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Deep Dive with Jinglan Wang, BEN Executive Director

posted 1 year ago

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Anthony Sassano
What prompted you to get into educating others about crypto/blockchain?
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Jinglan Wang
@sassal0x Personally, I am a very share-y person. When I have a really good snack, I want all my friends to try it. When I read a great book or find a great hack, I want my friends to know about it. So when I discovered bitcoin...
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Anthony Sassano
@jinglanW haha I'm the same! I think the blockchain/crypto virus is so powerful. Thanks for your answer :)
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Neil Deramchi
What would you say constitutes a 'well-balanced' education on blockchain technologies?
What are the topics you think are most important to understand when first learning about crypto and decentralization?
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Jinglan Wang
@NeilDeramchi I think that an interdisciplinary approach to considering blockchain tech is really important. It's important not to crank so hard on code, for example, that you forget about the incentives that make the whole system work. And it's important not to get so hyped up about game theory that you forget how people work. I'm not saying you have to be a psychologist with a degree in math, computer science and economics, but I think dipping a little bit into each of these facets is crucial for a well-rounded education.

When first learning about crypto and decentralization, I think taking the time to understand the pros and cons of *centralization* will help inform your understanding of what problems we're solving in the first place! I think a lot of people miss this part and have this enormous solution mallet and get excited and go running around looking for problems to hammer into the ground.
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Ben Tossell
How did you get into crypto?
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Jinglan Wang
@bentossell Remittances! I wasn't down to pay a 12% fee to send $1,000 to China. I was an art student at the time, and thought "bitcoin" was a company that had really low fees. While researching how they were able to keep fees so low, I read the whitepaper and didn't even understand the title. "What is peer to peer?" I had no clue - and I got really stressed out. I felt like I was about to miss out on the future, so I switched my major to computer science and fell deeeeeeeeep into the rabbit hole.
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Soona Amhaz
How did Blockchain Education Network get started, and what's the vision?
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Jinglan Wang
@soonaorlater It got started as an initiative to unite students across campuses. In 2013/214, a lot of people hadn't caught the blockchain bug yet. On our disparate campuses, many of our schools didn't want anything to do with "dark and shady bitcoin". We felt very alone - but together, as part of a collective, we felt like we were in on the *biggest secret of our generation*.

Our vision is to create a world that is more open and free, by promoting technological literacy because we believe in freedom, digital sovereignty, and access to truth.

Open access to the tools with which we can build our society is paramount to a truly democratized future!
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Nick Abouzeid
What do you recommend new crypto enthusiasts NOT learn about?
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Alberto Jauregui
Which developments in the blockchain space do you look most forward too?
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Jinglan Wang
@Alberto-Jauregui Oooh I am excited for CBC Casper to get cranking, and also really looking forward to some dope ass decentralized naming projects to get off the ground! I would looove to see a TOR with financial incentives, however or whoever implements that! I am also a fan of interledger, 0x, lightning, and decentralized prediction markets (augur, you gonna launch soon or nah?)
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Reuben Ogbonna
How can BEN help promote diversity within the blockchain ecosystem?
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Jinglan Wang
@reuben_ogbonna BEN promotes diversity through a variety of initiatives. We sponsor talented students who can't afford to go to conferences, mentor minorities, and throw parties for women and POC to connect with each other, and with allies that are industry veterans. I think being a woman as the executive director of BEN has also made other women in the network more comfortable reaching out to me and asking about leadership opportunities. Woot woot, holla!
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Ben Tossell
What are the most common things people want to know when getting into crypto?
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Jinglan Wang
@bentossell It changes over time. Initially, it was "how does scripting on bitcoin work", and now it's "omg where can i buy PonziCoin? How do I set up an exchange account?" Some of the more standard questions are:

How do I set up a wallet?
What is a fork? Do I always get free money when this happens?
I heard hackers rampage for bitcoins, will I get hacked? How can I prevent it?
Do I need to be a coder to understand this?
0
Romane Geraci
What do you think the blockchain/crypto space will look like 5-10 years out?
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Jinglan Wang
@Romane-Geraci I have no fucking clue LOL. It would be hubristic of me to assume that I could predict that...

My hope is that a lot of these blockchain based technologies will be running in the backgrounds of various apps... the average joe won't even know that his NYC ID card has blockchain based identity theft prevention.

Average Jane doesn't know that her retirement account is diversified with crypto assets. Little children playing phone games will be trading their digital tokens on a decentralized exchange, etc...

Maybe super rich people will be storing their assets in privacy coins and refugees fleeing their respective countries will be able to take their wealth with them, so long as they have their wallet seed. And they won't have to start from nothing.

And my little sister will be complaining about blockchain homework in her college courses and I'll be like "WELL, IN MY DAY..."
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Reuben Ogbonna
How do you see blockchain education fitting in with other computer science/STEM education initiatives?
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Erik Torenberg
What do you believe in crypto that others don’t ?
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Erik Torenberg
What do you think are the biggest problems in crypto?
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Jinglan Wang
@eriktorenberg I think blockchain governance is a really big problem we should all be munching on a little more. This is really hard! There must be sufficient incentive and coordination mechanisms for both on-chain *and* off-chain shenanigans! I feel like we haven't really philosophized about governance since the ancient greeks. To be fair, we didn't really have the problem of governing decentalized networks until recently - but it's time to address these issues and design these systems before it's too late.

Here's a great post by Fred Ehrsam to get your noggin started: https://medium.com/@FEhrsam/blockchain-governance-programming-our-future-c3bfe30f2d74
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Sarah Smith
How would you determine which private coins to invest in?
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Jinglan Wang
@Sarah-Smith Team and culture. If there's a solid competent team that writes good code and gets along with each other, I have hope for the future of the privacy coin's development. For example the teams of zcash and monero are wrangling some HEAVY SHIT, and are extremely dedicated to their missions. A lot of this moon math requires crypto-astronauts, so I'm always skeptical of privacy coins with teams that *don't* have experience in cryptography (these projects exist...). And community is paramount! It requires more than just the team to ensure the success of a project.
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Sarah Smith
Which industries do you think could benefit most from blockchain technologies?
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