Late last year I caught the blockchain bug. It was the topic that everyone was talking about when I attended events in Singapore and Perth. Then my closest circle of friends had nothing else to talk about but this. Our holiday break was devoted to conversations around this subject. So I started immersing myself and learning as much as I can about the intersection of blockchain and business. I was fascinated by the space and how nascent it is. It awakened in me an energy that beckoned participation. What I like about it is that there are no clear experts and everyone is just learning as they go along. I’ve always been one to rely on institutions bestowing expert status, like courses giving certification or organisations accrediting individuals as thought leaders. I’ve always thought that unless you had these credentials awarded by central bodies you are not legit. Hence I’ve developed an impostor syndrome not just in business but also in athletics because I feel that I don’t know enough nor did I have extensive study to be a real expert. But with blockchain, there is no single certifying body, things are still in flux and everyone is hyperlearning. I am embracing this, believing wholeheartedly that I can be part of something game changing. I also noticed that there are very few women in this industry. This has been echoed in the women blockchain groups and discussions that I’ve been joining. Because of this I have reached out to women in other countries who are building communities to support females as they navigate this technology. What has worked for them is really ongoing conversations and dialogue, exchange of learnings and insights as well as struggles and challenges. What is wonderful is that women are willing to help other women get up to speed and make introductions to others who may help with a project or with a topic. I realised women need a safe space to get involved. I noticed this in various homogenous blockchain groups. Apart from the fact that the make up is less than 10% women, conversations are mostly led by men. I pondered on this and did a personal reflection- “I know some stuff but how come I don’t engage and initiate discussions?” My theory is that I continue to feel that I don’t know enough and think that these men have more experience and might be smarter than I am. I was afraid to look bad and stupid. It wasn’t until I was told by men closest to me that my insights are valuable that I accepted that maybe I do have something to share. And maybe too there are other women like me who are excited to learn and share but just feeling overwhelmed. So I’m putting out there a new passion project- Women in Blockchain PH. I want to keep it simple and informal to get it off the ground. Conversations over brunch, with just less than 10 people and we talk about a specific blockchain topic. We can also bring someone who is doing a specific project or research around the topic for face to face interaction or via telecon if they are abroad. Then we discuss and continue the discussions online via the Women in Blockchain Slack channel. I’d love for this community to grow and thrive in the long term as we see breakthroughs in blockchain but for now I just want to get the ball rolling. So let’s chat over blockchain and brunch!