Leaders Series: Antonie Hodge at Coin Center and the Zcash Foundation

Issue 47 — April 15, 2018

Meltem Demirors
Apr 15, 2018 · 4 min read
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Antonie Hodge is the Operations Director for Coin Center, and Operation Director for the Zcash Foundation

Antonie has been with the public policy and research organization, Coin Center since August 2014 but bought her first bitcoin in January 2013 — a true OG. Her colleague had been goading her for 6 months before to buy, so you could say she’s been drinking the Kool-Aid since mid-2012.

So you got into bitcoin in 2013, huh? That’s pretty early. What happened?

In 2013, my colleague at my previous job kept talking about how fantastic bitcoin is, from a variety of angles: economic, financial, technological, and philosophical. Finally, after months of hearing this babble, I finally downloaded a wallet and bought from him. (Thank you, Patrick O’Sullivan.) My world has never been the same since. I would post on Facebook (Facebook was cool in 2013!!) about using the creepy red phone you’d use to buy on BitFloor and I took a photo at the first U.S.Bitcoin ATM in Albuquerque, NM.

What did you do before you got into this?

I worked in marketing automation, database design, and processes improvements for IT at another policy-focused nonprofit.

So you run operations for two non-profits. Are you a glutton for punishment? Why do you feel passionate about the work these two organizations do?

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are leaderless, open source technologies that are maintained by a community of enthusiasts, some via their own companies. Just like there is no way to pick up the phone and call “the internet” there is no way to call Bitcoin. But policymakers need someone to call. That’s where Coin Center comes in. We are an experienced resource that can help them think through the nuances of the technology and how it interacts with the law.

What’s been the most interesting experience you’ve had in the crypto space thus far?

The people I have had the honor to work with in cryptocurrencies are the smartest, noblest, and most passionate people I have met. They see the world as place where thoughtfully implemented technology can improve current systems of privacy, censorship, and speech, ultimately leading to more liberty for all.

As you think about this industry, what do you think will happen in the short term that will blow people’s minds?

Right now, the focus is on the money-making aspects of cryptocurrencies. In my mind, the tokens are an important incentive to the whole technology, but the true innovation is the layers that are being created on top of internet protocols that can ease payments, allow for greater privacy, and ultimately empower it end users.

What aspects of cryptocurrency do you think will be disappointing?

As we are seeing today, there are folks who are solely interested in short-term financial gain, which is short-sighted, and will lead to irrational speculations, rises and falls in prices, scams, frauds, and reactionary regulation. As the pendulum swings back in the other direction (the “Bitcoin is dead” direction), we might see an exodus of these folks.

What changes do you think cryptocurrencies will accelerate in our world?

The people who are passionate and smart about cryptocurrency’s technological implications will stick around and continue to build great infrastructure and sound business models without the distractions of the price volatilities, ICO celebrity endorsements, and blockchain snake oil salesmen. The future is still unknown, and the many products and future technologies have yet to be imagined.

Leaders Series

Profiling Leaders in the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain…

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