“Part of the reason I started Sagewise was to address some aspects of the legal industry I find outdated and inefficient. I see blockchain as the opportunity to turn the legal industry upside down and shift the paradigm. The world has change, and so must legal infrastructure.”
I had the pleasure to interview Amy Wan, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Sagewise
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory?
I am an attorney by training. I started my career doing international trade and regulatory affairs with the federal government. When I moved from D.C. to California, I worked with a real estate crowdfunding company as general counsel, which is how I got my start in securities law. From there, I became a partner at a boutique securities firm. In early 2017, I left that firm to start a Legal Tech startup, and around that time, kept getting calls from contacts wanting me to counsel them on their ICO. As I watched the industry, I noticed a much more pressing issue: that ICOs were randomly getting hacked and losing millions of dollars, yet the founders and the rest of the crypto industry would regard the loss as it being how blockchain works. To me, that was crazy. In the real world, that would be a lawsuit for negligence, yet people were just accepting random losses of value. That is how I got hooked on the idea that the blockchain and smart contract world needs dispute resolution infrastructure.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Sagewise. We are building a safety net for smart contracts, to help guard against coding errors, securities vulnerabilities, the need to be able to upgrade smart contracts or resolve smart contract disputes. Sagewise’s mission is to bring transactional confidence into the blockchain ecosystem.
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?
There is a number of people for whom I am extremely grateful. Among those is my business coach Cam Kashani. She has helped me get over my mental barriers of being a female entrepreneur and mentally frame that as an asset instead of a barrier. When I was raising money as a pregnant female founder, she helped me use that situation to feel empowered, rather than limited.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- The second opportunity to recreate what the digital world should have done at first: empower individuals instead of creating mass monopolistic enterprises.
- Consumers have the opportunity to own their personal data.
- The paradigm of several industries is changing.
- There will be better recordkeeping and authentication ability.
- The increased ability to reduce fraud.
What are the 5 things that worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- There is a lot of hype surrounding the industry. Not everything needs blockchain, sometimes a database will suffice.
- There is a massive amount of fraud surrounding ICOs and associated activities. Investors are getting ripped off, founders are getting lazy, advisors are earning compensation just for lending their name and retail investors are getting ripped off by pump and dump schemes.
- Blockchain consumes a lot of energy. People in the industry travel the world, leaving huge carbon footprints.
- There is too much talk around crypto prices and speculation, instead of substantive conversation.
- The current state of conversation could impact the industry taking off.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Part of the reason I started Sagewise was to address some aspects of the legal industry I find outdated and inefficient. I see blockchain as the opportunity to turn the legal industry upside down and shift the paradigm. The world has change, and so must legal infrastructure.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
- Find your tribe, or create it. When I started in legal tech, I wanted to find like minded people, so I started the Legal Hackers LA meetup.
- Invest in yourself. When I knew I wanted to start a company, I found I had mental barriers. Instead of getting over them myself, I invested in a business coach and accelerated the process.
- If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do? Find your passion and go do that.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Tony Robbins. He has empowered a lot of people to change their mindset for the better. I believe that self-empowerment and the right mental state are critical for success.
Originally published at medium.com