Funmilayo Okoye is a Computer and Information Research Scientist. In this episode of The Obiex Block, she speaks to us about how her parents influenced her career path, how she was introduced to crypto by a Japanese school friend, and her plans to establish her own web3 and blockchain-based company.
Let’s get to know you! Please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Funmilayo Okoye, and I’m very excited to be on the Obiex Block.
We are so happy to have you on the series as well. But wait a minute. Funmilayo Okoye? Are you bilingual?
Haha. You could say that. I have a Yoruba mother and an Igbo father, hence the name. My parents believed that coming from different cultures didn’t necessarily mean one should overshadow the other. So, I have a Yoruba and an Igbo name and proudly represent both cultures.
That’s really great! So, what do you do for a living?
I am a computer and information research scientist.
That sounds interesting. What does a computer and information research scientist do, though?
I design innovative uses for new and existing technology. I also study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields. My partners and I are currently working on starting our web3 and blockchain-based company.
Wow! How is that coming along?
I’m not going to lie. It’s been a rollercoaster, but we are making significant progress with the process. We aim to develop a series of blockchain networks that execute smart contracts. There’s also a feature for crypto operations to be added in the future, but that’s the most I can tell you for now.
I bet it would come out great. I mean, if the process is not rigorous enough, the results won’t turn out great, right?
Exactly! The means or process always defines the end or result. Whichever term resonates the most.
True. Now, talking about your job. Why did you become a computer and information research scientist? Was it a passion for the job or a desire to secure the bag?
It’s definitely passion, and a bit of familiarity. I say familiarity because of the environment where I grew up. My mom was a computer scientist, and my dad was a medical doctor. So, I grew up around a lot of research and computing, if I may say so. With time, I started helping my parents with some of their research and eventually developed a passion for it.
How did you end up working for a crypto-affiliated company then?
Okay, so this is going to be a bit of a story. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK when I was 10. After high school, I decided to go to Germany for my undergraduate studies. While studying Computer Science and IT at Augsburg University, I met a Japanese friend who introduced me to crypto. Before then, I thought anything crypto or blockchain-related was complex and impossible to understand. But I’m really thankful to him because he didn’t just break down the concept to me; he took me to many seminars and conferences and initiated me into crypto trading. I even got my first job working for a crypto-affiliated company through him. He was indeed a blessing!
I couldn’t agree more. To think that one person could change the trajectory of your life like that… It’s amazing.
I know. I thank God for the gift of him every day.
I take it you must have some views on cryptocurrency, being an active player in a crypto company yourself. Care to share?
Sure! One thing I’m glad I did in my life was to embrace the potential of cryptocurrency in its early stages. Cryptocurrency is gradually becoming an undefeated giant in the financial sector. It has its risks, for sure. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of heartbreaks from crypto, but it is also changing economies and is considered the future of finance. It’s better to grasp it now while it’s still on its way there.
That’s a good perspective. What about “blockchain”? What do you understand by the term?
If I could get a penny each time I get asked that question (laughs). Okay, let me explain this in the simplest way I can think of. Blockchain is like a high-tech record-keeping system that logs transactions. It's like a digital notebook shared among many computers, with no one in charge, making it super secure. Once something is written in this digital notebook, it's practically set in stone. This makes it excellent for cryptocurrencies or keeping tabs on products moving through the supply chain.
Sounds like you have been explaining blockchain-related terms for a while. Have you ever had to give a whole lecture on crypto just because you told someone where you worked?
I’ve been giving formal and informal lectures on crypto since I started my first crypto-affiliated job. It comes with the job, so I’m used to it.
I can imagine. You seem to have had a lot of positive influence on your career path. You must have received a lot of advice then. Can you tell us the best and worst ones?
I did receive a lot of advice when I started on this career path. I still do. If I were to choose the best and worst advice, the best would be from my parents. They never ceased to tell me that I was as elastic as I could pull myself to be, and there was nothing I couldn’t reach if I utilised that superpower. I still stand in front of my mirror and tell myself that now and then.
As for the worst one, someone once told me I should have become a nurse or a doctor like my dad because I wouldn’t do well in my field. The person believed that the career path I was going for was only suitable for the gender considered to have better brain power.
Geez! That has to be the worst advice in the world.
In this day and age, it has to be.
More reason why we should get on from it and talk about something interesting. Like money!
What is the biggest money move you have ever made in crypto?
It has to be crypto trading because, though I made a lot of losses from trading, I also gained profits I had never thought of. Another big money move I made was investing in the stock market. When I say investing, I don’t mean big money. I started with a percentage of my earnings, which turned out great for me.
Those are some big money moves. And how have these financial decisions influenced your present lifestyle?
I can now save bigger and better and also spend bigger and better. I’ve noticed that my taste in things has also changed to reflect a softer living.
Ah, soft life. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
You can say that again!
Finally… What do you find most exciting about your job?
I get to travel, see new places, and meet new people. My job lets me enjoy all my hobbies while working, and that right there is a big flex.