Mark Hakkarinen is a blockchain and cryptoasset analyst, entrepreneur, and researcher. He has an MA in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University where he studied payment systems and digital currencies. Mark is the founder of the Blockchain Library, which aims at delivering easy access to resources on cryptocurrency research and providing a historical timeline on the development of the blockchain field. He is also an Outreach Ambassador for SmartCash, the next generation blockchain payment network for merchants.
How did you first get into cryptocurrency?
I first heard about Bitcoin from the Slashdot story, “Online-Only Currency BitCoin Reaches Dollar Parity” published on February 10th, 2010. I had been following the digital currency space such as M-PESA, and found Bitcoin to be quite interesting. Since that time I had watched the space grow and change, but didn’t really get involved until the summer of 2017. That is when I saw that the level of involvement had reached a global scale and was entering mainstream adoption. That’s when I began to get involved again in cryptocurrency.
I had participated in SmartCash through a proposal of my own and became more involved in the community on Discord. Connecting new people to the community was very engaging, and in February 2018, I joined the SmartHive team as an Outreach Ambassador. I found this role would be one that could help make new connections and partnerships for the community.
How would you define your role as a SmartCash ambassador and how does your typical day of work looks like?
It’s about making connections to other new people on a daily basis. I edit the “Your Week in SmartCash” newsletter, provide feedback to project proposals, and help to develop new partnerships with exchanges, wallets, and gateways. The idea is to find collaborations that can build up the partnership network and grow the strength of the community over time. It’s important to also find ways to interact and provide feedback to the community as well as receive feedback, in order to improve SmartCash over time. This is a lot of reading, writing, and communicating across a multitude of platforms: Discord, Telegram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, the Forums, as well as direct emails and phone calls to companies. It’s really engaging!
Who are the first people you are trying to reach within your role?
All groups of people are very important, including the general public, some influencers, and actors from traditional finance. Overall, it is essential to develop a strong user base over time in all areas. Influencers in the cryptocurrency space are critical to engage to help spread the word. These can be either media influencers or local community organizers that hold meetups. More business minded people are important too, and that’s why we developed the SmartCash analytics dashboard. It is a way for companies that require specific metrics to get a quick overview of the value of the project and speed up their research process.
Our strategies are both grassroots involvement and wider media campaigns. The Outreach Hive Team creates social media posts, articles, videos, and graphics. We also host meetups and attend blockchain and cryptocurrency events to share SmartCash and connect more with the professional community. SmartCash is a new kind of global community so it’s important to help it grow over time. Simply refining and communicating the message helps to do this and materials such as the SmartCash Brochure (like a whitepaper) help to do this.
The SmartCash community is very active and you can easily join online by using Discord or joining the forum, or in person by attending one of the numerous organized meetups!