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FinTech Female Fridays: Deepa Sathaye, Engineer, AirSwap

AirSwap is a joint venture between Fluidity and ConsenSys; can you please explain the structure of the three companies?

Fluidity is a financial technology company developing blockchain-based products and solutions based in Brooklyn, New York. Fluidity is the builder of AirSwap, and about half of the team at Fluidity works on AirSwap. ConsenSys is a global blockchain technology company building the infrastructure, applications, and practices that enable a decentralized world. So for me, I’m a builder of AirSwap, a ConsenSys intern alum, and on the Fluidity team.

How have you seen the digital wallet space develop over the past few years; where do you see this space developing further in the next 6-12 months?

There has been a huge burst of digital wallets developed, especially in mobile and hardware wallets. From what I’ve seen, there is a dichotomy of users and implementations. Some people have become security and privacy-conscious, while others are trending towards more centralized and convenient solutions. I’m not sure exactly where the blockchain space will continue, but I see the future for digital wallets as being a seamless and positive experience for consumers. More digital wallets for Ethereum will be smart contract-based instead of externally owned addresses. This shift opens the door for better user interactions via meta transactions, as well as potentially having redundancy in ownership in the wallets. In addition, building identity into digital wallets will be further proved out in the next 12 months.

How have you seen Blockchain evolve in the past few years within the cryptocurrency space and where do you think this will lead? Larger institutions seem wary of cryptocurrency as there are not many regulatory rules yet (compared to other financial tools that are regularly traded).  Do you think in the long run they will adopt cryptocurrency?  

There have been rapid developments in blockchain technologies in the past few years. We’ve seen several hypotheses tested and new ones generated. Recently, the trend has been towards providing solutions for decentralized finance (DeFi). 

Regulators have also started to become more aware and knowledgeable about this technology and its nuanced details. With larger participants spending more time and resources to understand cryptocurrencies, it’s clear that these players will be able to make informed decisions to determine whether they should use it.

How do you think Libra has impacted the cryptocurrency space? Do you think that there is a chance for Facebook in this particular space?

The Libra protocol and whitepaper was released on June 18, 2019. While the Libra protocol and whitepaper were quite interesting to read and the testnet transactions were successful, the project is still in active development. Libra stirred up a lot of noise in the cryptocurrency space; more impactful announcements will likely come. Everyone should have a chance to participate in this space, Facebook included. I believe that the technology surrounding the cryptocurrency space will become commonplace and therefore, more widespread adoption will be possible. 

As an engineer in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space that is ever-changing, how do you keep up with these types of changes and how are you able to navigate around all of this data?

It’s not easy without a clear strategy. There are many developments and media being published every day. I don’t keep up with everything or all the data, nor do I try to. I usually spend time each day to get a general sense of what’s new. In addition, I will pick only a few topics that I will focus on and split them between what is immediately relevant and what developments I’ve been following that are on the horizon. For example, I have not kept a close read to the developments of Eth 2.0 this summer but likely will pick it back up more intensely now in the fall.

Reach out to Deepa on LinkedIn.

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