“My job is to ‘nurture’ blockchain in Southeast Asia.”
Nicole Nguyen - Cofounder at APAC DAO
I have been working in the blockchain industry since 2016, which means it’s been seven years now. My background is in marketing, and I have worked in various fields, from Unilever to foreign investment projects, and even in NGOs. In 2016, I had the opportunity to work as a Marketing Manager for Infinity Blockchain Labs, a leading research and development company in blockchain technology. That was when I first learned about blockchain. At the time, blockchain was a new industry, especially in Vietnam, where it was still relatively unknown and had both a good and bad reputation.
Many people only know blockchain as a digital currency, used for transferring money, without understanding what the technology is about. Simply put, blockchain technology is built on principles of decentralization, transparency, and sharing data across multiple servers, eliminating the need for centralized entities. This allows the community to own assets and currency based on trust and support from members, rather than relying solely on the government as the sole “manager” of currency. I believe that although these principles are not new, the uniqueness lies in the combination of different technological concepts to create a solution that can replace existing centralized systems.
Fortunately, I had a knowledgeable friend who helped me understand blockchain and see its huge potential, and that’s how I joined the industry! When I first started, many male colleagues looked at me like an alien because there were not many women in the blockchain industry, which was mainly composed of IT professionals. As a marketing and communications professional, my main responsibilities were to build brands through organizing events and connecting communities. Thanks to this, I have built a wide network of relationships with many individuals and organizations in the blockchain industry, both locally and internationally.
Don Tapscott, a well-known expert in the technology economy, once said, “The future of blockchain is not just about technology, it’s about community,” which emphasizes the importance of community building in web3. Combining my experience from community events, my colleague and I founded APAC DAO with the mission of becoming a platform for members to exchange ideas, connect with each other, share knowledge, and collaborate on blockchain projects in Vietnam and Asia. Although it was only established in 2022, APAC DAO has supported more than 800 projects and 30 partners in the extended region, connecting and expanding web3 in the community.
What I’m grateful for on this journey is finding great teammates who trust, support, update knowledge, and work hard together. The most memorable experience our team had was organizing the BUIDL Vietnam 2022 and 2023 events with a record-breaking short preparation time. Vietnam was the second destination chosen by BUIDL in Asia, with more than 30 startups and companies from around the world attending. Therefore, what we did was not just to ensure the success of the event, but also to prove the capabilities of Vietnamese people (patriotic spirit of Nicole, haha). Working with the dev and tech builder community is challenging, and getting them to “come out of their cave” and participate in events like this is even more difficult. The community still needs role models, leaders, and passionate people who can inspire them.
In fact, community building is not for everyone because it does not offer short-term material values or money. It’s like working in social work; if you want to become a community builder, you must prioritize the interests of others over yourself, connect people, and create value for the community. At some point, you may wonder, “Why am I doing so much for the community without receiving anything in return?”. Building trust and respect in the community is not an easy task. However, if you want to become a community builder in the blockchain/web3 industry, I am always here and ready to mentor you on this exciting journey.