I find the blockchain and crypto industry to be more diverse than some other areas of tech, which is inspiring. I think women can thrive in any space, especially in a new, rapidly growing space like this. I’m optimistic about what I see happening in the crypto space and I tell everyone I know who is looking for a new job to check out the exciting things happening in the crypto and blockchain industry.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Kalnoki — a serial entrepreneur and technology industry veteran with expertise in enterprise software sales, accounting, and cryptocurrencies. In 2018, she co-founded Bitwave, a software platform that provides cryptocurrency accounting, tax tracking, bookkeeping, DeFi ROI monitoring, and crypto AR/AP services for enterprise businesses. Prior to this, she co-founded Synata, an enterprise search engine that was acquired by Cisco in 2016.She is passionate about cryptocurrency and the potential for blockchain technology to change the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
I have always wanted to run my own business and be an entrepreneur. I find working at a startup very exciting and fulfilling. I get asked all the time, “What’s it like to start a company?” I love that question — it can be stressful and exhausting, but in the end, if you love to learn by doing, thrive in a constantly changing job role, I think it is the best job you can have. You end up having to learn so many new skills and wear so many different hats. After working at a startup, you come out knowing way more than when you started.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Currently, the company I co-founded, Bitwave, is working to bring digital assets to businesses. We bridge the gap between the new world of crypto, blockchain, and DeFi and traditional finance. I get to be on the absolute leading edge of a brand-new discipline and drive innovation in the FinTech space. It is very exciting. I also worked on a previous startup working on enterprise search — startups really becoming a passion of mine, it’s great to find a new problem to work on.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My co-founder Pat introduced me to blockchain back in the early days of cryptocurrency. I am grateful he introduced me to cryptocurrencies back then, so when the opportunity came to found Bitwave, I was already well versed in the space. I definitely would not have heard about cryptocurrencies as early as I did if not for him.
What are the 3 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I’m excited about the enormous power of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) to reshape the financial services industry! With the right processes and software, businesses could run their business, pay their employees, get paid by their customers, and even file their taxes with DeFi protocols. Very soon businesses of all sizes can use DeFi to not only go cashless but also go bankless! They will be able to access even the most complicated financial instruments, like paper markets, swaps, and bonds, all because of the ever-growing capabilities of Decentralized Finance.
What are the 3 things that worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I would like to see more regulatory clarity around crypto and DeFi. I think regulatory clarity would help more people and businesses adopt cryptocurrencies. Which could help remove friction from the financial services industry. This would happen faster with clearer guidance from the government.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
I am excited for the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to help bank the unbanked and bring more financial power into the hands of businesses of all sizes.
As you know there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 5 things that you would advise to other women in the blockchain space to thrive?
Actually, I find the blockchain and crypto industry to be more diverse than some other areas of tech, which is inspiring. I think women can thrive in any space, especially in a new, rapidly growing space like this. I’m optimistic about what I see happening in the crypto space and I tell everyone I know who is looking for a new job to check out the exciting things happening in the crypto and blockchain industry.
Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the blockchain industry?
It’s great to see more women in the blockchain and crypto startup space. Blockchain and crypto is for everyone!
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
“Running a startup is a marathon, not a sprint.” Running a startup is difficult, time-consuming, and exhausting. I try to always remind myself of our company’s long-term vision and to pace myself. I’d actually add that it’s less like a marathon, more like a long rollercoaster — one day is the highest high, you just closed the biggest deal of your life, the next day the lowest low. So long as I do something every day that moves the business in the right direction I think of it as a win.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One of my favorite charities is WildAid — they take an economic approach to ridding the world of illegal animal trafficking, and I love that. I love protecting wild animals, and I like when organizations take a very pragmatic approach to solving hard problems, sounds a lot like a startup!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!