Today we are talking with Sheba Karamat who is the CEO at Coin Rivet.
- Coin Rivet is a fast and secure cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy, sell and store Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, and also acts as a news source which provides the latest cryptocurrency news, analyses and trading insights.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
Sport. I did absolutely every available sport, I lived and breathed it. It was the one overriding force that just carried me along.
From a very young age it was all about volleyball, hockey, netball, rounders, running, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, track and field – the list could go on. I probably didn’t realise it at the time but, looking back, I still carry a measure of that ethos with me now – strong body, strong mind! It’s also made me very competitive – something I bring to work every day.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
My mother was - and still is - a major influence. English wasn’t her first language, although she spoke it well. She came from a very influential family in Pakistan, and had an arranged marriage. Only three months after marrying, she was packing her entire life into a suitcase and moving to England. She barely had time to get to know how stuff worked here before she was having children. Four of us!
One minute you’re still enjoying what’s left of the carefree remnants of your high society life then, before you can even begin to process the fact that you’re suddenly a married woman, you’re being shipped off half-way round the world to a country you know nothing about. Then, before you can even get your head around the basics of a new language, you’re having to look after four children – each one of them under the age of six! All with no help from my father - being a traditional Muslim man, it just was not the done thing!
Seriously, in anyone’s book, you have to admire that, even though she had little choice in the matter. It’s something that would seriously reduce most humans to a shadow of what their potential future should have been, but not my mum – it made her strong and with an eternal need to ensure her kids would inherit the inner strength that she had cultivated within herself.
She made me what I am. There’s no doubting that.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
You know what, I may have to disappoint you here. I had no turbulent time. I had an amazing family who were/are such a tight unit. We looked after each other more than we could have ever known or, probably, will ever know.
We were obliviously glued together by my mother’s strength, and I just immersed every available moment of those younger years in playing whatever sport I could throw myself into.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
Ah, well. The funny thing is, ‘younger me’ wouldn’t have listened to the advice I would give today. I wouldn’t have really been bothered about anyone’s words of great encouragement and all that. Sure, I’d nod and smile and pretend my fledgling sponge of a brain was absorbing all the wisdom but, I’ll be honest, I only really took on board my mother’s advice. Although, even that was when it suited me. I do wish I’d taken more of her knowledge on board sometimes.
Young people don’t tend to listen. That’s all part of growing up – you have an inbuilt override system that’s makes you think your youth knows better than those who are already well-versed in just about everything you haven’t already encountered in life. Having said all that, I would have told myself to work even harder and make sure you have a savings plan - or some direction in life with goals to achieve. They don’t have to be life affirming goals, small achievements throughout your life will always make you feel like you are winning. And that has to be a good thing! In fact, just make sure you have a plan for everything.
Most of us - especially when we’re young – simply don’t think about planning our lives. It’s just not a cool thing to do is it? We’re too busy living in the moment and not thinking about the future. But, one day, we all look back and think we could have planned things a little better. Even then, you should always make sure you don’t take it all so seriously. Life is for living as much as possible – otherwise, there is no point in having regrets. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t waste your time carrying them around with you – that’s just going to eat you up inside. And, let’s be honest, no one other than yourself really cares about them.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
I think two of my prevailing strengths centre entirely around determination and sticking with what I believe is the right course. There’s also an element of brushing aside what could be perceived as early criticism for a project and just stonewall refusing to give a you-know-what about the opinions of others when your gut instinct is telling you are on the right path. I’m very instinctive and, if I’m certain I’m doing the right thing, then I have an overwhelming desire to have courage in my conviction and navigate my ideas to where I want them to be.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
This may not be all that controversial, as I am sure many people share this opinion…
Why are there so many dreadful people in this space?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some of the best people I’ve encountered throughout my entire career while working in blockchain and crypto. Yet I’ve also met some people who don’t see the bigger picture. And that’s one of the main problems holding this industry back.
We need more people that go the extra mile because they understand the vision and they can see the good that could be achieved within this space.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
I have four beautiful and wonderful children. I mean, they are my entire world, and they’re just awesome. It doesn’t matter how far away I am, how tired I am, or how stressed I become, these four individuals are the embodiments of everything that’s good in the world. They are truly fabulous, and getting home to these crazy kids is the perfect remedy for any stress or pressure.
And that, undisputedly, is the greatest feeling you could ever have.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Spending time with my kids, just being me, playing silly games and dancing round the kitchen!
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
Okay, so I was at a crypto poker event, and former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker was there. As I was being introduced to him, I couldn’t help but be utterly mesmerised and intoxicated by his hair. I mean, that man has spun gold covering his head.
I don’t know what came over me. I could hear the words coming out of my mouth and there was nothing I could do – no panic button or emergency switch – to stop them.
“Can I touch your hair?”
I mean, seriously, who even says that? But Boris was just like ‘totally – no problem’, and he bowed down – largely on account of me being five-foot-nothing tall. I got to touch Boris Becker’s golden locks!
Seriously though, you have no idea how beautiful that man’s hair is.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind that you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
I’d ask: “Why was blockchain technology designed to be so cumbersome?”
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
1) All holiday companies – airlines, hotels, holiday parks – the lot. I would make it so they couldn’t take advantage of parents during the school holidays. It is disgusting how they raise their prices – more than 210% in some cases – because they know us parents have no choice but to go away during the school holidays. It penalises hard-working parents, and it just isn’t right.
2) Now, don’t even get me started on train operators! How they think that the ticket pricing is fair, easy to understand, or does not unnecessarily penalise hard working people is beyond me. And how our government allows this to continue is terrible.
3) I’d also ensure that all kids had a safe place to live, and I would work tirelessly to eradicate child poverty. Kids should be having fun, laughing, mucking about in mud pools, riding bikes and generally just being kids. They shouldn’t be thinking about how hungry they are or where their next meal is coming from – that just breaks my heart.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
Q12: Personal project aside, what are some ‘communities’ in the space that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
Each community has their own nuances. Often people suggest the Bitcoin community is toxic when compared to perhaps the XRP Army. There is no doubt that the overriding force behind each community is passion and this portrays itself in a variety of different behaviours.
I do believe we have to be careful how we interpret such communities though. Often, communities believe their strength lies in their belief in their particular cryptocurrency. However, history has shown us that this isn’t enough to be successful. Individuals need to listen to both those inside and outside the communities (this unfortunately sometimes means listening to what can be perceived as trolls) to gain a clear and full idea of the positive and negatives of a certain cryptocurrency or blockchain.
13) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
I’m not a massive fan of social media, but I see its need. Things like WhatsApp and Telegram are hard workers in this space. I like the instantaneous nature of Twitter as well – it’s a good way of breaking news.
14) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Undoubtedly. Even if we do achieve mass adoption, people will still always need some guidance and hand-holding. A post-adoption environment isn’t necessarily a place where cryptocurrencies aren’t still as complicated to understand as they are now.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Coin Rivet.
15) What do you feel sets Coin Rivet apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
I think in terms of being a platform that delivers news and information about cryptocurrency and blockchain, we’ve got many competitors. And that’s a good thing – it keeps us on our toes, which is where I would always want us to be. That way we don’t rest on our laurels and make it too easy for ourselves.
What sets us apart from that competition, however, is that we have a newsroom full of journalists. Fully trained, experienced, award-winning journalists who know how stories need to be told and how information needs to be presented.
You don’t see enough of that in this day and age.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
16) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
One word stands out above all others when the technology of blockchain converges with a good, widely recognised and accepted cryptocurrency… TRUST. It’s something we crave as a species, but it’s something we haven’t necessarily been able to fulfil with paper money.
We live in an innovative and digital world. It’s both our right and our destiny to have a dependable digital currency to continue innovating and making the world a better place.
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