Mir Liponi had hoped to study computer science at university in Italy when she was considering what career to choose when she was around 19 or 20 years old.
She was told it was not a course for women, so she reluctantly didn’t pursue it at the time.
It has not exactly held her back at all.
However, she hopes other women are not put in similar situations as she was at a crucial crossroads in her life.
“It is so stupid,” she says of the situation she found herself in.
She went on to become CCO of Blockchainlab, she has had luminaries such as Elizabeth Stark, Riccardo Spagni and Ryan Shea visit.
She established the Milan Meetup group with more than 1,300 members and she excels at connecting people across the decentralised movement who are building up infrastructure.
She co-founded the BHB Network, which helps businesses collaborate with international developers and blockchain experts, with her husband Giacomo Zucco. They provide them with the environment and the resources.
When she returns from maternity leave this year, she will be focusing her attention on BHB Network. The vlogger runs a popular YouTube channel where she interviews key people in the crypto space.
She has interviewed among others, Bitcoin developers Andrew Poelstra, Mark Erhardt and Peter Todd – the latter she has been “friends with for a very long time. He is very special to me,” she says.
She set up the BHB Network “because I wanted to do something globally,” she says. “My interests are in tech and politics and economics. The first time something like Bitcoin came along, I was very enthusiastic about it from the beginning.
“It is still my passion.”
On the gender imbalance in the crypto space, she says: “In my personal experience talking about Bitcoin, many women are very quick to grasp the technology and the different concepts behind it.”
She’s very much involved in encouraging women to work in technology and says it’s very important to “encourage women to see it is something they can do and there should be no barriers.”
As a follower of the cypherpunk ideology, she believes technology is “neutral but can be used to create a better world. Whether it changes the world or not depends on the user.”
At the BHB Network, they try to encourage different projects involved with Bitcoin to connect and share expertise and resources to implement new technology.
Chain of blocks
Blockchain, she says, is “not improving the world by itself. It is part of a bigger picture and the world of Bitcoin. As Peter Todd says it is just a chain of blocks and nothing else.
“With Bitcoin we have something very revolutionary that can change everything in the world. There are so many projects and ideas but 90% of them are not going to work.”
A Bitcoin Maximalist, she cannot believe another technology will take over from Bitcoin but “that doesn’t mean it won’t happen and I will change my mind.”
She says the falling price in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies throughout 2018 was “something expected.” She would not be surprised if the price falls even further, perhaps to $2000 for Bitcoin.
“We’re ready and this is the third or fourth time it has happened,” she adds. “It is a Bitcoin winter but we are going to see the price increase at a smaller rate than in 2017 – that was too much and that was not natural.
“So many people decided to enter after that who were not at all interested in the technology but simply wanted easy gains. Many people were scared when the price began to go down.”
In this climate, there are many less ICOs and she says “there’s something dystopian about ICOs. What we are seeing right now is a very slow end to the ICO projects.”
Some people may regard the failed ICOs as “just a modern version of a Ponzi scheme,” she says.
“Most of the people wanted some easy gains and people I had not heard of for years were suddenly interested in Bitcoin when the price was high.
“And now they are saying: ‘Ha, ha told you so Bitcoin is a scam.’ This happens to me all the time.”
The most important use case now is for people in Venezuela, where there’s been hyperinflation, and for women in Afghanistan “who are not supposed to have bank accounts.”
“Very important cases like this show it’s not just a geek thing, it can change lives.”
Although Bitcoin is volatile, it is censorship resistant and appeals to values of freedom. “Mass adoption will increase with time,” she adds. “Now we are in the very early stages like email was in the 1990s and it was only used by some academics.
“Nobody used it until the beginning of the next decade as the technology was not user friendly.
“We will see mass adoption when the technology becomes more user friendly.”
Earlier this week, on the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, she tweeted:
Happy first 10 years Bitcoin!
Can sound cheesy but it's the truth: in these years you gave us the possibility of more freedom, to dream bigger, to build, to grow as human beings & connect with each other around the world.
Not bad for being a cold & weird tech stuff. pic.twitter.com/hMLnHmD8Xz
— MIR🚀🤖🍼 (@mir_btc) January 3, 2019