From Georgia to China on the blockchain: how a Georgian made it in crypto

Tamar Menteshashvili now lives in Shanghai and works for a top cryptocurrency exchange. Photo: Mehdi Jalili/, Oct 25, 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia

Tamar was just 24 years old when a company she founded in China with local partners received 2.5 million USD from venture capital funds. 

Tamar Menteshashvili entered the world of digital currencies and blockchain technology at quite an early stage of the industry’s development, in 2014. Now she lives in Shanghai and works for a top cryptocurrency exchange. met up with Tamar in Shanghai. She has been living in China for three years already, working as a business development manager and at the same time doing a postgraduate degree at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, well known for its science and technology school. 

China was always interesting for me as a huge market – and if you’re familiar with technology, you know they are five to six years ahead of most other countries,'' she explains. 

“All their payment services are digital. During my three years here, I have not carried cash in my wallet. I don’t even see cash on a day to day basis. It is quite a digital society.”

  "China is quite digital society. They are five to six years ahead of most other countries." Photo: Mehdi Jalili/

“In Edinburg University when I was studying International Banking Law and Finance, I also worked as a resident assistant, I had a lot of Chinese students and I interacted with them everyday. Finally, my professor recommended me to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and that is how I started my life in China.”

How did Tamar’s journey into the world of crypto start?

When the World Bank and the German development agency GIZ hired Tamar as a consultant for two big projects in Kazakhstan and Georgia after getting in touch with her via her blogs on social media, she understood that the world of professionals in new technologies is still small.

Her journey into this world started with the reading of an article about decentralisation, which changed not only the thesis of her work for her master’s degree at Edinburg University, but also her life.

I think if you are curious person and if you are not afraid of challenging yourself, everyone can have the opportunity to change their life. The thing is that I would never have thought that I would go the traditional legal route (after her BA in Law at Tbilisi Free University). The more you practice this traditional field – including finance, banking – you see a certain way of doing things which I do not really agree with, I was not happy about what I was seeing, how things were organised  in the legal field,” explains Tamar.

“I realised that technology was here ready to use and we could actually transform a lot of systems and models. We saw them for many years and now it is a good time to switch to something new.”

Tamar Menteshashvili is sure that her curiosity led her to crypto world. Photo:Mehdi Jalili/

Her decision to change her topic for Master’s Degree to blockchain technology sounded strange in 2014 and professors were trying to convince her not to do it because they had never heard of blockchain before, but finally she graduated in the top two per cent of her class that year.

China: a different world with possibilities

The company Tamar founded with her Chinese partners received the $2.5 million in venture capital funds three years ago, however Tamar left the company a while ago.

"To tell the truth, I think in China this is the story of a lot of people. What I like in China and what I do not see in Western countries is that here people don’t think that if you are not old enough, you cannot do something. They just do not have this concept in their head – they are intrigued and interested in listening to anything new. And finally they might be ready to give you a chance,” she said.

“We were running for a while more like a crowdfunding platform for a projects in ecosystem to bring new projects to a block chain industry. But then I left the company.”

We should never stop exploring ourselves. Do not be afraid of failure - this is one of the most important things. You should not take failure personally, it is something that teaches you to be stronger, and you just again and again get up and continue going on,” Tamar said, describing her experience.

Advice for newcomers to the cryptocurrency world

More and more people are involved in investing money into the speculative tools in the cryptocurrency world. Tamar says that as in other business you should understand what you are doing and what are the rules of the game.

“When you are investing in something, it does not matter if it is cryptocurrency or is it anything else, stocks as well or any traditional tool, you have to understand what you are investing in. So if you are just stupidly investing in anything, it does not matter it is cryptocurrency or stock market or anything else, it means that you are not being very thoughtful about the ways in which you are investing. It applies exactly the same to cryptocurrencies,” she said.

“We saw a lot of failed projects which raised millions, it was the case but it also means that people were ready for that. But now we see it less and less. I think that awareness about technology is going up and the industry is maturing in a way that less people are trying to just earn money with fake loud announcements that they will change the world.”

Now Tamar is based in Shanghai and works for a top cryptocurrency exchange. Photo:Mehdi Jalili/

Tamar says that now she is physically based in Shanghai but trying to figure out how to connect what she is doing here with the other parts of the world, including Georgia.

Estonia for her is a good example of how a small country through implementing new technology in services became very successful.

She thinks Georgia has a good chance to become an important player in this industry. In recent years a lot of opportunities appeared in Georgia for technological education: Techno Parks, Fab Labs, and the governmental Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency.

Tamar Menteshashvili hopes that kids who are studying in Georgia now can make the country one of the world's hubs for innovation and technology and that one day, their stories may be even more impressive than hers.