Blockchain Growth: Lightning Change

Note: Prior to entering the blockchain space, I had never written or discussed any of my business in public. My LinkedIn was never used for work and does not showcase my career. I’m still undecided if the next venture will be public or private.

Off Chain Background

Over the past 12 years I have worked in over 15 industries and travelled through 42 countries, engaging vastly different cultures, business practices and challenges.

I have never been afraid to take on a challenge. My family and friends know my passport lives in my pocket and my robust carry on bag is never unpacked. The get-go mind-set is firmly fixed in me. Fast forward through all the hours in the sky, millions in transactions, the good times and the bad, I ended up in the midst of blockchain.

Prior to establishing a successful food retail business, which has recently been acquired, I was working in money management, automobile and heavy machinery trading- sometimes with partners, sometimes alone. No two industries were the same- all came with their own challenges that needed to be solved. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and relished moving into new areas of business.

Whenever I mention any of this, questions are raised immediately: did I merely dip my toes into all of these different sectors? Did I actually set-up that many businesses from scratch? Don’t I get fed up with having to learn about an entire industry from the beginning again and again? (No, yes and no.)

After years of progressing from business to business, I came to realise that my core strength was not just to own a business, but to take on the challenge of getting things up and running. That initial struggle at the beginning, the stage in which most businesses fail, is when every decision is critical. What most others found daunting, I was finding most enjoyable.

The post-setup, stable ship was just not exciting enough for me. Of course, not everything I touched turned to gold, but I steadily worked my way up the ladder and started to realise increasingly, that this is what I love, that buzz from the get-go: can we get this baby up and running?

I have accepted that working this way means I may no longer be part of every project when it starts to bear fruit (I sold half my stake of the food business and left it to self-manage after 3 months. It was acquired by a buyer 13 months later).

Learning the ins and outs of a new industry in weeks and months rather than years, has its own thrills. I absorb myself into a new sector and forget everything else around me. I will spend all day and night reading about it, meeting people, going to events, until I am satisfied I have understood it to a level where I can confidently discuss it with seniors of that industry.

On Chain Mission

So here we are today in the blockchain crypto currency space. In two years, I been involved in crypto mining, investing and holding. This space more than any other I have experienced, is growing at an unbelievable pace. It moves even faster than I do! Technology development is actually outpacing the adoption and real world comprehension of what is happening.

At the beginning of 2018 I stumbled upon a Telegram chat. I was searching keywords related to IoT. I didn’t have any experience or deep knowledge of IoT but knew it was a rapidly growing sector and coupled with blockchain that was doubly exciting!

The Telegram chat I joined had 60 or so members. Only one person was leading the discussion and replying. That individual was Saswata Basu. From my quick skim of the white paper and scroll through the Q&As, I got that feeling again, the one that drives me into a new business at super speed. I dropped everything and kept reading; I knew this was something I had to be a part of. I knew the token sale environment was heating up after successfully following through with NEO and some smaller projects, but investing and having a sizeable return was boring. I wanted to help drive a project and do what I could do to get it out there. 0chain was that project.

I sent a few DMs to Saswata realising the potential of the project and put myself forward to join 0chain in any capacity. Without further delay I found myself on an 11 hour flight at my own expense to San Francisco. No agreement, no formal offer, just get up and go. Thank God for wifi on planes- I thought I was en route for a casual meeting; mid-flight I found out there was actually a crypto conference.

Although at that time (early January) there was a development team, there was no front facing support. The focus was on development and keeping the project moving no matter how fast the funds came in. Everything else, the marketing, the token sale, promotion, etc, came after.

After a quick hello and shake of hands, I found myself filming Saswata on stage on my iPhone, pitching to a room full of hungry token buyers. The project was a big hit at the conference and I was in the thick of it straight away. People walked over, noticing the 0Chain name tag I had on, to say what a great project it was. From there on the hard cap of $39m came in faster than I could have ever imagined and the project development and engagement rapidly grew.

The past six months have been a fantastic journey. Meeting countless people around the world (like seriously, all over the world) and talking to them about 0chain with so much technological detail that numerous times they mistook me for the CTO. I enjoyed engaging with the technology and ideas of how 0chain protocols can change the cloud space. From staying awake all night to help the token buyers, to securing some great partners early on, it was a fast and furious time.

Fork To Future

Today the 0chain project is fully funded, has a strong development team and is now preparing to break into the enterprise space to deliver change- change that has the potential to turn entire industries upside down. Granted this won’t happen in a few months, or even years, but in the long term I believe these new models will disrupt and change more than we can possibly imagine today.

As the 0chain technical team continue to work and a new enterprise team engages with potential long term customers, I have decided to step aside and explore new ideas. I am satisfied with my achievements to date and hopefully, leave behind a steady ship with a seasoned captain. I wish everyone the best of success.

As for me, and where I end up in the coming months, whether it’s the same industry or not, I don’t know for sure yet. I hope to keep in touch with everyone I have met to date and my Telegram is always open. I am quietly working on a few things in the background, which are private for now. Lets see what attracts me next.

Thank you and here’s to a great future for everyone.

Telegram: @AtifYaqub