Blockchain technology has been making waves within the internet and Fintech sectors.
Yet the truth is, there are other technologies that coincide within the blockchain ecosystem that do not receive enough buzz. Ethereum, which is its own entity within the blockchain industry, sits in the innovative hot seat of technology, yet the resources to reach a broader audience has been somewhat limited. One company is focused on changing that.
Zealot Communications is entering the uncharted waters of media representation for blockchain and crypto-tech. They aim to bring the knowledge of cryptocurrencies to life within the mainstream and give them a voice.
Dan Conway, who is half of Zealot Communications with his wife, Eileen, was available for an interview.
Tell us about Zealot Communications
Zealot Communications is a new communications firm founded by myself and my wife, Eileen Conway, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Between us we have worked with Apple, AT&T, Walmart, PARCand dozens of other companies, non-profits and organizations to launch products and companies, manage crisis communications and build support, interest, and customers for new markets. Eileen, for example, was one of the first people to do PR for iOS apps. Today, we work with clients in the cryptocurrency & blockchain space in addition to traditional tech clients and organizations looking for support with public affairs and government relations. I'm the crypto geek of the firm.
How did you get involved with blockchain & cryptocurrency?
I read an article about Bitcoin and was immediately fascinated. By early 2015 I was far down the rabbit hole, reading every blog, listening to every podcast, attending meetups and making contacts in the industry. I started as an enthusiast, become a modest investor, and eventually decided to jump ship from AT&T to take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a part in the decentralization revolution.
What made you decide to start a PR company for the crypto-industry?
All engineers are smart but cryptographers take the cake in the genius, hard to understand category. I think I'm pretty good at distilling technical concepts into understandable prose. I'm also a bit of a hustler, and I like building excitement through media relations, social media, and grassroots. So I thought it would be a comfortable and fun role to help make sense of these projects and build support for them with investors, users, and other audiences. I also headed up state government relations for Safeway, a large nationwide retailer, and led political strategy for AT&T in California for six years, so I can bring that expertise to bear for clients that need help navigating legislative or regulatory issues.
What hurdles do you hit within the crypto and blockchain verse?
The biggest hurdle makes me happy because it's a reminder that these are early days and Zealot is in the right place. A lot of people still don't think crypto is real. They remember the bad headlines, they imagine every crypto user to be some version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They think it is crazy talk and it stops them from trying to understand it. One of my tactics is to use mainstream hooks - the Presidential health debate for example - to flesh out decentralization concepts in a way that is interesting and topical and gets them thinking about blockchain and crypto without taking it head on.
Where do you see the Ethereum technology going in the future?
I think Ethereum will be responsible for many of the most interesting, impactful and talked about innovations over the next decade. The speed of development in the Ethereum community is mind blowing. It reminds me of the community of developers that sprung up around Flash when I was a PR Manager at Macromedia in the late 90s. Suddenly the rate of traction for that technology doubled, tripled, and quadrupled in a period of a year as Flash developers advanced the platform and mainstreamed it overnight. Ethereum is obviously much more revolutionary than a web graphics technology and there are a number of conceptual hurdles that need to be navigated. But I think Ethereum is on a similar path. And the network effects of Dapps working together will make it hard to dislodge Ethereum as the dominant blockchain once it gains traction.
What are your biggest hopes for Ethereum and your company?
In a few years, I'd like Zealot to have played a part in mainstreaming cryptocurrency in general, and Ethereum in particular. We will be happy campers if we can we can bring our mainstream tech, communications and government relations skills and connections to bear in this pursuit.
As for Ethereum, per my previous answer, the sky’s the limit.
As a communications specialist, how do you explain Ethereum to non-tech people?
I like the world computer analogy. I explain that it is a network run by thousands of individual computers and no central servers, which allows the users of the network to collect the value of innovation, rather than it being captured behind a firewall.