ConsenSys Bounties Network Simona Pop on Building a World on Bounties
Simona Pop isn’t your average type of girl. But then again, speaking to anyone involved in growing the Ethereum ecosystem rarely turns the conversation to the weather. As Head of Marketing and Community for ConsenSys’ project The Bounties Network, she’s had to force her way through a few barriers.
Not only do women account for just 5 percent of the blockchain industry, but Pop doesn’t have a programming background, coming instead from the social media space. Add to that, building concepts that don’t yet exist, and it’s kind of like feeling your way in the dark. With no flashlight.
So what drew her to blockchain in the first place and why is she so passionate about the ConsenSys ideal? And, as a matter of fact, what is The Bounties Network and what does a ‘world on bounties’ actually look like?
“One of the main areas of blockchain that I was really attracted to is the fact that it has potential to level out the playing field,” she says. “I find that the decentralized nature and the fact that it can be used by anybody regardless of geography or infrastructure within a certain society is really, really interesting.”
Working to Change the World
It’s often said that true innovators have the power to see what people don’t yet know they need. Like the smartphone or the internet. But it’s no easy feat convincing people to take a leap of faith into the unknown–much less when it’s about shaking up the status quo or trying to change the world.
“For so long, especially in the West, we kind of assume wrongly that this is the norm. But then you speak to different people from different areas like Latin America or Africa or the Middle East. You realize that the barriers to accessing the global economy are actually quite high as it stands,” Pop reflects.
“The more you read, the more you think of the possibilities and get really excited about making things happen. This is where blockchain really gives you that platform because it hands back power to the individual. If you want to do something, you actually can.”
[The Bounties Network] is “about changing the way the world works. And I think that’s why we set out this very ambitious goal, but I absolutely think that it’s doable… You’re tapping into this global pool of creativity and innovation and really noble initiatives that people want to be part of and really get involved in. Let’s see how broad we can extend this to, how broadly we can build it.”
Breaking Through Barriers
Pop created the Bounties Network experiential installation at ConsenSys’ Ethereal event in New York this May. It was called the Hive of Ideas at Ethereal because she wanted to get people thinking about the possibilities of blockchain. But also to communicate the fact that you don’t have to be a programmer to work in blockchain if you have the vision and an idea.
“Our main goal for this year,” she says, “is to introduce blockchain to people who are not technical, who aren’t developers, who haven’t even researched that much or know that much about nodes and hashes and cryptography. It’s about putting it in very plain terms.”
What is The Bounties Network?
The Bounties Network allows users to create and fulfill tasks across all verticals. While bounties have traditionally been used in development for knowledge bases or bugs, Pop explains, “it’s a very, very simple format that allows you to create a task and get it fulfilled. And it pays out in any token on Ethereum.”
With a growing community and solid user base into the thousands, the network is starting to take shape. Anyone can access live bounties or and set up a new bounty quite easily by installing a MetaMask extension to their browser.
But what does a bounty look like?
“They can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. From translations of material about blockchain… to designs. We actually bounty out a lot of the work for the actual platform. It’s very simple to get from A to B.”
If you’re thinking you’ve already seen similar existing alternatives, that’s because The Bounties Network is just getting started. Beyond simple, traditional tasks, Pop is exploring bountying out entire processes, or even departments.
She says, “So, one of the things that I’m really keen on exploring within ConsenSys is actually bountying the whole interview process. The way we would normally go is recruiters would get a whole bunch of CVs that they need to sift through. Then you’ll have an intro call, then you have another call, then you’d have another call and so on. What if we set up a bounty to create shortlist of candidates?”
The World on Bounties
The Bounties Network has been described at the Task Rabbit or Fiverr of blockchain, but Pop believes it’s much more than that. And as we gear up for Web 3.0 (basically the internet of everything), bounties will change the way people work and interact forever.
Freelancing from home, working from a computer can be an isolating lifestyle. With the web of everything and everywhere, people can re-establish the lost human connection. “As part of the ‘ConsenSys Cares’ initiative that we’re running within ConsenSys, we actually got somebody planting a tree,” she says.
“Somebody set up a bounty saying, ‘do something for your community.’ I think it was somebody in San Francisco and then somebody in Washington actually went and bought a tree, planted it and then submitted the verifiable proof that they completed the bounty. There’s a photo of the tree they had bought, there’s a photo of them planting the tree with the date on it. They have the full verifiable proof of that action.”
So, beyond completing jobs online like writing and design, bounties will leave the screen of your desktop behind and get out into the community. “Absolutely, you can organize things that have potentially a social and an environmental impact. That’s a big thing that we’re focusing on as well,” Pop enthuses.
So through bounties, entire communities could work together to fix a problem, to save the rainforest, or recycle their trash the right way, or stop using plastics.
“We see a world on Bounties. A world where we completely change the way we work and collaborate on projects. So, for instance, I was imagining this whole framework when I was at Ethereal in New York for 10 days and based on my skills, time and location, I could get notified in terms of Bounties happening all over New York and in those 10 days, I could choose to work on a community project in Brooklyn, some translation, some consulting, maybe an art project too!”
This would mean that people could work wherever they wanted, from any part of the world and also do the work they felt like rather than the same repetitive tasks every day. At the same time, benefiting the community and the world at large.
“People are ever in this situation of having to do work from a certain location in a certain time frame because that’s just the way we’ve been doing it for years. That’s just the way the setup is. Let’s do away with that. Let’s give people back their time, reward them with the right value for the work that they’re doing and let’s enable people to collaborate from wherever they are in the world, not just Western Europe, and North America.”
It’s not easy wrapping up a conversation with Simona Pop. She has a magnetism that makes you want to linger longer, discuss things deeper, and really get involved. Pop herself freely admits that she can’t get enough off talking about the possibilities of blockchain.
But are there any parting thoughts or advice from an Ethereum evangelist who’s working to build a better, brighter future?
“My advice is always: get involved! If you have an interest in code, take part in building. For everyone else who’d like to explore the possibilities of blockchain in their field, just come and try it out. We’re in this together.”
Thank you so much Simona Pop!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.