Women of NEAR is a new series dedicated to highlighting the work, vision, and experiences of women’s leaders in the NEARverse. By exposing women’s contribution to the ecosystem, it aims at inspiring other women to join NEAR and enrich it with their ideas. The fourth episode of this series is dedicated to Decentricity AKA the crypto wonder woman. This title is no overstatement as Decentricity not only brought to light several successful crypto projects like Blockchain Zoo, Blocksphere,, UniqueOne, and DeBio, but also helped bring forward a more crypto friendly environment in Indonesia. There’s no doubt that if the world were to be run by women like her, we would already be living in the future.
An Unconventional Childhood
Decentricity’s path towards blockchain technology started early on when her father instilled in her the passion of coding. After she learned QBASIC at the age of six she never stopped developing her programming skills. But being extremely curious and creative, Decentricity furthered her education well beyond that.
“My background is actually quite funny. I’ve been programming since I was very young because my father taught me. When I was 6, I learned QBASIC and I continued developing. But when I went to college, I didn’t go into computer science or informatics instead I went into environmental engineering. I was interested in the subject, so within environmental engineering I studied a lot of things, including microbiology.”
After she graduated her path brought her to explore other fields where built an even stronger interdisciplinary approach.
“When I graduated I actually started my career in something that is also not related. I worked at P&G, then in between there were several other jobs but my favourite job and longest I was in was in IBM. I worked there for almost 6 years, and when I was there I worked in many roles. I started from sales and went up to country leader for a certain project and my final role was as territory general manager.”
Decentricity’s interdisciplinary approach made her thrive in all projects that she embarked on, but it was not until she got into blockchain that she was able to fully unleash her creative potential.
The Journey From IBM to Crypto
The time when Decentricity started working at IBM also coincided with her discovery of Second Life, one of the first metaverses that allows people to create avatars and interact in an online virtual world.
“ Back in 2009–10 I started Second Life, the earliest surviving metaverse from that era. I was very cool. I had land, I bought stuff and in Second Life there was this token called $Linden Dollar and this is not a blockchain token but a centralised token and there was a way back then to exchange that for Bitcoin. So, one of my first exposures was actually in the metaverse. I had friends who were mining and I bought from them as well but at the earliest there was even a Bitcoin exchange machine within Second Life.”
This experience, got Decentricity exposed to the world of crypto, a world that would change her career trajectory just a few years down the road:
“In IBM I keep telling people that this is the future, blockchain is the future and then Ethereum started to appear. I showed my friends how it works and IBM back then didn’t really realise the value of blockchain. Then in 2016 I started meeting my old friends who are doing blockchain and I started introducing the fact that IBM had its own blockchain which is hyperledger fabric. Hyperledger fabric was part of the linux foundation and was founded by IBM and several other bodies. Back then it was really the early days. IBM wanted us to sell this product to people and companies and I realised that this was pushed to places where there’s no value in it. I decided to leave IBM in 2017.”
Being aware of the revolutionary power of blockchain, Decentricity could not be satisfied with old approaches to business anymore:
“My philosophy is that if you have any IT solution then you need to have it right sized, it cannot be one size fits all you need to have a blockchain that is agnostic to the user’s use case. This is before all the multi chain projects, so I thought that blockchain needs to be agnostic, it needs to be an internet of blockchains. So in 2017 I left and started a blockchain company with my friends called Blockchain Zoo.”
Blockchain immediately stood out to Decentricity as a way to change old and inefficient paradigms with innovative solutions that would help pave our way into the future. She then dedicated herself with passion to her new blockchain venture reaching incredible results. Not only her first company became one of the first companies in the region, she also created a blockchain association to foster blockchain adoption and recognition in Indonesia.
A Commitment to Foster Blockchain Adoption in Indonesia
Decentricity is not only interested in building projects through blockchain technology, but she is also very invested in fostering its adoption in her own country. According to Decentricity, blockchain’s adoption could be a game changer for the country both economically and socially. This belief led her to the creation of an association aimed at spreading knowledge and awareness about the potential of blockchain.
“The Indonesian blockchain association is a B2B2G organisation in Indonesia, so we are the ones that cater B2B discussion and link up to government discussions and I literally helped make crypto legal in Indonesia through the association’s lobbying for clearer cryptocurrency laws”
The Indonesian blockchain association’s job has brought tangible results across the field of education, regulations and the commercialisation sectors.
“Before the association crypto was illegal, after its creation it became legal. I helped lobby and create the legal frameworks. And I talked to Indonesian police in terms of having ownership mechanisms so that they would recognise the ownership of a crypto item so that if someone steals it, it can be a criminal case in Indonesia. Before there was nothing like that so I helped define that and I also helped the Bank of Indonesia which is the Central Bank to research CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies), although I’m nor super into it because it’s centralised. But so, all the Indonesian ecosystem including all the exchanges, we now have 13 exchanges wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for me and the association. The 13 exchanges are sort of very indebted to the association for having all the legal instrumentation and the standards as well.”
From the crypto side, the association has also achieved important results:
“Indonesia does not allow payments with any crypto, or USD, the relation for it is very tight. Crypto is of course not a means of payment, so when we started in 2018 we said, ‘Ok, crypto cannot be a means of payment, but it can be a store of value.’ So we brought crypto into the asset class. We talked to the commodities bureau under the ministry of trade that crypto is an asset and should be put in the asset class and treated accordingly. They agreed and basically Indonesia treats crypto as a commodity, which means that all the trading and ownership is legal. You have NEAR that is recognised by the legal law, they look at the market cap and if you have a good one then it can be tradable within Indonesia and is considered legal and a commodity”.
Decentricity is very adamant in stressing the importance of bringing blockchain adoption to mainstream. Its adoption will not only help the economy but will also help preventing the dangerous centralisation of power in the hands of big corporations and governments:
“I always had a distrust of centralised entities whether governmental or large companies controlling everything and my decision to leave the enterprise space and enter blockchain is very philosophical. I really think that blockchain is humanity’s last hope. Without blockchain and Web3 technologies we will end up in a future which is either dystopian because it is controlled by a bunch of governmental entities, or big companies.”
Blockchain has the potential of decentralising the world making it impossible for single entities to prevaricate and disenfranchise people.
The Birth of DeBio
Decentricity has always had a natural disposition for building, creating and combining different realms. Blockchain helped her unlock her full potential and to draw from her interdisciplinary background to create a fairer and more decentralised way of dealing with genomic data.
“I have a weird background, microbiology, blockchain, etc., and I obtained a bioinformatics certificate from UC San Diego and a Genomic Data Science Certificate from Johns Hopkins. I’ve always been a mix between blockchain and bioinformatics. I wanted to find a way to merge these two worlds together because merging these two worlds makes a lot of sense. Your genome should be owned by you but now they are owned by corporations so why should it be owned by corporations?”
In 2017 she came about with the idea of a decentralised bio network that would allow people to retain ownership over sensitive information on their genomic data. This project is now known as DeBio, and since its inception it has received a great deal of interest due to its broad use scope.
“Back in 2018 I was just thinking of tagging each genomic data, sort of making genomic NFTs but then last year we realised that you can do it without ensuring that the genome sequencing is also secured by blockchain. So that’s why DeBio is not just a data platform but is also a services platform. If you are a lab you can send your virtual lab on DeBio to accept samples. Where did the idea come from? Well, we wanted to ensure that everyone has an equal right to access this platform and to sequence their genes, have their genes into their hands and the possibility to monetise on them as well.”
Decentralising biomedical information and allowing people to own and control their sensitive information is a fundamental step to re-establish an individual’s sovereignty. Thanks to DeBio everyone will have the possibility to choose how to best manage their valuable personal information and opt out from the current system of data exploitation.
Decentricity’s Experience in the NEAR Ecosystem
Decentricity and her team decided to build DeBio on Ethereum, but soon after they realised that the high gas fees and Ethereum’s architecture hindered DeBio’s potential. Her and her team started looking around for the best options for their project and soon enough they stumbled upon NEAR:
“ In terms of the DeBio journey we started on Ethereum, but we realised we can’t be on Ethereum with the gas fees, plus, we are a data science platform so if we deploy on Ethereum it is just not optimised for it. Ethereum is optimised for transactions but not for data. So we decided to approach Substrate, we started developing on Substrate and how that works is that you not only define the smart contract, you also define the things on the bottom of it, the consensus mechanism all of the things that are optimised so we rebuilt DeBio for scratch and then created DeBio on Substrate. Then we looked at Kusama, Polkadot, and these were very expensive to get a slot, I think around 15 million dollars needed to be staked. These protocols are way beyond the reach of people like us entrepreneurs, so luckily we found Octopus Network. We thought it was very cool, you can deploy substrate but in a way there is much more to it so we deployed on it and became part of the NEAR ecosystem.”
Before coming to NEAR, Decentricity had heard of NEAR’s wallet and remained impressed with its user-friendly features. Discovering more about NEAR, she found a thriving community, solid DeFi fundamentals, and infrastructure perfect for developers.
“With the advent of Octopus Network we are looking at a lot of Substrate projects moving onto the NEAR platform. And the Substrate projects will have a lot of community support instantly from the NEAR team […] NEAR also has an inbuilt ecosystem; it has all the applications, apps, DeFi stuff, you even have Aurora the EVM, so it’s the best of both worlds. You have the complexity and the ability to optimise an appchain, but you also have all the cool DeFi things that are already online and implemented in simple smart contracts. So one thing I’m excited about is staking DeBio on the NEAR ecosystem, that will automatically help out and help us basically grow the value of the token as well as maintaining the value of the token as well as maintain the value of the data token.”
As a developer Decentricity immediately recognised the benefits that the NEAR ecosystem can offer to people looking to build their projects:
“NEAR really allows people to build and right now the flexibility of building is insane because it is not just building in NEAR itself as a smart contract, but also EVM on Aurora and also Substrate on Octopus. This is sort of a microcosm of the entire blockchain ecosystem so if you are a builder you build on NEAR, it’s really the best.”
Indeed, NEAR offers one of the best environments for people that are eager to create and build cutting edge projects. It is also the best place for creative and passionate people like Decentricity that are determined to make their ideas happen.
Working in Crypto as a Woman
According to Decentricity, working in blockchain really fits her personality and her ideals. She loves the ability to easily create solutions that favour decentralisation and disintermediation and work together in an open and supportive environment.
“I love building here, if I have an idea I just make it happen because I have a community that supports me and that community includes developers as well. I just give an idea and they run with it. I really like that. When you are in the enterprise or startup sector, they would be jealous of your idea, and if you create something it will take a while to get it going because it is not community supported. But now, with the backbone of the community of builders that I’m friends with, we are all connected to each other and every idea that I have can become real. Blockchain has this potential and I hope that people realise that.”
Women are still underrepresented in the IT space but blockchain allows more freedom and more possibilities for women to tailor jobs that fit their interests and inclinations:
“ In the blockchain space nobody cares what your gender is because most of us interact virtually, we don’t even know each other’s faces sometimes. But also, it is not just about technology, it is also about the community. The community is not just a subset of marketing but is also a subset of technology development and platform development, which means that there is a lot more room for women. I don’t mean to say that women are the best at handling the community, but we are very sociable creatures so there’s a lot of room for women to come into the space and even more than being regular traditional IT and we can do a lot of good things together.”
Crypto is considered by many women as one of the most friendly and fair working spaces. As more women will join the space we might witness a rise of new roles and creative projects that are inspired by women’s visions and experiences.
Decentricity on the Future of Crypto and NEAR
Decentricity has been involved in the crypto space for over a decade now and has a pretty good sense of what we might see coming in the next few years. The area that is going to develop more in terms of mass adoption is, according to Decentricity, is NFTs.
“NFTs took the world by surprise, right, and a lot of people didn’t predict that. What I foresee is that right now people are buying NFTs just for the collectible value and probably for flipping as well. Some are buying for the art value which is good, I buy for the art. But I think that soon very soon NFTs are going to be much more valuable for virtual objects, things that are in virtual worlds real metaverses with wearables items avatars, and these metaverses are going to be the next wave. In fact, that’s going to be the next fight between centralisation and decentralisation. As you know, Facebook is also going into the metaverse, even Playstation, and a lot of players are going into the metaverse world”.
NFTs have an extraordinary applicability when it comes to metaverses and it only makes sense that they will soon come to dominate the scene. But of course, as Decentricity, remarks: “People will have to choose if to have a major centralised metaverse or multiple decentralised ones”. This is going to determine for the most part the further adoption of NFTs but the premises are very good. According to Decentricity we will see people using NFTs to customise their games and applications with virtual items, this is going to come soon and is going to be the next bull run.
When it comes to Decentricity’s perspective on the future of NEAR, she believes that the ecosystem is going to boom thanks to their implementation of private shards and the Octopus Network.
“When you can deploy a private shard, for example: if you have a hospital, you can place your own shards to ensure that the data is secure, but you can still have access to the rest of the NEAR ecosystem because it is still connected to the public shards. I think it’s something that is going to be really exciting for the next few years and I expect it to be seen by everyone. Not because enterprise is so important, but because enterprise is usually the gateway to people in the mainstream understanding of the technology. This would be a game changer for NEAR. And of course, the Octopus Network promised to bring thirty to fifty app chains per year, which is huge.”
Of course, Decentricity is also very excited about the evolution of DeBio. On the 7th of November, DeBio Network, the first appchain on the Octopus Network, launched on Skyward Finance with 200k $OCT airdrops for IDO participants. This launch has inaugurated the beginning of a new appchain revolution on NEAR, which will attract Substrate developers to migrate to the NEAR ecosystem.
Until the 13th of November $NEAR holders will be able to deposit their $NEAR in the DeBio Skyward IDO, then the $NEAR will be converted to $DBIO on the 14th of November and the sale will come to an end on November 20th. For more information follow DeBio and Decentricity on Twitter.
Decentricity’s story and vision is incredibly inspirational for ambitious women that are ready to build a new world. Her contribution to the success of NEAR is significant and her efforts to create a better and more decentralised world admirable. It is thanks to women like her that we can make changes happen and bring NEAR to the moon!