Six years ago, we set out to empower the “underprivileged” by educating them on how decentralized financial tools can help leverage personal and financial status. In western contexts, we often conceive of the “underprivileged” as a minority cultural or racial group in a particular country and neglect how entire populations across geographical regions also fall into this category.
For instance, In crypto discourse, we hear a lot about the commitment to “banking the unbanked”, yet it is rarely acknowledged who exactly the “unbanked” are. Did you know that most of Iran’s population – regardless of their political views or ideologies – are cut off from all international banking services? This means that no one can send or receive payments to Europe or the entire American continent. Paying for an online subscription for Spotify, Netflix or NYtimes becomes next to impossible. We, at Coiniran, are not always able to help out with these kinds of issues, and even if we try, we risk being criminalized as money launderers for “Sanctions circumvention”. We also risk getting our assets frozen until (if) proven innocent when engaging in a financial transaction with someone in Iran, even when proper Know Your Customer (KYC) is carried out.
We therefore decided that rather than giving people a fish a day, we will teach them how to fish (A persian proverb). Language is a significant barrier that most Iranians have to deal with when it comes to understanding decentralized technology & finance. We seek to provide the kind of education using Farsi content, lifting some of these challenges.
In the last 6 years, we have served more than 2 million Farsi speaking individuals on blockchain and decentralization. In Coiniran, we covered everything crypto, from the fundamentals of cryptography, to what Bitcoin is, and currently, we are covering all things DeFi on our podcast. Living up to these conditions has been challenging, and there have been many ups and down – for instance, having to avoid political speech and agendas, avoiding getting CoinIran’s website blocked by Iran’s Internet, and avoiding our own hosting services being suspended – as it’s a website for Iranians and all Farsi speaking population. Furthermore, Cloudflare CDN & Google Clouds are both sanctioning Iran’s IP address while also being partially blocked from the inside.
Our current commitments now revolve around empowering Farsi speaking women. In contrast to the West where computer engineers are predominantly male , Iran’s STEM graduates are about 70% women. With this program, we are hoping to empower more Iranian women engineers. As one of the latest projects CoinIran launched the Iranian chapter of the global community of “Women in Blockchain” – with the goal to empower Farsi speaking women by teaching them technical fundamentals of Blockchain coding such as Solidity and smart contract development.
With the help of Women in Blockchain’s Founder Thessy Mehrain (also ½ Iranian), and CoinIran co-founder Bahar’s tireless efforts, we were able to secure scholarships to the Consensys Academy for a selected few Iranian women (900 USD each). This has enabled them to attend the ConsenSys Academy Blockchain Developer bootcamp – The bootcamp is one of the most popular and up to date courses that teaches everything from hashing, developing, testing deploying smart contracts in Solidity. We held bi-weekly meetings outside of the course syllabus, enabling CoinIran scholars to discuss their issues and concerns, and get technical mentoring whenever it was required. We are proud to announce all seven of our scholars finished this course and their certification from ConsenSys Academy.
Currently, Women in Blockchain Iran are putting these new skills to work by teaching and training, enabling them to generate a steady income. There is also now a smart contract development discourse forum that enables Farsi speaking individuals to share technical blockchain knowledge with other people. This forum is solely run by Women in Blockchain Iran, and open to all Farsi speaking population. In addition, they are working on technical videos and educational content in Farsi to be released in this forum. In the future, we are looking to attract more people who are interested in blockchain and smart contract development to the forum. Our long term goal is to empower women in blockchain by drawing in more Solidity projects and accepting more paid and/or non-profit projects.
Here is the managing team of the first technical smart contract development forum in Farsi:
We are interested in more scholarships, project funding, and learning opportunities for this group of women as well as for other smart and eligible Farsi speaking individuals. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorships or learning opportunities please contact us at: [email protected] (or on twitter @shiryakhat).