Women of NEAR: Rim the NEAR Socialite
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 fifth episode of the series is dedicated to Rim, the OFP leader and NEAR’s most restless community builder. In this interview she will share her transformation from a crypto newbie to a full time crypto professional in only four months.
A Strong Academic Background and a Youthful Personality
Rim was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, one of the most vibrant and progressive countries when it comes to technology. Part of her upbringing, however, happened in the US, where she lived for a few years when just a child. This experience shaped her impeccable English and made her hungry for the world. As a young adult Rim would again cross the ocean to continue her education and get exposed to different ideas:
“I was born and raised in South Korea and then I learned English when I lived in the US at a young age for a little bit and then from College to now I’ve been mostly abroad. First in Belgium for my BA and MA in philosophy and then in China recently for my second MA and now I’m going back to Europe because of OFP and other crypto stuff I’m doing now”.
Being exposed to different cultures from an early age made Rim thrive in multicultural settings and develop an outgoing and adventurous personality. And as an active philosophy student, Rim developed excellent public speaking and mediating skills, traits that would turn her into a successful community builder just a few years down the road.
From Academia to Crypto
After obtaining her master in Chinese philosophy, Rim’s career took an unexpected turn. In March of last year Rim was offered a position in crypto by one of her old philosophy classmates and since then she has become one of the most successful community builders in the NEAR ecosystem. Rim is currently the leader of the Corpsemen, the Open Forest Protocol community, an active member of 4nts guild and a member of the Ref community DAO:
“On the NEAR side I’m a community member, as a member of the 4nts guild I participate in NEAR’s marketing so I help NEAR community ambassadors amplify the messages from the NEAR foundation and kind of keep tabs on everything that’s happening in the NEAR ecosystem. And as part of the 4nts guild, there is now a new initiative called Rise and Grind and that’s the livestream that Ozymandius is doing everyday. I’m helping out to become the megaphone for the NEAR ecosystem so that a lot of people can hear about it and stay excited about NEAR. The second position that I have is being part of the Ref community DAO and I’m also coordinating on marketing and communications on that side and also the community building aspect so that is my second role. My full time role is with OFP, in which I’m doing community development and I’m the founder of the Corpsemen guild which is the community arm of OFP.”
Rim joined the NEAR ecosystem just a few months ago but she has already become fully embedded in the world of crypto. What triggered Rim’s interest was the fast paced environment and youthful air that flows in crypto communities, something very unlike academia:
“Academia is very much an industry, because of its bureaucratic apparatus many things don’t move as fast, there is not much change or dynamism which is fine, it’s completely appropriate for what it is. Crypto, on the other hand, is almost the polar opposite of it because you are kind of at the forefront of where the world is going, technologically speaking, financially speaking, culturally speaking and also is very dynamic, very fast paced, things are always happening, new things are always coming up. I think that a lot of why I hesitated in going to a PhD was because I was looking for something to be hungry about, and I didn’t have that when I was in grad school but I found it in crypto. Here there is so much to be done and there is a lot of influence that you can make as one person which I find very exciting. For now this kind of work fits with a part of me. There’s a part of me who is very youthful, and very hungry, and for now the fast pace of crypto really fits me.”
Becoming a Successful Community Builder in 4 Months
As for most people who do not have a technical background, entering crypto was very challenging for Rim. But her ability to listen and her social skills made her overcome these challenges quickly and seamlessly:
“Entering into crypto was definitely challenging. Obviously there is an entry barrier, there is a learning curve coming to blockchain technology and crypto in general. I’m not very proficient from the technological side, but I picked up a lot of stuff along the way and I also did my own research. I listened to a lot of podcasts on crypto and blockchain, watched a lot of lectures and read a bunch of stuff. But the biggest thing that helped me in my journey was the people at 4nts”.
Crypto can be a brutal and intimidating place for newbies. There is a lot of technical jargon, inside jokes, and a whole new system of incentive mechanisms and ways of doing things. As Rim points out, community is the best learning resource that one has and it is also the key to success in the crypto space.
“Because I was kind of thrown into the space writing articles and joining the livestreams from the get go, I kind of just learned over the shoulder what people were talking about, how people talked about it, I picked up the resources and I figured my way through that. Also, by being very involved in the community, being a part of the team, picking up on how people talk, what kind of strategies they employ, seeing what works in terms of marketing and community building I think I would say is first hand experience and meeting the right people who are able to give you the resources so that you can learn from them. That’s a way of learning that I really enjoy, I didn’t have to read a pile of books or resources but I could just learn as I go and learn from experience.”
Rim worked her way up through telegram, guilds, and all the other possible resources that enabled her to gain visibility and show her skills:
“The people that I’ve seen go the furthest or that I personally admire in the space and who are doing very well, are people that are super active and they are the ones reaching out, and I mean active in a very non passive way. They are people who are making things happen, they are reaching out, they are communicating, they are making themselves seen and they are offering some kind of use that no-one is even looking for they are offering it and making themselves useful through that. So I think that this kind of proactivity is really what is making to go far in the space and I think that I also benefited from that kind of attitude. People can add you to different telegram groups or DAO, if you are just there and you just say a few things now and then no one is really going to seek you out, you really have to make yourself valuable and I think that attitude is something that really helps. And I would also say, because it is so young, the space is so nascent and the nature of the blockchain space it is very democratic, you can be in the telegram channel and one day just chatting with the founder of NEAR. I think this nature of a decentralised distributed space is a really great advantage. You don’t just need to be a consumer or a developer, you can be a lot of different things and that mobility is guaranteed in the space so I would say take advantage of that and be joyful that this Web 3 space enabled it”.
Crypto opens up a great deal of possibilities to those that do not get discouraged by the chaos and confusion typical of a new space. Being active and willing to take up challenges always pays off in the end and is key to thrive in this space. Because of the nature of the space, working in crypto offers the ability to avoid prejudices:
“As I didn’t have a female identity on social media I had no kind of prejudice being associated with me being a woman. And I think because the space is very male oriented, people just assumed I was a guy, and because I’m hidden behind my avatar a lot of people when they hear my voice or see me on a stream they are surprised to see that I’m a girl. It’s difficult to say whether this was advantageous or not for me. It’s hard to tell just because of the way that crypto functions, and the way that I’ve experienced crypto you don’t have to put your real identity first, so in that way I would say there was not an even playground but the prejudices or assumptions worked in my favour because my identity was hidden.”
In the world of crypto, female presence is definitely weaker compared to male presence, and for this reason it is still potentially fertile ground for prejudices and discrimination. On the other hand, crypto offers the possibility to adopt techniques to protect oneself from prejudices that are almost unavoidable in other contexts.
Rim’s View On The Development of NEAR
As a community builder Rim is a very active member of the NEAR community. She spends her days interacting with different people within the ecosystem and trying to amplify their voices and visibility. This is a particularly rewarding activity for Rim as she loves being exposed to different perspectives:
“I do really like the community. I think the most exciting part of the day is when I’m able to have really good ideas shared with other community members or try to do something, or someone else launches something and then other people pick it up and become something more exciting and bigger. Also, being able to zig-zag my way around the sphere and meet a lot of people, from VCs, people from the foundation, community people, developers, I think there is such a colourful assortment of people on NEAR specifically and I think it’s a real privilege that I get to enjoy because I work here.”
When asked about the future of NEAR, Rim is very positive that NEAR will soon take off:
“I think in general what I expect from it is for there to be a robust ecosystem. Few months ago when I first joined there were only three Dapps, there was ref.finance, Paras, and Berry Club. And now we are about to witness a fully fledged DeFi ecosystem.There are partnerships on Aurora everyday, there are a bunch of DAOs migrating to Astro, everything is really coming along. This is a sign that we are on the right track.”
In the past year, DeFi has boomed in the NEAR ecosystem, a trend that will continue into 2022. What makes Rim particularly confident is the experimental and innovative characters of projects building in the NEAR ecosystem:
“I’m really excited to see a burgeoning, active, and healthy ecosystem and community in NEAR. That would be very exciting. I would really like to continue to see the projects that I really liked about NEAR which are very experimental. When I looked at Metapool or Croncat, these are not the things that you often see in other ecosystems. AMM indexes or NFT marketplaces are expectable but even with NEARpad or NEARnames, these are things that you don’t normally see in other chains. So, I would really like to see more of that experimental attitude or atmosphere that happens here in NEAR to continue here in NEAR as well.”
Rim’s vision and story is another valuable account for young women getting started on crypto. Although everyone has their own path in life, being exposed to other’s experiences and thoughts can provide inspiration, comfort, and motivation to persevere in one’s endeavours. For the NEAR community in particular, these kinds of stories help see the people behind the screens and learn more about their human side and story, thus fostering a sense of community.