The Future of Value Exchange and Social Justice
[Off-camera] Evelyn Hytopoulous, Chief Operating Officer of Web3 Pro, good morning. Before embarking on your professional career, you studied economics and econometrics. What drew you to these particular fields?    [Evelyn] So, I have always loved mathematics. Why? Because there’s an answer. In a world full of so many questions, for math, there’s an answer. But as I was, you know, going through my studies, really getting interested in physics, it was missing the human element and I discovered economics, which for me really bridged the gaps between the scientific world and the human world. And the other amazing thing about economics is it is not an exact science. It is our attempt to utilize mathematics to explain the human condition, how we behave, and how our world works. And it is also something that is a constantly evolving frontier. You’re always searching for new answers because humans and societies are always changing, and that is why I loved economics and econometrics. Like, at a base level, economics is the study of value and value exchange, which is natural for humans to do. We see something, we assign a value to it. Of course, that’s subjective, but this is something that has existed all through time.  And economics goes beyond that to study market mechanisms. So, what does that mean? It’s, you know, how we exchange values. First, we started with bartering, and then moved onto precious metal coins, and finally paper money, and now we’re exploring this brand-new frontier and economics is following that and looking at the power of digital currencies—whether that be your bank account, money that you never hold in your hand, or even cryptocurrency. The other part about economics that I love is that social aspect. When we’re looking at the study of economic justice, how to create systems that are fair, and beyond that, what really motivated me to really dive into this area was a course I took on issues in African economic development. Utilizing the study of economics to analyze how we can build simple, scalable tools that make people’s lives better, and rid the world of these economic disparities that have existed for centuries during and following colonialism.  
Web3 Businesses Can Make the World Better
One thing that has been limiting these developments through time in equalizing people across the world is this physical nature of our trade mechanisms. And these, the objective paradigm of quantitative methods applied to addressing the normative and real-world opportunities on income and opportunity imbalances, but we are now entering into a new era where borders are digital. And people across the world can get involved with brands that they love, buy items that they love, and now evolving into digital items. It’s really extending this opportunity and destroying these, this idea that there’s a first world and a second world. I really think we’re going to see a change and from an economist’s perspective, I’m so excited to see how this is going to evolve as we enter into this new frontier.    [Off-camera]  Your academic career took you subsequently to Europe, correct?   [Evelyn] Yeah, so during my undergraduate education, I studied abroad in Paris and really was motivated by this realization that there were different schools of thought and there was so much more to learn outside, and different ways to learn outside the US. And so, I was applying to grad school, um, there was a moment where I had to make the decision whether I would stay there or whether I would come back. I had amazing opportunities here at Stanford, at Yale, but ultimately, I chose to study at the London School of Economics because of the proximity and the recent history between the UK and the developing world. And this area was one where you can relate directly to countries across the globe and work on projects. And I actually had the very fortunate opportunity to spend time living in some of these nations, doing evaluation and research of these projects and really having a hands-on role in making a difference.  Unfortunately, my time in the international development community made me realize that it wasn’t enough and that what we were doing was not chosen by the countries that we were operating in, it was almost a sort of neo-colonialism in a way. And so, I quickly became disillusioned with that industry and decided that maybe, there was a way that I could discover through business itself to actually have a strong impact on the world.
How Blockchain Will Create Bold New Paradigms
[Off-camera] When did you discover blockchain, and what drew you into this new world?    [Evelyn] I discovered blockchain not long after I returned to the United States in 2017. And to me, it was immediately obvious that this was an amazing chance to develop these micro-experiments in these self-contained ecosystems to actually go back to the study of economics and test it and see what actually works and how people relate to each other and how you can create these incentive mechanisms that enable change. And I love this idea of this contrarian thought that systems didn’t need to be held and governed by this monolith companies that control our world. And in fact, it can be distributed. And additionally, there was this idea of data ownership and information ownership and participation and blockchain was really a way to distribute that and put the power of technology back into the hands of the people. So, I started in the world of blockchain as an economist, and eventually developed my own consulting company, which got me really involved with dozens of different projects and building systems like the Central Bank, essentially, for this virtual nation. Um, or looking at issues of cyber-attacks and how to distribute rewards that would actually create this self-evolving, self-reliant system—not relying on these existing monolith companies, um. When I entered into the world of blockchain, it was actually the first time that I had to go back to my roots in economics and actually look at those core studies that I had learned years ago. And I found myself working various different start-ups as a consultant, um, running my own business but looking at things like monetary policy, how to measure GDP through data that is collected, and what data to collect. How to predict what people would do in these theoretical worlds as we’re building them ahead of time by using agent-based modelling, and this was affecting so many different types of projects. It was an extremely exciting time because, as I said, there’s so—there’s this opportunity to work in this microcosm with a very specific application. So, you can test a specific type of market, you can test different actors, incentives, and you can look at everything from digital security, hacking, to creating a digital world in and of itself, to even going down to the base layer of technology and look at the scalability of the concept of blockchain itself. This was a very fun time in my life, and it actually drew me to be in love with this new technology and really see the potential that it could have in disrupting the world, creating more efficient systems with parameters that can more easily be changed, by watching what an individual does, aggregating that on a community level and then responding immediately. So, that’s it.
The Operating Culture of the Company
[Off-Camera] Evelyn, in your current role of Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Web3 Pro, which elements of your global academic background and worldwide insights are you bringing into developing the user experience for your clients and your partners?  [Evelyn] That’s a great question. So, having worked across four continents, um, studied in different countries, and, you know, the types of studies I have done, have all been brought into play in running this company. So, everything from problem identification, looking at the business holistically, um, and seeing issues within to what problems we’re actually solving and making sure that our solution is tailored exactly to the intended consumer and intended industries. All of that is backed up by thorough industry and competitive research to make sure what we’re doing is not only innovative, not only cutting edge, but relevant and implementable in the current business.  In the day-to-day, I’m partnering with the CTO to work on things like evaluating optional paths forward in our technology, looking at what platforms we should build on or not, how we scale effectively, and really defining the development process so that we are a business that is constantly evolving in the most efficient way to reach our goals. This is obviously paired with analysis that’s backward-looking and forward-looking, so we’re keeping pulse on things at all times. Prototype planning, and all of this comes into play in creating the development environment for a truly scalable and successful business.  So aside from the technology itself, it’s also so important to make sure that we’re achieving these goals, that we are doing performance analytics, gathering the right data to make sure what we’re doing is the right solution, and ___ with __ testing to measure efficiency, to measure potential causal impacts that we will have, and also do some predictive analytics to look at where we’re going and how people are going to adhere to our platform, how it’s going to interact and impact other parts of business, and how it’s going to transform industry in general. So, I’m looking at everything from the product itself to how we measure the product and how effective it is, to how the product is integrated with clients and partner businesses, to enable transactions that are instantaneous, that there’s authentication and provenance of these transactions, and that the cloud storage that we’re using is the best solution, and also it includes the gamut of possible solutions our customers could be using.
Real Empowerment & Shared Purpose
[Off-camera] Evelyn, what are some of your personal visions for the entire Web3 space? Is there anything in this new world that we can use your original instinct to help create a more just society?  [Evelyn] Web3 is absolutely in line with what drove me to my studies in the first place. Blockchain ecosystems as I said, are microeconomies with internal impacts and international impacts. They are bridging the gaps in the world and enabling people from disparate communities, with different cultural sentiments, different access to capital, even speaking different languages, to interact in the same ecosystem, without being confined by their borders or their economies that are governed by their countries.  Beyond the blockchain aspect of things, Web3 in and of itself, is a force of democratization. We think about changing the script, flipping it, not to where brands telling consumers what they want, but consumers are directly telling brands what they want, what they care about and guiding the evolution of society for themselves is something that can only be enabled by Web3, by the ownership of data, and by the direct involvement, the direct point of contact with the companies that have been running our world, our cultural developments, and everything, for so long.  Um, this reduction in brand hegemony on culture and value is something that’s not going to change an individual country or continent, but it’s going to change the world, and allow us to see cultures and see values for what they are and find points of mutual interest and mutual value. My hope is that, through Web3, cultures that, for whatever reason, don’t gel together, are finally going to see that we’re all working together and all thinking about the same things.  [Off-camera] Evelyn Hytopoulos, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Web3 Pro, thank you so much for talking with us.  [Evelyn] Thank you.
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