“We have the benefit of hindsight, to examine the birth of the internet; it’s not too late to avoid some of the oversights and the mistakes that we made in the early days of its life. For the majority of the time I worked at DNA.Fund, I was the only woman among twenty men. This is when I first realized the imbalance. Then, when I started going to blockchain industry conferences it became crystal clear: the blockchain industry today is completely male dominated. I get the fact that this disparity grows from its roots in gaming and tech, but we don’t have to perpetuate it. Imbalances of any kind — gender, race, religious beliefs, anything really — just isn’t healthy for anyone, including individuals or businesses. I think we are about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth and power the world has ever known — — whew, it gives me chills just to say that — and we HAVE to get this one right.”
I had the pleasure to interview Emily Bush. Emily is Co-Founder and CEO of shEOS, the only female-founded block producer on the EOS.IO network. She is also on the Founding Team of Verses, a 3D spatial protocol building the underlying technology for AR, VR and MR.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Before I became involved in blockchain, I worked in real estate for over a decade, building a real estate technology company, a boutique hotel and, most recently, I sold billion-dollar buildings in NYC, while I was working at CBRE in their Capital Markets group. In 2014, I bought my first BTC, and, practically overnight, I happily fell down the rabbit hole, immediately inspired by the awesome potential of the technology: I worked at DNA.Fund, one of the top consulting groups/funds for almost a year, I personally have a fund in the space, I am on the Founding Team of a token/company called Verses, and I am Co-Founder of the Women of Crypto. I am a Founder of shEOS and the CEO of the Block Producer on the EOS blockchain. We are the only completely female founded BP on that network.. When I was in college studying Biomedical Engineering and playing soccer on scholarship, I never imagined that the future would find me right here, right now.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
shEOS takes the cake on this one. I am working on a handful of things, but this one really keeps me up at night, in the best way. For anyone who doesn’t already know this, EOS is one of the most well-funded startups in the world, and I think the technology has the ability to bring blockchain to the masses on a daily basis. As a Block Producer, we are, in effect, miners of the EOS blocks and, along with the other network Block Producers, we are the backbone of the ecosystem. I like to think of us as “miners on a mission.”
What’s the mission? We want to bring more women into the space, so it better reflects the 1:1 gender ratio. (Women currently make up less than 10% of the blockchain activity and ownership.) And here’s how we will accomplish it: we are building a Foundation that will be funded with a portion of our profits that will provide scholarships to young women who seek an education in blockchain engineering. We are also hosting meetups, events and an annual conference that all focus on education and community. We are doing this because we know, and it’s a proven fact, that ecosystems thrive only when all members of it are active and productive.
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?
So, if you are asking me to shout-out someone in this industry, it’s James Glasscock. James gave me my first shot; he believed in me when I knew nothing. He hired me and took a chance while offering me one at the same time. In the beginning, he encouraged and guided me every step of the way. But James’s generosity extends beyond all he did for me. He deeply cares, not only about the company, he cares about people. His curiosity and constant hunger for education makes him a great thinker and a leader. I feel lucky to have been mentored by such a kind and brilliant individual.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
The seemingly infinite number of applications of this technology. Everyday, my mind is blown by the different companies I discover who are using this technology in such diverse ways. DMed is building homogenous encryption and using blockchain technology to allow hospitals to share patient data in a hippa-compliant way to help further medical research. Fr8.Network is building a protocol and dApp that will help solve many of the pain points in the shipping and logistics industry; Verses is building a 3D spacial protocol that will operate as the TCPIP of the 3D spatial web. These use cases and companies just blow me away.
Social Impact. The stories of social impact are why I was initially attracted to blockchain and why I continue to be enamored by it. One of my first touch points was M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer and micro financing service, based in Kenya. With over 7 million M-Pesa accounts, the service gives otherwise unbanked people access to a formal finance system, and this financial security has reduced crime in an otherwise largely cash-based society. As I continued my deep dive, I came across The World Identity Network and Humanized Internet: they store critical identity documents, like birth certificates and degrees, on the blockchain. It’s private and secure, and it allows people to share their identity, with permission, and validate transactions. This is urgently needed: according to the United Nations, one in five people in the world lack legal identity. Learning about these types of projects is what keeps me constantly in awe of the myriad uses for this technology.
Reduced Transaction Costs. It makes sense why Visa charges merchants $0.10 and 1%-3% per swipe of their cards. They have a centralized system that needs sufficient funding to maintain their operations. Insert blockchain technology, and you’ll have almost frictionless payments. Blockchain technology allows peer-to-peer transactions without the need of a third party. Because there is no middle man, the transaction fees can be significantly decreased, and, with EOS, non-existent (because EOS is an inflationary currency, and that is how they pay their miners).
Remittances. The total remittance market is over $440B annually. That is 3x the amount of international aid that is provided to developing countries on an annual basis. Of that, over $32B fail to reach the recipient due to extreme transaction fees (a typical money transfer, like Western Union, takes 20% of the transaction). Cryptocurrencies remove the inherent friction in sending money from country to country. There are even projects like Abra which have popped up that convert money into BTC, transfers the BTC across its blockchain, and then settles the transaction in its local currency on the other end. Abra lowers transaction fees by over 90%. I’ll admit, when I first recognized this as such a large use case, the first thing that popped in my head was to short Western Union.
Universal Earned Income (UEI). Zero Fabric (a project that will be launching soon) believes that ‘universal basic income’ will become ‘universal earned income’ by everyone owning and profiting from the sale of their own personal data. No longer will the tech giants (like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter) profit from the aggregation of our data. Instead, UEI proposes to provide a living by just…living!
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
Regulation. We had a big win a couple of days ago when the SEC announced that ETH was not a security, but we still have a long road ahead of us to figure out how different governmental bodies are going to treat these new assets.
Diversity. At present, there is not enough diversity in the space. shEOS is on a mission to change that through education and community.
There are no stairs, YET. I use an analogy to explain the maturity of the industry. Right now we have laid the foundation, we may have even placed some beams, but the problem is that we keep trying to get up to the second floor, but the stairs haven’t been built yet. The infrastructure layer of this technology is still a work in progress. In spite of it, some people are trying to build consumer-facing products before the protocol layers are live. It seems to me that, those projects are putting the cart before the horse. Still, I admire them for thinking ahead.
Hacking. There are still too many bad actors in the space, and the checks and balances that will smoke them out are not airtight…yet. The industry needs to develop bomb-proof self-securing protocols before we can expect big institutions to come into the space.
Focus on Technical Proficiency. The user interfaces that we see most often today will not work for the blockchain of tomorrow. For the most part, the blockchain is not navigable by anyone other than the technically proficient. This is a solvable problem, but it needs to be focused on this year. Right now, the only intuitive onramp to the internet of value is Coinbase.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
This really comes ‘round to shEOS and the potential for us to make an impact at at the moment that this industry is being born. We have the benefit of hindsight, to examine the birth of the internet; it’s not too late to avoid some of the oversights and the mistakes that we made in the early days of its life. For the majority of the time I worked at DNA.Fund, I was the only woman among twenty men. This is when I first realized the imbalance. Then, when I started going to blockchain industry conferences it became crystal clear: the blockchain industry today is completely male dominated.
I get the fact that this disparity grows from its roots in gaming and tech, but we don’t have to perpetuate it. Imbalances of any kind — gender, race, religious beliefs, anything really — just isn’t healthy for anyone, including individuals or businesses. I think we are about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth and power the world has ever known — whew, it gives me chills just to say that — and we HAVE to get this one right.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
Be curious, be enthused, and approach everything you do with wonder. In an industry that is this brand new, everywhere you turn you can discover a new shiny object (idea), and attached to it, you’ll likely find an inspiring team trying to make the world a better place. Show up curious and eager to learn, and let that energy take you to the moon.
Be fearlessly inquisitive. The best way to learn anything is to ask all of the questions all of the time. There are a lot of great ideas that take time to understand (remember, we are all going into unfamiliar territory together), and there are lots of bad ideas that look like great ideas. Drill down to the details, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to know what you don’t know, and figure it out. Every time you don’t know something, it is a opportunity to learn something new. Embrace it.
The more you learn the less you know. No one knows everything, understand that the more people you meet, the more industries you dive into and the use cases you learn about, make you more aware of the amount of information you didn’t and still don’t know. Be open, be humble.
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? He or she might just see this 🙂
Satoshi. If she is out there and reading this: you’ll probably never find me, but I thank you for the world of opportunity and hope you have created, and apparently for no other reason than for the benefit of us all.
Originally published at medium.com