal in other industries — and that it is absurd one tweet can significantly influence the crypto market and cause chaos in the community — it does put a perspective on ethics standards in the Crypto Twitter community.
Instead, I get most of my news from some dedicated crypto media platforms like Cointelegraph, CoinDesk, etc. and random crypto podcasts, where content is higher quality — and I don’t have to absorb the information in micro blocks without context.
3 — Which is sillier: $500,000 Bitcoin or $0 Bitcoin? Why?
I feel that a Bitcoin (BTC) price at $0 is much sillier than $500,000. At the end of the day, the primary Bitcoin purpose is value transfer; even though it’s decentralized, it still has some common ground with centralized digital systems. Traditionally in financial systems, you have a middle man who will help store, manage and secure your assets, like a bank. And as with any business, the middle man has expenses, so you eventually pay some fees to it when you want to use your assets.
With blockchain technology, you can do all of that yourself; however, there are still physical costs. Like any blockchain, Bitcoin is operated by nodes connected via a network. Bitcoin nodes perform computational work to verify transactions and make chain history accessible to other node peers. Each peer still has to be incentivized to perform the proof-of-work to cover equipment costs, electricity costs and so on. Even if Bitcoin started to implement proof-of-stake like Ethereum, there are still costs that one needs to cover, like ongoing node maintenance.
4 — Which two superpowers would you most want to have, and how would you combine them for good… or evil?
My first ability would definitely be to clone myself while keeping the clone’s memory once we are joined back together. I feel that there are not enough hours during the day to do everything I want or even need to. For instance, there is so much innovation happening all around us in the industry, and I just don’t have enough time to educate myself deeply on all of the new concepts. Instead, I have to pick only certain things.
The second would be flying — being able to get somewhere without any constraints is very attractive. By combining these powers, I would have the unique ability to offer free multi-route air taxi services to those in need as an alternative to regional airlines and their outrageous luggage fees. I’d have to work out the details to be able to show in-flight movies, but hey, the idea is there!
5 — What talent do you lack and wish you had? How would you use it if you had it?
I definitely lack good public speaking skills. English is not my native language, and like most people, I tend to get very nervous. When I had to do frequent presentations in college, sometimes I would lose my train of thought in the middle of the sentence, and I forgot some words halfway while saying them out loud. Even though it has been a while since I experienced extreme nervousness, I still feel that I lack the qualities to give a speech to a large crowd I just met.
I am lucky, as I now work with great team members who respect and motivate each other. However, I did experience my share of sexism and discrimination, and I know other people in the crypto and STEM industries are experiencing that now. If I were a great public speaker, I would want to influence and motivate people to talk about what they are going through, call out gender biases and take action. Adding to the existing dialog will help create more awareness and empower more women and monitory cultures to enter and stay in the industry.
6 — List your favorite sports teams, and choose the single most memorable moment from watching them.
I grew up in Russia, and of course, we always watched hockey over there. My friends were big-time SKA Saint Petersburg fans, and we would frequently go to games as hockey tickets are a magnitude cheaper over there. One of the most memorable moments was watching them get into the KHL Conference Finals for the first time and play their last game against HC Dynamo Moscow. I remember the last 30 seconds and how intense it was.
SKA was losing and had to score twice to win. They pulled the goalie off the ice to gain an additional skater, concentrating the rest of the game around the Dynamo net. SKA skaters kept attacking the net over and over again with all the skills they had to offer. Still, the Dynamo goalie kept producing amazing saves, and in between, you could feel the tension between the players and the stadium. SKA lost — the Dynamo goalie proved to be unbeatable — but it was a great hockey game all around.
A wish to the blockchain community:
Definitely don’t be afraid to be a little crazy. Even though your idea might seem too out there, there is still a good chance that it’s not; you can be the first to bring it to life! Educate yourself, reach out to the people in the industry, and you can find someone who will share your passion and help you with execution.