On the 24th of October, Women in Blockchain Manila was launched at the Clock In by AyalaLand in Makati City. The event was attended by women leaders in the industry who spoke passionately about their specific fields. It was open to women and men from all walks of life who simply want to learn about blockchain. WiB was established primarily to expose more women to the beauty of the technology. It also aims to break the stereotype that tech is exclusive and alienating. The idea behind the project is to encourage brilliant and inspired women individuals to join the blockchain movement by eradicating gender boundaries.

Yang Yang Zhang of PDAX delivered the keynote speech. She gave a comprehensive introduction of the blockchain technology and the features that make it promising. According to Zhang, there are countless uses of blockchain that can help alleviate people’s lives. When asking about how women can play a role in this movement, she opened up about how her experience as a child helped her get to where she is now. She recounted that even as a young girl, she never faltered in asking to be educated. All women should be brave enough to ask for opportunities. Especially at this point where blockchain is relatively new, opportunities are basically waiting to be seized. There is a lot of room for women to grow in the industry. Aside from her personal experience and advocacy, she also discussed how the country fares in the face of this technology. She remarked that the Filipinos seem to be very receptive of the technology. There is little to no resistance in the adoption of new and innovative measures relating to fintech in the community. Overall, she says that the Philippines is not far behind those countries who first adopted the technology such as Switzerland. This gives her optimism that the Filipino market is open and adaptable to blockchain.

The second speaker for that night was Ann Cuisia. She works as an IT consultant for the Malacanang Palace. Aside from this role, she also manages her own tech company TraXion. In her speech, she focused on the socioeconomic applications of blockchain. At present, she is involved in a project called One Mindanao. The aim of this initiative is to bring economic prosperity for all Mindanaoans by lessening the gap between farmers and landlords. The project integrates automated payroll and efficient transportation of crops and goods into the farming practice of the rural communities. She and her company believe that such measures can ultimately result in a reduction in the cost of food in the country. With these efforts, Cuisia said that prosperity may be attained.  She propounded that such prosperity will eventually bring peace in these areas. If the living conditions of the people in the region are alleviated, armed conflicts will less likely occur. During the question and answer portion, Cuisia addressed the concern of one of the participants that the project is hard to implement due to the rampant corruption in the government and the presence of officials protecting their own interests. While she concedes that corruption is a problem so widespread and rooted at the very core of society, it should not be a hindrance for individuals in addressing pertinent issues in our society. Rather than being discouraged, one must soldier on. For her part, she will continuously advocate for the use of blockchain in various fields such as agriculture. Towards the end of her speech, she encouraged people especially women to do the same.

The third speaker is Leah Butler, the co-founder of Intimate.io. Butler opened the discussion by asking the audience about a relatively sensitive topic which is the consumption of adult content on the internet. Undeniably, she captured the attention of the audience since the matter is generally considered taboo in the Philippines. According to her, the adult industry is the best industry to test fintech application of blockchain. She shared that it is the adult industry who find it extremely challenging to deal with centralized financial institutions. The moment when banks discover that the transaction involves a purchase of sex-related materials, they immediately frown upon the idea. Butler suggested that the liberalism of the blockchain platform itself is the key to solve the problems that the adult industry faces.

The event ended with a panel discussion. All the speakers including two invited guests from UnionBank shared about how they got into the blockchain industry. They also imparted knowledge on how women can portray vital roles in the tech sphere.

Overall, the event was a definite success in terms of conveying important aspects of this new technology. True to its vision, WiB is an effective tool in the promotion of inclusiveness in the blockchain sphere.

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