At the age of 20, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science at STI College Global City. I started as an intern at Cognizant Technology Solutions, a BPO company. I was assigned to a Network and Services Systems office where I learned how IT operates in the real world. I also took a one-year vocational course for Computer Systems Servicing NC II at TESDA.
I often accepted remote jobs online. I was a researcher for a US-based cryptocurrency investor. He introduced me to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He was the reason why I have my position right now in Elastos. What I did then was look over the coins on coinmarketcap.com for some tokens with good forward prospects. Among these was Elastos.
I recommended Elastos to my employer and he followed my recommendation. I met the lead evangelist of Elastos, Clarence, at a meetup in San Francisco. Elastos had been looking for an organizer to manage a meetup in Manila and my previous employer suggested me to Clarence. When the event was first posted on meetup.com, Mr. Alex Timbol was among the first to RSVP, so I messaged him and asked if he could help me out.
I am a Community Organizer and representative of Elastos here in the Philippines where my persona is the “Elastos Princess”. This persona helps to market blockchain to colleges and other young developers. I’m helped by my Mom’s food and catering business, and by a veteran sales and marketing professional who advises me and helps out in Elastos’ Philippines activities.
Alex has years of experience in corporate communications for a food and beverage company, and decades of experience in Institutional Stockbroking around Southeast Asia. He has worked in social entrepreneurship, community organizing, events management, PR crisis management, and disaster response.
He is based in Metro Manila, and I am in Central Luzon, around 120km apart, so he can quickly attend to requirements in the National Capital while I am near enough to make a day trip if necessary. But, Central Luzon, where I am, is among the regional software and blockchain development supercenters due to the Clark and Subic Freeports.
I recently started working in Network Security Support at a Company in Central Luzon.
What are your hobbies? Any special activities you like to do with friends and family?
Whenever I have free time, I watch American TV or Asian anime series. My family and I go to the beach and attend concerts together. We’re a very close family. My mom has a food service business, Raemily’s, and sometimes I help out, gaining valuable practical experience, just as Jeff Bezos said he worked at McDonald’s in his teens.
Raemily’s handled catering and logistics during the October 13 event, and I can always rely on my Mom and her crew for support.
You set up an Elastos meetup in the Philippines, how did it go?
On October 9, 2018, Clarence went to Manila for two things: First, Elastos purchased a booth at Blockchain Fair Asia on October 10-11, 2018. I worked with Clarence to set up the booth and meet the other local and foreign blockchain personalities, including the leadership at NEM Philippines, with whom we now have a cooperative arrangement.
On October 13, 2018, I organized the first ever meetup of Elastos in the Philippines. Clarence Liu was the speaker and it was his first time to visit the Philippines. The meetup lasted for 4 hours. The number of attendees exceeded 100. It set benchmarks in the local Blockchain industry in terms of attendance, relevance of audience, and number of newbies to blockchain.
We had over 40 tech students from two campuses Cavite State University, the largest University system in Southern Luzon. Other blockchains and crypto events had as little as 10 attendees, and there were few with more than fifty attendees–usually the same regular enthusiasts. With Elastos, we wanted to ensure that we had more and that we would break records, so we reached out to IT and student groups via their social media pages, and I personally I invited them with persistent PMs and emails. As a result, we had over a hundred attendees from different communities. Even Star Trek Philippines teleported over to learn about the Internet of the Future. In the real world, STP members are professionals in tech and content creation.
You can watch the event video on youtube here: https://youtu.be/QiuKCmHHJtM
Are there going to be any future meetups?
We have been continually participating in 3-5 tech events per month that may be roughly categorized into into three categories: Networking events, brand presence, and educational events. It is a continuous campaign.
Despite limited resources, Elastos is probably amongst the top five most well known blockchain developments in the Philippines, along with the well-funded NEM, corporate-backed EOS, app wallet enabler Stellar, and universally known Ethereum.
For many of the communities we are reaching out to, we are the first to present blockchain in general, and Elastos in particular.
Notable networking events we’ve attended have been “Women in Blockchain”, with whom I am working with to establish a Central Luzon chapter with other female blockchain developers based in Pampanga, my home province, and nearby Zambales, Bataan, and Nueva Ecija; PADCDI (Philippine Association of Distributed Computing Developers, Inc.) annual meeting, which includes key personalities from the blockchain focussed CEZA (Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Northeastern Luzon), and the prominent Loyalcoin, headed by local celebrity Paolo Bediones, which runs loyalty programs built upon the NEM blockchain; and Fintech Philippines, which is heavy on professionals in the formal financial sector, and auditing and consulting firms.
Alex has also participated in government and industry events representing Elastos to build links with relevant state offices. Key events he’s attended are the DICTs Internet Governance symposium which connected us to leading regional tech players and infrastructure providers, and the larger DICTs Incubators annual meetup attended by tech incubator operators around the country. This has enabled us to obtain access to key officials and identify state programs that sync with Elastos’ objectives.
One example is DICTs Rural Impact Sourcing program which trains countryside folk to access online paying jobs in software development, web development, content creation and design. If we can form a partnership with them, we could have Elastos development and content creation among their recommendations list.
We have brand presence activities by proxy with college and university tech groups, and moving forward, with several key dev groups. We provide them event support in terms of snacks and food items, and they place a large vertical banner at their venue while encouraging members to sign up for Cyber Republic. We’ve done this at the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University in Quezon City, Unibersidad de Manila, and recently De La Salle University’s Computer Engineers. It’s cost efficient, and doesn’t require our presence.
Last Christmas, we participated in two blockchain event Christmas parties, where we also brought along a group of students from universities we’ve been in touch with.
Levelling up, we conduct, on a recurring basis, booth presence during school tech events, where we have a booth display and sign ups for the Cyber Republic. In these events, I lead the booth team, sometimes with Alex, sometimes with a team of students from the host school or an organization from another school. We are able to collect dozens of sign ups and strengthen links with the school organizations, as well as other Elastos enthusiasts. We’ve done this at De La Salle University and Unibersidad de Manila as sponsors of events organized by Coding Girls, organizers of school events; and at FEU-Tech and Angeles University upon the invitation of student groups themselves. We have around a dozen more invitations for the months ahead.
So, that’s our secret. Rather than organize our own events, we support and participate in student organization led events if it provides the right audience for Elastos. It reduces costs per signup, and minimizes logistical requirements, and we provide value by linking up student groups from other schools and signing them up to Cyber Republic.
The highest level of involvement we do is a speaking event. Alex spoke at two such events sponsored by Elastos. At the College of St.Benilde School of Arts and Design, he spoke on the basics of blockchain and how Elastos provides a secure publishing platform to monetize creative works. At La Verdad Community College’s ICT Week, he spoke on SMEs and Startups, in deference to the Blockchain talk by our friends at NEM. In both cases, Elastos branding was clearly presented and the technology well-discussed during the speeches.
Our involvement with LVCC has even greater potential going forward. Located in Southern Pampanga, they have the largest school campus in that area, with a student body known for their skills in mass communications. We hope that we can work with them as they evolve into a technology hub in their area, a complementary partner to the already established MetroClark ICT Council in Northern Pampanga, with whom we have also connected.
How is the interaction with the community in the Telegram and Facebook groups that you run?
Our interaction is really good! We always make sure to share latest news about Elastos especially on Telegram. We encouraged students we met to join us to our facebook group. We post some videos and resources to increase their knowledge of Elastos.
The Telegram group incorporates the global Filipino diaspora, some developers, and others are crypto investors of Elastos enthusiasts. The Elastos Philippines Facebook group is more local in character; membership includes students and developers seeking updates on Elastos. Much work still needs to be done to encourage interaction among these members.
If you were to give the Elastos Foundation any constructive criticism , what would it be?
Elastos Foundation needs to grow beyond crypto enthusiasts and developers and craft marketing programs for the different stakeholders in its ecosystem, from consumers to content creators. We’ve identified that developers, independent content creators, content publishers, secure financial transactions, and consumers are key stakeholders of the ecosystem. Another would be VCs to fund promising software and hardware projects being built using Elastos technology.
I could say that we’ve already gone ahead of Elastos, presenting the technology as a secure means for content creators to monetize their works. Alex delivered a talk at College of Saint Benilde, to its students in content creation, and we attended the local launch of Huion, meeting animators and anime artists, including the Head of the Cebu Animators Guild, who is enthusiastic to encourage independent animators to publish on elastos. At both events, and at others, content creators are eager to publish on a secure platform where they can monetize their works.
We’d like to see more push in branding as a consumer technology, much like “Intel Inside.” Widespread awareness sparks widespread interest in developing and publishing on the platform in a circle that could leapfrog Elastos way ahead of similar rivals.
Elastos’ advantage is that it has a consumer device on the market, according to the CTO of another network blockchain Alex spoke with. Let’s build on this. Soon, there could be tens of millions of TV boxes, and Elastos enabled Wi-fi (like Fon), Elastos secured smart homes and home devices, as Rong Chen mentioned on LinkedIn.
What are your thoughts about the Cyber Republic?
Cyber Republic underwent an overhaul shortly after we introduced Elastos to the Philippines in October 2018. Such an open platform may be prone to abuse, with some gaming the tasks system at the expense of legitimate projects. I understand it’s being reworked to be more effective, and we are eagerly awaiting a revamped Cyber Republic.
That aside, it’s a fantastic idea to have a forum for the global community, with the caveat that there may be competitors, fraudsters, spies and other unsavories lurking within its confines. The site needs more focus and structure. It should be easier to find people and form groups, and there should be private workspaces for virtual teams.
Are you hopeful for the future of this ecosystem? Any comments, concerns or insight would be greatly appreciated.
The ecosystem already exists. It’s huge. A million TV boxes are in consumers’ homes distributing DRM protected content made by thousands in the content creation industries. It can be ten million TV boxes, or over a billion Elastos enabled devices of various types in homes worldwide.
We’ve been asking Clarence to encourage hardware partners to distribute in the Philippines. At the moment, according to the node map, there is only one such device in the Philippines and it’s in my house. With over 300,000 Mainland Chinese working here, and around five million Filipinos of Chinese descent eager for Chinese language content, local tech importers are keen to bring in the device.
Have you been in contact with any developers or businesses in the Philippines area that are in the beginning stages or incorporating the Elastos technology?
We introduced Clarence to developers within their own development houses in the Philippines during his visit. Most have reviewed the technology, provided some feedback, mostly about the yet-to-be completed tools, but they are eager to work on the platform.
Earlier, I mentioned that we’ve been promoting Elastos technology among young student devs. We’ve reached out to thousands, and with school break coming up soon, we’ll remind them of Elastos and encourage them to experiment on the platform.
We’re in touch with wallet developers coins.ph and TagCash, both popular in Southeast Asia and proposing that they include ELA among their supported currencies.
So, we’ve raised awareness and know that we need to move onwards to yet another higher level, delivering lectures on programming on the Elastos blockchain and conducting Elastos hackathons. We hope to identify and recruit a capable developer into our team so we may push forward with this.
We’ve been able to build links with dozens of school tech organizations, and several national tech societies, opening doors for us to participate in their events going forward. Examples of these are ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) and related Junior ISSA in colleges, JPCS (Junior Philippines Computer Society), and various other specialized tech groups providing us access to their events schedules from which we may select. It will be busy year.
Our goal is to introduce Elastos to tech communities around the country, creating Elastos enthusiast cells, who may further organize and participate in events in their areas.