DIFY Meets: Elyse Barg

Phew, it’s been an eventful few months! We started the year with a move to our current office at 60 Upper Weld Road, which has been really bustling so far. Located near Rochor and Little India, we are always surrounded with the aroma of Roti Prata and Maggie Mee Goreng. Be sure to pay us a visit if you are in the area!

Since there is some time for us to take a breather before the next wave of events take place, we would like to kickstart our blog with a special segment, ‘DIFY Meets’. This segment will cover the interviews (both formal and informal) we have done with interesting folks we meet.

Here’s a feature on Elyse Barg, a young and driven girl we caught up with a couple of months back. While teenagers her age may get caught up on social media and following the latest trends, Elyse kept herself busy by reading up on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. Isn’t that amazing?! Read our interview with her below:

DIFY: Hi Elyse! Thank you for agreeing to our interview. Can you share more about yourself?

Elyse: Hi, DIFY! I’m a 15-year-old economics enthusiast currently based in Singapore. I’ve had a fascination with the financial world for as long as I can remember, but my interest in Cryptocurrencies is what has earned me recognition through my recently released TEDx Talk, ’Cryptocurrencies- Cool, So What?’. Although I’m a full-time secondary school student, I always ensure that I have time to pursue my interests. I am currently working on building a digital platform called MyCreditCompass in order to provide families with tools to nurture a sense of financial literacy within their homes.

With a Singaporean mum and an Australian dad, I have learned to embrace my status as an “Aussie-porean”. I was born in Sydney, Australia, but moved to Singapore with the rest of my immediate family when I was about five years old. Even though I have lived here for so long, the way that Singapore embraces innovation and continually strives for excellence never ceases to amaze me.

That’s really something! How did you get into the Blockchain/Cryptocurrency landscape?

Whilst I had heard the word ‘Cryptocurrency’ being tossed around for years, it wasn’t until last year that I began to understand what it truly meant. When my economics teacher listed cryptocurrency as something that could change the world, I was both skeptical and curious. I love challenging myself, and given my affinity for economics, investigating the world of cryptocurrency seemed like a pretty cool project. 

I shared more on my Tedx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7vFuj-5zPY

What are some platforms you made use of to help your understanding of the technology and Cryptocurrency?

Most of my research was conducted via the internet. Especially given the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies during the late 2017 crypto bubble, keeping my analysis as objective as possible had always been a top priority. As a result, I ended up scouring through a variety of sources from around the world, including the Harvard Business Review, Al Jazeera, Axios and other respectable online publications. 

However, I think that the thing that set me apart was that in looking forward, I was always reflecting on the systems of the past and the evolution of finance throughout the years. I believe that this approach helps me to stay grounded in reality. Given the heavy ties between finance, politics and human nature, I think that the use of cryptocurrencies in the years to come are likely to be more of a reflection of our own values than the power of blockchain technology itself.

Knowledge is always going to be a powerful tool.
- Elyse Barg

Spoken like a true professional, Elyse! From what you learned, what are your favourite topics within the Blockchain landscape?

I’m going to resist the urge to write a thesis here. 

My interests in the blockchain landscape are every bit as social as they are financial. By increasing accessibility to financial services, blockchain could potentially cause an explosion in world markets due to a sudden influx of unbanked individuals expanding their circles of trust and trade. However, I am the most interested in the notion of a decentralised system. Whilst skipping the middle man is undoubtedly efficient, the borderless scope of decentralised blockchain systems will require governments to either reach a common consensus on blockchain regulation or to lose their control of blockchain transactions altogether. Given the increasing polarisation of politics around the world, I am interested to see how this could affect the implementation of blockchain technology. 

What are some words of advice you would like to give to young individuals who are interested in Blockchain/Cryptocurrency?

The most important piece of advice that I have is that no concept can ever be truly understood if viewed in isolation. Build your knowledge from the bottom up as best you can, whether through reading or somehow scoring an audience with a blockchain expert. Knowledge is always going to be your most powerful tool. 

What do you hope to work as in the future? In the Fintech industry or otherwise?

I am founding a digital platform called MyCreditCompass in order to promote financial literacy in households across the world. In the meantime, I’m beginning to put some emphasis into connecting with like-minded individuals and organisations. Through my use of Instagram, I have managed to establish relationships with amazing people from all corners of the earth who act not only as business partners but also as a supportive peer network. I hope to continue pursuing meaningful, stimulating work and am really excited to see where this journey will take me. 

Can you believe the maturity and professionalism from this 15 year old? It is indeed refreshing to have Elyse’s perspective on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. With the many scams and bogus projects in this space, sometimes taking a step back to see how it all started is a good reminder of the expected benefits and we are glad to have caught Elyse to share her thoughts.

Well, cryptocurrency may or may not take off in a worldwide utilisation, but what we know is with honest and earnest intentions, goodness will follow.

Share your comments with us below!


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