Crypto Karen brings to life fantastic new stories for children and parents alike, blending real-life concepts with fantastic superhero tales perfectly to educate and entertain the next generation!
In November, we had the honor of talking in-depth with a very creative, renowned, and refined artist who explains to GCNews.io why she is convinced that we should provide financial education to our children at an early age. Karen New, known to her fans and her readers as “Crypto Karen”, allows us to dream about the future through her comics for children and adults. Karen shares with us how her life has been, how much she loves high tech, what the essence of her work is, and how her work intends to help children learn about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.
Before the interview, we learned about the life of Crypto Karen. “She grew up in a small, close-knit village in Singapore. Always fascinated with the work of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Karen knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in technology. With the advent of cryptocurrency, she found her true passion. At 22, she began her own start-up and has since branched into becoming a successful technopreneur.”
Image from Karen’s Twitter Account.
Currently, she is a blockchain advocate, speaker, and author. She was an adjunct lecturer at Singapore FinTech Association on Crypto Literacy. Karen has been featured on many Asian media outlets – including The Strait Times, Channel News Asian, and Money Week – for her work in the crypto-markets. After her first book, New Assets, sold over 10,000 copies, Karen turned her attention to producing her passion project, an all-ages graphic novel advocating cryptocurrency literacy, “2030”.
Can you tell us what kind of person Karen is?
I am a positive and outgoing person from a humble family. I grabbed every opportunity to play with my cousin’s computers when I was a kid. At 14, I dabbled in programming and realized there is no way I can be a programmer. Within 30 lines of code, I already made mistakes. But I knew deep in my heart, I wanted to start a software company when I grow up. The tech world is dominated by man. However, I like to prove them wrong so, when I was 18, I built a computer by spending a day in a Tech shopping centre, just to prove my point.
Before Crypto and Blockchain, what were your interests?
By 22, I started my first Internet software development company. I was lucky I caught on the Internet bug and had an experienced CTO, Anthony Lim to join me. With him, we conquered the Internet Service Starter kit business in Singapore. 10 years later, I started another company that built mobile apps with the rising popularity of the iPhone.
I love product development and public speaking. After volunteering in an organization that helps kids at risk, I discovered I work well with kids. I enjoy playing with kids and I love to share things that I wish I would have learned when I was young. For example, I share how to greet, shake hands, greet and smile to leave a good impression. I help the kids to make simple adjustments to feel the effects. And that if they do this well, all the people that they ever meet may like them and feel that they are confident. This, I believe, will open up a whole new world of opportunities for them. It can be life-changing.
How did you discover Crypto? Can you describe the whole experience?
In 2016, while I was trying to find what’s next in the tech world, I discovered Ethereum. The concept of programmable money and decentralization struck me as something that will change the world. So, I took the plunge and wrote a book 3 months later hoping to get more people into the crypto world. Previously, I tried to write books in my 20s but failed a few times, always half done. But this time around, it’s different. I had a mission to help people get into the emerging Assets class. Thus, I name the book “NEW ASSETS – Ride on the cryptocurrency wave!”
Image from Karen’s Twitter Account.
Karen, you are working now in the comic series on Crypto “2030”! Can you talk to us about the motivations you had to create this series?
I hope that the love for kids will encourage parents to read about what life may be like in the future with blockchain technology. A better life with less stress! Artificial intelligence has advanced so much that academia results will no longer be that important. With decentralization, the way we work will change dramatically, by getting ourselves into the new order now, we will be able to integrate ourselves for the paradigm shift. The revolution has already started. I implore all to experience this technology by taking action. It is easy to take baby steps in each issue of the comics book.
Getting adults to learn about the blockchain technology is not easy as adults have to unlearn before we can embrace new technology. I took three months to accept decentralization, and I am still learning continuously. My nephew, Caelum, is the one who inspired me to create these comic books. I still remember when I explain to him what is the interest given to him from the bank, and how it was generated when they lent your money to others, he exclaimed: “the bank steals my money.” That is when I realized that adults are brainwashed, but kids with an open mind see things differently.
The comic section is simple enough for kids to understand. By reading to their kids, I hope to evoke the parents’ curiosity to learn more, in the 2nd section of the book. By participating in some of the activities, I hope both parents and children will learn more about the blockchain revolution. Knowledge is power! Take action and get ready!
In general, what does your innovative Crypto-related series consist of?
2030 is made of 3 issues for a start. Each issue consists of comics and a section called Fun Facts and Activities where parents and kids can try the exercise to go more in-depth. By taking baby steps, I hope to bring them close to the world of crypto and blockchain. As I am a strong believer of minimum income in the future where our future is secured. I include some life skills that I hope to instil in children. Like the concept of abundance and gratitude. There is a rising number of people who commit suicide, especially kids, even as young as 10. By 2030, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number 1 killer maybe suicide. Therefore, I wish to create a positive mental impact on these comic books.
What was the most important source of inspiration for such a project?
My Nephew, Caelum. While trying to teach him what is Bitcoin, smart contracts etc, he challenged me and surprise me too. The challenge was how to put it to as simple as possible to see if he understands. And his reaction helps me spice up the book with a kid’s perspective.
Image from Karen’s Twitter Account.
Can you tell us about the characters of your comics?
Dayi means “the first aunt” in Chinese, is me 🙂
Caelum is my 7-year-old Nephew. He is a sweet and curious cat. Always asking me about new things. Other than Bitcoin, his latest craze is War stories. He loves to create things and plays the piano.
Can you also tell us about the plots – of course no need to spoil -?
The story is about DaYi sharing some interesting technology advancements in the future. I spice it up by including a space travel element to it. So, some readers may notice the clue.
Will you emphasize one particular Blockchain in your comics or Crypto in general?
I talk about Blockchain in general to bring the concept. But in issue 2 – New kids on a block, I pick out a few key players as I feel they are leaders who are game-changers.
You have mentioned before that your work has profoundly educational potential. Can you elaborate on that?
I test it on a few kids, my 7-year-old nephew, 10-year-old niece, and my friend’s 14-year-old boy, who is dyslexic. I am glad all 3 know what is a Bitcoin and wish to have Bitcoin by the end of the story. What impressed me is my 7-year-old understood the concept of smart contracts and IoT after 1 session with me. My adult friend who read it feels that it saves a lot of their time as they simply do not have the time to learn about the impact of these technologies. Even though they don’t understand how the tech works, but by understanding the impact they actually are more keen to find out more.
How hard is it to introduce Financial Education and Financial Language to children?
It’s not as difficult when we use their language. For example, when I talk about Bitcoin mining, my nephew told me he mines on Minecraft. So as long as we make it simple, remove jargons and tech, kids can absorb well. Of course, there are cases where I am stuck so I tried to introduce the concept instead of the tech, for example in the case of the smart contract.
What could be the special social role of Crypto comics in the future?
I guess it can evoke some people’s curiosity to study deeper into things as comics does remove some mental barrier. Especially those who are biased against tech or rumors about crypto world being only used in the dark web.
Do you feel there could be a “native crypto generation” thanks to more educational content, like yours? Would it be good for children?
Wow, that’s such a wonderful mission. Maybe that is my mission in life haha. To be part of the movement to influence a group of native crypto generation. My nephew sure does. He is only 7, but between cash and Bitcoin, he told me “ Bitcoin, cause it’s more valuable”. And he already starts to look at smart contracts for devices to make them IoT for him so I do see that possibility.
Are you finding collaboration and support for your project?
Haven’t yet, but I am looking for a crypto foundation that may support crypto education. So far, I am talking to someone in Dash and am looking for Ethereum and EOS.
I am also looking at other projects or providers who support crypto education.
To what level of growth would you like to take this project?
After this 3-part mini series, if the results are encouraging, I may wish to continue with more stories. As you know, there is so much more we can talk about as there are so many mysteries in the Crypto world. But the time and cost to create comics are long and expensive.
Do you plan to have your books translated into other languages? Which markets could a good objetive for your work in the future (countries)?
Yes, Chinese, Malay, Korean, Spanish and Japanese. But of course, I need funds to do this and gauge if the market likes the content. Plus, I just learned that for Japanese, there will be major cultural adaptation required for the Japanese market.
To think of it, I think countries with failed fiat currency may need it most. Let me do some research on who shall benefit most before I select the language.
How would you like people to use your work?
I hope that parents will read it to their kids. And more mature kids can read and influence their parents, too. I hope both parents and children will do the activities and take baby steps to experience the Blockchain world.
Can we have some words from you, directed to those parents who assist their children in choosing books? A message for those parents?
I will encourage parents to select books that prepare children to be mentally strong and happy. As things moves so fast, it’s important to learn about the future, especially the impact that these changes will be making in our lives.
Well, I design the 2030 series for these purposes above. Even for me, a person who is 8 years in blockchain ecosystem, it is still impossible to learn about everything. I don’t think people need to learn the basics of the technology because we are not tech people. But the impact of these technologies is pertinent. For example, when the Internet appeared, there was no need to learn what is the TCP/IP protocol. But if you understand how it changes the way we shop and consumer information, you would have benefited from it. Whether it is working in the right firm that becomes a billion dollar company, buying a stock, or just by writing a book like me.
If on the other hand, if you do not understand the implication, you may be the one who loses opportunities and lets it pass you by. The only asset that we have no control and a limited amount of is TIME. so I think selecting books that benefit children in the long term brings the best returns.
What is your dream for the future of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology?
My dream is for everyone to earn some sort of minimum income just by doing our normal activities. Browsing the internet, sharing content, doing good. Imagine the redistribution of all the major tech middlemen, centralized models revenue to the community. Should it be enough for all of us to pay for our daily necessities? Care-free life where we can follow our heart and live a life we choose to have. A beautiful life where no one needs to worry about getting that next paycheck to make ends meet. Where we can choose to live at our own pace. I think that will be such a wonderful world 🙂 .