Exclusive Interview with Vanshika Srivastava: Building the Future with Blockchain

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Exclusive Interview with Vanshika Srivastava: Building the Future with Blockchain

In today’s world, technological innovations are shaping the future, opening up new opportunities for various industries. Blockchain technology is one such innovation that is already having a huge impact. But what exactly makes blockchain so significant? What prospects does it open up for us? And how can it change our daily lives and businesses?

To answer these questions, I spoke to Vanshika Srivastava, DevRel Manager at GnosisDAO, a leading expert in blockchain technologies. She will tell us about the key aspects of this technology, its potential, and the challenges we may face on the way to mass adoption of blockchain.

For starters, please tell us a little bit about your background, and what initially drew you to blockchain technology. What motivated you to transition from traditional tech development to the blockchain space?

I started my journey in tech back in 2020, in the COVID era. I was very much into open source, and so I began my work in the same space by supporting a community focused on Data on Kubernetes. DevOps was and is very much in demand for obvious reasons. The whole idea of tech being shared and built by people in open source was fascinating. I started exploring Web3 a year later when I got into Code in Place, which was an initiative by the Stanford people, and we had to build projects on Python. I did develop some database applications with Python, but blockchain was new, and I wanted to play around to explain how mining works. That was the start of everything.

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I was passionate about startups – so I started working at one, which was also a platform to host open-source projects. I got a chance to interview some folks who were early in the web3 space and were working in different teams. It was interesting to know that there were possibilities to build decentralized applications, and the user has full autonomy over their data and what they do. Privacy and collaboration were two of the most important aspects that led me to explore blockchain, and I have been more than lucky to pursue experience in the field.

Considering your experience as DevRel Manager, what are the main challenges developers face when integrating blockchain technology into existing applications?

I think the first one would be obvious. When someone transitions from a web2 background there are a lot of things to grasp as a newbie. As a developer, I am still learning so many things about better developer experience tools and building solid applications that newcomers can relate to. It’s scary; any new technology is scary. Let’s remember the time when Orkut and new social media apps were emerging, and we were concerned about using them in daily life. Shifting from normal keypad phones to touch phones, is challenging.

I wouldn’t push anyone too far to pursue blockchain or learn until they have a basic understanding and are capable of differentiating the difference between the two. Only then they can understand if crypto terminologies and blockchain, in general, make sense for them. And no, it’s not completely different from Web2, but rather based on Web2 tech. I still use React to build applications, but I also need to interact with the wallet; it’s simple yet confusing, and I highly recommend developers speak with mentors in space and join communities and spaces to brainstorm better.

What are the key projects or developments you are most proud of, and how have they impacted the blockchain ecosystem?

I still have a long way to go to make contributions, which can be called out on a major level, but I guess I am really happy with mentoring folks who are transitioning from a different background and have little knowledge. I love creating content, and that’s my way of giving the community back.

How has blockchain technology influenced your approach to solution development and implementation compared to traditional software development?

I think the most important part is what we can do with blockchain. I was always excited to see how cross-border payments would settle, but with crypto adoption, the whole payments segment has changed. It takes a second for someone to engage with funds and share them across borders. The way I look at it is how UX can be uncomplicated, users can be kept safe, and the community gets back because they are loyal consumers. I very much think as a consumer and would like to build for them. Software development hasn’t changed a lot except for new languages like solidity and the way we store using decentralized data servers like IPFS, etc.

According to you, what are the most effective strategies for engaging developers in the blockchain ecosystem, especially in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications?

Developers love developing (until they have bugs). The best strategies or activities that I have carried out are building dev playgrounds, which are the first entry point for any developer to interact with SDKs, take a feel at example applications to learn and understand tech specs. Doing live streams and code alone is also very interesting for developers.

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Blockchain is called a revolutionary technology for various industries. In your opinion, which industries are currently experiencing the most significant transformations due to blockchain technology and why?

Payments Infra, Dev-Tooling, RWA – real-world assets are super interesting spaces right now. I am a big fan of the Gnosis Pay product! Shoutout to them as they are bringing a self custodial visa debit card which is controlled through your safe account, and you can spend crypto with 80 million merchants worldwide!  

Recently, the intersection of blockchain and artificial intelligence has been increasingly discussed. How do you think the integration of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology will affect various industries?

I mean, DePINs are super big right now—less talked about but very important. Even Vitalik wrote a blog talking about how blockchain and AI are coming together, and there are some very interesting use cases for the same, but DePINs are closest to real use cases. We still have a lot to explore, but AI generally is centralized currently, and being able to decentralize it via blockchain would be a great solution.

And when it comes to blockchain development. In your opinion, do you think it is necessary to use AI and VR for development to stay in the “trend”?

I wouldn’t; I think the trend in Web3 is volatile, just like meme coins. I think there is hype for every term, but the real use cases come later. Every week chains and tokens are coming out; it’s not necessary to particularly use AI/VR. 

More and more developers are now paying attention to L2 solutions such as Celestia, Whitechain, Polygon, etc. What projects do you think people should look out for in 2024?

I believe L2s had their time, but now the shift is very much on infra of these L2s. For example, DAs are growing and the pluggable or modular infra of blockchain is very much in demand. Nuff protocol is one of them. Chain abstraction is also very much in the space – some of the projects like Connext and Particle are doing great in this field; consumer-focused blockchains are also on the rise; Movement Labs, Berachain and MorpL2 are other prominent projects.

How do you think blockchain technology will affect the job market and career opportunities shortly?

I would say the demand in this space is growing at a rapid pace; people want to build applications, and chains and manage products. In general, the job market can be tough when a lot of people start applying in the initial journey but coming with some Web2 background and building with Web3 tech can be helpful. You need to stand out as demand grows, the pool of candidates will be competitive, and it’s always nice to focus on proof of work more than anything.

You frequently host various events in the industry. In your opinion, how do hackathons and competitions for developers contribute to the development of the ecosystem, and what are the key elements of a successful blockchain hackathon?

A blockchain hackathon will go a step closer to success based on 3 points – good problem statements that allow users to tinker and build things out, good documentation to guide developers, and a proper support channel for solutions engineering. Events or workshops are part of developer education itself; it’s the first step in most hackathons. Hackathons allow the developers to tinker with solutions and build on a problem statement, and it’s not just about code; it’s also important to understand that collaboration and communication play a major role – you find teammates, and you also pitch what you have built. 

From the side of the developer, one gets a chance to test himself/herself, and most of the team leads also learn how to manage teams and allocate time and resources. From the side of the company, we get to see how people are approaching problem statements and if it makes sense for consumers to be their users. We also find this a potential opportunity to connect with people who would be interested in learning more about our future launches, understanding our products, and being part of a feedback loop. Feedback from hackathon participation is like a pre-event for understanding why builders would choose to build on top of certain protocols.

How important is developer education and community engagement in promoting the development and adoption of blockchain technology?

Very much, you can’t go about shilling your protocol until you educate them well enough. They should first be able to understand and accept that there is an identified problem being solved by protocol. And only then you can draw their attention toward the solution, you can’t expect farmers to understand your product. So community is where all the enthusiasts, early comers stay, connect, and build trust to be able to fully support. Without the pillar of developer education and community engagement, you wouldn’t get user loyalty and support.

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Vladislav Hryniv is a digital journalist. For several years, he has worked as a copywriter for Web3 companies, where he gained interest in the industry. Currently, he writes articles on blockchain technology, finance, statistics, and digital asset analytics for various publications.