Maya Middlemiss

I was delighted to receive a Press Release from Maya advising me of her new book. Maya has been a long-term supporter of The Shirt project and I am pleased to learn of her new book. Good luck, young lady.

BlockSparks CEO Maya Middlemiss has an established reputation for explaining blockchain and cryptocurrencies to consumer audiences via persuasive and engaging non-fiction writing and podcasting. With the release of “Beyond The Chain” she aims to create an alternative entry point for new audiences to learn about the fundamental principles and use cases of bitcoin and other cryptos, via an accessible work of fiction.

Brand storytelling is an essential feature of BlockSpark’s marketing communications offering, and indeed offering a compelling narrative is essential when endeavouring to hook a reader into engaging with new information. When it comes to attracting consumers with no previous interest in new technologies however there is a big barrier to overcome, and with blockchain there are additional obstacles in the form of negative mainstream media coverage, fundamentally misinforming people about the real social impact potential of cryptocurrencies.

Middlemiss decided that one way to circumvent these hurdles was to create an accessible and mainstream story around a user’s journey of discovery as an analogue to their inner journey as a character, for whom learning about cryptocurrency is ultimately part of their own redemption:

“I was keen to create a strong leading character who readers could empathise with and champion, and also one starting from a greatly disadvantaged position regarding financial and technical literacy.  Early reviewers have told me, ‘if she can do it, understand and use this stuff, then perhaps I can too!’ – which is exactly the feedback I was hoping for.”

Striking the balance between crypto exposition and evangelism and telling a thrilling and exciting story was obviously a challenge throughout, and the book includes endnotes and a resources page to support readers on their own journey – without interrupting the heroine on hers.  “I wanted readers to be able to enjoy the story completely for its own sake, absorbing some fundamentals about bitcoin – pseudonymity, transparency, trustlessness and private key management in particular – as the protagonist does so herself, without it being intrusive.”

Creating a strong female lead character was important to Middlemiss, who is a long time champion of women in blockchain and tech careers, but she is keen to stress that the book is not targeted at female readers exclusively. “In my experience talking to men and women outside of the crypto bubble, there can be more psychological barriers to adopting anything seen as having a technical learning curve, and greater fear of messing up or being ripped off. The heroine Carrie is right in the centre of our target audience persona for the Crypto Confidence podcast – curious but cautious, needing to cut through the hype and learn in a structured way from sources she trusts.  But the journey is the same for men and women, and in any location.”

Find out more about Beyond The Chain at https://www.blocksparks.io/beyond-the-chain/

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