Fyggex VIP insiders interview series 33: Laura Degiovanni, Founder & CEO of TiiQu

Are you interested in the blockchain use case for recognition & compensation? We at Fyggex are! Meet at our latest interview Laura Degiovanni about where we discuss her take on zero trust transparency to recognize and reward the meaningful contribution of everyone. 

UK based multilingual global world citizen and CEO founder of TiiQu, Laura Degiovanni, is an ardent supporter of distributed systems based on transparency, freedom, and collaboration. She has been envisioning individuals to be the unique proprietors of their multi-sourced reputation, in a blockchain enabled world, where meritocracy and equity in decision-making processes involve the individual regardless of their race, religion, status or gender. 

Fyggex: Dear Laura, it is a great pleasure to have you with us. Could you tell us how you get into the blockchain space?

Laura Degiovanni: Well, it was 2015. I’d left my previous company, where I oversaw the development of our retail network in the EMEA market. Nothing could be further from blockchain. I grew tired of how multinational groups were mis-empowering an incredible team of people. I couldn’t maximise potential within this framework. 

So, I left the company and after a sabbatical year and some travel around Southeast Asia, I came back with the crazy idea of setting up a kind of Airbnb for consultancy. I wanted to give people the freedom to choose their job every day. 

It was while researching how to solve the problem of trust for independent workers that I came across a YouTube channel discussing blockchain technology. I saw their enormous potential for redesigning the way in which people trust each other. I moved to the UK, attending hundreds of meetups, and I concluded I needed to use blockchain as a foundational technology.

Fyggex: Originally from Italy, but now in the UK, was Blockchain part of the reason for moving?

Laura Degiovanni: In Italy nobody knew about blockchain. It wasn’t the place for a project like this. It was hard to build a start-up at that time in Italy for even very basic, simple, and administrative things. They cost a lot of money, and start-ups generally can’t afford it.

Fyggex: Can you tell us about your ‘Code of Ethics’. It was 2018 you came up with that, what is it?

Laura Degiovanni: Yes, 2018 was a very important time for the project. We set out the founding principle of our philosophy. The key point of the ‘Code of Ethics’ is that when the liberty of some ruins the liberty of others, the freedom of all is imperative. 

The consequence of this statement is that for a job market to work smoothly, and to allow everyone to grow and reinvent themselves, the community must be willing to make it possible. Small communities and institutions can embed technologically supported mechanisms that allow meritocracy, transparency and equity.

Fyggex: You also have a view on ‘Trustless Ecosystems 2030’. Can you enlighten us a bit more?

Laura Degiovanni: When I arrived in London and participated in my first blockchain meetups, I learned how important it is to create an opportunity for people to exchange knowledge and learn from each other. 

In 2018, the long winter of blockchain (Also called as “Cryptowinter”, Editors note) brought disillusion, not only in cryptos, but also in blockchain, right when the space needed to bridge the barrier with organisations and get the first projects to pilots. That’s when I started to promote ‘Trustless Ecosystems’ as a community. 

We got about 1,200 members in two years, and now we are expanding to all technologies with weekly events bringing together great academics, learners and most importantly “skills-that-matter”: people who are willing to share their knowledge and co-creating. 

When we started the idea was really to discuss the problem of how to bring our stuff to market. The problem we were facing was not building more trust in technology but generating willingness for the relevant decision makers to opt in the transparent ecosystem. This brings responsibility and accountability to all participants. 

Today we focus on creating a movement around the concept of trust, and because trust in the business context starts from a good understanding of who the person is and what this person can bring to the table, we focus on skills, we map the available knowledge and allow everyone to take questions in niche areas and we allow crowds of peers to continuously generate questions so that in the future, anyone willing to be trusted for a certain job, will just need answer questions and convert results into blockchain-based proofs. 

MyTiiQu, our next release, is a portfolio of credentials about ones Id, knowledge and work. We think that credentials are old in the exact instant when they are issued, so we created a way for everyone to map and signal their potential in real-time, credentials by themselves do not overcome mistrust and prejudice, mapping the truth in real-time can do that. 

Fyggex: You’re taking knowledge of blockchain worldwide. Where do you see that the knowledge of blockchain is developing fastest? 

Laura Degiovanni: If we think of blockchain development, we think of large multinational tech companies like Microsoft. That makes it quite evident that the United States is the largest market, at least for protecting patterns. 

The United States allows MasterCard to make transactions in certain crypto currencies. But there are also interesting companies in Germany and the UK. Now, I don’t really think that we’ll come to mass adoption of blockchain until we succeed in getting an identity. Today, we’re not having a proper identity system. 

Fyggex: You’ve talked a lot, as well as knowledge building, about creating a meritocracy. How can that be achieved?

Laura Degiovanni: I think it’s about recognising everyone for their contribution, allowing them to showcase their story in a way that can be trusted. My generation was born into thinking that controlling people translates into getting the most of them, but the opposite is true. It’s all about giving people the freedom to choose to stay with you. I generally try to choose people who have a dream, and who can find a way to reach their dream within their dream. 

Fyggex: We would hope many of those dreamers could be women. What is your take as a female founder, is Blockchain space still a very male dominated industry?

Laura Degiovanni: Yes. The system needs to embed equality in every system, and women need to make the effort to signal themselves in the market. When we started, we were 2/3 women. Today, we have only a 30 per cent female team. The industry needs to improve. In the 1980s, we had a 38 per cent female balance in tech. Now, that’s 18 per cent.

Women don’t feel comfortable. Now, I don’t want to say that men are all horrible. But I believe people do make us women uncomfortable. When I attended my first meetups, they were in very dark places. I felt uncomfortable. I forced myself to participate in those events. Was there anyone telling me to stay out? Absolutely not. But if I didn’t have a very strong willingness to use blockchain, I would have probably left. 

Fyggex: But you did keep going. Finally, you did something very different from blockchain to start with. Would you ever go back to that career?

Laura Degiovanni: Oh, no! Simply because this industry allows values to shine. And I have the technology I need to build trust. I’m living the dream.

Fyggex: Laura, thank you very much for joining Fyggex community in this VIP series interview, hopefully your leading example will inspire many women to take similar steps as well

Laura Degiovanni: Thank you.