In this week’s interview, we talk to Dan Shields, a community organizer with Colorado Blockchain. The group provides a forum for blockchain professionals, investors, and enthusiasts in the state to get together with the goal of making Colorado a hub for blockchain innovation.
BitIRA: What is your background, and how did it bring you to become involved with blockchain in Colorado?
Dan Shields: I chose to study Engineering and Physics at the Colorado School of Mines as I am deeply passionate about designing, building, and optimizing intricate systems. I am inspired by the elegance in the world that we live in and love to learn and educate others about it. When I discovered blockchain and associated technologies, I was immediately drawn in by the architecture and their robust nature. The more I learned the more amazed by the possibilities that these technologies can enable I became. Looking to find community here to explore these ideas, I came across Colorado Blockchain’s first meetup groups. Inspired by the talented and forward-thinking people here, I jumped in head first into leading these groups and fostering the community.
BitIRA: Tell us a little about Colorado Blockchain — what is its mission and what sorts of initiatives are you undertaking?
Dan: Colorado Blockchain is a platform for connecting with and amplifying the voice of the rapidly developing Colorado Blockchain community. We are a federated group of local thought leaders, developers, investors, legislators, and businesses that are all actively involved in these exciting new frontiers. Our mission is to highlight Colorado as the epicenter for Blockchain development, implementation, and adoption.
To that end we are active in initiatives to accelerate our growth and the growth of blockchain tech. At present, we focus on the primary issues that are holding the community and these technologies back locally and globally: general lack of knowledge, misunderstanding and regulatory uncertainty.
We aim to solve these problems through:
- Inviting everyone to get involved and educating themselves at our many local meetups – there is one almost every day of the week! We cater to many interested and to any knowledge level of participants.
- Hosting and promoting events to draw in talent and resources. A great example is the ETHDenver Buildathon – the largest event of it’s kind globally.
- Developing progressive legislation and regulation for Colorado to be known globally as the best place to build a business or be a consumer of blockchain technologies through our state’s Blockchain Council.
BitIRA: Colorado seems to be a hotspot for development in blockchain. What about the state do you believe allows the community to flourish?
Dan: We have a lot to offer here:
- An inviting, collaborative, and easy-going yet highly productive culture
- Formidable talent and experience in starting and growing tech companies and products
- Progressive business friendly regulations and legislation
- World leading affordable infrastructure and support services to build and deploy these technologies
- Beautiful geography, outstanding recreational opportunities, and so much more outside of work!
BitIRA: What is your greatest hope for the future of blockchain?
Dan: What inspires me and makes me so excited about these technologies is the disruptions in so many industries that they will bring about. More than that though, the implications for a real change in society are astounding: We can enable a more just, equitable, and kind society. There is a lot that needs to be done to get there, but I am confident that we will. Why? Because of the communities that I am honored to be part of here. These people have astounded me in their compassionate mindset and digent adherence to their principles. With these people working to make a better world, I know it will come to pass.
BitIRA: If you could give one piece of advice for someone new to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, what would it be?
Dan: This entire space is rapidly developing and changing, so it is never too late to get involved! Start following you curiosity and continuously learning. And don’t do it on your own – find a community to get connected with and ask questions and challenge everyone’s assumptions. They will keep you interested and motivated along the way. The people of Colorado Blockchain would love to have you join our community; no matter where you are physically, you can always connect with us online! You are always welcome!