Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain™ where we get the best in the business to answer diverse questions.
This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.
We found her point of view quite interesting and she has some amazing insights to share!
Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Caterina Ferrara herself.
1. We would love to know more about you Caterina. Your journey and how you entered the blockchain space?
3 years ago, a colleague mentioned me bitcoin for the first time but it did not arouse my interest. 1 year later another friend told me again about cryptocurrencies, he was launching a blockchain-based startup to fight fake designers and to certify the authenticity of luxury brands garments and Italian handmade products. He asked me to join the team as CMO and to present the project during a startup race. Since then I decided that I wanted to know everything about this new technology and month after month, Blockchain and Crypto have become, as I like to tell, a real lifestyle for me. After I started to work with ICO, first as a Community Manager and then becoming an Advisor.
2. Can you tell us more about Blockchain Ladies? What’s the vision and mission of the organisation?
As soon as I started working in the crypto and Blockchain world, I immediately realized that there were very few women. The presence in the ICO teams was poor and I felt the need to do something to Bring Inclusivity and Equality to the Blockchain sphere. I tried to understand what I could do concretely and I thought about my job, my profession, and I told myself “I’m a community manager, I can do this: create a community”. And so Blockchain Ladies was born.
We celebrated our first birthday in October. I remember when, more than one year ago, I wrote to Toni Lane, the Coin Telegraph co-founder, to ask if she wanted to become a member and she enthusiastically answered “yes” and after her, many other professionals, like Galia Benartzi, Marie-Antoinette Tichler and Faith Obafemi did the same.
3. What blockchain startups are you presently advising? What factors do you consider when deciding to take the advisory role in a startup?
To date, I have dealt with 7 ICOs. The projects covered the most varied fields: real estate, waste management, finance investments, game industry and decentralized marketplace ecosystems. I am very selective about the ICOs to supervise, the first thing I value is the team, and the skills possessed by its members. I use the same parameters that an investor follows to decide whether to wager money. Because even being an advisor is a big responsibility and a big commitment and if the criteria satisfy me and the project is successful then it will be the same for future investors too. What I analyze is the project.
It does not matter if it is immature, I focus on the value it creates, on the feasibility, on the need to use the Blockchain and the token.
4. There was a recent crash in the crypto market. What are your views about that?
The reasons for the crash are clear and numerous: the closure of the South Korean exchange sites, the Delay in the ruling of bitcoin ETF by SEC, the civil war of Bitcoin Cash, bad press. Much more probably the decline is due to the speculation of few, big investors, the ‘whales‘ and we also should think about the decrease in value linked to “Futures” contracts.
Investors have influenced the market to bring down the value of Bitcoin. Bitcoin became for sure the first and biggest digital currency and it did a great job in introducing crypto currencies to the world, yet, it has still many limits: volatility and scalability are some of the most important.
5. We came across your article titled “STOs: The Future of Startup funding? Lessons learned between past and present”. What do you think the year 2019 holds for STOs?
As the cryptosphere evolves, so does its regulation. Teams intending to raise funds are starting to realize that the interests of investors are more inclined towards “security” tokens instead of “utility tokens”, due to values possessed by the first. October 2018 has seen the most number of STOs than ever before. Security tokens create a real bridge between traditional finance like venture capital and new technologies like blockchain. Utility tokens serve as payment for certain services or as a symbol of access to certain tech.
STOs are subject to stricter regulation than initial coin offerings and, at first sight, this could seem to be the antithesis of the crypto movement. But the reality is that lending an increased legitimacy to the industry, STOs will likely help to increase the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
People who purchased ICO tokens can only use them to get access to some future product, on the other side investors of security tokens have more tangible economic rights to the underlying asset – equity, or a portion of future revenues or profits. However, we have to consider that there’s a lot more to come in the future. Ethereum is coming up with a unique token standard: ERC-1400 specifically for security tokens. It is currently under testing phase by the Ethereum community. The tokenization of the economy is more near we think.
6. What do you think can be done to increase the rate of adoption of blockchain technology?
It is difficult to determine the exact location of blockchain technology on the diffusion of innovation adoption curve, as these data can be influenced by a number of factors: network effects, technical complexity, technical compatibility, trialability, perceived needs of relative advantage. In this framework, we can distinguish five major categories of adopters: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. What I believe is that early adopters can act as change agents to improve technology adoption and diffusion. They are typically integrated in the local social system, and act as through leaders within the local social system based on previous knowledge.
7. Can you tell us more about Neuralia and how is it utilising Blockchain technology?
NEURALIA aims to:
Open the way to the democratization process of science, proper through the mobilization of diverse people and communities. NEURALIA opens up the scientific process to people, involving them directly in what is studied. Public participation and data collection are relatively new in the field of healthcare, but similar approaches have been taking place in other scientific disciplines for decades.
In the same way NEURALIA allows citizen scientists to collaborate about science research topics, contributing through a double mechanism: answering to questionnaires provided by the internal team; with innovative theories to start new projects in the basic research. In order to ensure transparency and integration of participant perspectives and to track the paternity of all the theories and discovering, data will be stored on the Blockchain. Blockchain has accelerated communication technology and the way information is exchanged.
Thanks to Blockchain, NEURALIA comes to resolve two of the major issues of science research: the unequal access to results, the exclusivity of (participating in) scientific research.
8. What are your view about “Stable Coins”? Do they serve the purpose?
Nobody likes to lose money, this is the reason why stablecoins recently surged in popularity: people fear constant market crashes. As of November, the total investments made into the stablecoin space has touched $3 billion. The institutional players have begun to realize the potential of stablecoins.
At the moment, Fiat-collateralized is the prevailing option of choice for many, as it is the most familiar and stable design. As the regulatory watch improves and companies begin to take due diligence seriously, 2019 will prove definitely to be the year of stablecoins. Advocates believe that in the long term, almost all the traditional industries would want to integrate a stablecoin solution. Popular stablecoin project Tether has garnered criticism for refusing to get its balance-sheets audited by an independent party, for every new player in the stablecoin market that of audit reports is a crucial element.
9. What shortcomings do you think are there in the Blockchain space? What should be done to overcome them?
Blockchain technology has already spread its roots in various industries and domains including asset management, retail, monetary-use cases, digital currencies, e-contracts, decentralized exchanges, and more. The majority of blockchain use cases are related to banking and financial services and are related to data management and data verification.
In large part, this is due to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which have showcased the blockchain to the rest of the world. In my opinion one limit is represented proper by the low number of use cases in other sectors that could bring cryptocurrencies in the everydaylife, but it’s only a matter of time this concern will be addressed.
10. Any last words of motivation from your end Caterina for the audience?
We should focus more on how blockchain can best deliver value, this is the key to go far away from hype and closer to reality. Bitcoin, has divided opinion but Blockchain may have great potential to advance social good. Certainly, technological and regulatory challenges must be resolved before blockchain delivers on its potential for a large- scale social impact, but we are on the right path.