Written by Chrisnel Tiglao, Product Lead, intimate.io

If we can bring diverse people to the table, we can inevitably introduce diverse and creative minds who could see problems from a unique perspective.

Makati, Philippines — The country witnessed the launch of Women in Blockchain Manila on October 24, 2018 at the Ayala Clock In, Makati Stock Exchange Building. There are local chapters in 15 countries and Manila is one of its latest. The intimate.io Team attended to support the organisation as they break ground and start the movement for social impact, to build a global support for women not only in blockchain but also for technological advances which can help make the world a better place.

Women in Blockchain New York was founded by Thessy Mehrain, Director of Product and Innovation at ConsenSys, in July 2016 and has grown to 2,400+ members. She expressed her ambitions in an interview with Block Tribune:

I started the Women in Blockchain meetup in NYC to encourage women to strengthen their voice, define and express their passion and hopes for the technology, and to network. It’s a refreshing space where women educate each other and learn about blockchain projects, new ideas and collaborations.

WiB have published their guiding principles which they are committed too:

  • Decentralized Participation
    WiB believes that a self-organised meetup community highly enables everyone to contribute and serve local needs. Although each region has a different culture and belief, through WiB, we can all share the same purpose and passion.
  • Liquid Leadership
    Any of us is capable of becoming a leader. WiB gives us the opportunity to stand up and voice our ideas to introduce collaboration amongst members.
  • Integrity
    Shared purpose and passion create a movement that maintains its principle. WiB teams up with people willing to empower the ecosystem, without impacting the direction.
  • Females first
    WiB is a female-led community which promotes gender balance.
  • Transparency & Trust
    We are committed to being supportive and respectful of everyone. WiB provides honest feedback to build a strong community with transparency and trust.
  • Social Change
    WiB believes that the greatest opportunity brought by blockchain is in innovating social structures, in empowering peer-to-peer transactions, and creating greater equal opportunity.

During the WiB Manila launch, and with the leadership of Mench Dizon, Founder and CEO of TripClub, we were able to meet people from different regions in the Philippines who are all working hard to build awareness for various applications of blockchain technology. It was awe-inspiring to see how the WiB community is flourishing with women driving its growth and success. Founders from many different industries spearheaded the event by sharing their insights, purpose and the strategies they are implementing to affect the wellbeing of their communities.

Aiai Garcia, APAC Lead for ConsenSys, prefaced how WiB started through having a goal to change the status quo. She said we should be focused on empowering women to take part in shaping the future for emerging blockchain technologies.

Aiai Garcia sharing Thessy Mehrain’s message for WiB Manila Launch.

First to address the audience was Yang Yang Zhang, Co-Founder of PDAX. Philippine Digital Asset Exchange is the first order-book based digital currency exchange in the Philippines that enables users to buy, sell, trade and store virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. She emphasised how the Philippines is ready for the dynamic evolution of blockchain technology. Cryptocurrency basics and its potential were also reiterated — bearing the idea that Filipinos can reap the benefits of blockchain’s promising future.

Yang Yang Zhang, Co-Founder of PDAX.

Another topic discussed was about social impact and how technology can contribute to a more progressive economy in the Philippines’ agricultural sector. Ann Cuisia, Founder of TraXion, addressed the needs of farmers who are unreachable by fair markets and benefits, particularly those located in Mindanao, by utilising a “scaled back” type of blockchain technology. The remote farmers are given physical cards with QR codes that they could tap in farm centers with 3G connectivity. This would achieve TraXion’s mission in ‘banking the unbanked’.

Lastly, our very own Leah Callon-Butler, Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at intimate.io, captured the hearts of the audience when she shared her genuine desire to see change in the Adult Industry. The Philippines is an unwelcoming country when it comes to the Adult Industry. It is illegal, although somewhat tolerated in some places. Getting people to understand the truth of the situation and reduce the stigma surrounding sex work is difficult. Most people are unaware of the real challenges facing this workforce and judgement from their fellow Filipinos is still present. However, Leah did not hesitate to share her vision to make the industry as secure as possible, especially here in the Philippines where sex work is relied upon by many as their sole livelihood because of poverty and lack of educational opportunities.

As Leah stated in intimate.io’s Telegram Channel:

Women in Blockchain is NOT an event for women. It’s for everyone.

This encourages people of all genders to collaborate and contribute to creating a technology which will have a positive impact on everyone — to build and shape a technology that will help those who certainly need it, to focus on delivering social and environmental returns above and beyond financial profit.

WIB Manila Launch guest speakers: Ann Cuisia, Leah Callon-Butler and Yang Yang Zhang.

To sum it all up, the event was definitely a success. We, the intimate.io Team, met new people who may not know much about the blockchain’s backend but are willing to contribute by using the technology and promote awareness to those who are eager for positive change. It is very fulfilling when you get to collaborate with colleagues who have the same drive and ideas as you do. We will absolutely watch out for the WiB Manila’s next meetup!

WiB Manila Launch Team: Veronica Andrino, Ann Cuisia, a member of the WiB team, Mench Dizon, Yang Yang Zhang, Leah Callon-Butler and Aiai Garcia.
Getting intimate with new friends at WiB Manila launch.
Friends from UnionBank headed by Grey Diamante (middle) with Chrisnel Tiglao — intimate.io Product Lead, and Carmela Aldaba — intimate.io Marketing Coordinator.