Faculty Q + A
Blockchain 101 with Blockchain Faculty Anne Connelly
Anne, you are a leader and powerful voice in the global blockchain community – how did you first become involved in blockchain?
I first learned about bitcoin on Twitter in 2012. Immediately I thought back to my work in Central Africa with the ixo Foundation where I used to carry knapsacks full of cash across the country so we could pay our doctors and nurses. From there I realized that many of the applications of crypto and blockchain would be transformative for the communities I’d worked with.
If you had to explain blockchain to your grandparents, how would you define it?
It’s good you didn’t say parents. They’re OGs in the space. For grandparents… remember when you used to have to send letters to communicate with people far away? Sending money is like that today. It takes a long time and involves many companies in the middle to make it happen. Now think about how your ability to communicate changed when email came around. Blockchain is a technology that enables you to send money as easily as you send an email, without all those companies in the middle.
What are the industries or sectors in which you think blockchain could have the greatest impact in the next five years?
In five years, we’ll see more pick up on the enterprise side. Firstly, in finance – we’re already seeing pickup by the banking sector, and the tokenization of securities will completely transform investing. Secondly, in supply chain – for traceability of goods both in terms of authenticity, but also in terms of source verification. We’ve seen movement here by Walmart in ensuring food safety.
We heard you are working on a new graphic novel. Can you tell us a bit about your love of graphic novels and this specific project?
We’ve seen the rise of comic characters in popular culture, but graphic novels are not just for superhero stories. Many graphic novels tell the stories of real people facing war, heartbreak, or revolution. I am working with Chief Nyamweya, an artist in Kenya, to create a graphic novel that tells the story of a young Kenyan woman who learns about blockchain and uses it to transform her community. We are going to make the digital version free to access so youth across the continent can learn about blockchain and how it can impact their lives.
How did you first become involved with SU Canada, and what do you enjoy most about your involvement in the SU Canada community?
I’ve been with SU Canada since January of 2018 when I joined as Faculty. Since then I’ve spoken at the 2019 Summit in Edmonton and at Executive Programs across the country.
Singularity University is a unique community of people who are improving the world around them and using technology to achieve it. I love our alumni, the curiosity they bring to the table to solve challenges, and how everyone supports one another.
As a speaker at this October’s SU Canada Executive Program, what are you most looking forward to?
Last time I got chased by a rooster across the vineyard. I have no doubt this year will be exponentially more fun.
Why do you think it is important that we run these Executive Programs, and what is the biggest takeaway participants can get from attending?
Not only will the Executive Program teach you how to think about your organization’s role in a world that is 10-50 years away, but it will connect you with the network you need to make that change.
Apply today to connect with Anne, other Canadian faculty and global leaders at the 2019 Executive Program, on October 21-24 in Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario.