Meltem Demirors hasn’t just been in crypto for seven years — she’s shaped her trajectory. Demirors, chief strategy officer at European listed digital asset manager CoinShares, got her start in the space when she went to MIT for business school and immersed herself in the world of fintech startups. , back when Bitcoin was the only major cryptocurrency in mainstream discourse. Soon after, she met Barry Silbert and Ryan Selkis, founders of crypto investment firm Digital Currency Group, and got involved as one of the company’s first employees.
The rest is history, as Demirors told us on this Tuesday’s episode of Chain reaction. But even though Demirors first got into it because of Bitcoin, and she still “loves” cryptocurrency, she’s above the infighting in the crypto community, a particularly high tension. between Bitcoin proponents, known as “Bitcoin maxis”, and staunch supporters. other blockchains. You can listen to the full interview with Demirors below.
“I think it’s become very polarizing. People in the industry more broadly identify as bitcoin maximalists, people identify as crypto maximalists, there’s all these labels that we kind of apply sort of thing. But the truth is probably a lot more nuanced,” Demirors said.
As with many other early adopters of crypto, Demirors’ passion for its underlying technology stems in some ways from the ideology that shaped the creation of Bitcoin, a largely skeptical political viewpoint that criticizes governments and institutions. and seeks to use crypto as a medium. to reclaim financial power for ordinary individuals.
“Everyone I interact with [in Bitcoin] is intellectually very engaged. There was a political element, which I found interesting because I never really thought of myself as a political person,” Demirors said. Being exposed to this element made Demirors think about the role of money in society and in our political system, which helped her transition from her previous jobs in corporate finance to her role at Digital Currency Group after his graduate studies.
Demirors admits that the ideological fervor behind crypto has changed as the asset class has grown in popularity.
“We recognized that for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to be adopted, we need to work with institutions,” Demirors said. “I also think there’s growing recognition that the regulatory environment requires certain types of behavior, as we’ve seen recently in Tornado Cash. And so I think where we’re at now is that it doesn’t necessarily look like a revolution; it looks more like an evolution.
She added that while she thinks cryptocurrency fringe experimentation still seems very revolutionary from a capabilities perspective, systemic change will require much more than just new technology.
“It involves policies, institutions, education and many other complex cultural and societal factors. I think we still haven’t reached that major inflection point. And I think that will probably take some time to materialize,” Demirors said.