Why I Joined Block
I’m known in tech for Java development, software testing, and public speaking. So you may be wondering what brings me to Block‘s decentralized finance division as Vice President of Developer Relations. Oooh, I’m so glad you asked! Let me share some fun, little known facts about my journey in tech thus far and why I’m super excited about this next adventure.
I simply do not fit into your boxes 🙇🏽♀️
— Angie Jones (@techgirl1908) November 17, 2021
Since the early 2000s, I’ve run an online fashion game, Diva Chix. It’s an everyday occurrence for players to buy digital clothing for hundreds of US dollars. These clothes are simply a collection of png files. But within the context of the game, these files are extremely valuable. Enough so, that it isn’t uncommon for a player to spend thousands of dollars a month on these files. As many are scratching their heads about NFTs, I’m thinking of my customers – none of whom are misguided by the new NFT hype. In fact, they were purchasing these digital artifacts long before any of us ever heard of the term NFT.
For decades, people have spent money on collectibles such as baseball cards, stamps, dolls, etc. We’re living in the era of digital transformation, so it’s not a far leap for people to now have interests in digital collectibles.
I remember the popularity of Second Life, a metaverse that is essentially a virtual world. In there, we customized our avatars, purchased land and property, and teleported to any place in the metaverse via a simple mouse click. This place had it all! Conferences, entertainment, e-commerce…you name it. I watched real life businesses flock to Second Life and set up virtual store fronts. I witnessed companies throw events and conferences in Second Life to reach a broader audience. I saw individuals become quite successful with the in-world currency, Linden Dollars, and I saw currency exchange businesses form to enable users to convert their Linden Dollars to their local real world currency. What I saw most was opportunity. As an inventor, this new world was flooded with problems that needed solutions. So, I began to invent them. In fact, I even invented time travel…in the metaverse.
Here are 20 of my metaverse inventions:
- System and method for attending a recorded event in a metaverse application
- Activity triggered photography in metaverse applications
- Management of recorded data for online simulations
- System and method for group control in a metaverse application
- Location/event based dictionaries to facilitate communication in a virtual world location
- Providing location based information in a virtual environment
- Selecting a Language Encoding of a Static Communication in a Virtual Universe
- Method to invite users to a virtual world using instant messaging
- Method to continue instant messaging exchange when exiting a virtual world
- Method to Create a Social Networking Photo Album from a Metaverse
- System to Associate Disparate Photos with a Metaverse Event and Participants of Said Event
- Method to use Drag and Drop Objects Between Virtual Worlds
- Method for Multi-perspective imaging in a metaverse application
- Dynamic Metaverse Newspaper
- Virtual World Locator System for Image Searches
- Method to Override Predefined Gestures in Virtual Worlds
- Method to Build Dynamic Virtual World Groups
- Static Communications in a Virtual World that Adjusts to Each User’s Education and Age
- Enhancing a Calendar Application to Facilitate Creation of a Virtual World Event
This is why I’m very intrigued by the prevalence of blockchain technologies and how decentralization, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and metaverses all tie together to create new possibilities. I don’t own any cryptocurrency or NFTs, so this move is not motivated by protecting or advancing any personal investments. These are concepts I’ve been thinking about for well over a decade (although not by their current names or tech stack). While some may feel that these are nothing more than hype, I have to disagree. With mega tech companies, such as Facebook, rebranding and changing their strategy, and major financial institutions, such as Visa, building products and services for cryptocurrency, this is a clear signal. It’s inevitable. In fact, it’s already here.
Because this space is new for many, useful practical applications may not be apparent. As folks are learning, they are stumbling and making what appears to be catastrophic mistakes. From a technological perspective, there are lots and lots of holes.
To be honest, the crypto world is kind of the Wild Wild West right now and it’s terrifying. The hype is preceding the knowledge and that’s a problem. I believe this lack of knowledge along with misinformation, bad actors, and the sheer pace of change is intimidating to many and alarming to even more. I hear you, and your concerns are valid.
As an innovator, I choose not to sit by on the sidelines and watch this new era unfold as I complain about the problems and potential for disaster. Instead, I’m rolling up my sleeves and joining Block to solve some of the major challenges with decentralization, specifically as it pertains to finance.
In my role as VP, I plan to dive deep into the challenges of decentralized finance, share my learnings with the community (as I’ve done in this Crypto 101 primer), and work with the community to help shape this evolution into a space where anyone can participate and benefit from blockchain innovation in an informed, and therefore, safer and responsible way should they choose to.
We’re building an open source protocol to provide a framework for secure and inclusive decentralized exchange (which will include decentralized identity, verifiable credentials, and social trust). There are lots of problems to solve… which is both challenging and also very exciting. I invite you to join the ride!