To kick-off our new interview series, we sat down and had our first chat with Kume. She is an advocate for Digital Transformation and active part of the Women in Blockchain community in London and talked to us about her views on the industry and her experiences trading.
What’s your background and what was the first time you stumbled across Blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
My background is primarily in digital transformation. I love anything that has to do with technology and its capacity to change or bring a positive impact to our society. I spent most of my career in the Aviation industry and later joined the agricultural sector and its value chain including Finance, Energy and the Climate space supporting sustainable development within Africa.
The first time, I came across blockchain during my studies at Imperial college as part of my research work on ‘Air Transport Industry Collaboration’ and it became a springboard for my project in Africa — Fostering Sustainable Development with Blockchain.
What’s people’s reaction when you tell them about your interest/engagement in this (what sometimes seems like a) crazy industry?
First of all, I see it as a starting point to get my voice to be heard which is the biggest challenge. Depending on the environment you’re in there can be a high barrier that you’ll have to manoeuvre.
In terms of reactions by stakeholders, from my personal experience and as a minority in all dimensions ( female, coloured, “ young looking for the environment I am operating in”) it is not expected as a norm even within my society brackets to be working on such a new technology. It seems nearly unimaginable to many considering the social category they put me in to be part of an emerging technology sector.
Additionally, Digital and Blockchain are normally not seen in the context of ‘Transformative & development’ pilar but are often reduced to a ‘simple coding or APP release exercise. Therefore, stakeholders will frequently position me more as a coder and completely miss out on the Leadership/Change Management/Strategy and Innovation aspect of these areas.
Where I am at, it took a lot of patience and mental resilience to convey the message up to the top leaders to make them understand the context of Digital & 4IR (Industry 4.0) and what these mean in today’s world dynamics and for their organization.
Are you currently actively trading?
I was until recent years.
What kinds of assets were you trading? How did you decide what to trade?
I was primarily trading stocks. Some factors that influenced my decision on what to trade were the idea and vision of a company how transparent they were according to the transparency matrix and finally, I also looked if they were supporting Global development strategies such as the SDGs.
How do you choose a broker/exchange platform?
I look mainly at the adoption rate and to the opportunities the platform offers me to minimize risks.
Biggest success and regrets?
I’d say the biggest success for me is the learning curve when it comes to trading especially in regards to risk management and decision factors. From not knowing anything to creating a proper strategy.
No regrets so far.
How do you hedge risk? Any tips and tricks?
Probably this is nothing new but, Diversification of portfolios has helped me hedge risks. If you have one bad performing stock, you can still make up for it as long as you’ve diversified.
If you have crypto, how do you store it?
I like to store my crypto in decentralized wallets.
Have you personally ever used crypto to pay for something, be it online or in-store?
Not yet but would like to exercise what I preach soon enough 🙂
What do you think about the current state of the cryptocurrency industry? Ten years in but we seem still far from being mainstream.
The overarching observation I have about the cryptocurrency industry is that there is a constant battle & scramble between Governments, regulators, central banks against the Bigtech platform to capitalize on bigger agendas.
My personal aspiration is to see currency being depoliticized and to see power share becoming more decentralized with big tech holding the practicality & the implementation while regulators manage aspects of co-market creation, investment to foster innovation as well as compliance on an agreed framework.
With a good collaboration within the ecosystem we will see crypto or tokens as a driver not only for efficiency but also as tools that are facilitating liquidity, frictionless transaction, transparency and increase cross-sectors innovation.
Related to the previous, what do you think is keeping new people from entering? When visiting conferences it often feels like you see the same faces over and over again…
Completely agree, The dominance at the moment is among the first movers including entrepreneurs and corporations trying to figure out how to capitalize quickly and get the early value of the technical capacity within their market segment and the problem they are solving.
However, as we have more leaders engagement ( beyond founders) that champion the technology and make it core platform of choice for the problems we currently surface globally such as trade, equality, climate change, jobs, mental health, etc, it will eventually emerge and foster different interdisciplinary actors/ talent required for the implementation.
I believe we’ve already started to see this with the recent announcement of China’ president Xi, as well as the work undergoing at Organizations such as the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition, Blockchain Climate Institute, And Afro Valley platforms among the many established with ambition to accelerate the adoption of BC to solve global and regional problems.
What’s your favourite dessert?
Kume is an astute business leader with global experience with over twelve years’ track record and significant achievements in corporate IT transformation and social impact entrepreneurship initiatives.
Kume founded a blockchain-based organisation in 2017 to use it as a platform to disrupt interconnected sectors such as Agriculture, Energy, Transport, Finance, Telecommunication and Social welfare systems in Africa with the first market adopter, Oromia region of Ethiopia and its massive resources that are yet to be tapped.
She also used the opportunity to engage with higher education institutions and bring together sectors with academia to inspire the idea of leapfrogging to the fourth Industrial revolution through platforms such as guest lectures and talks & showcase events.
Previously Kume has successfully co-founded & Exited more than 3 startups that operated in different countries ranging from Waste management digital platforms to Supply Chain & Vendor management to Technology consultancy services.
You can find her on Linkedin here.