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Brandeis Blockchain Club works to get chartered through increasing its diversity

What is blockchain? The president of Brandeis’ Blockchain Club, Marco Qin ’24, explained it to The Brandeis Hoot in an interview: think about the modeling industry. If you were a model with an agency, the agency would control what you were allowed to do, to post on social media and how much you get paid. If you could get rid of the agency and be a freelancer, you could get better control of your job and get paid instantly. Blockchain works just like how a freelance model works. A host is directly connected to the consumer without an agency. “That’s why it is called decentralization.” Qin explained.

Brandeis Blockchain Club is one of the hidden gems on campus. Having been founded last semester, the club was turned down by the Senate due to a lack of diversity. This semester, with a newly established E-Board and semester plans, Qin is planning to revive the club and have it recognized and chartered by the Senate. 

According to Qin, the reason why they could not get through the Senate last semester was because the club “was not actively fighting for diversity.” The club did get around 40 signatures with a few from women, but the Senate accused him of being tokenistic. As Qin thought tech was a male-dominated field and it would take a lot of effort to recruit groups that were underrepresented, he felt it was worth putting the effort in. Throughout this semester, he has already reached out to five female-owned female-run organizations that do cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), unique cryptocurrency that can be in the format of anything. He planned to do partnerships with more outside organizations and have them over as speakers.

Qin was hoping to expand the size of the club, invite guest speakers to Brandeis and organize lessons for the members that are new to blockchain. Qin told The Hoot that the club is partnering with Crypto Chicks, a women-founded organization that gives lessons on cryptocurrencies and how to make NFTs. Qin has experience in making NFTs, so he would be willing to teach everyone else about it. He was thinking about making an NFT mascot for Brandeis with the club members.

Qin introduced a past NFT project he has done, Giant Steps, with which people could invest in musicians. “If you’ve spotted Billie Eilish when she had like 600 followers, and then you invest in her, like physically giving her money and in exchange for some stakes in her music. And when she has six million followers, then people are willing to pay more money for that little stake that you have,” Qin explained how his project worked. “And that’s how you can make money as an investor. And then for the musicians, they get money [immediately] instead of waiting to get a record deal. That makes it easier for them to sustain a living while pursuing their dreams.”

According to Qin, the coolest thing about NFT is that everything can be given a value. “Everyone is a company … You can be a person, a content creator to be invested in. You are your own company. NFT can make that happen … We can give things value without having a big agency to tell you to do it.”

Qin told The Hoot that he started the club late last semester, so he did not have that many things on his mind back then. Over the summer, he has developed a clearer vision of the club and became more comfortable making NFTs as well as teaching others how to make them. With a reliable and expanding E-Board, he is now more confident with the club.

The club just had its first meeting this semester last week in the Village A conference room. “Our top priorities right now are to get members and let people know that this club exists.” Qin said. He regarded his promotion of the club as a “word of mouth” process. Additionally, an Instagram account was also made to promote the club on social media. To find out updates about Brandeis Blockchain Club, follow @brandeisblockchain on Instagram for more information.



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