Zilliqa and Oxford Women in Computer Science Society Join to Bring Diversity to Blockchain Sector

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Zilliqa, the high-throughput public blockchain platform is running a series of blockchain education workshops, with the University of Oxford, in the UK in order to champion greater diversity and inclusion across the sector. The workshops are being launched with the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society (OxWoCS) and will be open to all students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford. The workshops kicked off yesterday on October 31, 2019, and will culminate with a Demo Day on November 21, 2019. 

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Paula Fiddi, OxWoCS President said:

“At OxWoCS, our goal is to ensure that female scientists are presented with equal opportunities to engage with various areas of the tech industry. From established fields of research to nascent disciplines ripe for exploration, it’s important that women are adequately represented in order to champion diversity both in action and in practise. With Zilliqa’s emphasis on nurturing growth from the ground up, this collaboration serves to prepare our students with the much-needed support, guidance, and industry connections, to truly excel in the blockchain space.”

Designed as an interactive workshop, Blockchain A-Z will be limited to up to 20 students, to ensure that each session is as hands-on as possible. The workshops aim to equip students with a foundational understanding of blockchain fundamentals from both the business and technological aspects of implementation. Taking place over the course of four weeks, these workshops provide a well-rounded overview of concepts, including philosophical foundations; technical topics; industry insights; and business advisory. As part of the Demo Day, winning participants will be invited to submit their solutions to Zilliqa’s US$5 million Ecosystem Grant Programme, in the hopes of receiving mentorship, technical tutorship, and a guarantee of funding for 0% equity in return.

Founded in July 2013, OxWoCS was founded with the mission of supporting and empowering female students enrolled in programmes at the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science. Zilliqa is joined by Google, QuantumBlack, Facebook, G-Research, Semmle and Oliver Wyman as OxWoCS sponsors. The University of Oxford is a world-renowned research institution, having been named as the best university as well as offering the best computer science degrees in the world according to the Times Higher Education’s global ranking of educational institutions.  

Blockchain A-Z will be conducted on-site at the University of Oxford by Zilliqa Developer Marketing Lead, Saiba Kataruka, a former alumnus of the university. Kataruka is responsible for spearheading Zilliqa’s education initiatives, having hosted workshops at leading industry events and at educational institutions across Asia and Europe, including King’s College London and the National University of Singapore.   

Saiba Kataruka, Zilliqa Developer Marketing Lead stated:

“Diversity continues to be an endemic problem in the wider tech industry, and blockchain is no different. Whether it be the diversity in race, profession, academic background, or gender, having a variety of individuals, each with a unique perspective and broad breadth of experiences to offer, is essential to success. Decentralisation is a core principle of blockchain, and you can’t really have decentralisation without diversity. We are excited to be embarking on this collaboration with OxWoCS, to champion the involvement of more women in this rapidly-evolving space.”

Of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects founded between 2012 to 2018, only 8.5% had a woman as a founder or co-founder, according to a survey conducted by the American news organisation, Quartz. Across the wider tech industry, this percentage climbs to 17.7%, but equal gender representation evidently remains a challenge. 

Initially launched in March 2019, the first set of Blockchain A-Z workshops were launched in collaboration with the award-winning King’s College London’s student-run society, KCL Blockchain. Blockchain A-Z further cements Zilliqa’s ongoing commitment to nurturing future developers and entrepreneurs alike. The workshops are but one of the projects’ several ongoing growth initiatives alongside its blockchain incubation programme, ZILHive and the US$5 Million Ecosystem Grant Programme. 

Societies for Women in Computer Science

Students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford are welcome to register their attendance at this form.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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