- NEM Malaysia this week hosted the very first Women in Blockchain Asia conference, inviting a host of female Blockchain experts to share their insights and opinions regarding the scene.
- Topics touched on included things like cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, and female empowerment.
On Monday, I attended the very first Women In Blockchain Asia conference organised and hosted by the NEM Blockchain Centre in Glo Damansara Mall. As part of the KL Blockchain Week running from the 24th to the 27th of September, the conference brought together a number of female experts within the blockchain scene in an effort to bring to the fore the capabilities of women.
Throughout the one-day event, a number of half-hour sessions were held where each were hosted by an expert, with topics ranging from blockchain and cryptosecurity to legal issues to women empowerment.
And from the talks and presentations throughout, I managed to glean three standout themes that tied and connected the conference as a whole.
1. Blockchain is everywhere.
The first big theme presented throughout the conference was the effective permeation of blockchain as a useful technology in a huge number of industries, many of these to strong effect.
Throughout the one-day conference, speakers from various industries highlighted just how far blockchain has come, with speakers such as Daphne Choong of Logistic Worldwide Express and Elizabeth Chee of HIT Foundation illustrating just how much of a role a decentralised ledger system could play in these industries reliant on the transferring of information and valuable goods.
For example, Daphne presented to the audience the ways blockchain could improve the logistics process just by making shipping information immediately available to all stakeholders (manufacturers, middle-men, and consumers) via QR codes.
This overall outlook has so far been justified, judging by reports from all around showing how Blockchain has effectively disrupted the gaming scene, improved supply chain efficiency in the agriculture industry, and changed the legal ecosystem among others.
2. Blockchain is the way forward for social impact.
One other interesting point put forth was the role blockchain has to play in the sector of social impact, with the final panel discussion touching on the creation of non-traditional jobs for many individuals who due to certain reasons are unable to find employment in traditional industries, for example.
“Blockchain can be the key to economic empowerment, even if you didn’t do well in university or if the traditional industry isn’t hiring you,” said Elizabeth Chee.
“With blockchain, you could be earning way more than those working in large conglomerates by just working at home.”
Other cited examples of blockchain proving beneficial in the field of social impact included microfinancing for those with financial difficulties, and also using cryptocurrencies as a secure form of credit for refugee women in war-torn countries such as Jordan, where they’re be able to receive financial aid without the need or use of banking institutions.
3. Blockchain means more opportunities for women.
The final sentiment—and possible one of the most important takeaways of the day, was the point that despite the overwhelming gender gap in the space of computer science, fintech, and the like, where the number of males severely outweigh females, the nascence of blockchain as a technology now provides more opportunities for women to enter an industry that is still far from settling into a set hierarchy—meaning opportunities are free for all.
“Blockchain is new, and if you can deliver results, be professional, and be a leader, nothing can stop you from being as good as any other person out there,” said NEM Malaysia’s Silvia Barredo while talking of opportunities within the Blockchain space. “Women now have the power to take it and own it.”
During the closing address, Member of Parliament and previous Bersih 2.0 chairwoman Maria Chin Abdullah made an appearance and shared her hopes for women to take advantage of these new opportunities.
“Women play a big role in building an equitable society,” she said. “I hope that through Blockchain we can bridge the gap of gender inequality by empowering women through financial independence, and that it will open up a space for women to be able to make their own independent decisions.”
“I congratulate NEM for organising the Women in Blockchain Asia event which provides a platform for raising awareness in this matter and how revolutionary technologies such as Blockchain can be leveraged for social good, bringing transparency, equality and openness—values that are in line with the New Malaysia—to the table for the betterment of individuals and the nation as a whole.”
Having attended events and talks based on entrepreneurship and technology like this one, Women In Blockchain Asia 2018 was in many instances a refreshing take on the distributed ledger tech discussion.
For me, learning about the ever-expanding blockchain scene and its developments is always eye-opening, but getting to know just how much women are impacting the same scene—more than most of us realise—was a treat in itself.
It’s a dream for many that in the near future, conferences like these won’t even be necessary—because women will be equally represented in the mainstream conference circuits and given equal opportunities to present on their fields of expertise, instead of being confined to “traditional female topics“.
Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the blockchain scene will continue to grow, both locally and around the world.
And in regards to women making their marks on the landscape, I hope and believe that the transparent and free-moving nature of blockchain technology will also allow them to prove their mettle and demonstrate just how capable they are.
- Women in Blockchain Asia 2018 was organised and hosted by the NEM.io Foundation in Malaysia. Learn more about their local chapter at their website or their official Facebook page.