Blockchain EdX : How to bring more wisdom into the scene: The Pursuit of Blockchain – Part 1

Blockchain is the future. And it’s making way for the women.

Blockchain is a new technology that has the potential to change how we do business, interact with one another and live our lives. It’s important for women to be involved in this emerging industry as we see another transference of wealth happening in the tech sector.

In this talk you’ll hear from three female blockchain game changers as they share their firsthand insights fresh from the industry. You’ll get to learn to see the role of blockchain education from the eyes of the mindful strategist, the crypto-catalyst, and the inclusive educator.

Women are a powerful force for change in society but we have been left out of many technological advancements that have shaped our world so far. It’s time for us to take charge of our own futures and the future for all.

This is part 1 and focuses on the background of our speakers and why they decided to pursue a career in Blockchain.

Here is part 1 of the conversation:

Bridget Greenwood:

We have with us today, Yip. She’s a co-founder at Unit Ventures. She researches the question: how to do good and do well at the same time.

She’s a certified mindfulness trainer and executive coach, VC and founders advisor and author of a leadership book called, “Beautiful Brains Change Tomorrow… Today.” Yip has worked for and in government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, investment firms, management consultants, startups and large corporations including family businesses.

And she’s got more than 15 years of experience in designing and facilitating peer to peer learning journeys. And co-founded the incredible DLT talents at Frankfurt school of blockchain center. Previously, she’s been a project leader McKinsey and holds an MBA from NCED and her area of expertise is in strategic partnership building and in complex ecosystems. Welcome Yip.

We also have with us this evening, Eléonore Blanc.

She is a cryptocurrency industry. She says the cryptocurrency industry has made the visionaries and ruthless moneymakers and it’s the perfect mix for money monetary revolution and Eléonore is all in. She’s thrilled to be part of an ongoing social and financial experiment and is passionate about peer to peer cash volunteerism and economic freedom. With a background in political science and public management, she could only fall in love with cryptocurrencies disruptive narrative of financial and economic freedom.

Active with the crypto community in Amsterdam, she began working in the wallet mining industry btc.com and she’s found a crypto canal in 2019 to offer educational marketing and business development services. She’s worked with industry leaders such as Luno, OKEx Shapeshift, bitcoin.com, Cyber Capital, Edgeworth and have security.

And from across the pond we have with us Samantha Mullet. She’s a writer, blockchain consultant, and founder of the Blockhead.

Blockhead is a beginner friendly resource for all things crypto. It was created to break through the tech jargon and help people learn about cryptocurrencies in an easy and entertaining way. Samantha has worked in technology for over eight years and published material for startups, tech giants, nonprofits and government agencies. And she became involved in blockchain in 2016, where she saw the need for an educational resource that lowered the barrier of entry for everyone, regardless of industry or educational background.

Outside of the Blockhead, Samantha has created blockchain educational courses for Afro Valley, a free educational program running in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya to spur in financial inclusion.

She’s also an active member of the SHE256, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity within the blockchain industry and her areas of expertise include cryptocurrency, blockchain analysis, criminal investigations and cryptocurrency hacks. Before we launch into my first question that I have with our panel, I’m actually gonna ask; can you each take it in turns to just tell us a little bit more about what you know about blockchain and crypto, where you’re dialling in from, what was your main motivation for attending today and say in the chat what’s your professional background but let’s start the conversation and we’ll leave that up just for a few moments.

Yip, tell us about your journey into crypto and blockchain space and what keeps you excited in it?

Yip: I joined after I went to the world economic forum and I was trying to understand, how can we shift from shareholder capitalism to ‘stakeholder capitalism’.

I’ve been a big advocate of social entrepreneurship since my early days in university. I worked with Professor Yunus to research and understand better how we can alleviate or lift certain parts of population out of poverty –  ‘mechanisms of capitalism’. And then I looked at sustainability and I realised, there needs to be some different mechanism of how to make the shift. I’ve been looking for years to understand better in the startup space, in the governmental space, in the consulting and corporate space to look for ways to have better coordination of efforts in markets for example.

Then I was at the world economic forum and I heard these leaders from the blockchain space sharing about the technology and the economic incentives, the mechanisms behind it. That was just like, “wow, this is really cool” because I’ve heard so many CEOs and corporations wanting to bring sustainability, but having really no clue about how to make that happen.

I saw these people have the capital and the technology and the intention to do it. It was, “this is where I want to be.” What is really fascinating for me is, we are at the time of technology where we can actually use technology for good and help solve some problems that we haven’t been able to solve as a global population before.

Bridget Greenwood:

And Sam, do you want to tell us what attracted you into this space and what keeps you excited?

Samantha Mullet: A couple of years ago I was in San Francisco just working in tech and I had heard about blockchain and Bitcoin, but I think I saw an increasing use case.

I noticed that the majority of the people in the U.S felt a little distant from the financial sector. Money supply continued to increase, the threat of inflation got bigger and all of a sudden blockchain and Bitcoin became this really interesting alternative system. But I think what really hooked me was when I started going to Meetups and lectures, I just knew in my gut, this is going to be the future and this is going to be massive.

I think at that time, I also noticed that most people in the room looked the same. Most people were in tech using the same language. I really wanted to make an educational resource that spanned other backgrounds. I think I saw in order for blockchain and crypto to reach mass adoption, we would have to lower the barrier to entry. That’s what hooked me and brought me in. I think over time, I just saw that use-case grow and I saw how blockchain can really be applied to so many different systems.

Bridget Greenwood: Absolutely. I’m always hugely impressed by the vision that people have had throughout the years.

Especially when there was really little to believe in apart from what you could imagine. It’s always fascinating hearing people’s stories and understanding how they got into it and what they see.

Eléonore, I know that you’re very passionate about this. Please share your story.

Eléonore Blanc: Just a little bit, I fell in love like you, like my bio says and a bit like Sam, through the Meetup space. I went by accident to a meetup in Amsterdam and just was thrown into this world where people were telling me things and I didn’t understand anything.

I didn’t come from a tech background. I came from a political public management background. I did at that point, want to have an impact, whatever I would do in my work, I wanted to make a change. That’s how it was driven. I realised that in cryptocurrencies definitely there’s so much to do. I was just attracted by the energy and the tech and realising that, maybe before diving into water policies, which was actually my first love that the problem, the economical problem is actually the root of everything.

I thought that if I would actually start there, start by empowering people financially, then; water, electricity, and those other problems actually could maybe resolve itself in a different way.

Especially when I understood the power of having money outside of the state, that’s really what just made me go all in. And I thought, “okay, this is it. I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life.”

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and I’m really honoured to be here on this panel with Sam, with you, thank you for having all of us here.

Buying a coin is a political statement.

Bridget Greenwood: My absolute pleasure. Now, one of the things that you say is buying a coin is a political statement. Do you want to share more about that? I think you can use Lebanon as a perfect example of what’s happening right now as why that might be the case.

Eléonore Blanc: It’s stuck with me.

It’s something that I started saying in the early days and it’s stuck. It has different meaning all the time, but for me, I think right now it has two meanings. One when you’re buying a cryptocurrency and using cryptocurrency, that in itself is a political statement because you’re basically using money that is not backed by legal tenders. It’s not backed by the state so that’s already in itself, a statement.

Then the second interpretation of that quote basically is. There’s so many different cryptocurrencies out there. They all have a different story, a different value proposition, different token economics, different consensus algorithm. Based on your portfolio, based on what you’re buying, it’s a statement in itself because you’re expressing yourself through money. Whatever you’re buying, whatever you’re using will tell something about you as a user and can itself be understood as a political statement.

I’m not going to start listing cryptocurrencies here, but there are personas attached to different cryptocurrencies and different value system I think. That’s why I like to say that.

Bridget Greenwood: Yes. I think that’s an important point that you’re saying that every time you buy something, every time you spend something, depending on what you spend, what currency you’re using and what you’re buying does say something about you, which is why I think that there is also the interest in privacy coins.

I tend to weave privacy at some point into a conversation because for me at the moment too many people say, “I’m not doing anything wrong. Why am I worried about privacy?” But I think it’s a much much bigger subject matter than that.

How cryptocurrency can help!

Do you want to share a little bit about, I know that you’re very passionate about what’s happening in Lebanon and how cryptocurrencies might be able to alleviate some of those restraints.

Eléonore Blanc: I was very lucky in 2014 to be an exchange student in Lebanon.

I had another phase in my life where I was very passionate about Middle East and I thought that I would work there and I would solve conflicts. That’s why I was learning Arabic and did this whole phase. By living in Lebanon, I also realised the scarcity of water and scarcity of electricity.

Right now, it’s not the same monetary system that I was in in 2014. And for a long time, their money was pegged to the U.S dollar.

Since October 2019, the peg has been dropped and it’s been just a constant struggle for people in Lebanon currently to be able to gain access to their money.

The value of their own currency, the Lebanese pound has dropped more than 90% at this point. Imagine having a bank account and you’ve lost 90% of your value over a year and a half or so, you don’t have access to your dollars account anymore either. There’s a lot of capital control.

When the blast happened sadly last summer, it was really hard to support people on the ground.

We couldn’t donate any Fiat.

It was really hard for the Fiat to actually reach them and for people to be able to then withdraw funds, et cetera. I’ve been basically teaching people in Lebanon about cryptocurrencies and about international remittances.  Usually when I do a class, I always end the class by giving a little bit of cryptocurrency to just show people how easy it is actually to receive funds from abroad.

Bypassing the banking system basically, and also telling them to maybe onboard local merchants for them to be able to stay and create that circular economy with cryptocurrency.

Lebanon has sadly become a prime example of when a state and the monetary system that’s behind it fails and fails its people. And we’re talking about hyperinflation and famine and really deep financial distraught over there. I’m really passionate about helping Lebanon.

Bridget Greenwood:

Yip, you’re also passionate about looking at stakeholder value and bringing that in. What’s needed for us to facilitate the shift to stakeholder capitalism at least?

Yip: So that’s a form of capitalism in which the stakeholders contribute to creating value.

What I actually love much about the crypto space is when you look at it from a bird’s eye view, it’s the shift from an intranet that was basically the internet of information to the internet that is the internet of communication, where we use technology to connect with all people from all across the world. I mean to my family in Vietnam, for example, at zero cost, that was not possible when I grew up as a child, talking to my relatives in Vietnam, for example.

Now we have the opportunity to use the internet as an internet of value.

I can actually send money to relatives in Vietnam almost instantly at super low cost. It’s actually not even money which is so revolutionary, but it’s a way of measuring value because it goes beyond money. That’s actually the opportunity for us as a global society to define; what do we find valuable? What things do we actually attach a value to? And when we look at economic models, what we can do is optimise for contribution. Contribution can be much more than profits.

Just as simple things that we can optimise for the bottom line. What is the bottom line when we go beyond profits? And I think this technology like tokenisation of things or thinking about value in a different way, enables us to attach a value to things that have not been really possible to attach value to.

We make intangible things tangible, and we give them a space in our economic models to be seen and then to transfer.

This is actually the internet of value the way I see it. When we think of cryptocurrency systems, because we have better ways to make transactions across the globe more cost efficient, we now have a tool to help people contribute even in very, very little ways and assign value to them.And we can support a lot of people in ways that would not have made sense from an economic point of view because it would have been too costly.

Reinventing Banking

It’s a bit similar to how Muhammad Yunus brought, for example, banking to the poor by reinventing lending. He invented micro-lending and all of a sudden it became profitable for banks to do that. Because he had systems in place where default of loan repayments would reduce.

These kinds of things we can currently figure out with all the different systems and the markets right now, everything is very new.

There will need to be a lot of testing before it can have mass adoption, but we already see so much money flowing into the market.

And it’s our time actually to take action and to go from consumer mode into not only creator mode, but actually to contributor mode. What makes me really, really passionate about it is we can create a contributor society and we can actually agree on a global world on how to measure contribution in a new way and in micro segments.

We don’t need to rely on one size fits all solutions, but we can have different solutions for different segments and different needs.

It’s up to us to design how much value we want to attach to certain things, right? If it doesn’t take a lot of effort to attach micro values to little acts of service, for example, then why should I not do it? It should be effortless, convenient.

Ultimately we are all human beings. And most of us, including myself, like to have comfort. I actually can feel with myself that when something is very cumbersome, there’s less of a probability I will do it. We can use this technology and include a UX design to make sending, for example, a tip or something to micro acts an easy thing to do, a default thing to do without needing to go the extra mile.