Women in Crypto Q&A: Roshni Cox Likens Web3 to ‘Inception’

·5 min read

Roshni Cox is the COO at Hellebore Broadcasting Company, an NFT-powered play-to-earn sports prediction game and minting ecommerce marketplace. Cox — who held previous roles with The Walt Disney Company, ESPN, DirecTV and Sprint — said her entry into the crypto world was “serendipitous” and she had to “crash-course my way into understanding the bleeding edge of innovation.”

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Cox talked to us about how the Web3 space is “like that scene in the movie ‘Inception,’ when the characters are learning to build the dream world together and Leonardo DiCaprio describes the process as ‘pure creation.’ Web3 is pure creation. And I love it.”

She also talked about how women’s participation in the space is increasing, especially in technology roles, developing and creating — “which is what is needed right now.”

How did you come to the crypto industry?

RC: It was serendipitous, actually, and lots of good timing. The company I worked at previously focused on sports; and, with NFTs growing in prominence at the time, that company really got into NFTs and all the value and sense of community they represent. It was a fast-moving car in terms of understanding this technology. Everything is fast, fast, fast. But I really liked this rapid pace. Every role I’ve taken in my career has had something to do with a quickly emerging technology, including when I was at ESPN and establishing a new social media audience on new platforms back in the day. So I’m used to having to crash-course my way into understanding the bleeding edge of innovation.

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Can you describe what you are doing in your current role?

RC: At Hellebore, well, it’s everything. It’s a startup, after all. My role consists of product development, marketing, recruitment, brand development, sales strategy — you name it. I’m in operations, and in operations you deal with just about everything. So I have my hands in all aspects of the business. This is typical of life at a startup, and it’s so rewarding because you get to have such intimate, hands-on influence over the trajectory of the business. I find this to be incredibly rewarding, and it’s even more so given that I’m working in a space — Web3 — that is perhaps the fast-growing technology in human history.

How have your previous roles shaped what you’re doing?

RC: Immensely so. Every role I’ve been in has felt startup-like. It’s always felt like I’ve been starting from scratch with novel technologies and bringing them to mass audiences. Although I’ve been in more established companies, it’s the idea-driven projects that are the true challenge. You have to find advocates for your idea and the cutting-edge work you are pursuing. This is hard to do, but I love the challenge.

What excites you the most in the space?

RC: It’s about the unknown. When the Web2 internet started, we didn’t know where it would take us. It’s the same feeling with the Web3 space now. It’s like that scene in the movie ‘Inception,’ when the characters are learning to build the dream world together and Leonardo DiCaprio describes the process as ‘pure creation.’ Web3 is pure creation. And I love it.

What do you think should change in the space?

RC: I wouldn’t say the word ‘change.’ It’s more about education. This industry is so nascent and futuristic, but it’s also all happening now, in real time. So it’s about getting people to try out this technology, get comfortable with it and learn. It’s like the early era of apps, like a decade ago, when people were getting comfortable using an app to order food or post a family picture. We are at the forefront of the next level of making our lives faster and easier. And new technologies always initially create some amount of fear and hesitancy. But once you get past that initial hesitancy, then that is the point when mass adoption happens.

Can you talk about how the industry is male-dominated and what could be done to change this?

RC: I know there is a perception that this industry is male-dominated, but I’m actually seeing more and more women getting involved and leading. In fact, I’m seeing more and more women in technology roles, actually developing and creating, which is what is needed right now. And as this participation increases, the stereotype that Web3 is only for males will come to an end. The industry was meant to be inclusive, and I’m seeing more and more women getting involved every day.

What could be done for the industry to be more inclusive?

RC: What’s interesting is that there is so much anonymity in the space that you often don’t know if you’re working with a woman or a man. This new technology can be so anonymous — and therefore not gender specific — that you focus more on the person’s skills rather than their gender. Sometimes I see random avatars and I have no idea of their gender and background, and then I later find out that this person is a woman. Indeed, this sort of anonymity helps to create a level playing field. And I think this can be very empowering, especially when compared to traditional industries.

Why do you think crypto matters?

RC: Blockchain technology matters most to the next generation. I almost don’t have an opinion about it mattering to me because its impact will be most felt by the up-and-coming generation. Indeed, they will be mainstream users of blockchain technology and they will be the people who will benefit from this technology on a day-to-day basis. We are building for them.

Anything else you would like to add?

RC: I would just add that I’m very excited about the possibilities. It’s very exciting to be in a space where you can dream something up and actually bring it to life in a relatively short amount of time. Things that a few months ago we might have thought to be impossible can, in a very short amount of time, actually be made possible. It moves so fast like this because the technology is beneficial for all users because, effectively, crypto and blockchain technology are designed to benefit the individual and community rather than a corporation. This is about decentralization and how this type of human organization is designed to benefit communities of people so that they can grow together in a more organic way.

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