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Blockchain expert Palveshey Tariq is a modern-day Renaissance woman.

Driven by an unmatched thirst for knowledge, Tariq has pursued education in various fields, spanning from political science, mathematics, and linguistics at the undergraduate level, finance and software engineering at the graduate level and information systems at the doctorate level. Moreover, she is multilingual in seven languages (fluent in four, with working proficiency in three more) with additional prowess in computer programming.

“Up until I got into blockchain, I didn’t necessarily have direction regarding why I was studying everything I was. It was just sheer interest in knowledge,” said the graduate of the University of Florida (UF) and Harvard University. “Now, I realize that having the political science background helps me understand the politics of the market, mathematics has aided my ability to problem-solve and become an independent learner/self-starter, and linguistics has developed my aptitude in systematically learning languages, which has further transcended into programming languages.”

Tariq may not have realized it at the time, but her unique journey and diverse body of knowledge have uniquely positioned her to be a leader of innovation in the field.

Following the completion of her master’s degree at Harvard University, Tariq returned to Florida claiming, “Boston was way too cold.” She reconnected with former UF professor, Dr. Mark Jamison, who postulated his interest in the cryptocurrency market trends during a casual discussion. Tariq naturally began to research the area, leading her onto a path that would change the trajectory of her career. She has since become the leading blockchain expert in the area and holds a position with the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at UF, for which she leads semiannual sessions for the World Bank Program in the capacity of blockchain to streamline energy generation, distribution and regulation. This was the spark that ignited her passion for a career in blockchain technology.

Along with her work as a research associate for PURC, Tariq now partners with Jamison to lead the Florida Blockchain Think Tank and serves as CEO of Protonode Strategies – a client of UF Innovate | The Hub.

In her most recent endeavor with Protonode, Tariq leads a team of 30 that consults with companies interested in incorporating blockchain into their business models and creates algorithms leveraging the power of blockchain to program and sustain themselves. Its popular hosting service relies on “masternodes” for distributed ledger applications, which enable clients to capitalize on a passive source of income by automating portfolio management.

Tariq explained, “Mining coins takes a lot of power and coding knowledge. With a masternode, I can set up an entire algorithm – a one-time thing – and that’s it. You don’t even have to look at it ever again.”

With more than 70 clients in a sector poised to boom, Tariq is faced with the challenge of scaling a business. Taking a page from her own book, the entrepreneur is excited to lean on the strength of diverse – and sometimes unexpected – experience. However, Tariq is not swayed by fear of failing.

“Innovation isn’t possible without trial and error,” Tariq said.

She believes Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Tariq’s story and hiring philosophy are encouraging for other high-tech industry professionals who may not have formal education in the blockchain space, but are interested in the field.

“The general perception is, ‘Oh, they’re coders.’ But I think I only have one or two employees with software engineering background,” she said. “Just because you have a computer science background doesn’t mean you’re a good fit. My right-hand man is actually a math and physics major.”

By demonstrating the power of curiosity and strength of partnerships, Tariq has illustrated what it means to be a catalyst for innovation in the Florida High Tech Corridor.

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