Leaders Series: Ali Shadle at Chia Network
Issue 48 — April 20, 2018
Ali Shadle is the Director of Operations & Corporate Secretary at Chia Network
She’s been on the Chia Network team for the last six months, and has had a front row seat to the evolving cryptocurrency landscape as new fundraising mechanisms aka ICOs mature, evolve, and take new forms. While she may be new to the world of Proof of Space and Time, the consensus algorithm used by Chia, she’s not new to bitcoin. She built a mining rig back in 2015, and worked in UX at a web company before getting sucked down the proverbial crypto rabbit hole.
Bitcoin. When, where, and why?
My brothers introduced me to crypto back in 2015. We decided to build a few mining rigs using the free electricity in my parent’s apartment. The problem was my parents :) Their apartment was small so the apartment would overheat steaming up all of the windows. Also, the rigs were pretty loud and my parents complained about how noisy it got. We mined a tiny amount of bitcoin, before our parents forced us to shut it down. I’ve been following crypto ever since.
How did you get dragged into working on a new consensus model, let alone a new cryptocurrency protocol?
I was tipped off about Chia Network after reading about it in their first TechCrunch article. I was doing Product Management at the time and thought Chia seemed badass. It didn’t seem like the other scammy tokens/ICOs that were happening at the time. Also, the creator of Chia — Bram Cohen, is best known as the creator of the peer-to-peer BitTorrent protocol and is widely recognized as the top distributed networks engineer alive. That solidified my belief in them. I reached out to Chia if they had any jobs available and they did! I moved to San Francisco two weeks later and started my job as Director of Operations at Chia Network. I also was recently given the additional responsibility of Corporate Secretary.
What did you do before you decided to jump into Chia full time?
I was a UX Product Manager at Honey. Honey is a free browser extension that finds you coupon codes at checkout. I led a team of 5 full stack engineers and a product designer for their personalized shopping feed. I also helped out with the core browser extension.
What about the vision for the Chia Network made you want to spend your time and energy helping bring it to life?
Mining requires tremendous computing power (and therefore huge amounts of electricity) miners have set up shop in some unexpected areas with no regulation for cheap power plants. Because of this the strongest miners are very good at coordinating criminal action. I’m passionate about distributing the wealth. Instead of mining using electricity, Chia will harness cheap and abundant unused storage space on hard drives to verify its blockchain based on proofs of time and space rather than bitcoin’s electricity-burning proofs of work to make a cryptocurrency which is less wasteful, more decentralized, and more secure.
Talk me through a day in your life — what are you typically working on and what does that look like?
Currently, we are only a 6 person startup so I’m wearing a lot of hats. I built our website so I maintain our Github, write press releases, put together materials for fundraising including building out a Data Room, do our bookkeeping, recruiting, prepare agreements, answer messages from the Chia community, and help schedule meetings and calls. It’s all hands in :)
What are some ideas you’re excited about in the crypto / blockchain space? Why do you think these ideas are exciting or transformative?
I’m very curious in the creative ways companies will utilize mining. Specifically the advertising industry. Salon.com recently offered visitors an alternative to traditional online ads: allowing the site to use their computer processing power to mine cryptocurrency. Allow there are a lot of privacy issues to work through her — it’s a pretty clever way to allow free content.
What’s been the most interesting or inspiring experience you’ve had in the crypto / blockchain space thus far?
It’s been really exciting to see how many women groups have developed in blockchain and how much women are supporting each other in this space. I feel very lucky to be welcomed so openly.
As you think about this industry, what do you think will happen in the short term that will blow people’s minds?
I think in the short-term a lot of people will go to jail and the market will crash.
What changes do you think digital currencies will accelerate in our world?
In the long-term we are heading into an era where we will have global currencies where the concepts of “identity” and being a citizen of a country will be challenged. In some instances, it will be a liability to be considered a citizen of any country. Also, people will begin to understand the true value of aligning incentives to have “networks”. These networks may be able to overpower any bureaucracy.