Rika is the newest addition to the MyCrypto team!
Rika just recently joined the MyCrypto team as a Product Manager — a role that we’ve been looking to fill for a long time.
What is your role at MyCrypto?
I’m a product manager. This means I work with engineers and designers to build our web, desktop, and mobile products. The role requires a deep understanding of our users so we can build products that best meet their needs, while simultaneously focusing on our core values of building accessible and easy-to-use crypto products for all.
What did you do before you joined MyCrypto?
Before MyCrypto, I was working for ConsenSys, and before that, I was working at Deloitte. By joining MyCrypto, my crypto journey has come full circle. More on that in the next question, but first I’d like to share a little about my experience working at Deloitte, which is where I first learned about cryptocurrencies.
At Deloitte, my clients were big banks and insurance companies. It was my job to understand their current processes and their future vision in order to implement technology that would help them achieve their goals. It was fun and relatively exciting, but I was craving more creativity and innovation. Through a Deloitte blockchain and crypto newsletter, I was bit by the blockchain bug and soon after, I landed a role on a project where I built and commercialized blockchain products for financial institutions. While working on the project, I consumed everything I possibly could to learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrency. Eventually, I realized that working at Deloitte and selling innovative technology to institutions widely known for being slow to innovate was not for me. Through my Deloitte colleagues, I learned about a company called ConsenSys which was founded by Joe Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum. I loved ConsenSys’ energy and the people, so I took a risk and dove head-first into the crypto ecosystem. I haven’t looked back since.
What are you most excited about with cryptocurrencies?
I am most excited about decentralized finance (referred to as DeFi). At MyCrypto, I get to work directly with DeFi products — products that will disrupt traditional finance — which is why I mentioned that my cryptocurrency journey has come full circle. I can’t claim that DeFi will be the financial institution killer (nor should you believe anyone who tries to make this claim), but it will certainly be a major disruptor.
DeFi aims to bring access to financial services to anyone in the world with an internet connection. In the US and other developed countries, we take for granted the relative ease with which we can access financial services. Opening a bank account, taking out a loan, and purchasing an insurance policy is a fairly easy and accessible process. With a valid ID and a fair credit score, the financial system is at our fingertips.
1.7 billion people in the world, however, do not have bank accounts. Furthermore, many of these people live in authoritarian regimes. Even if they could open up a bank account, their funds would not be safe from their government’s reach and tampering.
DeFi projects are breaking down these barriers and re-building the financial system in a more open, global, and inclusive way. We’re starting to see DeFi products that enable you to open up a money market account, take out a loan, and trade derivatives. In the same way that we could not predict the vast impact of the internet on globalization, we can not predict the immense opportunity that will be unlocked when potentially 1.7 billion people — for the first time — gain entry into the world’s financial system.
What do you love about what you do?
I love getting to work with passionate, like-minded people. The crypto community is very collaborative and inclusive, and I am very lucky to work with people who inspire, push, and challenge me.
I particularly love working with the younger people on the team because they embody the next generation of financial services users. Generation Z (those born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s) will start learning about finances through crypto, and we’re already starting to see this trend. In fact, Ambo, a company that MyCrypto recently acquired, has had a lot of traction with high school kids. The mobile app, which just launched in the iOS app store last week, seeks to make access to crypto and DeFi apps simple, secure, and intuitive.
What’s challenging about your job?
Finding product-market fit is one of the most challenging parts of building a startup, and a lot of the responsibility falls onto the product manager. In crypto, product-market fit poses an even bigger challenge because we’re not just building on the path least traveled, we’re building on the path never traveled.
Building on top of Ethereum, a very nascent technology, presents a whole slew of challenges. For instance, development typically takes longer than anticipated because Web3 and smart contract development is new and constantly evolving. Additionally, the ecosystem changes so rapidly as do user needs and preferences. This makes sprint planning and setting roadmaps very challenging. For this reason, it is vital for crypto teams to stay agile and lean so they can quickly adapt to unexpected changes without losing productivity. Building processes and automating as much as possible is super important so the engineers can focus on engineering rather than project management.
Being a product manager in crypto can also get lonely sometimes. There aren’t many PMs in crypto primarily because most crypto startups are still young and founders typically handle product management themselves. However, many crypto startups got burned when they didn’t have a proper product focus from the onset. Many built products that didn’t solve a real-world problem and, inevitably, failed to attract the users they promised. Today, things are much brighter from where they were a year ago — the crypto space is increasingly starting to see the value of having a dedicated product manager and more and more companies are hiring for the role.
More About Rika
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I’m a big foodie, and I love both cooking and trying new restaurants. I also enjoy staying active both physically and mentally — I kickbox, play tennis, and practice yoga and meditation. I love music, everything from classical and jazz to EDM (my fav are artists that combine all three!) and I love reading. On my bookshelf, you’ll find books on entrepreneurship, business, psychology, and neuroscience. Lastly, I’ve dabbled in improv and stand-up comedy. Check out the photo of me down below at my stand-up comedy debut :-)
Where is your favorite place you’ve lived? Where do you live now? Where is your dream location? (Optional)
I love living in the Bay Area (my current home). The Bay has so much to offer — from arts and culture to beautiful nature and wineries. Plus, San Francisco gleams with passion, creativity, and entrepreneurship. I’ve met some pretty incredible people and I love how I have direct access to some of the brightest minds in crypto. Whether it’s inviting someone over for a coffee to The Wing or attending crypto meetups, I feel like I’m constantly learning and growing from the people in this city.
Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with us today, it’s great to get to know you a bit more. If someone wanted to get in touch with you or follow you, where should they go?
Thanks, Rika! To wrap this up, share a picture of yourself that helps encapsulate what Rika does offline!