Jillian Godsil accidentally became the poster girl for bankruptcy and then while working her way out of the situation, she found herself embracing blockchain and cryptocurrency and becoming a key proponent of the technology.
She has previously held senior positions with global PR companies in Sydney, Singapore, London and Dublin. She was PRO of Iona Technologies (Ireland’s first company to float on Nasdaq).
After her divorce and bankruptcy, she fought and changed the law in Ireland in 2014 to allow bankrupts to stand for election and is a former independent European Parliamentary candidate, although she wasn’t elected.
In addition to her position as co-founder of Blockleaders, Jillian freelances for a number of publications and radio stations and is CEO of the blockchain startup Blocknubie.
Launching next month, Blocknubie allows for the democratisation of complex, expensive and out-of-reach technology solutions to business users en-masse. It provides the user with a set of strategic technology solutions to guide them through the complex steps of developing and scaling their business.
It will consolidate multiple AI solutions into a unified platform for business users.
She is advisor to a number of ICOs and is listed in the 50 most influential women in the global blockchain and is among the top 10 people in blockchain in Ireland.
She explains the moment of epiphany with blockchain. “I was like Oh my God, the whole thing just makes sense,” she tells me. “It’s just phenomenal, it’s so exciting and I just jumped on it.”
After 30 years working in fin tech for the likes of JP Morgan as an analyst in London it wasn’t such a massive career leap. She’d faced other challenges, too. Trying to rebuild her career in Ireland after her divorce and bankruptcy was particularly tough.
She struggled to find work and then discovered blockchain. Until recently she was on the board of the US Blockchain Association, until her recent resignation.
Fin tech background
“I have a lot of background in fin tech,” she says. “I hadn’t heard of blockchain until someone explained it to me and it just made a lot of sense.”
She describes the world of blockchain as: “It is so powerful, slightly mad, crazy, peculiar and with very passionate people.”
During the last year, she’s travelled extensively in Dubai, Oman, Sri Lanka, Boston, Amsterdam and Ireland as a speaker at conferences which she says has been a “great privilege.”
After her campaign to be elected to the European Parliament five years ago, everything went quiet and she struggled to find work because of “my age and gender. I had a huge CV but I was on the dole getting next to nothing and I just couldn’t get an interview for a job. Then it all went viral and I became the poster girl for not getting jobs and being bankrupt.”
She believes there are few women in blockchain “because women tend to be more risk averse.” The price of cryptocurrency doesn’t help and people “become distracted by what they’ve got to lose.”
“But what blockchain has done is democratised access in a way that’s important to women because banks, the finance system and politics is mostly about men and needs more women.”
Opportunity for women
“Now women with young children or aged parents or who’ve faced redundancy who find it hard to get into the workforce can get involved in the industry. It’s an opportunity for women who can’t get access to the regular world.”
She says when people complain about criminality in cryptocurrency, she points out “cash has the biggest use in crime.”
“The Russians who were indicted for interfering with the US election are on money laundering charges because of their use of Bitcoins, which is how they were tracked down.
“Ordinary money is not clean at all and is used in big drug deals and for laundering.”
She says some of the ICOs that turned to dust were not the result of scams, but of young people who “had not figured out what they were going to do with the money, less than a scam.”
Blockchain has the potential to be disruptive to banks and insurance and to do good for the world, she believes, from feeding refugees to allowing migrant workers to transfer funds back home to their families without incurring huge fees.
It can be used to combat hyperinflation in Venezuela and Nigeria, where fiat money has become almost worthless.
As a result of being a bankrupt, she can’t buy a house until she has five years’ trading behind her, which means she will be almost 60. She doubts any lender would give a mortgage to someone at that age, so has empathy for those around the globe who have no access to banks, and the opportunity blockchain offers them.
During 2019 as the bear market seems to have quietened a little, she reckons there will be more focus on projects – from world food programmes to refugee camps that will allow people to have dignity. “There will be a lot more emphasis on projects,” she says. “It will be refreshing instead of the emphasis on the cryptocurrency.”