Elizabeth T. Ploshay has had a busy six months.
Since her election to the Bitcoin Foundation’s board in late September 2013, she has volunteered her time to help that organization set up global affiliates, continued her work as communications manager at Bitcoin Magazine, and helped organize the upcoming Bitcoin in the Beltway conference in Washington, DC.
We spoke with Ploshay about the work she is doing on many fronts.
Cointelegraph: Could you tell us what you plan to speak about at Bitcoin in the Beltway?
Elizabeth T. Ploshay: I look forward to serving as co-chair of the Bitcoin in the Beltway Conference from June 20-22 in Washington, DC. While conference planning is still under way, I see that some of the key themes that will be addressed are Bitcoin prompting global financial inclusion, Bitcoin as a catalyst for charitable giving, Bitcoin and liberty, and of course, some of the technical developments in the Bitcoin space. I hope to provide an update from the Bitcoin Foundation and additionally stress the need for more women to get involved in the Bitcoin space.
You should all check out the conference and attend. You can find more information here.
CT: Your website says you only got into Bitcoin in January of last year. Could you tell us about how you first got interested in the currency?
EP: I will be forever grateful to my friend who opened up my eyes to the Bitcoin currency. While I was working on Capitol Hill for a congressman, I started to see firsthand how many uphill battles there are within the current system in the US. My boss was and still is a phenomenal man with integrity who is truly working for the betterment of his constituents. However, after I learned about Bitcoin, it became clearer to me that one can almost be more effective outside of the system with a technology like Bitcoin. Bitcoin alleviates the middle-man effect, works around red tape and additionally meets the financial and liberty needs of individuals on a global level.
I had an opportunity to work with Bitcoin Magazine, and that was the best decision I have made! I am so thankful that I now get to work for an industry that has proven to provide so much potential to truly help individuals around the world and is not dependent on a single point of failure.
It was the sharp contrast between the potential of Bitcoin compared to that of the broken system I was working in that made me take the final leap to get involved in promoting Bitcoin full time.
CT: How have your efforts to promote organized decentralization at the Bitcoin Foundation gone so far?
EP: It has been great to see the Bitcoin Foundation expand internationally but in a decentralized manner. The Bitcoin Foundation officially kicked off its International Affiliate program in December of this year with the addition of the Bitcoin Foundation of Canada and the Bitcoin Alliance of Australia to be incorporated under the global umbrella of the Bitcoin Foundation. I see this as decentralized organization in action, as each international affiliate is a part of a larger community of resources BUT also focused on the grassroots level. Additionally, the Foundation’s motto for the International Affiliate program is “Think Globally. Act Locally.”
I see much potential for the international decentralized expansion of the Bitcoin Foundation.
CT: In your campaign, you described your vision of the Foundation as an informational resource. How has building that knowledge base gone so far? And how can the Foundation or the Bitcoin community at large share that information with policy makers in Washington to better inform any attempts at regulation?
EP: I still see that one of the key roles of the Bitcoin Foundation is to provide information to the Bitcoin community and those interested in learning more. During the start of my term, I had the privilege of serving as temporary chair of the Foundation’s Education Committee, where I was able to work with the committee to produce Bitcoin 101 and Best Practices guides for Foundation members which additionally will soon be posted on our new website. I plan to continue to support the Education Committee’s efforts. Additionally, efforts are also underway to reach out to college campuses and university professors to share more about why Bitcoin is relevant and the future of global finance.
In terms of dealing with policy makers, it is necessary to first explain the basics of Bitcoin rather than getting caught up in details. Policy makers and regulators must first grasp the positive impact Bitcoin has on the global Bitcoin economy. Another key element is putting a face to Bitcoin and sharing some of the many stories of how and why Bitcoin is helping humanity. At the end of the day, the Bitcoin community has an opportunity to keep the dialogue positive and share how Bitcoin is truly revolutionary.
CT: Last summer, you noted a gender imbalance in the Bitcoin community. How has that changed — if at all — in subsequent months?
EP: I am thrilled to see more and more women getting involved in the Bitcoin space. There is still much work to be done so women do feel comfortable in attending Bitcoin conferences, meet-ups and also simply getting more involved, yet since I started attending Bitcoin conferences, I have been pleased with the increase in the number of female conference attendees.
More women are recognizing that Bitcoin is not just a space for individuals working in the tech field but a movement towards freedom around the world. Groups such as Women in Bitcoin and CryptoWomen Worldwide have been formed, and the first Bitcoin women’s magazine was also recently launched.