Lucas Schweiger is one of our newest Recruiters here at Payments & Cards Network. Lucas has a British / German background, growing up in both countries. He joined PCN on the 1st November and specialises in Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, expanding the network in this area. Today we’re continuing our interview series and chatting with Lucas about his background, digital currencies and the current market.
Can you tell me a bit about your background?
I grew up in the UK but I spent my high school years in Munich. I was always interested in business and entrepreneurship. In Maastricht I studied for 6 years. I got my BA in polyscience, spent a year studying entrepreneurship and then my Master’s in Public policy/econometrics. While there, I dove into the tech world, and startups and I wanted to find out how to involve myself more. While in Maastricht, I started up a foundation for refugees. We created a startup incubator—so many refugees are highly educated people with skills to contribute to tech. It was difficult to be so dependent on private funding and when I decided to move to Amsterdam, I left the foundation to others to run. I still do accounting but leave the everyday work to others.
How did you first become interested in blockchain and bitcoin?
I was very interested in technology and digital currencies. I was so fascinated by how blockchain works–it’s extraordinary. So, I started researching, seeing how I could get involved. I realized that my background was very political not so much engineering, so I felt coming to Amsterdam was a great option. It’s a tech hub, and there’s so many ways to get involved and go to meetups. I really am so passionate about disruptive technologies—they show the changes coming our way.
How did this lead to PCN?
I found Payments & Cards Network through f6s and saw that PCN works within the payments system. So I thought it would be a way to try new things, and consulting would allow me to specialize in my field of interest–blockchain and digital currencies. And there’s still not too many people specialized in digital currencies, it’s a niche field at this time for consultants.
What do you like about living in Amsterdam?
Compared to Maastricht, there’s just so much to do. There’s lots of stuff going on every day, within proximity. It’s easy to get around. There’s a great night life, good food, and it’s a young city full of startups. Every night there’s a cool meetup to go to, there’s so many options.
How have you been feeling about Payments & Cards Network so far as one of our newer members?
At the beginning, of course it’s all new and fresh, but we have such a good team vibe. And there’s a startup feeling to the office. My colleagues are all knowledgeable and what I like is that anyone here will help each other out. There’s good energy, it isn’t rigid, you can take a break when you need to, play pool, clear your head. The people are what makes it feel comfortable. That’s what I appreciate, especially being new here is that I have help and support and it’s warm and welcoming. My peers are always making sure they’re on top of their game, that they’re aware of payments innovations so that they can help their clients.
What have you noticed about the trends in the market?
The market is getting so much hype right now, just like the internet did when it emerged. This is good as it means things get going and that people are innovating. It will take about 4-5 years to make a solid impact, and right now companies are putting a lot of money into digital currencies and blockchain. They want to keep up in the race and make sure they don’t fall behind. With such a massive disruptive change, and seeing an end to traditional payments, companies keep up with trends. And that means companies often all want the same specialists and engineers. They have a niche market and these are the people that all the companies want. They know who they want to work with and they want it asap.
Do you have advice for people trying to get into the market?
I’d say really establish your own network. Know who you’re working with and make sure the people you’re working with care about the technology. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who care because of the hype, but people who genuinely care and are contributing to the technology.