The blockchain and crypto space has always had an undercurrent of hypebeasts, scandals (we’re looking at you FTX), toxic masculinity, and distrust — when in actuality, many of the players are the farthest from that public baseline. What the blockchain really is, at its core, and what it can do for the future of business, technology, and society, is the reason many continue to believe in the new age digital movement, despite its flaws. Afterall, every emerging new market becomes the Wild West for a moment in time before becoming the new normal.
Hailing from Italy comes Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr, now 5-year Editor of Cointelegraph, the most respected crypto and blockchain publication in the world. With an M.A. in political science and classical philology, she is a master communicator and visionary who just spent her last few weeks traveling around Vietnam, Portugal, Emirates, and Egypt.
We met to discuss her thoughts on blockchain technology trends, what it means for our future as a united world, and how being a well-traveled woman has influenced her perspective.
Cornèr’s mother was from St. Petersburg and — a surprising commonality — an opera singer like yours truly. What a wonderful icebreaker to bond over as we began our discussion. Growing up seeing Anna Netrebko starting her own career, Cornèr was inspired by her mother to learn to play the piano and sing.
“Music has always been a part of my life,” she told us. “My curiosity in NFTs came through my interest in blockchain and my work at Cointelegraph. I’ve always tried to combine my passions and the opportunities that life gave me in terms of new discoveries. The convergence of those things is magic usually. I’m always trying to multiply my passions, because there are so many wonderful things; just by converging two of them, there is usually a third one that comes up.”
Responsibility: An Inspiration
Being in a thought leader position, especially in such an uncharted domain, brings great responsibility to Cornèr, and she humbly respects it. Many find her to be fascinating because she stands up for diversity and inclusion, is a woman, and is not only interested in, but at the forefront of, a male-dominated space.
“It really is a great responsibility, but also definitely an inspiration to me, that I can be fascinating to someone else,” Cornèr said. “I’ve always worked in innovations and communications. I’ve been pretty active in the energy space, green energy and energy efficiency primarily. I was always in search of new technologies, and at some point, blockchain came my way. Cointelegraph was actually the first company related to blockchain that I’ve ever joined. I have, you know, this fortune and luck to work somewhere that starts from the heart.”
In fact, when she started as a freelancer at Cointelegraph, it was a small startup without an on-staff team of writers. It started, for her, as an adventure, something to keep her mind sharp when she wasn’t busy writing her second thesis. Within a month, it became her full time job — and her passion project.
“I consider Cointelegraph a little bit like my baby,” she agreed. “You know, it’s when you invest your energy and your ideas into a company, and then you also see the team grow along with you, this is definitely something incredibly precious.”
This is a sentiment that is near and dear to my own heart, having built our own firm from the ground up. It becomes something attached to one’s identity, a responsibility beyond working for a paycheck to pay the bills. We become responsible for our team, our culture, and what our company stands for, and we are able to use our talents and creativity to meaningful ends.
Multiplying Voices: Jet Set Style
It would seem as though this humble, intelligent, gracious woman just stumbled into her current career, but all is not as it seems: Cornèr is a master communicator and, of course, a fabulous editor with a forward-thinking mind and the bravery to take chances. One aspect of her life that Cornèr cherishes is the ability to travel to open her mind.
“I definitely love speaking on stages and I love traveling because, in my opinion, it’s very important,” she noted. “Especially when you work in a space that has such a decentralization focus. It inherently is about different visions. It’s about an ability to look at the world through the eyes of others. How can you do that if you do not travel? I have a team that is present in over 30 countries. So, actually, traveling to different conferences is an opportunity for me to meet parts of my team, which is a beautiful thing. I think that such an emergent space definitely needs voices. Blockchain is about diversity and inclusion and decentralization.”
She makes an excellent point: Blockchain technology is an advancement that can bring the world together because of its decentralized nature. We need more thought leaders like Cornèr in the blockchain space and she is opening up the doorway for more conversations like this to be had.
Furthermore, Cornèr is a big proponent of women inclusion in her space. She works to be an example to others, telling us, “Being a woman is definitely a bigger opportunity as well, because even though we are building a diverse space, it’s still more male-focused than we would love it to be. So it’s like double responsibility.”
She’s not wrong. But what she lacks in masculinity she makes up for in poignant thoughtfulness about her position as a woman.
She explained, “When you work in this FinTech space, you have to be this ‘super smart woman.’ You can’t even allow yourself to talk about fashion; but I love colors. We definitely need to be bright in order to attract attention not only to our visual style, but also to the colors that we bring with what we are promoting.”
In other words, Cornèr knows that it is OK to stand out, to set herself apart, and to be a voice for the voiceless. Multiplying voices is an important aspect of the whole web3 space: Cornèr places a high value on responsible thinking and being curious about what we can bring as different personalities from different backgrounds to the table. To that end, she is a role model for others who are tentative about the space.
In fact, when it comes to differing perspectives on the whole, sustainability conversations come into play — and future tech modalities such as web3 are more sustainable than many believe. From fighting climate change by decreasing carbon emissions to addressing deforestation and so much more, the green features of the space are flying under the radar more than #gains — for now.
“We definitely all want web3 to go mainstream, but it has to be done in a sustainable way for everyone,” she said. “That aspect is very important to me, and to a lot of people. Every country actually has some amazing ways of doing things and when you do not travel or when you have a habit to travel among similar countries and in a Western democracies, you lose a little bit of this fresh approach. Every country has its advantages and disadvantages, its history that definitely brings something new on the table.”
The Search for Happiness: Our Future without Borders
Cornèr went on to explain the differences in needs in various markets all over the world. Traveling helps one to understand that happiness is not about money.
“You see some poor countries with super happy people,” she said. “They are happy, and maybe not as we understand it in terms of their incomes and how many Lamborghinis they can allow themselves to buy, but in terms of what exactly is the value of their lives. I think this is very important to bring to the table on the blockchain discussions, but also the general discussions about what we want to have with our future, what world we want to leave for our children. Is it about, you know, an ability to buy cool stuff isn’t about investing in something that has long term value? Or is it about something else? I’m pretty sure that it’s about something else.”
To Cornèr, what blockchain offers is a platform for thinking that doesn’t have any borders, can create sustainability, and can bring about a world of inclusion like never before.
“What I want for my future is to be part of the community that I have built, and for that community to be strong. I think that is what we all want: To have a strong, loving community in which we feel safe.”
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