With the boom of the Dot Com Era, the technological transformation was on the rise, and the world was “shrinking” into a global digital village. All the while, Barry Last stood out amongst the few lead developers who, thinking outside the box, steered their companies to innovation and survival of the Dot Com bubble.
Just after that, Satoshi Nakamoto came along and introduced Bitcoin to the world, and the first-ever cryptocurrency was, by many experts and enthusiasts, termed the currency of the 21st century.
The benefits that Bitcoin and altcoins bring, such as security, instant global payments, and higher transaction speeds, have put traditional banking firms on call.
In today’s world, for many of us, smartphones have become an essential, almost indispensable part of our everyday lives. Electroneum, however, sees these smartphones as keys to unlock the global digital economy to people who are unbanked and living in poverty.
To handle the technological challenges effectively and efficiently, Electroneum brought Mr. Last in as their chief technology officer to help with their mission to do their part in ending financial exclusion.
With more than two successful decades of experience in technology, including guiding GForces to achieve various milestones, Barry decided to accept the challenge at Electroneum and help with their mission to improve the lives of millions in developing countries with the greenest, most secure, most usable and unique cryptocurrency in existence.
Within his first year, Barry implemented various technology strategies to align Electroneum’s business goals with the latest market trends. He also ensured that all the technological resources were in place to meet the needs of the cryptocurrency project.
Mr. Last lead Electroneum through its major upgrade in July 2018. The fork transformed the project bringing in non-governmental organizations as transaction validators on the ETN network and has paved the road to 2020 when the UK-based cryptocurrency will make ground-breaking announcements. These include the launch of AnyTask, TaskSchool, ETN Everywhere as well as the integration of Ledger, the world’s most secure cold storage crypto wallet.
Q. How was your journey at GForces for the past 14 years before joining Electroneum?
The journey was long and pleasant. There were lots of ups and downs, and a lot of technology changes on the way. I met and worked with a lot of great people. When I joined GForces, we were only a dozen people working hard on making the project happen. Today, the team is over 200 people strong involved in hardware, code, and maintenance areas. Being able to think outside of the box to fix problems was a must throughout my time there.
Q. What is it about Electroneum that appeals to you so much to come and work for them?
It was something completely different, and there was a boom in cryptocurrencies in general. There were gaps in their technical knowledge that I could fill, and at the same time, I saw an opportunity for me to grow further.
Q. Do you expect Electroneum to return to the Top 50 cryptocurrencies by 2022, thanks to research and development?
If I could answer that or where any cryptocurrency is in the future, I think I would be in the wrong job. That’s a speculative market, and I tend to deal in facts. R&D is also hard to quantify as there are things we build and test that never get through into the public domain as when tested, they don’t meet the standards we wanted them to have, or we feel they won’t benefit our end users.
Q. Could you shine more light on your role as a Professional Solutions Architect?
As with anything technical, everything is currently being developed at a frenetic pace, and you cannot use all the tools all the time. The certifications I completed show I have the technical ability to use and choose the best tools for the job in hand. It gives a little confidence in that I know what I am discussing.
Q. Are there any plans of Electroneum reaching Indian Shores someday soon?
I cannot say it’s on our immediate roadmap. All I can say is that our target areas are anywhere we believe we can make a difference to the world’s billions of people who are unbanked, underserved, and living in poverty wherever they are.
Q. What are the primary goals of ETN in the foreseeable future?
I think our vision remains the same today as it was when I first started. We want to help the billions of people around the world who are financially excluded or marginalized with cryptocurrency. We have big ideas and are sometimes held back by legislation that slows our progress. However, we are progressing with AnyTask and TaskSchool, which will provide the unbanked and the marginated the chance to access the global digital economy. It will also improve their lives and that of those around them.
Q. What solutions can Electroneum solve in developing countries?
We have found we can help solve many problems in developing countries, such as financial exclusion, poverty, unemployment and more. However, we need to progress in our work on the ground in different locations to have a better understanding of the needs of the people in each region, which are surely different. We are becoming more data-centric as well to know exactly what works and what our users in different places demand.
A dream of mine would be to see Electroneum adopted massively around the globe. I would like to see ETN dramatically reduce the costs of cross-border financial transactions and make it easier for people who use ETN to find places where ETN is accepted as payment. To see ETN being used as other currencies are used today. Cryptocurrency is at its very early stages, so we are a long way off my dreams, I believe. But at Electroneum, we are working hard every day to make these goals a reality.
Q. Where do you see yourself and Electroneum within the next five to ten years?
On a personal level, I would be pleased if I could help deliver a more tailored experience to all our users no matter where they are. The challenge of a global company is that each region has its use cases, benefits, and rules. We have a single app that tries to cater to them all.
However, if we had a magic wand and could know these things far in advance, we could build bespoke features to the app to help and benefit people in ways that are pertinent to them. I would like to see our output increased through automation and statistics. It would also be great to help migrant workers or people displaced by war and famine with ETN and ensure they have ways to trade the ETN for things more urgent to them, such as food, water, and medicines.