We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, our 6 Questions go to Dawn Newton, co-founder and chief operating officer of Netki — a remote digital identity verification technology provider intended to facilitate compliance with KYC/AML regulations.
Dawn Newton is the chief operating officer and co-founder of Netki, the Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering technology provider purpose-built for blockchain. Dawn’s work is driven by her desire to increase global access to crypto assets in a sustainable, secure and equitable manner. At Netki, Dawn has contributed to the development of OnboardID, which facilitates identity verification and onboarding for custodial wallets, and TransactID, which is the only fully compliant solution to Financial Action Task Force Travel Rule regulations.
With 30 years of experience managing technical teams and growing innovative companies, Dawn has proven to be a premier operations executive at the forefront of emerging technology industries. From the early days of the internet to the booming blockchain industry, Dawn’s work has had a formative effect on today’s leading tech companies.
1 — If you were investing in startup companies right now, what kind of blockchain-based business opportunity would catch your eye?
For me, I would be looking at applications that impact as broad of a base of people as possible, preferably from an inclusion aspect. Projects that allow new communities to connect, create and earn are ultimately the ones that will have the most impact and, thus, create the most value in the world.
2 — What is the single most innovative use case for blockchain you’ve ever seen? It may not be the one likeliest to succeed!
The most innovative use case to me continues to be the first one people talked about in the early Bitcoin days. Everyone on the planet (who has internet access) has the ability to participate in a global financial system that is owned by no government.
It is an extremely hard endeavor to tackle, and I am proud that Netki was a part of it by onboarding the first nation to the Bitcoin blockchain. Giving 4 million people the ability to transact and receive funds without exorbitant money transmitter fees makes my heart sing!
3 — When you tell people you’re in the blockchain industry, how do they react?
For non-technical people, their initial reaction used to be: “OMG isn’t that all scammers?” Thank goodness that is happening less and less. I have been working in tech innovation for more than 30 years, and as a result, as interest in crypto has grown, many of my friends and family have come to me for advice or to better understand the ecosystem.
That curiosity dominates most of the conversations that I have today, although I do still run into the occasional person who gets all of their information about crypto from Elizabeth Warren. The conversations with those people definitely take a little more effort to untangle all of the misleading statements they’ve been fed. Overall, more and more people are starting to get curious about it, and that is how we change things!
4 — Tell us about a hidden talent — and give us a link to prove it!
My cooking skills are out of this world (pun intended re: the last question). I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and trained in Italy, Japan and the United States under several Michelin Star chefs. Wanna take your chocolate chip cookie game to the next level?
5 — Close your eyes and think of a happy place. What do you see?
Easy, a beach with black volcanic sand in El Salvador, great waves, great food — purchased using Bitcoin, of course — and great people.
6 — Where do you stand on alien intelligence and the existence of life elsewhere in the universe?
I have no opinion, as I am not an expert in the field, but how amazing would it be to have another life out there and for us to be able to explore that one day in the future!? I grew up watching the original Star Trek series and absolutely loved it. Imagine my surprise years later when I meet the real-life Seven of Nine [from Star Trek: Voyager], Jeri Ryan, while cooking together at a restaurant in LA, and she becomes my best friend. While I wouldn’t look forward to an encounter with her as a Borg in real life, I think it would be amazing to be a part of a team whose mission was to “seek out new life and new civilizations!”
A wish for the young, ambitious blockchain community:
My one wish is WAGMI, and where we wind up will be spectacular!
Ray Schuetz received a Masters Degree in computer science from The University of Texas (Austin). Ray has been working as a full-time blockchain consultant for the past 3 years. In his spare time, Ray enjoys writing for EthereumCryptocurrency.com and other crypto news publications.