E044 From Medical Studies to Building Censorship-Resistant Computing Ecosystems Towards Immortality
March 21st 2021
Dr Olga Ukolova holds the title of Doctor of Medicine obtained from the National Medical University ‘O.O. Bogomolec’, Kyiv. While obtaining the title, she worked as a Research Scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her research considered autophagy in Alzheimer’s disease and the autophagy perspective of heart attacks and strokes. After that, she worked as a Project Manager and Senior Analyst in software development, banking, and AI development fields.
With time, she and a group of enthusiasts and professionals in various fields started working on the idea of creating a decentralized, private and censorship-resistant computing ecosystem, which would eventually lead to fulfilling the ultimate goal – reaching immortality. She co-authored the FreeAI manifesto (manifesto.ai), where the group established their core principles. On the same note, she co-founded a Swiss company Pandora Core AG, which is currently focusing on building technological layers and products that would become building blocks of the future evolution of the Bitcoin ecosystem, thus also bringing the initial idea of immortality closer to reality.
One of the most known technologies, where Pandora Core is the main driver, is RGB – a privacy-first smart contracting and bearer rights system, which enables many real-world cases to be done properly: with individualism and sovereignty at heart. Though, Olga’s interests do not lie solely in protocol-level activities. Recently her company released Bitcoin Pro and MyCitadel products, which would bring more power to the individuals and help them operate in the digital world with confidence and professionalism.
Olga’s Telegram profile: @dr_ukolova
Olga’s Twitter profile: @OlUkolova
Olga’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olga-ukol…
The RGB community page: https://rgb-org.github.io/
The RGB Telegram group: https://t.me/rgbtelegram/
The episode was recorded on March 20th, 2021. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the opinions of their current or former employer(s).
Natalia 00:10 Hello everyone, this is yet another episode of career talks by Welcome Solutions. In these meetings, we talk with interesting professionals who have fascinating career stories behind and who are willing to share with us. Today, I have a great pleasure to introduce Dr. Olga Ukolova. She holds the title of Doctor of medicine obtained from the National Medical University, O.O. Bogomolec’, Kyiv. While obtaining the title she worked as a research scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her research considers autophagy in Alzheimer’s disease, and the autophagy perspective of heart attacks and strokes.
After that, she worked as a project manager and senior analyst in software development banking and AI development fields. With time, she had a group of enthusiasts and professionals in various fields, started working on the idea of creating a decentralized private and censorship-resistant computer ecosystem, which will eventually lead to fulfilling the ultimate goal of reaching immortality. She co-authored the free AI manifesto, where the group established their core principles. On the same note, she also founded a Swiss company Pandora core AG, which is currently focusing on building technological layers and products that will become building blocks of the future evolution of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
That’s also bringing the initial idea of immortality closer to reality. One of the most known technologies, where Pandora core is the main driver is RGB a privacy-first smart contracting and better rights system, which enables many real-world cases to be done properly, with individualism and sovereignty at heart. Though Olga’s interests are not relying solely on protocol-level activities. Recently, her company released Bitcoin prom, and many Citadel products, which will bring more power to the individuals and help them operate in the digital world with confidence and professionalism. Thank you so much, Olga, for joining us today for accepting our invitation. Great to have you and I’m very curious to hear this long and fascinating story told from your perspective.
Dr. Olga 02:28 Hi and I have a very small disclaimer to make. Before we start, I’m the master of unpopular opinions. And I usually stand for things being true, even if they’re not right, bear with me and keep that in mind. First and foremost, I’ve never probably had the idea of me getting a career. Probably I think it was the third year of my studying at the university at the Medical one. For some reason, I understood that I needed to do something to become more independent from my parents to do what I need to do without reflecting on someone else without being dependent on anyone else.
I started to look for a job. I understood that probably I need to start with getting money because I had some ideas in my mind and I need money for that. The most common job that any medical student can find is an ambulance, especially in Ukraine. Where I was finishing the university. But for some reason, although I didn’t want at that point to be a practicing medical doctor. I understood that the whole romance of being in the medical field started going fading away a bit for me.
Because when I saw my fellow students work after some shifts on the ambulances, which were working there, and when I just stood that they basically spent the most productive time of their life on actually rescuing people who have drug overdoses, suicidal guys who actually had psychosis and they honestly did not want to live and they spent their life on helping people who were not even willing to live anymore. This is why I started to look in some other directions, like working at restaurants, and everything like that. But for some reason, at that point, there were not that many restaurants and the restaurants that I did apply for, they did answer me, but after three months of my clients, that was not relevant at that point anymore.
I was just in the process of searching for something, I understood that there was an open spot. We’re in the Department of Pathophysiology at the university, where I was studying. I started hanging out there. We also had physiology and pathophysiology as classes. I was thinking that working in the department as a regular assistant, and doing some paperwork probably would be better, would leave me more time to educate myself and meet other people and everything.
Also, at the same point in time, I get very fascinated by how the human body works from the perspective of sequences, I can say, physiology is about, you have some cause. And then one impulse can just stimulate a whole bunch of different effects with your body, with your brain, organs with hormones, and everything.
I got interested in that, and especially in breaking that. That is why I always love pathophysiology, probably even more than physiology, because a tiny error that appears in a teeny tiny molecule can shut down the whole body. This was very intriguing for me. And it was cool as a medical doctor to find these spots, and to cure them to cure everything else if you will have the essence of treatment for me. I started working simply on studying these topics and coming more and more to the corresponding departments.
They also had a scientific organization in those departments. I got into a couple of talks that were given there. At some point, one of the teachers from the department and after one of the talks with him, there was like, it’s an after-party with just like 10 minutes of networking stuff. And we got into talking. He liked my idea of finding one tiny spot in the whole organism and then playing around with that in order to see how this play can affect the whole body. He told me that that process reminded him of QA engineering of finding bugs in software and my first reaction was, what is software?
He showed me a couple of and it turned out that he partially was a teacher at the department and partially he had his own business of IT software development. He showed me a couple of mobile apps that they were developing at that point. And I crushed basically all of them. He was so amused by that. At some point, we got into talking. He started giving me some new releases. When they got releases of applications. He started just giving me them to tap the buttons and then reproduce bugs or find bugs. I did that and I did well that he offered me a part-time job and I told him that I was looking for a job at that point.
He understood that probably there was some cooperation pointed at that moment in time. This is how I got into the IT field. I think at that point in time, in my third and fourth years of studies, I had like three or four part-time jobs, I was making. Then I was teaching English to a couple of kids and students. I was writing, I was helping to translate a book, and I was working in the pathophysiology department at my medical university. And the best part, I was helping people who had the distance type of education in the same department to pass the exams. Basically, I wrote the tests for them. That was the best part. I understood how teachers work, I understood what the students needed.
I just was the mediator between these two types of guys in the department. I hope that the guys from the department will not see this video in any way. I got into IT, and I got into IT through testing. But I got to know a very different mindset of people because people in it field think in a very different manner than doctors do. Even medical students. And I met a lot of new people, a lot of new types of mindsets. And it would be good to say that I was in the middle of a lot of projects. I was talking at my job, I was always talking with the developers, with marketing people with sea level guys, with clients themselves.
Then at some point, apparently, I understood that four jobs at one point were not enough. And I asked at this place of work, I asked my boss to give me some projects to manage. And my motivation was, I got a little bit bored. I do the testing stuff pretty efficiently and fast. I constantly talk to other people. Can I try just to give me some small project, maybe an internal one, but I want to try myself and in doing that, this was my first step. They gave me the internal project, it was just a simple website.
And I managed the development and release of that. And I didn’t have much experience at that point, as you can understand, but for some reason, at that point, the company gave the first client English speaking quietly for writing. And they assigned me as a manager for that, which was a huge responsibility for me because I was like, 19 or something. I was the guy who knew English at that point, probably better than anyone else in the whole company. I had good skills in communication with clients and with the team. I was like this translator, from the business language to the technical one.
They threw me through that project and that project is actually a very good success right now, it was also related to the medical field It was about working within Britain in London, actually, with the NHS system. There was easier for me to manage this project and probably any other project manager. The company developed the banking wing of its activities. And at some point, I got into a couple of projects there also. I stuck my nose in probably every single project that I could reach because it was never enough for me and I always wanted to expand myself, expand my skills and understand where’s the limit of me.
Then, I was predating in 2014 which was the year where I had a couple of turbulences in my life, first in Ukraine as a country, the war started, and I got actually selected by the government to go to the work field which I kindly declined. Because I understood that I would not be able to help anyone I had my family, I had my friends, I had friends on the battlefield. And I understood that if I go there, I would not be able to help them anyhow. At that point, I had my PhD preparations for Alzheimer’s disease topic.
And I met George bouzouki, he invited me to his lab, and everything was going well, this is why we’re going into the war zone was not really an option for me. I also had a job in the Capitol, I could not leave that also. They’re probably regarding academia as at that moment, was crucial, because I understood that I cannot say naive, but romanticized to some extent, the way of thinking about science. And science turned out to be not the thing that I was imagining. When I was preparing for my PhD, I did a lot of jobs, a lot of work, and a lot of literature prepared, and everything was prepared for me to have my PhD during the last year of studying at the Medical University, which is usually not the case.
But at some point, I understood that science is currently not about discoveries. It was more about bureaucracy system, writing articles, getting theory views, numbers, not actual peer reviews, but community numbers, or peer review author surnames. It was basically the same bureaucratic system as we can see everywhere. When I started asking questions, like, why cannot I have a PhD at that lab in San Francisco, and I got very reasonable answers to that from my supervisors, I understood that it’s just no go for me. And I was not willing to spend that much effort on fighting with windmills and receiving nothing in return.
I started focusing more I still did not leave the neuroscience but I shifted the topic a bit because also, I was talking at the IT company, I was talking about neural network machine learning systems because they were a lot of things they claim that they had biologically-inspired architectures. They were just using the brain architecture and trying to transform it into hardware carriers and everything like that. I’m a bit shifted the perspective of the topic from the academia one to more as it is related.
At that point, we had a project with autonomous drones which actually had neural networks and I was a project lead and a project manager of that, sort of went still in a good way, and probably at some point, three things collided, first my thirst for expanding myself learning new skills acquiring knowledge. Second, the war in the country was linked at that point because the war was for the independence of people for their sovereignty the personal one, and the neural network part, the IT part, software development, and hardware development.
These three things collided with me becoming one of the founders of like me finding enthusiast as a finding in writing the free AI manifesto and started thinking about what the world and software and hardware are actually lacking in order to, for us, as people as this beans to be transferred and somewhere and thus leaving forever, because we understood especially we had a bunch of other medical doctors in between, we understood that humans can die very accidentally, you get out of cancer that was not treated, regardless the age, out of car accidents, or whatever.
Death was something that was driving me to actually do stuff in my life. And I understand that probably science and medicine and neural network development and a lot of this stuff should be focused on overcoming the limit of human death. And that’s leading us to become forever immortal. It sounded crazy at that point. And it actually sounds crazy to many, many people, even right now.
But I had a bunch of friends. Other guys are interested in this. They had supported my illusions or delusions. We established the free AI manifesto, and we started the project of actually building the censorship-resistant AI, which would then be able to just take us and transfer it into some other carrier making us immortal, with that idea, we started in the year where probably you remember when the blockchain boom started? Because Bitcoin appeared in 2008. But no one was carried about it.
Everyone started looking into crypto, whatever that means. I think it was like in 2015, or somewhere. At that point, we thought that the human brain is a huge computation machine. We need a supercomputer and it should be decentralized, probably, because if you have a single point of failure, then it’s easy to eliminate you which would be equal to you dying like you raise the database. And that’s it, you’re gone. We tried to build and the promise of having of delivering the supercomputer was made by a theorem project at that point. We fell for that.
We actually thought that Bitcoin was like about money, and nothing more. And Ethereum was actually more related to what we were doing. We started working with Ethereum as a technological layer as a consensus layer and the blockchain layer and then when just stood that the more effort we put into it, the last result we get because the software was not robust. The languages that were used for writing the software were very buggy.
And the programming language, solidity was not made for writing something as solid as probably like supercomputer thing, because I can compare it to have a solidity as a small stick. On which end with which you actually need to build a house. You cannot build a house with a stick, you cannot use a very unfitting programming language to build something huge. It just doesn’t work that way. We spend some time still trying to build a platform to build our project on top of Ethereum. We understood that it had too many problems. And we were basically spending time not on building the project but on mitigating dependencies, mitigating forks, problems like bugs, which we did not even introduce, which was a bit like a bit harder that at some point we switched to another technological layer as the base one is called R S K. I think it’s currently pretty much alive.
But it did not have any promises of super delivery and supercomputer. But they were using Bitcoin as a protocol layer as a base, which was a new paradigm. But they tried Ethereum to take it up with smart contracts. And to put it on Bitcoin. That’s like combining two worlds. The idea of that was very good. The implementation sucks. We started doing that. And probably, unfortunately, one of the hugest problems that we faced was that there were not that many people supporting by contributing to the ecosystem.
This is why it was hard to understand that we have like a lot of legacy from our theory of attempts, we have a lot of ideas on how to properly implement what we need to implement. But here again, we faced the problem of contributing and writing errors more than writing our own product. That was a bit tough for us. At that point, it’s on the point that we met Giacomo Zucco.
He’s a very famous guy in the Bitcoin community. He’s one of those people who has the superpower to translate very complex and very complicated ideas into very simple words, and very simple definitions and he introduced the concept that he, peter tood, and the other guys were thinking about, which was called RGB. And at that point, it was basically the concept of, can we issue tokens on Bitcoin and on lightning, that was basically it. We’re not interested in making money or in creating a new type of money. This is why the concept of tokens was not that fascinating for us.
But we got into talking about Giacomo and we understood that the potential of RGB was huge and potentially RGB would become our base point for the protocol, for the project that we have been doing for this decentralized and censorship-resistant AI. We agreed that we could become the technical drivers of the whole effort. And month after month, at some of our contributions, the idea of tokens on lightning became the idea of a huge privacy-preserving and self-sovereign bear rights system, which can be used for many use cases, that probably even us like ourselves or our team, it’s sometimes hard to understand that we actually did this. we expanded the idea.
We implemented the idea and currently, we are on a different level of implementation, something is on the specification level, and something is already written in code. Something is just developed as a prototype. We have already systems for assets, issuing assets, and managing assets, like bearer rights systems, and company shares, we have tools for management of finances and management, which is everything that there’s one of the probably most hyped talk topics right now is NFT’s.
We do have a solution for that already, we do have already a couple of products that would actually help you manage all of that. We have the solution for digital identities, with the totally different paradigm that Microsoft is building, for example. We even at some point started redoing the internet, as itself, not the web part of it, what you usually see on the websites, but like the internet as a whole, without the hardware. This was my path from even thinking about becoming a medical doctor to where I am now.
It’s still not new for me or for my colleagues. Because currently, I have a lot of calls with guys that are working with longevity topics and transhumanism topics, well, mostly longevity. There are guys from very different universities. Some of them are from Oxford. Some of them are from Cambridge, and some of them are from basil here in Switzerland. We also are working still towards ultimate goal of ours to actually reach immortality, both from a biological perspective, this is why I’m in this longevity topics. And from a technological perspective, just have various building blocks for reaching the goal.
Natalia 31:55 This is an amazing story. I don’t know where to start, because I already have many questions for you. When you said immortality, it felt a bit like a threat to me, I thought, I always thought that at least one thing I can be sure of in life, which is that one day I can peacefully die. But maybe not.
Dr. Olga 32:24 We do not want over thinking about this. And this is why a lot of guys from academia have this tendency to if something is valuable, they need to push it to everyone. Like if they understand that they want to live forever, this is why everyone must share this. This is why they have all these lines. Like humanity needs to do this. Humanity needs to expand there. Humanity needs to become immortal. Humanity needs to become more than humans. That’s transhumanism. This is not the approach that we take.
Our approach is very selfish. Like, if you want to do something, you do it. If not, no one will ever force you. That’s it. If you want to die peacefully, please do that. If you do want, if you do want to live forever, you should have the means to do that also. Because I understand that it’s a bit off-topic. But I remember when we had a lesson, it was a psychiatry test. When I was studying at the university, one of my questions to me was, what was my opinion on Euthanasia? And the question was, what is my opinion? And I told the woman who was getting a hold of the test that I was actually for it.
Because for me, having an option to die the way you want to die is also a part of being free. I want to be free to choose how I want to die if I want to die when I want to do it if I want to do it. I explained my approach. I actually provided all arguments I had at that point. But I think I didn’t pass the exam because of that answer because the teacher was a very religious one. And apparently being religious was over like Oh, overpowered being a medical doctor at that point, this is why she started saying that it was not my decision to make as a doctor.
It was not even the person’s decision to make because the God gave you the life and only he could take it away. And that was shocking for me to hear. Because it means that doctors should be like, don’t feel those, like people who have slaves, and they tell you what to do and what not to do. That was not the medical doctor that I would want to be. And probably that was one of the tiny points when I understood that probably being free, even in question, especially questions of life or death is something that every person should have to decide on his own.
Natalia 36:04 It’s a discussion for a whole different conversation but I get it. That’s good news. One thing I have to say is that it’s great to hear about your approach because I feel that like, among the people I’ve met in blockchains, I of course made lots of great people there. But I really liked your approach. Because I feel that building the ecosystem and working in the Bitcoin community to the new infrastructure for you, it’s just a means to reach some other goal and not go in itself.
As you mentioned, you’re not money-driven. And that’s good to have. And maybe for the viewers who don’t know that much about blockchains. Maybe we could also explain a little bit more about what this Bitcoin ecosystem looks like. Because it’s a bit like an onion, or maybe not a non-onion surface. It’s more like a human cortex. Like lots of neuroscientists were watching the channel. Let’s say the human cortex has layers. Could you tell us a little bit more about that? How does this ecosystem look and how does it work? And what are these different bits of architecture? And what are the different functionalities that you have on these different layers?
Dr. Olga 37:40 I need to emphasize that Bitcoin and blockchain are different things. And the real value is not in blockchain itself as the whole Ethereum community once like has been pushing. The real value is in Bitcoin itself, not in the blockchain. The inventors of Bitcoin took blockchain as a technology not because it was actually a perfect one for some goals, but because it was the best one at that time for some goals and there is a huge difference between these two approaches. I can be a bit brief here.
One of the main values of Bitcoin is that it’s the only base layer protocol that can be censorship-resistant. And for us, for example, being censorship-resistant is one of the core values because regardless of what you build, if it can be seized from you, if it can be erased, without your knowledge or without you agreeing to it doesn’t make sense whether it was there in the first place or not. If you cannot protect what you are building, if you cannot protect yourself, if your data, your values that you create an error do not actually belong to you, you can as well say that it never even happened or it never happened to you.
This is why when a lot of projects say that they are decentralized, that they are private or scalable, I did not hear the censorship resistance quality. I always become very skeptical of the project, simply because I threw out years of attempts and trying. I understood a lot of other people that I have been working with. We understood that is one of the core values because without being resistant to censorship, there is no freedom and there is no sovereignty. And that’s the building block. And also a lot of Bitcoin is also an economic incentive and consensus layer. I was never into economics before coming into the bitcoin sphere.
But if you think about it, there are a lot of things in economics that I despise very much because they speak about theoretical possibilities. And I understand that everything is possible in theory, but a lot of fields of the economy never get into facts and never get into real practice. This is what frustrates me very often, especially while talking with economists. But still, Bitcoin as an economic system does two things. First, it’s perfect as a game theory model. Because you have zero trust between the parties. You don’t trust the other person that you’re interacting with but you understand that you will not stab the other person in the back and he or she will not do the same thing.
Thus you reach the so-called equilibrium because if you do that, you both will lose more and if you cooperate, you actually will gain more. This is just brilliant from a game theory perspective. That’s one thing and on the other hand. Bitcoin is a very good type of money from a very simple theoretical and practical and historical point of view because I will not get into the details of what is money. That’s going to take us another two hours probably.
But still, economic incentives like financial economical incentives are very important for humans, even as social beings, because to be probably very straight the behavior of apes, the behavior of humans changes, if they see in case of apes bananas in front of them, in case of people money in front of them, and depending on whether a banana is good or bad, whether the money actually have value behind it or not, the behavior changes. Both aren’t willing to cooperate. They can or cannot be willing to trade it to trade the acid that they received today to consume it today if it’s a banana or to store it somewhere knowing that tomorrow, there will be another banana, another money, or something.
A lot of economical theories can be broken and this is heads up for all medical doctors and biobehavioral specialists, biologists, behavioral biology smashes a lot of economical theories, because economists like a kind of economics, the base assumption is that humans think rationally and human is a rational social being which is never the case for any doctor. And I remember I was laughing at this definition in the first place a long time ago. Bitcoin serves as money and as an agreement protocol between simply communicating with other people and exchanging something information, value, money, messages, whatever.
And Bitcoin can also be thought of as a protocol not just as a communication protocol, but as a technological layer, a very robust one on which you can build other technologies without being afraid that the whole stack would fall apart because the base layer is buggy. Bitcoin is a lot more than just money. Bitcoin is not about crypto, is not about money. It’s not about blockchain for me. It’s about having very complex stuff that enables many things to be done in a proper way using technology, of course. I can discuss the topic in various details, but taking into account that we have doctors watching this, probably, this can be enough for now.
Natalia 45:36 I would like to keep a little bit neutral here because I know that the community blockchain community is quite divided in terms of what is the optimal protocol. And I know that different schools know that there is the team, Bitcoin, there is team Ethereum, there is team Cardano in other schools, and I like to just avoid this discussion here about what is the best school?
Dr. Olga 46:08 I think it depends on the goal, probably. I think here, we should say that it depends on the goal because I mean, there are a lot of very smart people working in Ethereum, working in Cardano. And when we were working with Ethereum itself, we met probably all the top guys who are working with guys from academia, mathematics, and cryptographers. But for some reason, a lot of people from that community are very stuck with a seemingly no noble goal, to bring happiness and a better world to every single human.
And this concept of economy is called the common good. It perverts a lot of stuff. Because from a political point of view, for example, it can be sometimes not always, but sometimes can be compared to socialism. And though socialism, and the concept of the common good, t they can seem very nice, very good to have, and very supportive for everyone, it’s very similar to the concept of equality and everything. But when you look at the outcomes that you receive, if you follow this strategy, and this narrative and the mindset, you understand that you’re not building a better world, you’re building a concentration camp because you have this equality which from biology can be compared to crossbreeding.
It’s like saying that lion and lamb are equal. They’re not equal from a biological point of view. They cannot be equal. This is why when people say to me that they are standing for people being equal. And I see people as medical objects very often, and I explore them because it’s fascinating sometimes to just see how different people are. And sometimes, I can see two different humans and they are so different, that I cannot even say that they are equal. You cannot say that eagles and lions are equal. They’re not.
Natalia 48:50 I think it’s also that given that these different protocols also offer different ways of making consensus. I think it also might just appeal to different people. These are the different ways of making decisions and there is just maybe not one ideal way it’s the way you should choose how you want to make decisions in your network and then choose the protocol that is the closest to your natural way of making decisions or preferred my way of making decisions so eventually there is also space for plurality right and not just one protocol but also possibly many different solutions that appeal to different types of people.
Dr. Olga 49:37 I agree with you completely and I’m grateful for everything which is not bitcoin is for having forgiven us the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. We learned as a project as a company as a group of people we learned from our mistakes when we tried to follow different paths. But currently, we still have that community and we were sticking to Bitcoin right now. And we’re building on Bitcoin right now, we still see how other people have good ideas.
But some of them had bad implementations and vice versa. Some people can have very bad ideas but they have so brilliant team or some brilliant guy in the team, one single person who does everything so nicely that if that effort would have been spent on a good idea, that would have been a miracle. I’m still thankful for their effort and for everything that they’re showing us, especially how not to do stuff.
Natalia 50:53 I think it’s generally true about business development. That idea itself is worth nothing. It’s just about execution. And I think it’s absolutely true what you’re saying. Since this channel is all about career development and also self-navigating in the job market, I like to also ask you about how you navigate in this complex space because I know that the blockchain community since it’s a new field, it’s a bit of a chaotic environment still.
I feel that it’s really hard to combine a project. Different people are coming with different motivations. Some of them have motivations different from what they claim. Some of them have very pure motivations and are genuine. They’re ideologists and enthusiasts. And it’s a combination of lots of smart people with different motivations and different personal goals that come to the same space. I would like to ask you more about your team. how did you build your team? What is your strategy? How do you choose people to work with? And who do you work with at the moment? And what advice you could share also, for people who are entering the space in terms of how to choose the right people to work with?
Dr. Olga 52:47 Answering the first part of your question, how to navigate to all the masses, especially if you want to switch the spheres from one to another. First and foremost, probably my advice would be, not to look at people, as professionals, or people, or guys that have some hierarchical level. I would probably advise people that are trying to do it, to switch to another sphere to look at people as people, as humans, and especially if you’re a medical doctor, you know the amount of, for example, cognitive biases that people have.
Even if you’re talking to a CEO or a billionaire, you should always keep in mind that they are still people and they still have a lot of biases. They might have the thing that you’re talking about good ideas when they say but very nasty ideas at heart. And I had this bias that I was always thinking that probably if I go first to medicine, then if I thought that when I switched from medicine when I understood that medical system is a system and you either need to work for the system or you’re out because you cannot be like an artist there you cannot treat a person the way you see that it would be better for the first unit, then you need to follow the treatment protocol and go away that’s it.
I thought that the IT sphere itself and later blockchain sphere and Crypto sphere would give me more freedom to do what I want to do and how I want to do it. This is the case but still to some extent because first and foremost, all the systems and all the communities are built by humans. And humans are not perfect. And this is why first, don’t be afraid to talk to other people, ask them questions, and start thinking against the common narrative. Because if you do that, then a lot of other things would be easier when you try to learn new things. That’s the first thing.
The second thing, when I refer to me, basically, I worked in a corporate company also, like in very standard software development, with hierarchies, with processes and all of that, and I established those processes. At some point, systems that you built, that are built-in Medicine systems that are built-in IT-sphere incorporate once, and for example, very often systems that you can see built-in community. I mean Cardano, including all other blockchains, in all of that. And even in Bitcoin currently, especially with all the flow with huge industrial players very simply, you can see the same corporate patterns and the same system patterns.
If someone is afraid that they would not fit into it, they can be pretty calm with that because they can eventually see a lot of very common human-based cooperation points and cooperation models, the same way that they saw in medicine, or when they did their PhDs, if they worked in corporate companies, or pharma. If they want to go to crypto or blockchain Bitcoin fields, it’s not something that people should be scared of while switching there. And lastly, probably talking about who we are, it’s on one hand simple on the other hand hard to say that. Currently, in our company, we have three core people and three active founders that are driving everything.
First is Maxine. He’s a medical doctor and neuroscientist also. And he has a PhD. He is also very good in point here to this discussion. He has always been very ambitious and passionate about things, especially about topics like immortality and transhumanism. And he also was fascinated with how genes work, and how programming works. Because if you dig into it, there are a lot of similarities between how the genome works, how computer programs work, and how computer code works. He spent like 30 years or something on programming and exploring neuroscience, having experiments, and all of that.
Currently, he is the lead engineer behind the RGB effort. A lot of like the craziest implementations and a lot of crazy ideas that we’re working with currently, they come from him and they have been being implemented by him. Another co-founder of ours is Sabine. She is from Greece, originally, and she’s actually a game theory, PhD, which is another person. I think that every single person from our team from our founders is the person that you can probably invite here. I’m not an economist, but she’s the economist, which does not fly too much in theoretical parts of the economy.
And she’s very fascinated by game theory, and this is why a lot of ideas of building protocols when we need to establish some cooperation points and systems were coming from her and we were talking with her about that. These are three core team members. And we also have many different other founders, but they’re not that active. Currently, they advise us in case we have some questions or issues, but they’re not that involved. At this moment in time, building a lot of things from scratch, I can say we worked with many huge names and huge guys from the crypto sphere from the Bitcoin sphere, such as a tether.
And the main, throughout the past probably two years, we also found out how community-driven development and open source development can be valuable. And this is why we do not have that many people we’re hiring right now. But we do not want to scale the team too much. And to have this vision that a lot of activities are going on. But in fact, nothing is because a lot of companies they’re actually doing that. We understood how valuable community effort can be, and how one passionate contributor can benefit from what we’re doing and can bring benefits to us.
Without any political tension or arguments about salaries, or whatever it is every one that worked in the corporate environment, knows that every time you hire someone, you have a lot of like HR HR problems to cover. Currently, we’re leveraging the community effort. And also the community is very interested in contributing to what we’re doing. We’re just finding cooperation points with whoever is interested. And if someone is interested in actually working for us, and with us as a company, we’re talking to them about this. And if someone just wants to be a free artist and free contributor, they’re willing to do that because we’re actually also following the same narrative with other projects and other companies.
If they’re open source and if they invite guys to make peer reviews or to write code and contribute or even to read the docs, we’re there. And if we’re interested, we contribute. this is a very fascinating field. But the whole Open Source field is very fascinating. And it’s still very different from the classical corporate IT one. And from a management perspective, it’s actually easier to manage.
Natalia 1:03:18 I totally get it. Like in my company, I only work with subcontractors and I do a lot of barter and exchange of intellectual property as well. Also, I also work with enthusiasts who contribute something and I can help them. I totally get this strategy. It’s good that you mentioned that there is an open community because a few months back, I launched another episode channel that was also dedicated to blockchains and the Bitcoin community and I got some questions from PhDs who would like to contribute to the space but they don’t know where to start.
Because indeed, from the outside, it’s hard to recognize where are the quality projects because there are now especially now in a bull run. There are so many different communities online. And when you’re from the outside, when you refresh, it’s sometimes very hard to recognize where you can actually do the actual difference. I think it would be good if I put a link to your community here under this episode. If you guys are interested and if you would like to try and get familiar with the LGB project and Olga’s company and community, then please check it out.
Dr. Olga 1:04:48 You can post. I can give you my telegram handle. If someone wants to switch from PhD or has PhD , wants to try his efforts in Bitcoin, wants to play around with it, or is a medical doctor who wants to switch, can just drop me a message. And I can advise something or put some links to help them navigate. That could not be a very huge jump for me. But please do not write me, hello, and nothing because I usually think that that’s a bot and I just delete the message straight away. Introduce yourself and ask the question.
Natalia 1:05:33 It’s either a bot or some gentleman.
Dr. Olga 1:05:36 They’re still bots.
Natalia 1:05:38 At some point, I think there will be plenty of people trying to get your attention. Just relating to this, what would you say to people who would like to join your project but are not cryptographers and they cannot program on a level that is anywhere close to your level. Can they be of any help to you?
Dr. Olga 1:06:21 I’m not a coder. I do not code that much. I can read code. But I’m not a programmer also. And beyond code, we have a lot of activities that we need to work with. For example, we still have a lot of a challenge. One of the challenges that we’re facing now is to translate everything that maximum does into a human-readable language which usually means creating, we have the FAQ website, for example. And we need to put a lot of information there and put it not in like the machine-generated way that you actually create a little story. And I call it a story because simply it should be logical from beginning to end.
And if people can have some will or desire to work with text, even without your recordings with video recordings that we have, they are free to reach out if someone can work on creating infographics. And working with the community on those infographics. And we have a lot of like community channels. We would totally appreciate helping in managing and creating the content that we need. Don’t be afraid if you are not a coder but you want to get involved, just send me a message. And believe me, we have a lot of jobs to do together.
Natalia 1:08:16 A friend of mine is just trying to do that. You’re watching Maxine’s lectures and trying to make sense of it and put it in text.
Dr. Olga 1:08:29 He created a very good document that describes how a lot of our products require employees to work. And that was a very surprising outcome, a very surprising contribution, but a very good one. I’m still thinking about how it would be better to post it, like where in what shape whether it should be an article or something or just a file in a repository or something. But these types of versions are also highly appreciated. And they’re very welcomed. Thank you, Ferry.
Natalia 1:09:10 One more question I’m very tempted to ask you is how did you find Maxine? Because he’s a genius. You don’t have to be very bright to see that, from these lectures, like it’s quite clear. And I always wonder where you find those people because, like, in my experience, the smartest people who are really passionate and who have all the skills to actually put ideas to practice, are just away from the crowds. They’re just sitting out there somewhere in their cubicle doing their projects and it’s so hard to find them. How did you encounter, Maxine, and how did you meet him originally?
Dr. Olga 1:10:01 Originally, he was the person who gave me the application when I was looking for my first job. We’ve known each other for like 10 years probably or something.
Natalia 1:10:19 Okay.
Dr. Olga 1:10:20 Yes.
Natalia 1:10:22 It also will be a really lucky strike to find the right person.
Dr. Olga 1:10:28 A lot of people think that this is lucky like this is something about luck. I think there is a huge part of being lucky when you talk about things like this. But also, if you think about it. I needed to make a lot of the right decisions to be to become that lucky. First and foremost, I needed to dare to come from a very small city, when I was born in the capital of the country to study, I need to pass all the exams which I wasn’t even prepared for in the first place. I’ve to make a lot of hard ways to educate myself to be led into one room with other people.
Because if you’re out of the room, if you want to meet a cryptographer, but you would not understand where they live, how they breathe, if you do not understand cryptography, if you’re not fascinated, at least at some level, you don’t need to be brilliant at it, but at least be interested and passionate enough about it. Then, at some point, if you’re burning with some ideas or some activity, you’d start spotting people that are like you, and then some of them are false. But there is still a good bunch of people that stay and they become your friends and they become people that you work with. But it always starts with yourself creating the way for yourself to be lucky. It’s like a happy coincidence or something. And the best improvisation is the one that you prepare for.
Natalia 1:12:31 If sometimes you get lucky, you still have to recognize that you got a good shot at something and then stick to it. Lastly, I like to ask you a question from the audience, which is no surprise here from Ferry. His question for you is, as Peter field once said, the most successful businesses have an idea for the future that is very different from the present. And in your eyes, how will the world look when the RGB project is up and running? And when the Bitcoin ecosystem develops to its full potential, what will be possible in this world of the future?
Dr. Olga 1:13:25 It’s a very good question. I can say that for a lot of people, nothing will be changed. That’s the first thing because if you think about it, a lot of countries, a lot of people, a lot of families, first of all, they are not using a lot of technologies that are available right now. They’re not using products that are available right now. And a lot of people even do not need the freedom that Bitcoin can give. They actually need to have to stick together. They actually need to have a boss that will tell them what to do.
The value proposition of Bitcoin and RGB for them is zero because they just don’t need that. They don’t need their phones. They don’t need secure communication. They just need a couple of beers and a happy family around. That’s it. For many people like that, probably nothing will change. But for people like us, for example, those that work hard on overcoming any kind of restriction, whether biological physical regulations or anything, a lot of new possibilities and new ways to fulfill our goals would be enabled and we would have more tools to actually protect ourselves and gain even more freedom with time.
And I think as a side effect, during these hysteria times, it’s hard to predict what would happen like what happened, in fact, but I’m very convinced that if you want to become free and if that’s your goal if you want to become sovereign and fulfill your potential to the fullest, RGB and Bitcoin and the technologies that we’re building will help you to do that in your own way. If you want to build tools, join the effort with us.
If you want to join it or build something new from scratch, but be inspired by something that we did or introduced. It can take various forms but it will always be dependent on the observer on the person who accepts since the technology accepts the ideas and whether they resonate with him or not. Those kinds of people would have more tools and more possibilities.
Natalia 1:16:29 We have to slowly come to the end of this interview. Do you still have some more general career advice for anyone who is now still undecided about what to do next, who is still in academia and thinking, just trying to look into the outside world and unsure if they should try themselves, for instance, in the blockchain community? Do you have anything to share to encourage them to try?
Dr. Olga 1:17:05 I said about it in one way or another, but maybe to sum it up a bit. Probably, the career contemplations that people have right now are a bit different from the ones that they used to have other 16, for example, because currently on top of being unsure of where to go, you do not have all the time in the world to try everything and then decide because probably the audience that is listening to this now is not in their 20s anymore. I would probably still say that one should be afraid to switch.
It’s always hard to switch. It’s never easy to switch. From my perspective, if you want to dig into something else, something different from what you have been working on before, that’s the way to go. If this drives you, you should go forward and not be afraid of whatever like what family can think, what your spouse can think what the kids or neighbors or the government will think, just go for it and see how it goes. But there’s still a question of where to go. And probably this is one question, especially now taking into account the crisis, a lot of people don’t have their jobs.
And the question of where to go is very important to address. And unfortunately, there’s not a single person that can tell you definitely where to go. Because where to go is the question that should be answered by the person. Where do you need to be? That’s the real question. And if someone wants to switch from being a medical doctor to being an artist, they must go for it. Maybe eventually on the road, they will understand that they want to be architects but not an artist. The end goal would be different but it always starts with a person spending a lot of time and effort on understanding what he or she is, what they want, and where they or need to go.
Because like no career advisors, no coaches, no books about business, no books tell you about a career path. If you make that decision because the decision and the idea and the passion should be within the person, not from the outside, just put yourself together. Think for a day or two, maybe two months, but try some things but don’t spend too much time on them. If you understand that it’s not yours, just feel free to drop it and go do something else. Don’t be afraid to just go for it.
Natalia 1:20:30 I think it’s also good to remember that you only live one-time positive bias or sometimes destroying things. It’s better than just sitting have your arms crossed and waiting and thinking too much. You can make mistakes but you will regret things. You didn’t do more than the things you did. Thank you so much, Olga, for visiting us today and for this wonderful story and all the details, and all the great insights that you shared with us today.
Dr. Olga 1:21:13 Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for inviting me.
Natalia 1:21:17 Thanks to all of you guys who came to the end of this episode. Thank you so much for watching. And if you’d like to get more of this type of content, then please subscribe to this channel. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please put them here below the episode and in the comment section and we’ll take your questions. We are open to hearing your comments and questions. Thank you so much again, Olga. Have a good day, everyone.
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