Bubbling Out

Breaking Barriers: How Blockchain is Opening Doors for Black Women in Tech

November 08, 2023 Emily Rose Dallara- Leadership and Mindset Coach Season 1 Episode 37
Bubbling Out
Breaking Barriers: How Blockchain is Opening Doors for Black Women in Tech
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Who would have thought that the concepts of a lark and an owl could influence the energy levels and routines of a working mom?

Prepare to be enlightened as we speak with Olayinka, an inspiring woman who has been navigating the web 3 space, while juggling motherhood since 2015.

Our discussion is laden with insights on networking, connection, and the importance of maintaining relationships in this dynamic space.

Imagine a world where transparency, integrity, and accountability form the backbone of technology. With Olayinka, we explore this reality in the realm of blockchain and crypto, discussing their evolution and the transformative power they hold. We touch on the significant ICO craze of 2016, and how it has flung open the doors of opportunity for the global south, fostering an unprecedented sense of camaraderie and dismantling financial barriers.

But what about inclusivity and empowerment in this burgeoning industry?

We tackle this and more with a look at the praiseworthy initiatives of the Black Women's Blockchain Council.

This council is tirelessly educating and empowering Black women in the crypto space while advocating for conducive regulations. Oli also shares her personal investing journey and candidly discusses the wealth-building challenges faced by her community.

Tune in and be part of this enriching conversation.

Black Women in Blockchain (nonprofit) fundraising: https://www.bwinb.org/give

Twitter:https://twitter.com/BWomeninB


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Speaker 1:

Hi everybody, welcome back to Web through and Thrive. Today we've got Oli Inka here and she is here to share with us about her project. She's here to talk to us about being in the. I'll start again. She's here to be sorry, alex, stop, she's actually. I'm going to remove this because I'm doing an introduction and I'm actually going to record it afterwards. So welcome Oli Inka. How are you doing today?

Speaker 2:

I'm fine, Emily. Thank you very much for having me.

Speaker 1:

How are you? Oh my God, I'm sorry. I just got a notification right in front of my script, so Alex is going to kill me. Where are you at this morning? What time is it in the day?

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, I am in the DC area, so it's around 948 AM. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Not too early, not too late, and are you a morning person? Like when did your brain function?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. I think any given day I could be a combination of either one. I think last night I probably was a late evening person because I stayed up until like almost two o'clock in the morning, but I'm still wide awake, so I guess I am both.

Speaker 1:

Oh wait, you cut out, then I think your internet just had a bit of a breakdown.

Speaker 2:

Oh, should I read it back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yes, if you can repeat that you're back now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I was saying that in the morning I could be a morning person, but it really depends. Last night I stayed up until like two o'clock in the morning, and then I'm wide awake right now. So I guess I'm combination of both.

Speaker 1:

Wow, interesting. Have you ever heard of the concept of the log the owl? There's another one, but it basically relates to animals and it helps you to understand why you feel a certain energy at a different time in the day, and for I think it's owls they're the ones who stay up late and they feel like they're most creative then. Have you ever done that kind of analysis on it?

Speaker 2:

I have not. I have not, but I do know. You know I'm a mom. So when you become a mom, you adapt, and that adaptation has definitely strengthened. As you know, your kids get older, so I've been able to do that.

Speaker 1:

That is a huge, impressive feat being able to go from one way of being to having a child to completely changing and then trying to understand what is your normal now, exactly, no-transcript. It's crazy, isn't it? I have friends who have babies, and I'm not a baby I'm just gonna turn this what's up off, sorry and I am a dog mom, not a real human mom, and so I always think it's crazy how people just like snap into this new routine so quickly when we have such a difficulty adapting to other things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, that nine month does prepare you you have to. So it's a slow progression. Your body gets used to it, your mind gets used to it and you, you ultimately get used to it. And then when your kids start growing up, you get used to their sleep cycle and all that stuff. So I'm just one of those person that I guess I can never bounce back, because I used to stay up late and, you know, be like a night person, but now I'm a combination both.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, it's. It's very interested that you're aware of that now. Um, but going back to your 2 am Work, what were you doing at 2 am? What kind of work are you doing? What's keeping you up at night?

Speaker 2:

Oh, my god responding to emails. So you know, when you're in this space, there's so much going on and there is a lot of people that you have to respond back to, so my focus was really getting back to people that I Probably have left in my inbox for like more than 10 days Doing that and also preparing for this.

Speaker 1:

Well done, though I like being able to be like okay, I've got this test to do and I'm gonna do it whether it's 2 am or not.

Speaker 2:

It's not something that I always want to do, but, you know, sometimes you feel like it's an obligation.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and so what is the drive behind this? So what are you working on that's so important that you're applying to emails at 2 am.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's all about networking and connection and maintaining that connection with individuals. You know we're building web 3 and web 3 is all about community and you have to form that community. So part of that is communicating effectively and responding back to people. So that's what really drives me. I'm in this space. I've been in this space since 2015 and you know, I've got the opportunity to meet so many different people and travel all across the world and I want to maintain that relationship and you know, with various programs that we have coming up, you know, we we need to have that kind of connection, people who can, you know, connect us to resources and stuff like that? So it was just, you know, part of the everyday grind and hustle, I guess Part of the job, and so you've been in this space since 2015.

Speaker 1:

What brought you into this space originally? What were you doing? That like kind of Took you down the rabbit hole, as we always say.

Speaker 2:

Well, Long story short, I wanted to have my own startup company and it was totally unrelated to this. And then I reached out to an individual and we were talking and he kept mentioning bitcoin and because of you know his consistency with mentioning the fact that I need to jump into bitcoin around that time, I decided to research and see exactly what it is he's talking about. Now I come from the financial industry and I'm a chief compliance officer, so I'm on the regulatory side. So this is a person that's like what you know from the outside, looking at and hearing about this Cryptocurrency and you know how it could potentially change everything. I'm thinking is it threatening my livelihood? So I decided to jump in, went down the rabbit hole, fell in love with the technology more than anything, didn't really think crypto was going to go that far, but really thought that the technology itself was worth it. So what is?

Speaker 2:

worth it Wow so, yeah, I mean like the light bulb for me the moment. You know, in 2015 if we all think back to that time, I know it's a long time ago, but a lot was happening. Right in the US, we were going through an election cycle, you know, there it was a contentious election cycle. Um, you know, in the UK and EU, brexit just happened, right, and then I'm Nigerian as well, and so you hear about all these government officials hiding money overseas, you know, and so it was just like, wow, there is this technology that's actually toting the whole transparency aspect right, and transparency in every single one of those examples that was happening around me was paramount, was really important. Um, because we needed to have accountability.

Speaker 2:

Right During election cycle, someone is always questioning who's allowed to vote, who can't vote, and all that stuff, right. And then you know, with the whole brexit, not everybody was aware of what the whole intention of brexit was, right, people are suffering for it because of you know that, unaware, not being aware. And then you know, with government officials in the global south and dem hiding money, you know, you're thinking that government is supposed to take the money and actually improve the, the, you know the the country, but instead they're taking that money and taking it overseas and pocketing it themselves. So transparency really is important during all of those three aspects and creating that accountability, and it was just like a light bulb moment for me that you know, wow, a technology can actually do something that we humans cannot do, because it's based on that lack of trust that we have as humans.

Speaker 1:

Amazing. So the transparency, the integrity, the accountability, these must be values that you hold, yes, yourself, yeah, it is. And so they were breaching these values in the country that is your home. And and what did it trigger in you?

Speaker 2:

Um, the it, just it. It was a aha moment really. It was, wow, we need this. And From that I became like a crusader. I was adamant about separating the two because, you know, back in the day, people used to, you know, mingo, bitcoin and blockchain together and they were synonymous to a lot of people, and so my goal was because I didn't think crypto was going to go that far was to separate the two. One was going to be for a long time, the other one was going to be for now. Right, um, and I wanted people to understand the strength and the power of the technology and Go beyond just crypto or bitcoin at the time, which was the one that a lot of people are talking about. Um, you know, go beyond that and really try to see the potential of this technology. That I saw, you know, because if I'm thinking, if I see it, I can't be the only one that saw it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I really resonate with that because when I first came into the space, it was on the how can we support other humans better, how can we support the climate better using the technology? But also laid on top of that was how can we support the world using this cryptocurrency? So it was very blurred lines at the time and I love the fact that you've just Engaged so clearly against the two. But I remember there was still this like perspective of what this space was and what crypto and bitcoin was. So how did you deal with that back in 2015?

Speaker 2:

um, I, basically, I've always been on the mindset of, okay, focus on the technology, focus on the technology, and I really think that's because of my compliance background, right? Um, you have to understand, I come from the financial industry, so you know this was crypto was something that a lot of us do not venture into at that time. Um, because you know it could be a potential violation of personal securities trading. Um, that a lot of you know registered investment advisor or broker dealers any financial institution have internally they're they're a code of ethics policy and so I didn't want to breach that and, as a chief compliance officer, I was definitely not gonna try to breach that, so I try to stay away from it for as long as I could and really focus on the technology and distinguish between the two.

Speaker 2:

Now, during the ICO craze in 2016, was a whole different story. I mean you, you it just opened up a whole new world for me. You know, getting involved with individuals from all across the globe, and the thing that warned my heart was actually seeing people in the global south participating on the same scale and the same level as other people around us, and being Nigerian living in America, you know, I saw that. Distinguish this distinction between you know, the economic capabilities of what we can do in America and what they can do back home, and getting involved in a space that allowed people to actually be on that, even kill, was fantastic. It was just like, wow, now this is truly revolutionary, and so that's when I really jump into. Okay, well, blockchain and crypto, wow, this is it. This is what we're building. This is fantastic.

Speaker 2:

It stayed up late, connecting with people all over the globe. It just felt like we were actually all in unison. We were humans, you know, and that camaraderie that we have I always have a difficult time saying that we're so positive. You can repeat it so commonalities that we have was fantastic for us and, you know, allowed us to to come together for something that was more than us, but it was a global effort of connecting, you know, because I always feel, at least you know, those who step into the space realize that money has always been the divide between everyone, whether you're in different countries, whether you're an economic status, et cetera. But money and being able to have this global money, you know, brought people together, made people realize we're all humans, we're on this earth together. You know why not come together as a community?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like we're meant to be here. There's no barriers anymore. That's what I love about crypto too. It's like the borders. What is it? The barriers to entry? They're removed by one technology and it's insane, isn't it? And what you said on the? You were able to communicate and do the same things that other people in different countries, like there was no status, there was no hierarchy, it's just. We are here to do the same thing together and support each other.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, exactly it is, it's fantastic.

Speaker 1:

But I think it's funny because this is the experience that we had and now the newer people coming into Web 3, they don't get to experience what we did and that's why it's so important to tell that story. All they see now is telegram groups, discords. They see NFT collections and they see all the fun stuff, but they don't see, like, the real work that we had to put in and what we had to experience to get there. And so I think the fact that you were able to experience I feel very grateful that I was able to enter the space when I did, because I know it's like it's been eight years. The evolution is insane compared to when I entered.

Speaker 2:

Yes, oh, so much so, wow. So I'm in the DC area, so regulation is huge. Right, when I started, we knew that the financial industry was involved in the technology. They had a lot of trademarks, a lot of patent around the technology, but it was on a hush-hush, it wasn't really out there. Jp Morgan was a Jamie was his name, diamond, I believe the CEO of JP Morgan. He was adamantly against it, right, but behind the scene they were actually building on the technology, so that was the way that it was driving forward. It was on a hush-hush, right.

Speaker 2:

You were part of a select group during that time. It wasn't worldly known and regulatory wise. Oh my God. I remember the head of CFTC. His son introduced him to crypto, and so by that having your son introduce you, he was more lenient on the potential of this. So they weren't coming in full force trying to regulate. They were still trying to figure it out. But they saw that the younger generation were heavily involved in this and there's something to it. So that's how they start getting involved. And then the SEC jumped in and was like at the time they didn't really consider it to be a threat, right, because it wasn't at that level yet they actually said that they came out of what 2018 and said that Bitcoin. They didn't consider it to be a security at the time, so they gave it that blanket exemption. And then they also added Ethereum into it and then said all others are still on the wait and see, which is crazy.

Speaker 1:

Which is crazy? Right, Because they were treating them like separate entities, which is impossible to do.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and but even at that time, they still didn't understand that this wasn't currency. Currency, right, this was a technology, that the technology is behind it, and I think, as the years progressed, as more and more institutions started to be more transparent about their need and their want to get involved in crypto, they started to look critically at it, and then the landscape changed. A lot of people jump into this space. There was a lot of scammers. It's funny because even during the ICO craze, I guess there was some scams there, because there were cryptos that we purchased that didn't, yeah, right, but nobody really cared. It was like oh, you know, it was ICO, you win some, you lose some, right, so it wasn't, it wasn't bad. But now it's like we have viable companies that are being scammed, that are, you know, bringing breach and all these things, and then we have, you know, rug pullers on a constant basis now, and you know so, it's like it has slowly grown, but then it also, you know, we're seeing a lot of the vulnerabilities within the ecosystem as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I can see that. Well, I'm not from compliance, but so this is a question to you Do you think that they are the reason they put so many regulations in place and put red tape around? Everything is an attempt to reduce these scams. Is that possible?

Speaker 2:

I think that's what they say. The driving force is right. A lot of when you speak to the senators and their representatives, you know the lot of them will say their constituents have come to me, you know they invest in crypto and they lost money, and you know that's their story. No, seriously, that is their story. You will hear a story like that, and so what they're doing is for those constituents who lost money, right, but, at the same time, like, they don't truly understand what this space is about. Right, they don't truly understand that there's actually, you know, for every person that you know has been scam, there's 100 people who have not been scammed, right. And there's, you know, 150 people who are actually trying to educate people, you know, so that they won't be scared, right.

Speaker 2:

And, of course, yeah, there's the bad actors in this space. I mean, just like you know, in fiat, there's bad actors, right, they're all over the place, so you can't avoid it. But I think the thing is a lot of them, they stayed in isolation and not really understanding what the space is about. But a lot of us educators and advocates are being more vocal and, at the same time, we've seen a lot of financial institutions that are also being vocal and being a support for this, and you know lobbyists as well, so that's helping. But regulation is going to come. It's going to come because you know we, we really haven't self-regulated because back in the day we told them hey, stay over there, we will self-regulate. We have not done a good job.

Speaker 1:

No, I remember when KYC came in and it was like the end of the world for the end of the world, Everybody was taking their money out. Yeah it was very difficult. I was working in an exchange at that time in Southeast Asia and it was like, okay, everyone over to Binance. And that was one of the biggest retention issues was the KYC. So we had to find ways around it. There was a few things that you could do. Now it's like nothing, it's like bulletproof, yeah it's all over.

Speaker 2:

It's global now. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But, yeah, there's one thing that you mentioned there, which was education and helping people avoid these kinds of scams. Do you want to tell us more about what you do in the Black Women's Blockchain Council, how you support women who are committing to the crypto space, what kind of education and training that you're providing, and how it is safeguarding them against things like scams and losing their money?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so in 2018 created Black Women's Blockchain Council really to educate people, because, as I told you guys when I came in, I wanted to spread the word, spread the gospel about the technology, and really that's what the organization is for to educate the Black community so that we won't get left behind in this new revolutionary technology and give us an opportunity to be more than just consumers, but also builders. So we've partnered up with Consensus, which is part of the Ethereum Foundation, and we've created certification certified programs that allow people to obtain their certification and the fundamentals of blockchain, as well as rule up their sleeves and become a blockchain developer. We have an initiative that's out there to educate half a million Black women to be blockchain developers, and these are our efforts to give back to the community and be able to really, because I came into this feeling a sense of community, feeling like everybody was involved, and so I want to create a pathway where everybody we can look back and be proud and say you know what? We all created something. We all got involved, whether, whichever way we entered, we all got involved in forming the future. Right, because this is revolutionary, this is the future and it's important for us to really think on a global scale, because that's what Web 3 means to me community, right, globally community, and having everyone show up at the table is very important in how we craft the future with this technology, and that's really the opportunity that I want to provide educational path for us, and we're doing advocacy as well.

Speaker 2:

So we're working with some states as well as the federal government in crafting the right policy, because we want people to realize that the old, archaic way of traditional finance or trade-fi did not help underrepresented communities at all, and that's the main reason why we gravitate towards crypto because there's no barriers there, right, and so if there's going to be regulation, we want to make sure that the type of regulation that are created does not create barriers, because we know, you know, accredited investor, you need to have a certain amount of network, you need to have a certain amount of, you know, money in your account and stuff like that, and that's not something that historically, we have been able to accumulate, you know.

Speaker 2:

So a lot of us aren't part of that ability to build wealth, right, and so we don't want those bear the same type of barriers to come to what three and what's being, you know, created. We want opportunity to participate because you know for, as I mentioned, for those one constituents who complain, there's a lot more of us who are educated, who are aware, who are willing to. You know, take the risk and you know potentially make money or not make money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I really resonate with that because growing up, this is something that I didn't have, so my, my childhood was very much save money, not invest money, and so actually I learned how to invest through Bitcoin. Like when I was first starting working in the space we were given, we were paid in crypto, so you can either spend it all or you can start to keep it and invest it, and so I'm interested to know actually rewind it back in your past when did you first start to get an interest in to investing and looking after your own financial health?

Speaker 2:

I would say right around the time that Starbucks had their IPO. I think that's dating me Interesting. Yeah, it's weird because for some reason I was just in tune and I was interested in it and but, you know, didn't have the resources, they didn't even know what a financial advisor was and all that stuff, but I kept excuse me, it's okay, but I, you know, kept focusing on it and reading about it and it was just fascinating. Oh my God, an IPO Like it was the first time that I've heard an IPO, I believe, and even state focus on the IPO, and it just felt like this was an opportunity to actually build wealth. But you know, I believe around that time either I was going to college or about to, or like I had already, I don't know. I think I was going to college and so it was a new, fascinating world, but I knew that I couldn't participate in it, and so that's when investing to me really meant, you know, something big. And it's funny enough that I ended up in a financial industry because I really saw, you know, the other side of investing. Now people are creating their net worth, People are getting opportunities, retirement funds and all that stuff, Things that normally in my community aren't discussed because oftentimes we're living, you know, day by day, right, you know, and really focus on the here and now as opposed to the future.

Speaker 2:

The future will take care of itself, right, and growing up I was told, you know, get your education, Everything will be okay. Right, but the problem was, you know that's just not the end. All and be all Knowledge is power. Like if I knew you know where to go and how to go, maybe I'll be a business major, you know, with a lot more opportunity than I have now. So all of that is very important and that's really when I started focusing on investment and the power of saving money and thinking about the future.

Speaker 1:

That's quite early, isn't it being at uni to be focused on financial wealth and being able to preserve yourself in the future and look after yourself? Was it? What was your? And you don't have to answer this, by the way, if it's too personal, but what was it like growing up for you? Because I know that you, your second, a second generation, first generation.

Speaker 2:

First generation of.

Speaker 1:

America. Yes, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, growing up, for me, I, we came here when I was in the 80s and it was it was a different dynamic Cause you know I was eight and you know I, I got to experience up to eight Nigeria and then coming here was just a totally, you know, mind blowing. It wasn't really, you know, difference in environment, it was just difference in the type of people that you meet. Right, we grew up in the middle class. Both parents worked, had a great opportunity to go to fantastic schools in the area, so I was always in, like you know, programs where it was gifted and talented. So I had a good upbringing. I had the opportunity to really tap into a lot of things connect with people from all across the globe, stay in tune to world news, you know, and all these things. But even with that it was limited to, you know, the type of networks that my parents had, right, and so they had the working class. You know network Didn't really have any doctors. There was a couple of TV shows that basically showed me the other side of what could be, and I know people are probably going to be like, but the Cosby show was one of those shows where it showed a successful black family and that one was a lawyer, the other one's a doctor, and so it really opened our eyes to the potential of college, right, and then what college could be like. And so with that, I was interested definitely in going to college. I wanted to be a doctor.

Speaker 2:

It wasn't because of the show, but there was other reasons why I wanted to be a doctor. I was really fascinated by math and science and did really well. And then there was an article I forgot, I think it was like there's a magazine. Well, there was a magazine in the US called Parade Magazine, I believe, and they did a feature on a young black girl who got accepted to several colleges. She ultimately chose one, but it was like she got a lot of scholarship and stuff like that and I believe she wanted to be a doctor.

Speaker 2:

So it was like, oh my God, she's almost like me. And then that made me realize, oh, okay, well, I can apply to several colleges and I'm just going to go ahead and do that when it's my turn. And so I did that. I applied to several colleges and because of my background and experience and my grades I got into really good colleges and got weight history for some. So yeah, I would say I had the privilege of being exposed to good things and growing up in a middle class at the time. I don't think it'll be middle class anymore now, but at the time it was a good middle class family.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for sharing that, because it's always interesting to me to understand people's backgrounds and how that stimulates the decisions that they make now and I think well, do you think actually, if you hadn't come over to America at eight years old, would you have been able to have the same privileges as you did have growing up?

Speaker 2:

I think I would. I think it'll probably be later in life, because I do have extended family members that are overseas, in Nigeria as well as UK and other places. So yeah, I think I would still have experiences being exposed to different people Education-wise there. We're more on the British school system than anything and oftentimes they're further ahead than being here, and I think that being able to start school there helped me out greatly here. So I transferred. When I transferred it was like, oh, she's really advanced, so it did help.

Speaker 1:

And do you think that the same still applies now? So, for example, for girls who are eight years old now in Nigeria, what support is there for them? Actually, I'll rephrase that For girls who are eight years old in Nigeria and their moms and their aunties and their sisters, what can they do now to make sure that they do have the same experiences as someone who's maybe moved over to the US when it comes to finances?

Speaker 2:

When it comes to finance. What can they do now? I would say yeah, so crypto is still a viable opportunity. A lot of people are utilizing crypto and the funny part is Nigeria was one of those first countries. I actually tried to establish their own CBDC. It wasn't very popular and I think the government jumped the gun and trying to push it through, Because a lot of times, government don't realize that people aren't just looking for digital assets.

Speaker 2:

They're looking for an opportunity that allows them to do so much more with that digital assets and if it's centralized, it's limiting. And unfortunately to say, we just don't have the type of government to actually have implemented such things because we're not there yet. So I think, being exposed, a lot of them are attached to their smartphones, and the internet has connected a lot more people, has provided a lot more opportunities. So I would definitely say you know, get involved in crypto, try to try to see. You know there's a lot of startups that are happening in Nigeria as well. Get involved in those too and try to see if maybe, perhaps you know, you too can be a startup founder.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and there's there's a lot of. There's so many opportunities in this space and I know there was there's a guy who's been on the show called Emile. He's got this like very low key dad who's was in the blockchain space before the invented DLT he was like at the beginning and he's built out really interesting infrastructure in Uganda and Kenya and they've partnered with the banks to give access to the diaspora in the UK, I think. I believe they've built a, they've developed a stablecoin that helps the diaspora to send over I think it's specifically they do like a pilot in London to send over this stable and to directly to the bank so then they can spend on the groceries, but they can do it really quickly, so it's like quick transactions. So I know there's like loads of very interesting things being done.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. The development is huge, it's huge, it's huge. And you know, africa has the youngest population, so you got to bet on the future, you know, and with people being able to connect through the internet and having access to so many different resources, so many different courses and open source, you know, platforms the sky's the limit.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's so many things that I want to ask you here, but I know that we've only got a few moments, but there's there's one thing that I know you really wanted to speak about, and that is all the huge events and the big things that you're doing over at BWBC. Would you like to talk a bit about that?

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, yes, yes. So we have a nonprofit organization called Black Women in Blockchain, which is a 501C3 nonprofit organization that's actually campaigning right now for Giving Tuesday, which in the US is November 28 is usually the time where a lot of people donate to nonprofit charities, and we're doing a campaign die for that. We're trying to raise $200,000 in order for us to roll out some of these wonderful programs that we want to. Our focus is really to empower women, and by empowering them, we want to give them the resources in order for them to be builders, innovators, you know, founders and creators in this space, and one of those things is a mentorship program that we have to get that we're trying to create for high schoolers and college students, for them to be able to think about careers in the Web 3 space.

Speaker 2:

As you know, they're going through college and, you know, hopefully add more to the growing ecosystem that we're building. We want to create pathways for them and for them to be able to connect with mentors. Another program that we're actually trying to bring is the Innovation Hub. You know, one thing about blockchain is that there's opportunities to build right and within the community. There's a lot of people there are thinking about the social impact and the social good and ways to bridge the two, and we want to give them a pathway for them to take their idea and build a start up out of it. So that's, those are the two programs that we're looking at.

Speaker 1:

That's incredible. So, first of all, the mentorship program. How does it work? Who, what kind of mentors are you looking for? Are you looking to fill the spots, or are you looking for other people to volunteer? How is it working?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the mentorship program really focus on the ability for the college or the high school students to be able to connect with individuals that are influencers, individuals in a policy, individuals who are builders, educational individuals. We are looking for volunteers those of you who are in the space, who are making a career out of it. Definitely you reach out to us to tap into what we're doing. You can go to bwinborg or you can go to bwbcio and click on foundation and I will take you directly to our nonprofit.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful and the startup innovation hub is really interesting because there's so many, and especially we spoke about the younger generations. They have ideas all the time, they're like in it, using the technology all day, every day, and the problem that I see is the problem I had younger as a younger, as a younger I don't know wannabe entrepreneur. I had no money, I don't need to invest. So I hear like lots of stories from guys who are like 23 and they've managed to make a lot of money in crypto, but nobody has the money to invest at that age. Sometimes I mean, I did not. And so the ability to have that safe space with support where they can actually get their ideas out and find co-founders, it's like unheard of. There's no accelerators or incubators that focus on that niche and share my own experience. To get into an accelerators is very difficult. You need traction, and who has traction? When you're younger, you don't have the financial resources and you don't necessarily have the support and knowledge.

Speaker 2:

Yet yeah, exactly yeah. And so you know what we're trying to build is really that knowledge, that support, that resources, and you know, we know it's a bigger effort than you know just talking about it. It's a movement that we're trying to create and really, really you know our focus on adding to the ecosystem and building the ecosystem and creating pathways for the future generation.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're trying to disrupt the way that this industry works.

Speaker 2:

Definitely Don't want to have a repeat of Web 2.

Speaker 1:

In our prep call. You're like I said to you, you're a woman after my own heart. I'm obsessed with changing the way that we lead in this space and I just think the more of us who want to make huge change and actually do something because there's a lot of people who wanted to make change but then too afraid, or they don't have the resources or they don't think that they can make change happen so the more of us who pop up and just keep going, the better.

Speaker 2:

Yes, definitely yeah, we need more. We need more because, yeah, we're creating the future and we all have to, you know, tap in.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we want to. We need to create something that we all want to be in, right? Yes, and one last thing as well you have you sold me the conference. Last time we chatted Like this is a conference I need to be at. So tell me all about the conference that you hold.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we will be hosting our fourth annual conference, called the International Women of Blockchain Conference. It's going to be two days virtual and, you know, one day in person on March 20th through the 22nd. You can go to IWBevents to hear more. It's a conference that's focused on women in order for us to center women globally in this space and we're, you know, taking that effort and allowing them to come on stage and for you guys to network and connect with them and be able to interact with them during these conference.

Speaker 1:

Sounds amazing. I want my tickets. Can I buy them now?

Speaker 2:

Yes, tickets are available. If you go to the website IWBevents, you'll be able to click on tickets. Early birth tickets are up and live and they are. They will be actually going away by the end of this month.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so we'll put the links in below. Make sure you go and get the tickets everyone, because it's online as well as in person, right? Yes, yeah, which is big, by the way. It is big, I ask it all the time.

Speaker 2:

You know we had a successful all in person this year and because of the landscape, we know that. You know things are shifting right now with the ecosystem, so we want to make sure that those who are international are able to also tap in without having to come in person. So we're creating that opportunity for them to tap in virtually as well. That's wonderful.

Speaker 1:

So I think you're just continuing to reduce barriers, bring inclusivity, and I just hit the mic and you're able to bring everyone together Wonderful. Thank you, I love it and I know you've got to go, so thank you so much for joining today. Is there any way that anybody can find you? You're on LinkedIn, instagram.

Speaker 2:

I am on LinkedIn, olianka Odenarin on LinkedIn. You can follow us on IG at bwbcio. You could also follow us on Twitter at bwblockchain.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much, olianka. Thank you Emily.

Speaker 2:

Bye.

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