Spotlighting #HyperledgerWomen: Stories from front lines of community building—Ursula O´Kuinghttons, Web3 Foundation

Spotlighting #HyperledgerWomen: Stories from front lines of community building—Ursula O´Kuinghttons, Web3 Foundation

To celebrate #HyperledgerWomen and their contributions to our community, we are asking a cross section of the many women leaders in our community to share stories about their careers, what brought them to the blockchain space, what projects they’re excited about and advice they’ve received or have to share. In this series, we will share stories from a diverse group of #HyperledgerWomen who are driving progress in our community, and in the industry at large.

Today, we hear from Ursula O´Kuinghttons, Director of Communication and Partnerships at the Web3 Foundation.

What brought you into the blockchain space?

I entered the blockchain ecosystem driven by my curiosity. I first heard about Bitcoin in 2010 while in Israel, but I didn’t grasp the concept until 2012, when I lived in Phoenix and attended a local meetup, seeking friends and a sense of community. What intrigued me most was the potential of this groundbreaking technology to revolutionize the media industry.

Why do you believe in blockchain technology, and in what ways do you think it will change the way we live and work?

I believe blockchain technology, although over a decade old, is still evolving rapidly. Traditional industries are increasingly interested in learning about and adopting blockchain. Many young professionals are already experiencing a shift in their work dynamics. In Latin America, for example, communities are quickly recognizing the value of decentralization and autonomous work, often out of necessity.

How is Web 3 changing the way users interact with online infrastructure?

Web3 has decentralized communication, with online forums and platforms like Crypto Twitter acting as public square for announcements and even controversies.

What projects are you most excited about?

Two projects related to the media industry captivate me. One is Cogency, a collective that involves traditional media giants such as Condé Nast, Reuters, Le Echos, and the Washington Post, where we explore the potential of Web3 technology for the evolution of the media industry, with a focus on decentralized identities. The other initiative is Project Liberty, which aims to strike a balance on the internet by partnering with Frequency (built on the Polkadot blockchain), a protocol for decentralizing social networks that most recently integrated with the California-based MeWe, with 20 million users. In general, advancements in the cultural and entertainment industries will significantly influence the blockchain sector. These industries will also contribute to the  global adoption of blockchain technology.

What has your experience been like as a woman in the blockchain and tech sectors?

Although both industries are predominantly male I’ve seen an evolution, with more women venturing into these traditionally male-dominated spaces. However, there’s still a long way to go. The rapidly evolving technology is demanding, and balancing motherhood and professional life can be challenging.

What advice do you have for women interested in open source development or communities?

I encourage them to embrace the unknown, overcome fear, stay curious, and be daring in their pursuit of knowledge.

What was the best advice someone gave you?

Juan Luis Cebrian, the founder of El País and president of the Prisa communication group, was my mentor early in my journalism career. His advice, “A journalist who doesn’t persist is no journalist at all,” left a lasting impression. Persistence is crucial in finding solutions in life.

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