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Building a more inclusive blockchain

When considering all of the changes blockchain companies hope to bring to the world, nowhere in the plans of creating decentralized applications, fairer payment systems, and better forms of governance are there demands of a specific gender or ethnicity leading the charge. Yet, as with many endeavours in tech, that’s how it has played out so far.

Blockchain is a truly global project. If anything, writing from America, we are behind the curve in terms of adoption and speculation, with governments across Europe, Asia, and Africa implementing these emergent platforms into their future plans. From South Korea’s $400m investment in accelerating blockchain adoption to Uganda turning toward crypto to fund solar power programs, there are plenty of bright spots ahead.

As with many forward-thinking projects, most support of blockchain in America is in the private sector. Unfortunately, our current administration is too busy discussing walls and coal to take the time to address the prospect of blockchain implementation (though states are more proactive), nor would they choose decentralized means for conducting business if the choice was available. Everything in D.C. right now is about consolidating power, not freely dispersing it.

The main problem is across genders. I’ve heard the expectable reply numerous times: women aren’t as interested in tech; or, they’re not as skilled in coding and math. Yet studies dating back over a decade have shown that this is a psychological construction, not a biological fact. When told they aren’t as proficient in math as men, women score worse on tests. Mindset matters. As long as we perpetuate this myth it will be our reality.

As Alexis Gauba writes on Coindesk, “the diversity gap in tech is widespread.” Gauba co-founded the nonprofit she256 to address this gap in blockchain. While she recognizes that blockchain is still not understood by most of the public, she feels that a pro-educational stance across industries will help everyone evolve and adopt. This means being inclusive regardless of race or gender combined with a bit of evangelism.

It starts with building a culture, in workplaces, that fosters mentorship and education. We can think about where we make decisions and discuss issues. If we want people to participate, are they even aware? If so, how can we bring them in? Passively hoping populations who aren’t contributing will somehow join in won’t work.

A few months ago I discussed these exact problems with Ela Kagel and Rashid Owoyele of RChain Europe. They shared similar sentiments regarding participation and education. They are two bright examples of people working against the status quo to create change in their communities.

One thing everyone knows: the current tech status quo isn’t working. Without realistic steps forward in addressing this now, all we’ll end up with is another repressive situation in another tech space. In the long run, that does no one any good.