Ferry Tillekens outlined the different educational and exploratory projects he's involved with and their importance for equal footing in blockchain.
Ferry Tillekens is the dGen Ambassador in the Netherlands. To read more about different European blockchain ecosystems, read our European Blockchain Review.
With our Ambassador Programme growing, we want to welcome aboard our second ambassador from the Netherlands Ferry Tillekens. These ambassadors spread across the European continent deliver us valuable on-site details required for a thorough report. Ferry shared his insights on Dutch Tech's current state, the scope of expansion, and what makes dGen's approach unique.
Ferry is currently working as a Project Manager for 2Tokens, a Dutch not-for-profit foundation. The foundation aims to make tokenization and its technology available, both nationally and internationally.
I received my Bachelor's degree from University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, a small town in the southern province of Zeeland. I graduated with a combined major in economics, physics, and psychology. Between my Bachelors and Masters, I worked two years as a Marketing Assistant at a small company in Alphen aan den Rijn.
I finished my Masters in Business Development and Entrepreneurship at the University of Utrecht in the summer of 2018, soon after finding a job at YES!Delft, where I was first introduced to blockchain technology.
I had heard of blockchain before, but mostly in the context of the (in)famous example of Bitcoin. Now, as a Community Manager at YES!Delft The Hague, I was building the AI/Blockchain community, where I got in touch with startups that were working on blockchain implementation in their business ideas. That is when I started reading up on blockchain and tokenization.
I soon found myself deep in the 'rabbit hole' of blockchain & tokenization, which led me to my current positions at 2Tokens and dGen.
I first came across dGen via LinkedIn, seeing the report 'Blockchain in Europe 2020 Review'. The report was well-written and provided a clear and concise overview of the various states of blockchain technology in several European countries. After reading several other research reports, I was sold.
Contrary to most of the blockchain articles I had read before, these reports mainly focused on the impacts on/made by people, society, and the private and public sectors.
Of course, there is a need for technical papers, but only a small percentage of the population works with the technical aspects.
It is also essential to bring these new technologies to the people by providing them with knowledge tailored to their needs.
It ensures a level-playing field, allowing anyone to do what they want with the given information. This also increases opportunities for innovation and development.
And that is precisely what I liked about dGen and why I became an ambassador: To help spread the (non-technical) knowledge of blockchain and other emerging technologies.
So far, it is remarkably interesting! The team is very open-minded and a lot of fun to work with.
I would definitely encourage people to join the programme. By doing so, you will be able to contribute to the creation of a great ecosystem and learn a lot yourself along the way!
At the moment, I would describe the current state of the Dutch Tech Ecosystem as advanced, but with room for improvement. In the past five years, we have seen the establishment of several platforms, such as Techleap and the Dutch Blockchain Coalition. They have put in a tremendous amount of work in making the Dutch Tech community more visible in the world.
However, new blockchain initiatives are still highly dependent on large institutions, often causing friction in developing such startups.
For instance, if you are a startup in the blockchain space, it will still take several months before you can get a bank account. Furthermore, finding an investment for initiatives in the blockchain space turns out to be quite tricky as well.
Within the Netherlands, there is quite a lot possible in the blockchain space when it comes to rules and regulations. However, these developments are hindered by large institutions who are careful in which projects they support. I would love to see improvement in this area in the coming years.
Besides dGen, I am currently working for 2Tokens, a Dutch not-for-profit foundation. This foundation aims to make tokenization, and its underlying technology, more available across Europe. We do this through various use-cases that we develop.
These use-cases range from creating a 'simple' discount utility token to using tokens in supply-chains and financing startups. My focus is to make sure that these use-cases are turned into successes, thereby showing that it is possible to develop new initiatives in the blockchain space.