Ambassador Interview: Janina Lowisz
Part nine of our interview series with Bitnation’s international ambassadors, this time with Janina Lowisz.
Erik: Hi Janina, tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from and how did you get into crypto and liberty?
Janina: My name is Janina, I’m 25 years old and just finished my M.Sc.
I learned about Bitcoin, the Austrian School of Economics and libertarian movements about 3 years ago, when I wanted to learn more about the Eurozone crisis and started to regularly visit related events. Prior to that, I already had these views by nature and saw myself as classical liberal then, as I thought libertarianism would only be the US name for the same thing. I came to the UK for my final Bachelor`s year and wrote my thesis on Bitcoin.
During that period, I noticed that it makes sense to go further in that direction, so I started to spend time with Bitcoin and blockchain related meetups, instead of political events. One of the reasons for this decision is that I felt I learn more there and that it’s always evolving, and that these industries are more likely to have a long-term impact on society. I thought it would be useful in the long run to go into this direction, and it was also very useful short-term as I could write my M.Sc thesis about the blockchain.
As soon as I moved to London last year, I started to attend as many blockchain related events and meetups as possible. Already after the first one – a Coinscrum event with Max Keiser, Bank to the Future and Ethereum, I learned about Bitnation and was added to its Skype chat groups. A few weeks later, I became actively involved in Bitnation when a stranger sent me an email saying that I should run their meetup group. I thought “sometimes the best things in life happen per chance”, so I told Susanne about it who was in London that time. She was happy that there was someone who already understood the whole Bitnation idea and saw it as the fulfilment of the libertarian idea.
It was the same time when she was looking to do the Blockchain ID pilot project with Chris Ellis, and I was lucky to be there at the right time and was chosen as the first citizen on the blockchain. The Blockchain ID will be the basis of Bitnation`s reputation system which will enable future Bitnation users to use services based on trustworthiness and reliability. It can help stateless people and refugees, so it is also part of Bitnation’s Refugee Emergency Response.
Jumping on the initial euphoria in the weeks after the ID pilot, I named myself Blockchain Girl for social media purposes, to reach more people interested in the blockchain. Now I’m using my free time to go to events and meetups as Bitnation ambassador, where I get new people involved and connect those who could benefit from each other.
Erik: What has motivated you to become an ambassador and what advices do you have for future potential ambassadors?
Janina: My main motivation was the blockchain community in London, I made a lot of friends at meetups there and enjoyed telling people about Bitnation, so I became an ambassador. Also, it was in an early stage, last year, when there were not as many people involved as today, and I thought helping to get new people on board is the key to success.
It was easy to network and make people interested, and the scene is constantly growing. In January, I counted 11 related meetups, today 20, it is really quite easy here. Take a look on what is already out there, not just bitcoin and blockchain related groups, but more also futurist, libertarian or other socially motivated groups, startup or general business meetups. You just need to find out what the person you talk to cares about and you can normally win them over with some of the many Bitnation uses.
Erik: How do you deal with people who reject the idea of free competition to the government?
Janina: When introducing Bitnation to someone, I would not say “we`re libertarian, anarchocapitalist, etc”, I say “we provide blockchain services and focus on governance services”, or “we provide the tools and people build whatever they want”, then it`s easier and open for interpretation, so they start to listen instead of shutting their mind after mentioning certain political directions.
Like Bitcoin, it will attract people of different political directions. There is a page that provides an overview on the demographics of UK users of many different products; when you type in Bitcoin you’ll find out that the average of users identifies themselves as slightly left-leaning. I think it will be the same with Bitnation, so people will use services without connecting them to their actual political direction. Maybe it will be perceived as a movement beyond politics, like a humanitarian organisation.
When not knowing someone’s background, or when someone is left, there are enough Bitnation uses anyway that everyone can agree on, or services like Bitcoin that have different advantages, and therefore attract different people; so you talk about the advantages the person wants to hear. Everyone would like services that build infrastructure and help developing countries, or allow for less bureaucracy everywhere.
We would like our voluntary welfare service, which can be used by anyone to create their own resilience network, to slowly substitute government welfare, but you may also interpret it as an additional service or as a service for developing countries only. Just like the Blockchain ID can be used for a reputation system like ebay or for refugee help. Almost everyone would support blockchain marriage since it makes divorce easy and cheap, some would like it because of gay marriage, some would use it as an addition to traditional marriages, maybe those who would like to renew their vows.
Anyway, when supporting blockchain services, people only vary concerning the countries in which they would apply them, and the kind of governance services. I don`t remember anyone completely rejecting the idea of free competition to government services.
Erik: How do you think we could make the crypto-sphere more appealing for women?
Janina: I don’t know, I don’t think it’s a problem. I think we don’t need to do anything, because everyone should pursue their natural interests – if someone is not interested by nature, why try to pursue them. If someone is interested, they get involved anyway, including women.
When something is available for everyone in the internet to see, especially when it exists as long as Bitcoin and the blockchain, and has been covered by mainstream media, it’s their own “fault” if they don’t see it as important.
It should not be seen as negative that different industries have different gender proportions, I see it as natural and as evolving by itself. Maybe in the future when there are more jobs in blockchain, it will be more attractive in general so there will also be more women interested.
Erik: What do you think about adding the diplomatic element to Bitnation’s ambassador network? Did you ever get in touch with state officials? What is your approach on this topic?
Janina: I think the ambassadors will do that anyway when they have the opportunity, my interpretation of being a Bitnation ambassador is to try all directions. In past, I would have said it may make more sense to stay in the business area and mainly do the networking there, because it`s where all the innovation happens, whereas politics was more only a follower. On the other side, people in business are not better than people in politics.
For Bitnation, it may even be the other way round, it could get easier access to international organisations because of its social nature, it is more welcomed and seen as a useful new addition to anything, or can act in an advisory role. If these organisations were ignored, they would come up with their own solutions anyway, which may not be as good without Bitnation’s influence, therefore Bitnation should try to get in touch with everyone who notices us.
Erik: What can we expect from you in the future?
Janina: I just accepted a job offer as recruitment consultant, so blockchain will only be a hobby. Blockchain jobs now were only part time, or only available more in the future, or require technical skills, which I don’t have. As I will only start work next month, I don’t know yet how much I can be active in the blockchain sphere in my free time, but as always you will see on my Blockchain Girl page whatever related things I do.
Erik: Thanks Janina for your time and efforts. Good luck for your new ventures and we hope to hear more from you soon!
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