An interview conducted and submitted by the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Malta.
She was often asked why her Silicon Valley startup didn’t use blockchain. After some thinking, she decided to give it a try, and then just fell in love with DLT. That was the beginning of a story of success involving a blockchain and cryptocurrency strategist, storyteller, speaker, board advisor and mentor – Yael Tamar.
We’ve talked to Yael about her first steps in blockchain, her VeganNation project, and discussed marketing in the crypto industry.
Yael Tamar will be a speaker at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Malta on October 23. She will make a presentation about blockchain use cases in various segments.
Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Malta (BCM).
Respondent: Yael Matar (Y.T.)
BCM: How did you come to know about blockchain? Why did it spark your interest?
Y.T.: Following a decade’s career in executive roles doing marketing and business development, for several years I had been a tech entrepreneur. While working on my FinTech startup in the Silicon Valley, I was frequently asked why we weren’t using blockchain. I started looking into it and realized how much potential it had. I decided that I wanted to be a part of the future, something meaningful and powerful, and that blockchain was it. Less than a year later, I opened a blockchain storytelling agency and started working with blockchain tech companies and ICOs.
As I started getting many offers from blockchain and cryptocurrency companies, I decided to focus on projects that utilize the power of decentralization to do good or effect change in the way we live, work, transact or interact – for the better. As a behavioral economist who has studied habit development in the context of consumption, I was fascinated by the idea that you can program money and relationships between the transacting parties – in short, with possibilities within token economics.
BCM: Making a comment in cerasis.com, you have mentioned the application of blockchain to determine batches of unfit supplies. How will blockchain affect the food sector in general?
Y.T.: One-in-ten people fall ill and over 400 thousand die due to contaminated food every year. The economic burden of recalls and hospital visits, cross-contamination, and other negative externalities of food contamination further exacerbate the problem. The main challenge in food safety is the lack of access to information and traceability. Blockchain is perfectly suited to help address these challenges by providing an immutable ledger the stakeholders can plug into in order to check the status of the food shipments at any point in time as well as the conditions of the transport.
All the ecosystem participants – growers, processors, suppliers, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers – can gain permissioned access to data regarding the origin and state of food supplies. With the help of IoT solutions allowing to track supplies, blockchain enables the ecosystem members to pinpoint the causes of contamination as well as identify the affected supplies to be taken off the shelf and notify the recipients in a short amount of time. The Food Safety project by IBM brought together such food giants as Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, Walmart and others to create a global ecosystem and collaborate to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
BCM: You are CCO at VeganNation. How did you get to know about this project, and what did inspire you to join it?
Y.T.: A year before I joined VeganNation, I was a co-founder in another vegan startup building a 100% vegan marketplace. I was pushing for the launch of a vegan coin, and I even brought a good friend and expert in cryptocurrency to pitch the idea to my co-founders, but they didn’t ‘buy’ it. Fast forward a year, in which I already started consulting blockchain companies, the same friend, to whom I’m forever grateful for introducing me to the world of crypto in the first place, started working at the top PR agency for this industry and guess what, one of his projects was VeganNation. He connected me to the company and we immediately clicked. The founders won me over with their passion and ingenuity. There’s nothing like working with shiny happy vegans, and with VeganNation CEO, Isaac, who infects everyone with his positivity and confidence.
BCM: You have been operating in the digital marketing sector for 10 years. How has the concept of healthy food in marketing changed within that time? Will you face the misunderstanding of vegan’s attitude?
Y.T.: This is a very interesting question! In fact, it’s much easier to market veganism and vegan food to people today! The governments are behind us, too. The Israeli government no longer recommends dairy as a healthy option. Belgian food pyramid lists meat in the same category as junk food and Canada’s new draft food guide favors a plant-based diet. Top doctors recommend a plant-based diet and it’s no longer a secret that animal farming is the top contributor to global pollution. I think since the understanding went up and veganism grew by hundreds of percentage points, the challenge has shifted from the lack of awareness to the lack of options. Let’s face it – even in these times of vegan abundance, it’s still hard to be vegan. As a behavioral economist, I can understand it – old habits do die hard. This is where VeganNation comes in with its programmable economy and a currency that will influence behaviors via built-in incentives. We finally have the tool that will help vegans stay vegan and avail and spread the vegan lifestyle to the masses.
BCM: Why did you decide to create the Top of blockchain project?
Y.T.: I fell in love with blockchain, but was not able to find one company I was willing to commit to at the beginning of my love affair with blockchain – there was so much to learn and I had to do it by working really hard on several projects at a time. I rebranded the consulting agency I built several years prior to working on traditional digital marketing and got my colleagues on board for the blockchain direction. Everyone was pretty excited, actually, even though it took a long time to get things right, and frankly, this is a learning process that never ends. One thing is certain – because I had to create many Q&A documents and explain for hours on end what blockchain is and what blockchain does, it helped me to become much more familiar with the technology in a fairly short amount of time.
BCM: What would you advise to marketing newcomers? Where to start?
Y.T.: Find a niche within blockchain that you’re really excited about and find a project that’s worthy of your attention. Blockchain is penetrating virtually any industry. Figure out what you can bring to the table, your unique service proposition, be it your dev skills, your marketing, product or project management or just your crazy ideas. Chances are, there’s a place for you in one of the blockchain companies. And guess what? This is a global and decentralized industry – you can find your place away from home with an option to still work from home. Many people also work on multiple projects at a time. Most importantly, have a clear goal ahead of you and become the expert in blockchain and your subject matter – which will help you get the confidence, attracting successful projects to your expertise.