Several years into Puerto Rico’s blockchain boom, a persistent stereotype about the newcomers has developed: they’re rich, self-interested mainlanders who represent the latest wave of colonizers to arrive on the tropical island. Through the Puerto Rico Blockchain Trade Association, Keiko Yoshino is working to combat that stigma. Her vision is to integrate the blockchain community into Puerto Rico, and vice versa.
So far, she seems to be succeeding.
Yoshino spearheads a variety of initiatives to educate local Puerto Ricans about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Most recently, that includes CryptoCurious, a four-week study program. Next on Yoshino’s docket are collaborations with local universities. She’s already been approached by institutions interested in collaborating.
“They come up and say, 'We want to have a major, we want to have a course. We want to do curriculum,'”Yoshino recounted.
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Yoshino has found positive reception from Puerto Rican public officials. “They're recognizing that it's not just crypto, these volatile currencies, or a scam,” she said. “They're recognizing that [they can use it for] supply chain, they can use it for cyber security, that there's all these other opportunities.”’
Still, a narrative persists about the blockchain community’s disinterest in the island. Yoshino believes that changing that narrative is part of her job, and she’s observed that many other members of the blockchain community share that desire. “Everyone at this conference is like, 'How can I get involved? How can I help?'” she recounted during Puerto Rico Blockchain Week.
“I want Puerto Rico to flourish," Said Yoshino. "I want it to be sustainable. “