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KCL Blockchain: Not your average society

KCL Blockchain logo

Last week, I sat down with Jun-Ming Yong, the founder of KCL Blockchain, arguably one of King’s most cryptic student societies. Here’s what I de-coded.

Jun, a fourth-year PPL student, founded KCL Blockchain in October 2017 and currently serves as its President. Although I expected an assault of information about ledgers, cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, Jun began to describe a new form of society. KCL Blockchain is a lot more than it says on the tin; the society serves as “a banner to unite people” and “enable students to develop their own skills and niches”.

When asked to explain the fundamental principle of Blockchain to a novice, Jun describes it as “a ledger that records transactions, but everyone has a copy so it’s immutable… it’s discoverable. So what it creates is open participation, equality of participation and accountability. Anyone can be part of an economy, anyone can be part of this project.”

With a free, fluid membership system and bespoke roles to meet the interests and skills of its members, the society’s main focus is practical application. Jun assiduously listed the society’s core four values: equality (everyone has an equal stake), “hustle” (entrepreneurial spirit), “success orientation” and “openness” (accessibility and diversity). Jun continued to explain how the society worked as a sphere for like-minded and diverse people to bring their interests and aspirations together.

The society is also meaning to expand to bring in students from other universities. As Jun explains, “like Mill said, why do you need diversity? Not for diversity’s sake, but when you have every different opinion in the room, you can truly make an informed decision.” Blockchain is looking further to extend its collaboration with other KCL societies to increase their reach as “leveraging other societies means we can access their networks as well.”

The society holds weekly “builds” and networking events. The weekly sessions have dedicated parts to the three main focuses: business, tech and legal. These include briefings on industry practices and workshops on vital workplace skills like negotiation. Blockchain’s business network is strong: in the past, international companies like Singaporean Ziliqa have had King’s as their London location on European tours because of their relationship with the society. Similarly, on the 5th of February, Blockchain will host a Fintech In Charity event; guests include influential figures in UK commerce such as Shabir Randeree CBE and Dinis Guarda.

Blockchain members rarely fail to impress potential employers with their interest. A member of their legal team, Jeremy Pui, secured a SPARK scheme at Magic Circle firm, Clifford Chance that was attributed to his Blockchain experience.

The focus on charity is also clear in the current work of the society. The Ocean 19 initiative is a social impact application that “hopes to solve a lot of governance issues with charities – a lot of charities take a lot of money, but they don’t give it to the ultimate beneficiary.” As Jun explains, “there’s a lot of waste – we can remove that with a blockchain.”

Secondly, they are building a method to use blockchain’s immutable ledger system to demonstrate “proof of action” for charitable causes that require sponsorship. Jun praised the accountability that Blockchain creates – one that is useful when often “projects can conduct themselves without any scrutiny.”

What is clear is that KCL Blockchain is operating on a different level than most King’s societies. With a highly professional focus on soft skills, market awareness and professional networking, they create an environment which maximises the benefit of each member.

Now, with a newly appointed incoming board, opportunities to get involved are as open as ever. You can find them meeting weekly in Bush House SE on Wednesdays 2-4pm. As the ambitious outgoing President says, ‘‘you can choose a job that you want to do, and you can develop yourself.”

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