Participants of intl. blockchain event hope to see Bahamians become more digitally competitive

Equity Bank, CryptoChicks Hackathon furthering blockchain in The Bahamas

Two University of The Bahamas Students who attended a three-day CryptoChicks ‘Blockchain and Hackathon Conference’ in Toronto, Canada, recently, said yesterday that blockchain and technological awareness and education should be more heavily promoted across The Bahamas.

Kylie Butler and Vashti Thompson, both seniors, studying finance at UB — two of four young Bahamian women who participated in the conference, said they believe the country needs to substantially invest in technological advancement to ensure Bahamians can digitally compete with the rest of the world.

“It’s something vital to our community,” Butler told Eyewitness News Online.

“We are trying to be in the race of being more technologically advanced, so that is something you (Bahamians) should begin learning immediately.”

Thompson agreed.

She also said she believes the government and the public should be sensitized to the effectiveness of events such as the recent one in Canada, noting that they can have a positive impact of attendees and the country at large.

“It’s the perfect platform to have governmental agencies on,” Thompson said.

“It makes processes that would normally take long periods of time more efficient so [it] would definitely improve our economy in the long run.

“It was challenging [because] block chain is not something we are completely familiar with here in The Bahamas, [but] we feel as though we did a good job representing [the country] and we gained a lot of knowledge on the importance of block chain and how to maneuver it.”

CrytptoChicks is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower women by teaching them technological skills such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency.

Noting that blockchain is the “future”, Rosalyn Brown, the Bahamian ambassador for CryptoChicks explained that she partnered with Equity Bank and Trust Bahamas Limited to assist in providing funding for women to participate.

“A lot of people are referring to it (blockchain) as the next Internet,” she said.

“So, it’s very important [that] The Bahamas sends up students and educate students in this technology [and] I’m very grateful for Equity Bank to sponsor this, and hopefully we can continue in the future.”

The three-day event consisted of speeches from prominent members of the technological community; competitions where participants shared their ideas and innovative projects.

Delphino Gilbert, head of business development and Fintech at Equity Bank Trust Bahamas Limited, said it is important for businesses to support the technological growth within the country.

“We at Equity Trust believe in the evolution of financial technology,” he said.

“We like to invest in human capital to see that the workforce is always ready and really taking a lead in this global environment.”

Gilbert added that although the sponsorship cost a few thousand dollars, it proved to be an impactful experience for the students who participated.

“I’m really proud that they were part of something inaugural in the sense of Bahamians taking a lead,” he said. “I feel that The Bahamas is now on the map and we’re happy to be part of something like that.”

“You either keep pace or you get left behind. Everyone [needs to] level up and a rising tide will lift all boats and we hope to be the Titanic.”

This article was written by Marechan Burrows – Eyewitness News Intern.