Recently, Dean Masley, the executive director of the College Cryptocurrency Network announced that the network was rebranding to the Blockchain Education Network, to better represent the new direction of the network. The College Cryptocurrency Club is a non-profit network of bitcoin clubs around the world that collaborates, shares ideas and helps spread the grassroots bitcoin movement on University campuses. In light of the recent re-branding, we reached out to Dean to tell us a bit about the reason behind the change.
Michael Gord: Hey Dean, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today!
Dean Masley: Thanks, it’s a pleasure, thanks for thinking of us! (or whatever you want to put)
Michael: How did you get into Bitcoin?
Dean: I saw a video on youtube and then read the bitcoin whitepaper, got really fascinated and wanted to try it out. I didn’t want to spend money on it, I just wanted to earn it and wanted to experience it and to see if I could utilize my skills in this new global economy. I would look around for projects online such as guitar lessons for bitcoin or someone that needs editing to a bitcoin website in Russia. I would send like 70 messages a day and receive 2 or 3 back and I kept that process going to grow my portfolio and I started to meet more and more people. As time went on and the industry kept growing the projects became more and more serious and I started to actually want to participate in it instead of just doing free lance.
Michael: What motivated you to join the College Cryptocurrency Network?
Dean: As I was doing this I wanted to see if anyone else on my campus was into bitcoin and motivate other students to get involved. When I started, I didn’t know anyone else on campus who was into this and wanted to talk to more kids in real life who were interested in this. I started a club on campus to make a place for other students to come to to get together with other students that were also interested. Unfortunately though, our university has a very bureaucratic process to start a club and administration was concerned that the club was going to become a community of students trying to contribute to the black market which was discouraging.
I met Patrick Cines through Linkedin who was a regional director with the CCN and president of the Penn State Bitcoin Club and he invited me to come to DC for a conference called Bitcoin and the Gateway. I’m from Delaware it was only a quick train ticket away so I went, met the students involved with CCN and was super fascinated with what they had to offer because I was losing hope to make a club on campus because of the bureaucracy. These guys were a community that had done it and encouraged me to continue the process to make a club on campus. They really helped me get started.
Michael: Where do you see BEN going moving forward?
Dean: When I came back from the conference they gave me a bunch of sample constitutions to help make one for my school, which was very focused on having a perfect constitution since the administration at the time had only heard of the negative connotations of bitcoin such as drugs, fake ids. This was a major roadblock. I ended up needing to submit a constitution that was a 12 page paper – I had to do it myself but it was incredible to have CCN there for help answering questions and they reached out the their own administrations to get an added administrative perspective which was included. Great motivational support.
Michael: How do you see the bitcoin community has changed since you got involved?
Dean: It has definitely become much more mature in the sense that business models aren’t focused on the price of bitcoin going up and up – they are actually focused on solving a problem or providing new utility versus just providing a bitcoin copy of existing business models. The movement is taking itself seriously and has become an actual solution provider instead of an alternative economy.
Michael: Where do you see CCN going moving forward?
Dean: We want to make a network that continues and makes it easier for students to make an impact. We realize that with CCN we were putting all our priority on current university students which means that when students graduate they didn’t have the same influence in the network, even though many have more time after graduating to dedicate to it and have fully submersed themselves in the blockchain industry. For this reason, we’re rebranding to the Blockchain Education Network – also to reflect the evolved direction of the industry and to provide the necessary education resources necessary to experiment, experience and create an expectation of blockchain tech that traditional finance cant compete with. Currently, we’re hosting a global hackathon that is partnered with a top five consulting company, we’re hosting an online trivia contest called Blockchain Madness to put university campuses against each other to see which campus has the most blockchain knowledge. We’re also bringing students around the world to conferences such as the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami at the end of the month.
Michael: Any new projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?
Dean: I’m currently working with Jason King, who did the bitcoin run across America. He started to create a bitcoin charity to feed the homeless in Pensacola, Florida. Now, we’re working on Unsung.org, using his experience with homeless outreach and our combined blockchain experience in a desire to solve the hunger problem in the US.
Michael: Where do you see the bitcoin community moving forward in 2016 and beyond?
Dean: I’m hoping to see a huge push towards hedging and/or volatility reduction for merchants and consumers. Just like how in 2013 reducing this problem for merchants allowed them to receive dollars in their bank account for bitcoin at lower fees than paypal and credit cards, i’m curious if that same utility for consumers will help regular consumers experiment with the app store for bitcoin that’s coming out. Open Bazaar, decentralized storage advanced sharing economy apps, cheap starbucks, cheap amazon.
Michael: Dean, thanks for your time and keep on growing the grassroots Blockchain movement!
Dean: Thanks, you’re welcome!