How Blockchain can Empower Women

Jitendra Rathod, newsletter contributing editor, provides insights into how blockchain can empower women. 

A short definition of blockchain would call it a ‘distributed, decentralized, public ledger’. However, as often is the case with definitions, this concise treatment fails to enumerate all the good things the technology stands for. Needless to say, it is a commonplace understanding the blockchain essentially co-exists with cryptocurrencies and the only impact it makes is economic. 

However, such a narrow outlook not only constricts our own understanding of the technology but likewise, also undermines the possible roles it can play in future development and improvements in various sectors— from eradicating world hunger to curbing corruption. One such role, the blockchain has full capacity to play is in terms of women empowerment. 

How Can Blockchain Empower Women? 

  • Generating Careers

report published in a respected Indian newspaper, The Hindu, underlines the role blockchain can play in creating jobs for women who usually find them unemployed or who forego employment if it does not get along well with their personal lives. 

In the coming future, career opportunities would be mostly technology-driven. As a result, many old skill sets would become obsolete with new ones needed to keep up with the changing times. Considering the number of careers that are being churned by the blockchain technology, women across the world (especially in a growing economy like India) can, through courses and other means, acquire the required skill sets and find economic independence. It goes undisputed that with such independence comes emancipation and liberty. 

Though the number of women employed in the blockchain industry is still very less compared to that of men, hopes are on the rise. Or to put it in the words of, Meltem Demirors of Digital Currency Group, ‘sands are shifting’. More and more women continue to invest and find careers in the blockchain technology.

  • Providing Increased Access to Finance

One commonly hailed plus point about blockchain is that it eliminates the existence of mediators or third parties. This not only reduces the cost of transaction but also makes it more efficient. However, one overlooked benefit of this characteristic of blockchain is that it could empower women. 

According to a World Bank report, only 65% of women around the world have a bank account, compared to the 75% male bank account holders. This means that there are around 980 million women in the world that do not have access to banking services. 

The gender gap which exists in the financial sector can be leveled by blockchain since the transaction fees which are necessary for banking services are non-existent in dealing with cryptocurrencies. Moreover, as mentioned previously, a peer-to-peer transaction would encourage women to participate more in payment and banking activities.

A third, and important factor which makes blockchain a tool for empowering women financially is the simple fact that initiating a crypto wallet needs no cost. This is a common hindrance for women who are held back from being a participant in banking transactions due to the costs involved with opening a bank account. 

  • Gaining Official Identification

The question of the names of women has been one of much debate since the setting of our modern world. When a woman is unmarried, she carries her father’s name and when she is married she is bound to carry her husband’s. The problems related to female identity are more common in developing and underdeveloped nations.

Due to poor infrastructure in these countries, women suffer the most as they often find it difficult to obtain official documentation for lacking other documents like a birth certificate. This has two kinds of social impacts, both of them negative— first of all, the women lose their freedom of movement and secondly, they lose their financial freedom because of failure to apply for jobs etc. Most importantly, since a number of women do not have IDs, they lose their political voices as citizens, making them second-class citizens indirectly. 

Blockchain, by its very definition, is a distributed ledger technology. The capacity of blockchain to maintain records is limitless. Such a record is impossible to break and is also cost-free. Nations can use blockchain to reach out to its female citizens. This can bring them closer to achieving political and economic freedom. 

  • Strengthening Freedom to Property

According to a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, less than 20% of the world’s lands are owned by women. The origins of such numbers can be traced back to the less economic and financial freedom women have. Moreover, a patriarchal society also takes away from a woman her right to property ownership. In most countries— titles and deeds involve complex procedures all of which are considered to be too daunting for a woman. 

The very complexity involved with ownership could be reduced by blockchain technology; a further consequence of which would be gender equality regarding ownership. Moreover, blockchain can eliminate the risk of fraud and forgeries related to land titles, further empowering women. 

Conclusion

When electricity was first invented, no one had thought that it would be used to carry out capital punishment. No one had also thought that it could make life in the kitchen so easy— from baking to heating. 

The invention of technology is not an end in itself but is the starting point from whence a number of other human problems can be solved. There is also always a chance of its misuse. 

The blockchain technology too, should never be considered assigned to one purpose as its fields are numberless. Nations and people should collectively use it to ends like the one highlighted in this article. Technology should not only make our lives easy but should also be used as a tool to make the world a better place. 

December 2019 – Summary

EXP TO BE LISTED ON ABRA.COM

We are pleased to announce the coming soon listing of EXP – on Abra.com. Abra.com is disrupting the disruption. Unlike traditional cryptocurrency exchanges. Abra is the “world’s first global investment app” it allows users from almost 150 countries around the world to invest in hundreds of cryptocurrencies through a single app. The app also allows users to buy, sell, hold and exchange their digital assets and also transfer them anywhere, anytime. In short, Abra is a digital wallet and cryptocurrency exchange – all in the form of one single, powerful mobile app.

November 2019 – Summary

EXPANSE HELPING IN SOUTH AMERICA

This week I (Omar) had the opportunity to travel to a re-located area of the armed conflict in Guatemala, my job was to be a translator for the US doctors who provide services in the community.

ONE YEAR OF COVERS – Y4

We are featuring a throwback of all the 16 covers Omar created during the past year. Give him a shoutout in the Discord chat. We hope he continues to do his magic on all future covers of our newsletters, and we wish him the best for many more successful years at Expanse.  

October 2019 – Summary

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER

As you are all aware, we have been going through some changes as a team lately. One of the changes we have decided on was going to a monthly newsletter rather than a bi-weekly one. This allows us to focus more on development and less on scrambling to cram news in for the newsletter. This will lead to higher productivity as well as better newsletters overtime.

This is the first newsletter of the new series so I hope you guys enjoy. Aside from the newsletter changes we have also been restructuring our team internally. This has led to the implementation of new communication policies that will help us meet deadlines and communicate more openly. As you guys know we reduced the size of our team to cut cost but to take up part of the slack we invited some old time community members to join the conversation.

We are doing this with hopes to inspire more creativity and innovation from our team, and so far it appears to be working! We have some fresh ideas in the works that I’m sure y’all will really love. We look forward to this new direction that we are going in and can’t wait to share our progress as we grow together. 

But you have to remember, we can’t do it alone, and we need your help to grow. Stay vigilant, stay inspired, keep building the world you want to live in.

CHRISTOPHER FRANKO
FOUNDER

EXPEX UPDATE

The EXPEX development team, led by Asim Ashfaq, has achieved a lot for the EXPEX project. The team has been heavily immersed in the process and is now moving deeper into development.

They already finished the Creation of the EXPEX Smart Contract which will be holding ERC-20 Token pairs, order book and allow for trade and all The UI updates on Luna Wallet as well as adding EXPEX exchange UI within Luna Wallet. 

In our last update on EXPEX, we shared a screen sample of the User Interface. The development has proceeded at a swift pace since the past two months and we are happy to announce that it is complete. We have released EXPEX to beta testers and are in the process of doing internal QA on it right now. Bugs and tasks are updated on teamwork. 

Asim and his team have finished drafting the Terms of Service document and are currently working to update the Privacy Policy document.

September 2019 – Summary

EXPEX DESIGN UPDATE

EXPEX development is on schedule, The team has completed the specifications and the initial design. The next phase is Development, which got began last week.

BSPORTS UPDATE

In the last newsletter, we announced that  Expanse signed a partnership deal with Sports Agents 502, with the intent to migrate certain aspects of their business to the Expanse blockchain. Starting with Guatemala, then expanding to all of South America, the project is called BSports and will eventually be a global initiative.

Expanse Roadmap

August 2019 – Summary

DEVELOPER UPDATE

Our development team, managed by Asim, has been off this past week celebrating Eid al Adha. This is a Muslim holiday celebrated around the world that lasts for several days.  Asim and team will be back hard at work on Monday.

EXPEX LISTING CONTEST WINNER, ETHER-1

And we have a winner! Two weeks ago we announced that Expanse is having an EXPEX contest. The prize is that one lucky project will receive one year of listing on our decentralized exchange at no cost. That is a $10,000 USD value.  

GANDER V3 IS LIVE

Here’s a recap of the enhancements that comprise Gander v3, all of which are now live:

  • Users can use our public API to get decoded information of transactions, blocks and uncles.
  • Contract input decoding script is in place and been tested right now, so in future you can view decoded contract input so they can be understandable.
  • All new graphs so anyone can view what’s happening on the network.

GUATEMALA CITY TO HOST BLOCKCHAIN WEEK

Expanse to Sponsor Guatemala Blockchain Week Hackathon
Expanse joins other well-known blockchain companies, such as Binance, to end the week of activities by hosting a hackathon. The hackathon challenge is for entrants to build a dApp that empowers individuals using open source protocols.

EXPANSE INKS PARTNERSHIP DEAL WITH ELITE SOUTH AMERICAN SPORTS AGENCY, SPORTS AGENTS 502

Today, Expanse signed a partnership deal with Sports Agents 502, with the intent to migrate certain aspects of their business to the Expanse blockchain. Starting with Guatemala, then expanding to all of South America, the project is called BSports and will eventually be a global initiative.

July 2019 – Summary

HITBTC TO LIST EXPANSE

“The HitBTC platform has earned a reputation for fault-tolerance, flawless uptime and high availability,” said Christopher Franko, Expanse Founder. “Expanse is thrilled to partner with their top-tier team.”

EXPEX PLAN

Following is the timeline for EXPEX development and deployment. The dates on the infographic represent the various stages in the process. This plan was developed by our Project Management Office (Farwah) and blessed by Christopher and Asim. We will monitor progress closely and report back periodically.

GANDER RELEASE PROGRESS

Asim outlined the following Gander additions since the last newsletter article, all of which will be live by the end of this week:

  • User can use our public API to get decoded information of transactions, blocks and uncles.
  • Contract input decoding script is in place and been tested right now, so in future you can view decoded contract input so they can be understandable.
  • Team is doing research on Block Reorg as per the directions by Chris for the remaining task of Gander.
  • All new graphs so anyone can view what’s happening on the network.

On July 15th Asim reports that there is some work to be done on network stats and graphs. It should be complete and ready for release next week. All other enhancements are  ready!

EXPEX LISTING CONTEST

One lucky project will be selected randomly for the free year of listing. The contest ends July 30. Watch for the announcement of the winner in our August 1 newsletter. Spread the word!

June 2019 – Summary

SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUE

This Expanse Newsletter focuses on all of the technology in the Expanse ecosystem. Over the past few weeks, we have completed and delivered awesome enhancements and solidified plans touching all of our products.

EXPEX PLAN ANNOUNCED

The date for launching EXPEX, Expanse’s much anticipated decentralized exchange (DEX), is within sight. The team is projecting that trading will begin third quarter 2019, while a campaign to sign up coins to list on the exchange will begin as early as next week.

TOKENLAB V2.0 IS HERE!

The rumors are true. Tokenlab v2.0 is here. After rigorous testing, the upgraded system launched today.

Here are just a few of the new and improved 2.0 features, many of which evolved from community suggestions:

  • New Pricing. We have moved away from the two-coin payment requirement, landing on payment of only 1000 LAB to mint a coin. (There is still a 1 EXP requirement for gas―this we cannot control.) Using the system now helps to enhance the utility of LAB and incent more developers to choose the platform for their projects.
  • Token Wizard Protocols. Tokenlab now supports four network protocols: ERC20, ERC223, ERC644, and ERC621.
  • Token Deployment Methods. Token Wizard now supports three methods of token deployment, including deployment through Metamask, Automated deployment and Manual deployment. Instructions for each method appear when you make your selection.
  • Manage Token Screen. A new module provides functionality that enables  you to manage your token once deployed onto the Expanse platform. You now have the ability to transfer your token to anyone, view the balance or supply, and generate Coupon Codes.
  • Coupon Code. The system provides the ability to generate a promo code to offer discounts (or free) use of Tokenlab features. This function is accessible on the Manage Token screen.
  • Tool Tips. Tool Tips appear when you move your cursor into a data entry field. Tips define the field requirements.
  • FAQs. Frequently asked questions and answers now appear on most screens to help you navigate and to explain complex concepts.
  • UI Enhancements. Many minor system enhancements are now in place to improve the overall user experience. For example, when the token is deployed, a user can now copy the ABI and token address directly from the manage or view screens.

GANDER ENHANCEMENTS

Asim outlined the following Gander additions since the last newsletter article:

  • LAB and PEX balances are now displayed.
  • Users can view miner distribution.
  • Many other performance improvements are in place.

FRANKOMOTO UPDATE

We’ve made development progress. I know this because this week Chris tweeted:

“My devs just delivered Frankomoto V1 to me earlier today. @ExpanseOfficial development coming along great!”

Read detailed Frankomoto specifications here: https://github.com/expanse-org/XIPs/issues/4

AMA With Christopher Franko

We made an AMA with Chirstopher Franko

May 2019 – Summary

DEVELOPER UPDATES

LUNA WALLET

The v2 was released. To download the new Luna wallet and take advantage of the great new features, go to https://github.com/expanse-org/luna-wallet/releases/tag/2.0.0.

FRANKOMOTO

This completely new, never-before-used mining algorithm will be completely unique to Expanse. Planning for packaging and promotion are underway. You can read detailed specifications here: https://github.com/expanse-org/XIPs/issues/4

GANDER V3

The best laid plans. A whole slew of enhancements and new features comprise Gander v3. However, there was some urgency expressed to get it back online, so we did. The portion yet to come includes:

An API that (enables us to submit transaction to the node via the website.

  • Web sockets developers can connect to.
  • Ability to submit raw transactions.
  • Ability to track complete blocks and transactions.

TOKENLAB

This is where most of the development time was spent last week. Having made the decision to require only LAB as payment to mint coins, we have reworked the entire payment process and design. The next iteration of Tokenlab should be ready before the next newsletter. We are planning a bigger marketing push, given that our product is now very competitive and has more to offer than anything else out there. Watch for it.

EXPEX RELEASE PLAN SOLIDIFIES

Highlights about where we are headed:

  • EXPEX will be developed directly within the Luna wallet.
  • Users pay $0 (zero) trade fees. (Gas fees are paid by the user and the network implicitly.)
  • Projects will pay a reasonable annual listing fee — somewhere in the $1000 USD range. The exact amount is yet to be determined.
  • Tokens minted using Tokenlab receive EXPEX listing priority. The cost is 1000 LAB to mint the token and one EXP for gas.
  • Projects interested in listing on EXPEX can apply here

Next Steps

We will make a more formal announcement, including a timeline and other concrete information, on June 1. We plan to have an operating committee in place comprised of community volunteers, specifically EXPEX beta-testers who want to participate. Hang on to your PEX! EXPEX will be here before you know it.

April 2019 – Summary

DEVELOPER UPDATES

Gander v3

A new project has been initiated to update Gander. In addition to tracking all transactions, among the enhancements are tracking of:

  • Double-spent transactions
  • Transaction fees
  • Every block

Other new features include websockets for developers, an API with the ability to submit transactions to the node, and multiple UI enhancements.

When you visit Gander, you will see a “Down for Maintenance” sign. That’s because the release of v3 is imminent. With this new release, you will have the ability to:

  • Submit raw transactions
  • Use an API to retrieve data
  • Track complete blocks and transactions

This high-priority initiative should be ready for QA testing next week.

GEXP Update

  • GEXP is the GitHub for Expanse.You can access the latest version here:
  • https://github.com/expanse-org/go-expanse/commit/5433a50a09db510e55e8350ac539ad6323f62251
  • The Luna wallet is the GUI that interacts with GEXP. Asim’s team has been very focused on GEXP enhancements, fixing bugs, enhancing the UI and rectifying a broken chain signal issue in Luna for Windows.

Expanse Hard Fork

Christopher Franko, Lead Developer, is working on a new hard fork for Expanse that will bring Expanse to Constantinople, change our proof of work algorithm to Frankomoto, and introduce reorg protection (Chain Aegis or block lock). It is scheduled for block 1,800,000 as of now, but if that changes, it will be 1,830,000 or about 35 more days, which is respectively EPOCH 61.

Tokenlab

Given the number of enhancements and new features, Tokenlab is about to undergo a thorough QA process, followed by beta-testing. Our goal date for the new release is 4/15.

The Quality Assurance (QA) testing is complete. This means that we will kick off beta-testing for this release within the next few days. The beta-test will last only a few days, followed by the public release before month-end. Enhancements include:

  • New token management dashboard features
  • More Admin panel capabilities
  • Token creation and payment process improvements

UKYC

UKYC development was put on hold temporarily while we tackled other priorities. It has resumed this week with a vengeance. In addition to the actual development work, which is making great strides, we have embarked on the development of an investor pitch deck.

LUNA WALLET

Luna Wallet v2 was released last week with great reviews. Tokenlab is now integrated, along with a new EXP price indicator, user interface enhancements, and miscellaneous bug fixes.

FRANKOMOTO

Post the Bittrex situation, development of Frankomoto began in earnest. This completely new, never-before-used mining algorithm is completely unique to Expanse. You can read detailed specifications here: https://github.com/expanse-org/XIPs/issues/4

NEW PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE

In an effort to achieve more efficiency and tighter monitoring of projects, Expanse has opened a project management offices (PMO). Farwah Aizaz will run the PMO, reporting to Chris Franko.

EXPANSE CITED AS “MOST SECURE BLOCKCHAIN IN THE SPACE”

Last month the Bittrex Exchange and its affiliated sites took Expanse offline for maintenance. Much to our dismay, we learned that Expanse was hit with a 51% reorg attack through no fault of its own.

A 51% attack is when an attacker controls 51% of the total hashrate and uses that power to rewrite recent transaction history. Note that here was no loss to Expanse-holders, and the chain was secured and back up within a few days.