Building the browser of a new decentralised economy – Micah Winkelspecht, Founder of Gem

Micah Winkelspecht - Gem

Hi Micah, Great to have you back on Chain Reaction.

Last time we interviewed you, around a year ago, Gem was very focused on healthcare but now you are building something new, can you tell us a bit about how your focus has shifted?

When I started Gem back in 2013 there were only really two cryptocurrency wallets. Some of the current wallets are now easier to use but still act more like a bank in terms of custody of users’ funds. With others you can control your own funds but the user interface is not always that easy to navigate. There always seemed to be a trade off between controlling your own money and also having a service that was user friendly and would empower individuals to use digital currencies like bitcoin more easily.

Currently users of cryptocurrencies end up with a variety of wallets due to some wallets offering certain features and not others. Will users be able to amalgamate wallets in the future so they only need to use a single wallet?

Our dream now is to create “one wallet to rule them all” so that users will have a single tool suitable for mainstream consumers to adopt and handle cryptocurrencies.

 As there are a number of wallet services and trackers out there, how will Gem’s product differ to what is already in the marketplace?

Gem is creating a universal wallet combined with a portfolio tracker with API connections to as many exchanges as possible. It will be a one-stop shop for managing your holdings – be they the more established cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ether or Litecoin as well as managing ERC20 tokens for those getting involved in token generation events. It will allow users to track their activity across the entire crypto experience and will integrate hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor as well as existing software wallets. This is a product aimed at average consumers anywhere in the world who want to try using cryptocurrencies and making it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Handling cryptocurrencies is still a relatively tricky process. If we want more mainstream adoption, how do you see these user interfaces becoming more user-friendly?

The new wave of users will need a much smoother ramp and much more handholding. Currently 8% of Americans hold some kind of cryptocurrency but 40% are not convinced. We need to attract that sceptical segment of the market and show that using cryptocurrency is secure, is not hard to manage and can be open to everybody. Having this kind of one-stop shop experience and a very nice-looking and simple to use interface will make a big difference to how users view the process.

Will the wallet be available to users globally?

Currently 30% of Gem users are outside the USA. With our wallet we are currently still product focused. Our portfolio tracker is in beta and we are receiving great feedback but once we fully launch the product at the end of this year we will be looking to attract users from all over the world. First we need to build a really great product and then acquire and keep our customers. Success will be driven by user adoption at the individual level and I see that we have a huge opportunity to establish a bridge between the consumer and the crypto world as we create the browser of the new decentralised economy.

 The word ‘decentralisation’ gets bandied around a lot in blockchain circles, what does it mean to you?

Decentralisation as a concept is an antidote to lot of social and economic problems we have today which have arisen due to the centralisation of money, data and power. That could relate to dysfunctional governments, the banking and financial systems, or Internet centralisation. I see decentralisation as aligning stakeholders for the mutual benefit of everyone involved. In the future, I think we will begin to see more community coins in a digital universe allowing self-empowerment.

Last but not least, a fun question, I understand the team at Gem love unicorns – what’s your favourite unicorn-based item that you have at the office?

The unicorns are really fun but they are actually also a major point of differentiation for us in terms of how we see Gem as a company so they have a serious side too. Cryptocurrency as a concept and as a tool can be so hard to navigate and so off-putting. Something like the game Cryptokitties – a blockchain-based game where you can collect and trade cute digital cats – had an enormous impact on getting people to use Ethereum and making it fun. We want to bridge that gap by attracting the next wave of mainstream users of cryptocurrency who are non-technical. This element of a fun, accessible, popular thing like a unicorn shows how we want people to view cryptocurrency as something we can all use, enjoy and understand. But to answer your question, I’d have to say the Papertrophy unicorn head that was gifted to us by one of our Telegram members. It’s so unique as an art piece and even more special since it came from one of our users.

 You can find out more about Gem here or follow Micah on Twitter.


"Very well organised and provided our team with a great opportunity to make many useful connections"

Startup Showcase winner

"Unblocked Events designed and delivered a 4-week virtual hackathon for us. It’s not over yet, but we are already planning another & will definitely use Helen and her team. Unblocked delivered everything, holding our hand 7-days a week and delivering not just the developers that we needed but also high profile government support, celebrity endorsements, judges, mentors, specifications… and a whole host of other crucial elements that we would have been likely to overlook."

Richard Hallewell - CPRAS

"a pioneer in Blockchain and emerging technologies and a champion for women in blockchain. She is an accomplished policy analyst and writer and is a leader in the London Blockchain ecosystem, especially exploring industry verticals like health."

Dr Jane Thomason - Fintech Worldwide

"It has been wonderful working with Unblocked. Helen Disney is an expert in the blockchain and distributed ledger space, having been an early proponent of the technology. I've learned so much from her, and she has provided valuable consulting services to us"

Christian Hasker, CMO - Hedera

"An excellent event in all ways"

CEO - Proxime Solutions

"Attracted a high quality of delegate and speaker that led to some genuinely unique and interesting conversations."

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care - techUK

"Superb content and speakers"

NHS Consultant

"It was a great experience! We listened to amazing, influential presentations and acquired important networks. Loved it!"

CEO, PCL Health

"Great events with great participants, discussions and topics. A must-attend every year!"

CEO - Autolomous

"a cut above the rest - a unique smart agenda designed to unwrap pertinent topics wrapped up in a naturally cosy atmosphere where you can really connect with people. If impersonal blockbuster events leave you cold, reconnect with Unblocked Events."

Jenny Creed Geraghty - Clinical Genetic Scientist

"As informative and insightful as it was entertaining, with the distinguished panel offering diverse opinions on blockchain's manifold applications. Networking opportunities were ample and the good food a real bonus."

James McKay - McKay Research

"Unblocked's events are always highlights in the calendar - interesting, informative and inspiring in equal measure"

Frontier Technologies Association

"Unblocked continues to curate exceptional events on how industries and processes can be enhanced with the introduction of Distributed Ledger Technologies"

Start up Founder

"A truly worthwhile event"

Bridget Greenwood - The Bigger Pie

"I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Disney last year when she organised what I would have said was the premier event in Blockchain."

Genevieve Leveille - Founder, 0tentic8

"One of the best curated series in London - or globally. A great opportunity to learn new things and going ons in the space."

Blockchain startup founder

"An extremely high quality, cutting edge event with expert speakers and well informed audience - thoroughly enjoyable and excellent learnings"

Dr Jane Thomason - CEO, Fintech Worldwide

"a rich, intelligently designed agenda and a chance to network with go getters"

Healthcare Unblocked 2018 attendee

"a seminal event"

Chair, Frontier Technologies Association

"A really great and informative session with a lot of impressive speakers"

Big Innovation Centre

"World-class events"

Founder - Braxxis Partners

"Healthcare Unblocked was the first healthtech event we’ve attended that truly covered new ground, spoke in line with the sector, and exhibited extremely well-informed speakers and audience."

Imogen Bunyard - Co-Founder and COO, Qadre

"One of the best conferences ever with a level of relevant and real-world examples that are not always found"

Conference Speaker, Healthcare Unblocked

"I was most impressed by the quality of speakers and delegates. We are at the challenging phase of moving from theory to practice for many of the potential users of blockchain. Your events are certainly helping to bridge the gap!"

Conference delegate, Healthcare Unblocked

"Your healthcare event was brilliant. Glad to see that London still leads the way in terms of international innovation."

Matthew Gardiner - Catch London

"The most succinct explanation of what Blockchain could do for our sector to date"


"Very interesting and a proper glimpse into the not-too-distant future. The talks felt particularly relevant to my area of work so I'll be investigating further."

MS Society


We are always delighted to hear from you about Blockchain events, information and news – whether you are a newcomer or an expert, get in touch and let us know your comments and questions.