This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Just back from Korea where he served as an NBC commentator on the Winter Olympics, Apolo Ohno joined me for a discussion about skating and his new venture in cryptocurrencies.
Ohno, who won a total of eight medals, including two gold medals, as a short track speed skater in three Olympics, beginning with the 2002 games in my home town of Salt Lake City, worked as an NBC commentator for the first time in Sochi.
Of the just completed games in PyeongChang, he said, “The overall experience was phenomenal,” adding, “I feel blessed to be a part of them. I love going to the Olympics.”
Lately, Ohno has been putting his considerable energy into a new venture, HybridBlock, that plans to operate a three-tiered trading and content platform for cryptocurrency traders. The company expects to commence operations in April after completing an initial coin offering or ICO in March.
Ohno targets a total of $50 million in the raise. About half of that has been committed in pre-sales, Ohno says. The company has been in development for the past year and now has 35 employees in the New York, Santa Monica, California, Ukraine and Korea.
The site will start with educational materials to help novices better understand the market and basic tools for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. This first tier tool is called BaseTrade; it is intended to provide the easiest way for consumers to trade and store cryptocurrencies.
The second tier tool is called HybridExchange. Ohno says, it should be “the best way to transact with new digital currencies, including HybridBlock Token, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and select other utility tokens.”
The third tier tool is called HybridTrade. It should be a downloadable app that gives professional and institutional traders a platform similar to those used to trade other financial assets.
Ohno is passionate about the new venture and believes strongly that cryptocurrencies can enable solutions to world problems. He sees himself as a social entrepreneur, helping to educate people and hope to facilitate 100 million people joining the crypto economy.
For building this new venture, Ohno draws on lessons he learned as the world’s fastest short track speed skater.
He describes the number one takeaway from his athletic career as “the ability to adapt to an ever growing and ever-changing environment.”
He notes that every four years he faced a “new generation of young athletes who are different, they’re faster, they’re stronger they’re better and you have to find ways to adapt.” He emphasized the need to win consistently.
“You’re always going to be thrown curveballs. You’re always going to have variables to change. You’re always going to get knocked down. How you respond is where the true definition of character really lies. ”
He applies these lessons to business. He notes, that businesses face challenges, too. He says it is important to “plan accordingly.”
“It’s just how do we always consistently get back up and always evolve so that we can win in the space,” he adds.
For fun, I asked Ohno about his “superpower.” He responded, “The only power that I have is I just work really, really, really hard. That’s ingrained in my DNA and that’s ingrained into our company. We understand that hard work is really the backbone behind all great success stories and we’re not afraid of it. ”
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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!