SHE256 – Women in Blockchain


A Women in Blockchain event hosted by Blockchain at Berkeley, SHE256’s vision is to empower and motivate women ahead of this disruptive and newly emerging technology, by offering “A unique opportunity to set the culture and tone”, says Sara Reynolds, Executive Director of SHE256, in her bubbly opening statement.

Inclusivity, connecting communities and changing the ratio are some of the terms heavily spotlighted throughout the day, offering the audience a true sense of belonging; which is precisely what SHE256 intends to achieve with their mission.

Upon arriving at UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, I was promptly greeted by Gloria. A teacher, event organizer and blockchain enthusiast who readily introduced herself and was keen to direct me to the main stage where the conference was about to commence. The auditorium’s décor was reflective of the event’s logo; Hues of orange, purple and pink make way for a fiery morning sun, perhaps symbolizing a new era emerging. The backdrop banner reads “SHE256 women in blockchain” and as it stands large and colorful behind the panel, it faces a crowd of women of different ages and academic backgrounds.

“Women are already doing cool shit, and we’re going to keep doing cool shit”– Medha Kothari, an eager student confidently expresses herself on the podium before introducing the first speaker. Aparna Krishnan spearheaded the morning segment with informative insights on Blockchain fundamentals, offering an ideal presentation for blockchain newcomers. A lighthearted panel discussion took place featuring up and coming female leaders of the blockchain space, all of which were UC Berkeley students.

Mashiat Mutmainnah’s poise in conveying her passionate expertise was nothing short of fascinating, while Melissa Mokhtari a Berkeley University senior, kept the room lively with her wit and engaging charisma. Her blog can be found at https://blockchainatberkeley.blog/

A leader in her space, Aparna Krishnan, Head of Education for Blockchain at Berkeley, took center stage with a simplified conversation about the history of Blockchain and offered an in-depth explanation of the Proof-of-Work model.

A notable name amongst SHE256’s speakers is Monica Quaintance, this engineer of Kadena, who’s grit and knowledge were quickly spotlighted, carefully explains how “there needs to be a better way of explaining a smart contract – when non-blockchain people hear the word contract, they envision precisely what the word contract means, and a contract by definition, is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties, but it doesn’t have to guide us indefinitely as it can be amended constantly.

This relationship is not reflected in a smart contract. A smart contract is a decision made outside of the network, but it is immutable and non-amendable. Kadena’s Pact has a built -in governance protocol that can be amended anytime and we (at Kadena) believe PACT is a much more representative way to reflect the user’s long term smart contract experience”.

To conclude the late afternoon portion, some remarkable key speakers took stage to engage in a stimulating conversation about Women in the Blockchain industry. Dovey Wan, Linda Lee, Aya Miyaguchi, Awa Sun Yin, Christine Chiang and Megan Maloney were amongst the notable names.

The panel moderated by Sheila Warren, offered some insights on future crypto regulations, and finding “a place in your space”, reiterating to the many students in the crowd that data science and technology are only one aspect of Blockchain, emphasizing that there are still many gaps to be filled within this newly emerging world of opportunities.

We look forward to next year’s SHE256!


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