Bitcoin Pizza and Our Decentralized Future
Blockchain, digital currencies, and DLTs have been at the forefront of conversations this past year. During 2019 we’ve seen consistent growth throughout the entire industry landscape driven by new enterprise implementations & business models, increased venture funding, and decentralized application (DApps). These trends show no signs of slowing down if anything will continue to speed up and further integrated into our daily lives.
This transformation to Web3.0 and a more decentralized world will require new ways of thinking, interacting, and doing business at scale. I sat down with Samantha Radocchia, an expert in the industry and author of Bitcoin Pizza: The No-Bullshit Guide to Blockchain to get her perspective on our decentralized future.
Q: What began your journey into the world of Bitcoin and Blockchain?
Samantha: It’s been a wild journey, that’s for sure. Long story short, I grew up in a household where computer gaming was celebrated. Whether it was my dad admiring the graphics in Myst in the early 90s, my brothers and I playing World of Warcraft or Age of Empires into the wee hours of the night or competing in what could be called early esports on Saturday mornings in a clan in Tribes 2, you could say we were pretty into it.
I became sort of a self-taught developer/hacker from all that gaming, so when I went to college, I was much more fascinated by the study of human behavior and social engineering than I was the technical engineering. I studied Anthropology of technology, and for my thesis, which I ultimately continued into graduate research, I convinced the department to let me study a virtual world called Second Life. This was 2009. While I was living “in-world,” I opened a t-shirt shop to sell t-shirts to other avatars in exchange for the in-world currency, Linden Dollars. It was through the course of research that I became aware of Bitcoin as well as the concept of virtual/digital/ cryptographic assets as many people were exchanging their Linden Dollars for USD or BTC via these makeshift peer-to-peer exchanges. I ended up founding a few companies along the way, but it wasn’t until around 2013 when I reconnected with some folks in the industry around a loyalty product, and then ultimately, enterprise Blockchain for the supply chain.
Q: Furthermore, what drove you to write a book about our decentralized future? What will readers get out of reading it?
I’ve had such a unique privilege in working at the cutting edge of technology for a lot of my career. Whether it was starting a business in A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning before those were terms to then being one of the first companies to use Blockchain technology beyond financial use cases. What I’ve seen, now more than ever, is that there is a lot of uncertainty and often fear around our narrative of the future. We see sensationalized media and fear around automation. We see Black Mirror episodes about killer drones or social credit scores gone AWOL. We see dystopian films and terminators. So the question is, is this really the future we want to build? I think that as we have expanded into a connected, global civilization, we have also opened up a lot of trust gaps. We filled those trust gaps with institutions — whether that be governments, banks, retailers, auditors, you name it. There’s a much broader shift taking place from centralized pr