‘It’s Important to Always Maintain Perspective and Empathy During Development’: Rao Vinnakota  by@raobvinnakota

‘It’s Important to Always Maintain Perspective and Empathy During Development’: Rao Vinnakota

Rao Vinnakot has been nominated as HackerNoon contributor of the year - branding.
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Rao Vinnakota HackerNoon profile picture

Rao Vinnakota

Blockchain Engineer

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Hey Hackers! I’m Rao, and I’m a blockchain engineer at Bitgo.


First of all, a huge thank you to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award!

I’ve been nominated in the following category, please do check out the award page and vote:

  1. Contributor Of the Year - Branding


As a blockchain engineer, I’m all about blockchain. Learn more about my thoughts, opinions, and journey via the interview below.

1. What do you do and why do you do it? (tell us your story)

I'm a blockchain engineer who likes to write in spare time. I started originally in enterprise blockchain, working with open networks, but wanted the real thing. I moved into crypto last June and have been enjoying every single minute.


I went to a liberal arts school that encourages writing to clarify and develop thoughts. It’s a habit I’ve tried to build over the last few years as I’ve moved from one space to the next.

2. Tell us more about the things you create / write / manage / build!

I like to write about what I'm working on. It started a few years ago with algorithmic investing and data science. I moved to the crypto/blockchain space about a year ago and have been writing about that since. My actual focus right now is widespread - I write about blockchain and its public use as well as DeFi and traditional crypto.


I mix my writing between publications like Hackernoon and my personal Substack. My substack is a weekly newsletter with quick thoughts on what's going on in the world of crypto. I save larger pieces for online publications.

3. How did you end up on your current career path? Do you like it?

I started in blockchain entirely on accident. I joined IBM Global Services straight out of college in 2019 and was assigned to the Blockchain Innovation Unit. As I started reading more about crypto and blockchain, I grew more and more interested in space. One adage that gets thrown around is that "Blockchain and crypto now are like the Internet in the 90s".


IBM was a great place to get started in the industry, and I’m forever thankful for the people and the projects. But, I felt that enterprise blockchain didn’t harness blockchain’s full power. I wanted to make the switch to working fully in the crypto space and joined BitGo this past June. I work with their Blockchain Customer Excellence Team, which builds features based on client feedback.

4. What tech are you most excited or passionate about right now and why?

Blockchain. I'd like to make the distinction here. I'm excited about what blockchain can do not only in the crypto space but outside of the space as well. I’m particularly interested in the government/public space where blockchain has potential applications in voting, auditing, and generally acting as immutable proof of record.


Crypto is a brand new digital industry. Currencies like bitcoin and ether is just the start of where the space is going to go. It's a paradigm-changing technology, and I'm so excited to see how it's going to change the world.

5. What tech are you most worried about right now and why?

I've grown up surrounded by tech, but I worry about the extremes of any technology. As technology takes a larger and larger share of our lives, it's important to always maintain perspective and empathy during development. From social media and advertising to AI ethics and predictive modeling, I worry about abusing the extreme of any tech in the name of making money.

6. If we gave you 10 million dollars to invest in something today, what would you invest in and why?

The place to invest is in Crypto Payment systems. For the last few years, the majority of crypto money has probably been as a means of investment. But, with the NFT boom leading the way, more of the general public has been amenable to the idea of crypto as a currency.


The gap with using crypto is for instantaneous transactions. Waiting an unknown time for a transaction to confirm or paying large fees isn't feasible when you're buying a cup of coffee. A company that builds on top of a smart contract platform (maybe a rollup) that allows people to quickly and easily spend crypto is going to be as big as Square and Stripe.

7. What are you currently learning?

My current focus is DeFi - which you can read through the occasional DeFi Deep Dive posts on my substack (shameless plug). Traditional Finance has become steadily more democratized in the last decade. Think Robinhood and commission-free trading and mobile banking. DeFi is the next natural step in that progression.

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given someone?

I'm just 25, so I don't know that I'm really in the position to be giving anyone advice, haha. One thing I like to tell people is not to take life too seriously and have some fun.


About HackerNoon’s 2021 Noonie Awards

The annual Noonie Awards celebrate the best and brightest of the tech industry, bringing together all who are making the Internet and the world of tech what it is today. Please be sure to check out our award categories, nominate, and vote for the people and companies who you think are making the biggest impact on the tech industry today.


The 2021 Noonies are sponsored by: bybit, Dottech Domains, and Avast. Thank you so much to these sponsors who are helping us celebrate the accomplishments of all our nominees.

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