Don’t let the “NO” stop you. In blockchain tech in particular, you will hear more “NOs” than in any other industry. You will probably even get turned down 10 times for a basic bank account before you get one. You need patience and perseverance.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth White, CEO The White Company. Since being founded in 2017, The White Company has been using blockchain technology to connect the world of global payments and financial transactions, allowing consumers and businesses to pay anyone, anywhere, anytime, in seconds with no fees.The White Company provides all the advantages of the blockchain without the risk of cryptocurrency volatility with the stability of the US dollar.
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?
My traditional background was in luxury, auto and racing, having worked with brands ranging from LVMH, McLaren Automotive and Formula 1. After becoming fascinated with crypto I was looking for ways to merge my two passions, resulting in the launch of The White Company in 2017. My first sale was a laptop in early 2017, but quickly moved to larger, more expensive items such as Lamborghinis and other rare items/experiences. However, my focus now is on leveraging blockchain technology to build global payment solutions that are not just for the cryptowealthy, but reach all of the people across the world who don’t have access to traditional banking.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
In June we launched our White Wallet platform, which enables customers to send, receive and convert payments between USD, GBP, EURO and cryptocurrencies such as BTC, BCH, ETH and XLM. The technology stack powering this platform is modular, which provides us Wallet as a service (WaaS) rails to build digital wallet solutions with various partners in the fintech space, being able to serve anyone from cryptocurrency traders to the underbanked who need simplified digital alternatives to cash.
As an extension of digital payments solutions, one of the most exciting use cases is Digital Escrow Systems that integrate with existing digital contract offerings from Docusign, Thomson Reuters’ Contract Express, OpenLaw and Accord/Clause.io to create a complete solution that automatically enables the transfer of funds that is triggered by electronic contracts. This enables secure, efficient, global closings that can be accomplished in minutes (compared to days) in multiple industries such as real estate, trade finance, logistics etc. In fact, we now have a provisional patent on this process.
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?
John Perry Barlow, founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, was one of the biggest influences on my life. A cyber-libertarian and political activist who worked with both the Democratic and Republican parties, he was influential in my mission to democratize cryptocurrency and ensure equal access to innovative technologies such as bitcoin. He was a personal friend and advisor to me and my team until he passed away earlier this year.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
a) Instant and efficient global payments, through platforms such as White Wallet, that integrate with larger institutional-level blockchain based solutions like IBM’s WorldWire. The traditional financial system, based on either SWIFT (slow and expensive) or remittance companies like Western Union (expensive and limited) does not adequately serve the needs of billions of individuals and small businesses who are doing business in an increasingly connected global economy. Blockchain technology solves these issues. For example, White Wallet allows payments between users with no fees, in seconds, anywhere across the world. We already support USD, GBP and EUR and are working with partners to enable 100s of other currencies.
b) Portable verified identity/KYC such as Civic. There is no reason that once a person is fully verified through a bank, an exchange, an eWallet etc they should not be immediately accepted on any other platform. I believe that regulators will eventually move to not just to encourage, but demand this unified identity (this is already happening in countries from Lithuania to Nigeria), thereby removing the “liability concerns” that are preventing this from taking hold in the US>
c) The ability for blockchain technology to make a profound to make a profound impact on those that the financial services system has marginalized, such as workers in developing countries. For example, working with the Better than Cash Alliance, a UNDP Initiative, we can effectively remove the dangers and problems of cash payments (fraud, corruption, theft, money laundering) in both the developing world and amongst the underbanked in developed nations.
d) The inherent equality of blockchain. When you own your own money on the blockchain, it doesn’t care about your race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion or where you live. Blockchain is the great equalizer of our generation.
e) The fast pace of blockchain technology adoption. It took 30 years for the industrial revolution, 10 years for the internet revolution and only a few years for the Blockchain Revolution. The pace of technological innovation is increasing exponentially.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
a) That the downturn in the cryptocurrencies market affects interest in blockchain tech a whole, which is much more interesting and a long term game-changer than cryptocurrencies themselves
b) That foundations created to support their communities (for example Ethereum Foundation or Stellar Development Foundation) focus on their for-profit arms instead of encouraging community projects and innovation. We have started to see this trend in 2018 and it’s concerning.
c) That governments do not create the right frameworks to encourage innovation. For example, UK/Europe have an emoney license program, which is a logical and reasonable approach to regulating blockchain based payment companies. However, the US is still behind the ball with an inconsistent regulatory environment making it harder to serve the entire US population, and as a result may fall behind in blockchain based innovation.
d) That the focus on cryptocurrency wealth, ICOs, profits etc overshadows the profound social good implications made possible by blockchain technology, such as effective solutions for the Unbanked and Underbanked
e) That some people think you need to take on huge amounts of funding from and ICO or VCs to be successful. Where is the love for companies who generate profit and grow while preserving owners, employees, and angel’s equity?
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
We are working with community leaders to help provide meaningful solutions to financially underserved populations both in developed and developing nations. For example, the Better than Cash Alliance encourages employers in countries with minimal financial systems to stop paying workers in cash and instead focus on digital payments. This avoid corruption, crime, fraud and empowers the people to begin building a financial identity with savings and even investments in environments that are traditionally “banking deserts”
As you know there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 3 things that you would you advise to other women in the blockchain space to thrive?
A) Find what you are passionate about. I find that women often have a specific cause or vision that is very well defined. Your passion will drive your work and keep you going.
B) Don’t let the “NO” stop you. In blockchain tech in particular, you will hear more “NOs” than in any other industry. You will probably even get turned down 10 times for a basic bank account before you get one. You need patience and perseverance.
C) Enjoy your life as much as you enjoy your work. As women, we often tend to be more perfectionist or feel like we have something to prove. This can lead to overworking and burnout. I don’t often meet women in the space that lack dedication or effort, quite the opposite. Take the time to relax, enjoy your life, your family, and your non-work related interests.
Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the blockchain industry?
I think what you are doing, featuring women that are doing great thinks in the industry is a great first step. We need mentors and role models to know that women are welcome and are succeeding. It’s not just about blockbros anymore!
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” — Babe Ruth. I believe that the most impactful companies are those that are small, entrepreneurial-driven and usurp the status quo.
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. 🙂
I think everyone deserves access to financial services, even when the banks don’t think they do or are worth spending the resources on. I would call my movement “A Bank in Every Pocket”. I firmly believe that solving the income inequality gap in society begins by empowering everyone to be able to save, borrow and invest.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com