February 23, 2018 1:00 AM
As the new Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, Aya Miyaguchi’s focus is on communication, allocation of resources, and community inclusion.
Recently the Ethereum Foundation welcomed Aya Miyaguchi as its new Executive Director. As a prominent figure at the forefront of the foundation, Miyaguchi is tasked with coordinating the massive effort by open-source developers, businesses, and organizations that all work together on improving the platform.
ETHNews took the opportunity to correspond with Miyaguchi about her experiences, the challenges ahead of the foundation, and what she thinks the future might hold.
Before being ushered into the world of decentralization, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency, Miyaguchi had her head in books, finishing up a degree in microfinance. When she first heard about blockchain technology, she was drawn to its potential for financial inclusion.
AM: “I first heard about blockchain in 2011 as the technology at the core of Bitcoin. At the time, I was working for a nonprofit and focusing on a master’s degree in microfinance. I originally thought this technology would be valuable for financial inclusion in emerging markets and wanted to be a part of that innovation.”
With a background in management and education, alongside five years of hands-on experience in the blockchain ecosystem, Miyaguchi came well prepared to serve in her new role. Her approach is somewhat holistic, taking into account many points of view and championing communication among industry players.
AM: “I’ve had the opportunity to see rapid industry growth through the eyes of many parties with different perspectives, while helping to build the crypto ecosystem in Japan.”
Whether they be regulatory agencies, financial institutions, or decentralized startups, I try to keep in mind that each group benefits from the development of Ethereum (even if for different reasons), and so I’ll work to foster efficient growth and positive communication between parties inside of the Foundation and out. It’s important to consider how each action may impact our teams and the groups that support our work, and these years of experience have made that interlinkage more clear.”
Miyaguchi is no stranger to turbulent waters. During the Mt Gox hacking dilemma, she worked alongside Japanese regulators while acting as VP of Operations at the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange in 2013 and 2014. Her goal was to help authorities look beyond the immediate crisis and see the long-term benefits that blockchain technology can achieve.
AM: “My goal was to separate, in their eyes, the technology from issues that they had with private entities. It is important to continue to educate governments on this world-changing technology so that regulation aimed at protecting consumers doesn’t prevent innovation.”
Governing a multifaceted organization like the Ethereum Foundation doesn’t come without its unique challenges; the team of developers is decentralized across continents, and they don’t always agree with one another. What’s more, the profoundly technical undertaking of developing scaling solutions to meet the demand of transaction throughput is, in and of itself, a a significant hurdle. But Miyaguchi has a plan to face these obstacles.
AM: “My first and primary goal is to support our teams by making sure that they have both the resources that they need to succeed, and clear channels of communication to keep from losing ideas or time as we move ahead at full speed.”
Miyaguchi also hopes the Ethereum Foundation can strengthen the ecosystem at large, which she acknowledged is comprised of global players who support and contribute.
AM: “This community is growing at an incredible pace, and we appreciate the support and hard work from everyone in the space. Moving forward, we plan to work even more closely with and to support these community members. Our efforts in offering grants and working with universities are the beginnings of these endeavors.”
Presently, grants between $50,000 and $1,000,000 are available to developers, companies, and universities that commit resources to sharding and second layer scaling protocols.
The next steps for the Ethereum Foundation will involve a great deal of complicated work between many parties; with her wealth of experience, Miyaguchi appears to be a good fit for the helm.
Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.
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