Bitcoin, Education and Crypto: An Interview With Ameer Rosic
Ameer Rosic, Blockchain evangelist talks to CT about online education platforms, challenges in the tech world, and his views on crypto.
Ameer Rosic is a serial entrepreneur, Blockchain evangelist and the founder of BlockGeeks, an online education platform. He also is a YouTube personality, crypto-expert and jawline enthusiast.
Ameer Rosic sat down with Stephen Chase, Cointelegraph's VP for Strategic Partnerships, after moderating this year’s BlockShow Asia to talk about his journey from getting kicked out of high school to becoming one of the most comprehensible voices in the world of cryptocurrency, the trials and tribulations of creating an education platform and the undeniable reality of Bitcoin.
CT: How did you manage to find yourself here talking with us about such a new industry?
AR: I stumbled upon this industry about three years ago. I had an underwear company in Hong Kong and I sold my shares for that. Then, my journey started off with the exact same questions like, where can I learn more about this stuff? I understand technology. I am not a developer, but I do understand technology and the most common answer I got was 'go to Reddit' and I forking hate forums, I'm not going to Reddit, I am not spending hours. I wanted someone to just tell me, right? Time is the most important thing to me. I want to conserve my time. So I realized, nothing exists and I've got to create my own and that is where BlockGeeks came from. And then, I love video; I love YouTubing. I've been doing that for about four-five years and I just do it for fun. People think that it's a professional thing, but it is far from it. I do it for fun. There is no business behind it. Whatever I think about, I do it.
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CT: Not monetarily, but deep in your heart what is the best thing that has happened to you personally since you started this series?
AR: This dates before I started doing Blockchain. For me, I'm a big proponent of education. I never went to high school, I got kicked out. I started doing business when I was fifteen years old. I'm 32 right now, so I've had many.
I love the fact that no matter where you are in the world, with Internet connection and a hand-held device you can get an education for free. For me, my biggest love and what illuminates my heart is the fact that people, out of their own volition, without any authority, without anybody telling them to learn, they willfully learn by themselves.
CT: Have you and Vitalik thought about building a school or educational platform for cryptocurrency?
AR: That's what BlockGeeks is about. I live in Toronto and we have a really robust Blockchain community in Toronto. We have a huge Bitcoin crew over here, we have hyper ledger, and I am lucky enough to know Vitalik (Buterin)'s father Dmitry who is my business partner at BlockGeeks. We are the world's largest online community for training developers. We have 3.5 mln visitors a month and 6,000 students right now. On BlockGeeks we have three full-time Blockchain engineers who are creating curriculum and we're just moving forward.
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CT: What is the biggest challenge you've come across with the online training?
AR: I'll tell you exactly what that is. Number one, finding teachers that can teach. And number two, finding teachers that actually know about this space. That was mission impossible. We didn't find anybody. So, what we found was very-very smart engineers that have a love of teaching and we trained them in Blockchain. It's all video based, so we have videographers and they spend every single day making very high-quality courses; study at your own pace, bit by bit.
CT: Have you thought about incorporating a coin or a token of sorts into this educational platform?
AR: Not in BlockGeeks. We are launching a Bounty soon to incentivize students to put their knowledge to good use, but we don't plan to tokenize. For me, I see no need to tokenize BlockGeeks, I see no need to Blockchain it. It actually takes away from the benefit of my students. The reality of Blockchain is that it's slow, it's clunky. I need hundreds of transactions per second and if you're an ERC20 token, you can only do about 70 transactions per second. That's not to say that other platforms can't come around, but the reality is that the technology is not capable, yet. We have a couple of years for this reality to actually catch up with us.
CT: Who would you ideally like to work with on your platform to better serve your consumer?
AR: On our platform, ideally we're doing something right now like that. We're doing scholarships, so we are trying to work with the biggest companies in the Blockchain space like L4V or Venture Fund. We are launching a huge scholarship for people who can't afford to it. Even though we are trying to make it as affordable as possible--it's only fifty dollars a month for all access to our courses, full Q&A, support from our teachers. We try to make it as affordable as possible, so you tell us why you can't afford it and tell us what you want to learn and you're in.
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CT: What do you want the world to know about how they should look at cryptocurrency and how they should look at Blockchain?
AR: My advice for people is that no matter who you are whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're working nine to five, whether you're a mother, whether you're a father, whether you are somebody in the bureaucratic government. Take your time to just understand one aspect that you care about. Most people try to understand everything, they try to become an expert. I tell people 'try to understand one thing; understand that Bitcoin--if you could even just understand--that Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a cryptocurrency has these features,' that is a huge step forward. Then with that knowledge, you can go down the rabbit hole.
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CT: How can we create a social cause pool, almost off of your scholarship idea, with all of these companies that are involved with Blockchain technology?
AR: Funny you should say that what I want to do and I have to figure out the reputation system and we're working on this, we want to build our own LMS. At the end of the day, I'm a fintech company and I know many companies. Regardless of the Blockchain space; the biggest problem in the tech space is a lack of really good developers. A certification doesn't mean you're a good dev, nothing--I mean, congratulations you have a forking PDF. I want to see your GitHub portfolio, I want to see how many questions you answer on stack exchange. I actually want to see the work that you've put in. Just show me, show me you're a developer, show me the code.
I was thinking of this a while ago. Companies need really good developers. Imagine we need to go to Africa, I am a firm believer that I don't need to be there. I shouldn't be there. I should just give you, who is there, the opportunity to do your best, that's it. You don't have the same opportunity as I do and I get that, but I should not forking be there. I don't want to be in your way, there is no reason for me to be in Africa. I just need to give you the opportunity. So, imagine we have a system where, let's say I'm in Kenya and I really want to do coding and I have very basic skills of coding. I can go to somewhere maybe like BlockGeeks where I put my portfolio, my profile saying 'listen, I want to learn about this, I don't have the financial means, and I'm willing to go through a process to get hired ‘cause that's what I want.