Junior Francis Castro Velez developed an E-Commerce platform to enable Bitcoin as a means of accepted currency at a startup.
Francis and his coworkers at the Bitcoin startup

Summer in Milan

Prior to MISTI, Francis Velez had pursued opportunities in Pure Math Research and quant work in Finance and Technology Consulting but none of them felt “right.” Once he heard about the opportunity to spend the summer in Milan working in a startup related to Bitcoin, Francis took it as another chance to find this calling.

The Inner Workings of Bitcoin

Francis’s host Vincenzo Di Nicola was working on developing an E-Commerce platform that would enable the use of Bitcoin as an accepted means of currency and a Bitcoin Wallet. A lot of his work involved learning about the inner workings of Bitcoin while also working on the coin choosing algorithm for the Bitcoin wallet.

Immersion in a New Culture

Francis’s coworkers were a small group of focused and motivated people who enjoyed giving Francis a tour of their city. They made excursions to Lake Como, Turin, Milan and the region of Abruzzo to visit the small village where the startup’s founders are from. They had many meals together and cracked plenty of jokes. “They even managed to teach me some of their native dialect!” Francis shares, pointing to the importance of immersion in a new culture. Francis admired the values Italians hold so deeply and the way family is integral to everything. He also loved the way an Italian meal could take four hours and no one would spend a minute wishing it would go by faster.

Keeping Italy in Mind

Even though by the end of the summer Francis discovered that work in Bitcoin wasn’t his calling, he knows that he got so much more out of the experience that he could have ever imagined.

MY TIME IN ITALY HELPED ME QUESTION THE WAY I’VE ALWAYS VIEWED THE WORLD AS AN AMERICAN, AND PUSHED ME TO BECOME A MORE RESOURCEFUL, CREATIVE, AND INFORMED PERSON.

 

Now that he has returned to America, he can’t wait to keep growing as a person with everything that he got from Italy in mind. 

  • Italy
  • Internship
  • Math