How a 15-year-old female started developing Blockchain

Alishba Imran
7 min readFeb 3, 2019

The day my life changed.

To the present day, I’m really involved in the Blockchain space from developing Voting, Property DApps, to an application that can completely eradicate fraud medicine in developing countries like India, and much more.

Check out my GitHub here to see some of my projects ;)

But it’s not always that you see a fifteen-year-old female actually developing in the Blockchain space.

  • Most fifteen-year-olds I talk to are busy:
    - keeping their streaks on snapchat,
    - or playing video games.
  • Most females I talk to in the space are either working on:
    - Blockchain strategies or marketing. Few that are on the technical side.

This in itself could make for a great story, but how I fell in love with Blockchain is an even greater story.

A few months ago, I viewed Blockchain as the stereotype that most people have; it’s something to do with data, which meant it was associated with some sort of finances or math. I literally promised myself that I would never do anything with this technology because it just made no sense to me.

Looking back at it now, it’s crazy how dumb I was and how there’s actually still a huge stigma around Blockchain. But its even crazier how much I’ve learned and grown in the past few months.

This wasn’t just a miracle though. It all started when my friend decided to give me the book “Blockchain Revolution” by Don & Alex Tapscott:

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, Portfolio Penguin/Random House, 2016

Just like that, my life changed. This book completely eradicated my old thinking and replaced it with a new outlook on Blockchain. Of the two years, I actually tried to understand the technology no one has better explained the next big thing (aka Blockchain) better than Don and Alex Tapscott.

Don and Alex Tapscott

And ever since then I have been so obsessed and inspired by Don and Alex Tapscott. I mean, who wouldn’t be?

Don Tapscott is the CEO of the Tapscott Group and one of the most influential living theorists about business and society.

Alex Tapscott is a chartered financial analyst, working in New York and Toronto as vice president of institutional equities, at the investment bank Canaccord Genuity.

But most importantly they’re both outstanding theorists and leaders who are making really smart connections and predictions about the future applications/impact of emerging technologies like Blockchain.

This book talks about a lot of important things like it:

- Traces the emergence of blockchain as an instrument of trust.
- Highlights the importance of blockchain in financial markets.
- Details the challenges faced by blockchain technology.

But most importantly for me, it was a literal way to understand Blockchain and how it will actually disrupt so many different industries. My life has changed ever since because I don’t feel like a normal teenager anymore.

I now wake up every day with an eagerness to model Don and Alex Tapscott’s ambition by continuing my drive to change the world. I have a reason to wake up in the morning because of my passion for Blockchain. Every day is spent with curiosity, challenges and a lot of questions being asked. A lot of valuable knowledge being gained and a lot of connections being made. I feel like I have not only started to better understand myself but also better understand the world and where it is headed, as a result.

But most importantly, this book has made me feel happy because I now optimize my day around things I actually care about and am genuinely passionate about.

I can go on and on about how this book has truly changed me. Whether you just want to understand Blockchain or get a good read, I thought it might be valuable to share some of my key learnings from the book (who knows it could change your life too):

A Better Way of Managing Information

One of the key lessons I learned was the purpose of Blockchain, and how it’s better than any other transactions and data management system currently out there.

One of the greatest challenges of our modern life is that it takes really long for any transactions to happen like the time it takes for a check to clear. My parents carry around no cash and pretty much hand out checks or use their cards for payment. And oh boy, I can go on and on about how annoying it is for them to use checks..

Every other financial transaction is being reduced to the tap of a phone or the press of a key. But its still taking checks take days to get to the bank, which results in days of lost interest and presumably other fees in between.
You would have thought that it’s 2019, and transactions and data management are supposed to be slicker these days, but it isn’t in a lot of cases still.

BUT…. with Blockchains we are able to do this as blockchains are distributed ledgers, run on multiple computers all over the world, for recording transactions in a way that is fast, limitless, secure and transparent. → No more waiting for that check to clear. It would all be done and recorded for an eternity before you know it. I just imagine how much this could help my parents and for that I’m grateful. But not only my parents, a pool of people who are in the same situation not only for checks but other applications as well.

“The new platform enables reconciliation of digital records regarding just about everything in real time,” — Tapscotts.

Transform business, government, and society

So far, most of the hype around blockchain has focused on their potential to change the financial services industry, but what really stuck with me was how it would be able to transform business, government, and society in even cooler ways.

Creating a better sharing economy

Most sharing economy companies aggregate the willingness of suppliers to sell their excess capacity (cars, equipment, etc.) through a centralized platform and then resell them to users.

Blockchain technology has the ability to provide suppliers of these services a way to collaborate which is more valuable.

What was really crazy to me was when I read this:

Just about everything Uber does could be done by smart agents on a blockchain.

I read that over and over again until I understood it and I thought dang their right. When blockchain’s trust protocol allows for autonomous associations to be formed and controlled by people, do we even need Uber anymore?

Corporate Manufacturing & IP

A lot of manufacturers today still need centralized platforms to sell their creations and have trouble protecting the IP of their creations. With blockchain, data and rights holders could store metadata about any substance on the blockchain.

Just imagine what could be possible once these limitations are removed. New markets could enable buyers and sellers to contract more easily in an open market.

Changing the Music Industry

A really interesting application I had to share was actually within the Music Industry. I never thought something so interested could be done with Blockchain.

Companies like Mycelia, have developed intelligent songs with built-in smart contracts basically allowing artists to sell directly to consumers without going through a label, which can take up a lot of costs. Artists get paid first. It will be interesting to see how larger media companies like Spotify, Apple, Sony Music might start using this technology to develop a similar platform and attract more young artists.

Reinventing Enterprise Collaboration

There are a ton of limitations within management tools inside many organizations because, with our current system, we still rely on a central intermediary to establish trust and coordinate.

We can totally reinvent this with blockchain social networks. Projects like Enigma, being run out of MIT have created blockchain social networks that will be able to create customizable functionality.

Don and Alex also predict that if companies don’t want to get left behind, ‘they’ll need to dodge the Innovator’s dilemma’ and disrupt from within their company.

It’s so cool to see how Blockchain is literally changing traditional industries and will continue to impact more than just financial institutions.

I’ve had so many cool takeaways from this book, and I really do recommend it especially if you were someone like me and don’t understand Blockchain. This book will definitely change your outlook on life, and the technology.

This book is a perfect mixture of Blockchain foundations and really cool applications that will transform our world! It has lead me to so many new awakenings, conversations, and thoughts.

I’m really grateful for smart people like Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, who are challenging the way we think, and are continuing to inspire young innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs like myself:)

I am currently working on a Blockchain app. If you want to stay up to date with my progress feel free to follow me on LinkedIn, and Medium!

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Alishba Imran

Machine learning and hardware developer working on accelerating problems in robotics and renewable energy!