Leaders Series: Evelyn Hytopoulos at PolySwarm
Issue 50 — May 8, 2018
Evelyn Hytopoulos is Chief Economist & Data Scientist at PolySwarm
Evelyn is a mathematical economist by training and joined the weird and wonderful world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech in January of this year when PolySwarm, a new blockchain network, approached her to help refine and implement their economic incentive model. She brings a wealth of experience to her work, and is excited to see cryptocurrencies integrated into purchasing and transacting habits as platforms and applications mature and evolve.
How did you first get involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem?
As many people regretfully did, I first heard about someone buying pizzas with Bitcoin in 2010 and proceeded to disregard the topic for years. Fast-forward to 2017: cryptocurrencies and new uses for blockchain technology are springing up all over and many of my friends are already elbows deep in the industry.
Watching the growth of companies in the space, it became clear that many of them were at risk of reaching a choke point that stunts their growth without proper market design and calibration. As an economist with a background in macro- and micro-level market analysis and in working with incubators and scale-up tech companies, making a move to the blockchain industry was a no-brainer.
The need for individuals with economic skills in the space is huge. So when PolySwarm approached me in January to take hold of the market design outlined in the whitepaper and further develop and refine it into one that would perform efficiently and effectively, I jumped at the opportunity.
What did you do before you got into crypto?
Prior to getting into crypto/blockchain, my professional career carried me across four continents to work with private and public sector organizations both small and large. As an economist working in evaluation and research, I have a track record of using technically rigorous econometric evaluations to enable business growth, process optimization, increased value for money, market development, and much more through data-driven decision-making. Industries that I have worked in include tech, finance, education, health, international development, investment, law, and public policy.
What problem is your company, PolySwarm, solving? Why do you feel passionate about this?
PolySwarm is the first decentralized marketplace where security experts build anti-malware engines that compete to protect you. Think Bitcoin, but instead of mining, a global community of anti-malware experts converge and work together to best detect today’s threats.
In doing so, PolySwarm incentivizes rapid innovation in the $8.5B/yr cyber threat intelligence space with precise economic instruments that reward a global community of security experts for timely and accurate malware identification.
Today’s anti -virus and cyber security market is dominated by single-vendor offerings which often miss emerging threats. PolySwarm brings enterprises, consumers, vendors and geographically-diverse security experts together into a single marketplace for more complete threat detection. Experts craft and maintain competing software “micro-engines” that quickly identify the latest threats, attempting to outperform their competition. PolySwarm’s “Proof of Work” is threat detection accuracy: the market rewards experts who are best able to defend enterprises and end users.
What’s been the most interesting or inspiring experience you’ve had in the crypto thus far?
The excitement and drive in the crypto/blockchain space is infectious, and perhaps the most inspiring thing is the collaborative spirit and willingness of people to share insights and lessons learned with other companies. Advisors bring a mechanism for cross-pollination of ideas, with everyone’s goal being the growth and stability of the industry as a whole. This is especially true among the women in blockchain, who continue to build a strong community with stellar credentials and expertise.
What are some ideas you’re excited about, and why do you think they’re transformative?
As an economist, one of the most exciting developments with blockchain and cryptocurrencies is the use of smart contracts to program money. This is and will continue to be an important disruption of the traditional market structure, as smart contracts enable more flexibility in market design, create greater efficiency in transactions, and essentially eliminate existing barriers to entry for actors across the world.
What changes do you think cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will accelerate in our world?
One of the things that I think will revolutionize many people’s lives in the near future is the use of blockchain technology to enable easier access to electronic money in the developing world. In past years the primary solution to this problem was thought to be mobile banking. However, mobile banking relies on traditional centralized banking structures and remains stifled by high fees and the need for a direct transfer of funds between individuals and these institutions. With blockchain-enabled exchange of virtual money, we will see more peer-to-peer exchanges, greater ease of access, and more efficient transactions in these parts of the world that will ultimately have significant positive impacts on economies.
In the next several years, we will continue to see changes in the way that blockchain companies are designed and the way they are received in the public eye. This evolution will continue until the applications and services side of the market not only has a high degree of usability but also is simple enough for consumers to understand. It is at this point that the industry will be integrated into purchasing and transaction habits in the economy, standing next to traditional companies.
Thanks to Evelyn for participating! Connect with her on LinkedIn.