Hey Blockstackers, I recently interviewed Georgina Mauriño, one of Blockstack’s Evangelists. Based in Madrid, she has been a community member since 2016 and stepped up to be an evangelist in July 2019. Georgina, or ‘Mirlo’ as she is known, founded the Madrid community and has been hosting monthly Blockstack Meetups ever since.
Thanks to her efforts, the Madrid community works regularly with great organizations including CryptoPlaza and Codemotion. Georgina has represented Blockstack at events like Tech Party, Hacktoberfest, Open Source Weekend, and even piloted a 12-hour project-centered workshop focused on building apps on the Blockstack network which included the creation of a ‘dapp’ development canvas.
Mirlo represents Blockstack at nearly every crypto/privacy-focused event in Madrid these days and is currently working to educate not just Blockstack community, but also students about Web3.
You can find her and other Blockstack Evangelists on Discord. To find events like the one Georgina hosts in your own community, please visit https://community.blockstack.org/events. If you see her online or at the next summit, be sure to say hello and thank her for her work building the community!
Get to know Mirlo even better in the Q&A below. Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
If you are interested in being a leader in the community that is reshaping the future of the internet, apply as an evangelist.
How did you discover Blockstack?
I first heard about blockchain in the spring of 2016. The word was mentioned in a post on LinkedIn by an artist (pianist…) and out of curiosity I started surfing the web to learn more about it. I was in a difficult personal moment, and as an author I felt unfairly trapped by my publisher, by Facebook, Youtube and all the media in which I had invested time without getting any real return.
I remember watching a video about Blockstack and discovering that another Internet was possible, with its wonderful advantages for human communication, but this time respecting my rights. I recall watching videos of Ryan Shea and Muneeb Ali on different stages, and sharing those videos with my husband. Those from Blockstack would really bring me hope, and not just as a content creator, but also as a user. In fact, I was still working on a Transmedia project that I decided not to publish, and keep it instead for that upcoming Internet
Two years later that I contacted the Blockstack community when I started looking for support to build my own DApp on Blockstack, a solution for authors.
What is unique about your community?
In Madrid, I started the community from ground zero last summer. Here, blockchain technology was introduced just through cryptocurrencies, and when I started looking for mates in the blockchain community there were really very few projects outside financials and corporations and some interesting social enterprises all of them inspired by cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. Therefore, the challenge here is to bring awareness in among developers and programmers about the great opportunity Blockstack provides to put blockchain technology at the service of end users, beyond speculation or only large businesses. Fortunately, I managed to reach at some interesting and well established blockchain and technological communities that have been really supportive (BlockMAD, HackMadrid).
There is a lot of talent and creativity among young developers, and entrepreneurs are starting to get interested, learning about Blockstack and getting involved. Blockstack Madrid is still a very small community, but with a few valuable and committed participants like Alex Viñas, Juan Antonio Lleó, Diego García, Eduardo de Tena and many more. I am confident they will help grow the technical Blockstack community here by building great apps as well as supporting me when I launch my own project.
What kinds of things are you doing with your local community?
After organizing a few Meetups and introducing Blockstack at several events (Tech party, Hacktoberfest, Open Source Weekends), I started host a regular 12 hour workshop, taking place every once a month. I also designed a project-based workshop aimed at building some DApps and so I could have a group of technically skilled companions for my activities. I did it in my own studio, which may hopefully become in the next months a meeting point for Blockstackers.
Recently, I was asked to introduce the benefits of web3 in terms of privacy and security in a high school. So, for 2020 I am planning to recover my career as an author and educator to address end-users and focus in adoption. Last but not least, I am personally trying to use Blockstack DApps as much as possible to be able to bring examples to my presentations.
What is it about the mission that makes you want to contribute as an Evangelist?
‘It’s all about fundamental rights!’ Having some background in Law, I am well aware of the critical moment we are living in the evolution of humanity. I especially appreciate freedom on the web, but I understand there is no freedom where you cannot defend it. Individual freedom is the outcome of well established rights related to personal identities. I believe Blockstack offers the opportunity of a renaissance for the Internet, this time preserving the users in control of their identities and all their data and rights, including privacy instead of enslaving surveillance, as well as security and property rights (Eg. Intellectual Property). Therefore, I feel blessed to be part of the Blockstack community and support the Blockstack ecosystem bringing my experience in any ways it can be useful.
How do you define success for this movement?
Success for Blockstack is linked to what Muneeb expressed so well in that last Summit: crypto-singularity. In the short term, having a few quality DApps that users can adopt and use on a regular basis, as well as awareness of the benefits of Web 3.0 by the general public are the two criteria that will define success. The metrics to evaluate both elements is something that escapes me, but I feel we are in a very good moment. Of course, this is just my feeling, but it helps me concentrate on every step, especially to spread the word on Web 3.0.
People need to know that there are choices, that they are not stuck in certain spaces. To succeed we need first to make it clear that users are actually free to use more private a secure services that put them in control. Maybe such awareness won’t be as fast as we would like, but I am not in a hurry. I am a senior and I know by experience that the best things are the outcome of actually well done job. In Spain we say “Rome wasn’t built in one day”.
What is most exciting about decentralization/blockchain/etc
We are building the path for human beings to preserve their freedom and fundamental rights in the digital world. In a moment where the power of technology (data surveillance, AI, IoT) can become a tool in the hands of a few to control us, blockchain provides users the power to choose and to stand for ourselves. Blockchain technology has already its power to give back control to users, a late example is the ability for Hong Kong protesters to communicate safely escaping surveillance. Building DApps, as well as providing information on fundamental rights in the digital world to present and next generations has become an essential human educational need. I can’t think of anything more exciting!