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In Conversation With Meltem Demirors -Athena Capital

We hosted Meltem Demirors and several other crypto luminaries as part of our first conference www.decentralize.sg. Meltem Demirors is a cryptocurrency investor, advisor, and advocate, with a unique blend of experience in both legacy & blockchain-based finance and cryptocurrencies. On the legacy finance front, Ms. Demirors worked with some of the largest companies in the world, mainly on financial risk management and capital efficiency. On the blockchain-based finance side, she has had an intense focus on portfolio management and network development, beginning in the early days of cryptocurrency ecosystem development with DCG & now with Athena Capital.

Q: Could you give us a brief rundown of your history and involvement in the blockchain and cryptocurrency scene?

Bought bitcoin in 2013, started reading about it while in graduate school at MIT, helped launch Digital Currency Group in 2015 where I managed our portfolio of 110 investments across over 30 countries, and now investing and advising via Athena Capital, my own firm.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in blockchain/cryptocurrencies?

My family is from Turkey and I grew up in Europe — I’ve experienced the inefficiency and inequality of our financial system first hand. Bitcoin was a fascinating sociotechnical experiment I began following and everything flowed from there.

Q: What did you speak about at De/Centralize 2018?

The topic of my keynote was — Forks, Spoons, and Knives: A Future of Competing Protocols and Networks. The deck can be found on SlideShare here

Q: What were the key discussion highlights at De/Centralize 2018

Most of the conversation about cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks today is heavily focused on protocols and engineering, such as new consensus algorithms, scaling solutions, and data privacy and security. Much of the financial capital in the ecosystem has also been flooding into protocols through tokens, many of which attempt to address the same use cases. I was looking forward to speaking about the challenges of implementing blockchain networks as projects move from fundraising to network launch, and about the potential dynamics of competition amongst projects who have nearly unlimited financial capital but fierce competition for social and human capital. I discussed why network design and implementation is critical to designing scalable, secure, and resilient blockchain networks (can’t run them on AWS), and how this will shape and impact the future of application development and the way users interact with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Q: According to you, where does Singapore fit within the global blockchain ecosystem?

Clearly a leader! Singapore has established itself as a leader in fintech, and has been making strides to become a global center for cryptocurrencies and blockchain innovation.

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