The world of cryptocurrency has expanded exponentially in the last decade. After the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin in 2010, many other “crypto coins” and blockchain technology applications have emerged in the market. Although this revolutionary technology is replacing traditional financial systems on a scale that many didn’t initially expect, there are still very few women in cryptocurrency today.
The Problem With Male-Dominated Cryptocurrency
Reports from eToro show that the cryptocurrency industry is extensively male-dominated, with women making up a mere 8.5% of all investors. To make matters worse, the few women in cryptocurrency there are do not get nearly enough exposure or recognition, especially when compared to their male counterparts. For example, the Polycon 2018 conference features a “women only” panel primarily involved in Blockchain. The disadvantage here is that this group is set up with a small audience.
All-male speakers dominate almost all the cryptocurrency conferences. However, this trend is expected to subside as more and more women gradually earn top positions in the industry. A few powerhouse women in tech have defied the industry standard and dived into this male-dominated industry head-first, creating some much needed change and incredible developments in this field.
The Solution: Women Making Waves
Kathleen Breitman, a graduate of Cornell University, is the COO and co-founder of Tezos a very successful blockchain governance platform. In 2017, Tezos’ ICO was ranked as the third highest profile ICO. In its two week ICO campaign, Tezos raised $232 million.
Kathleen was also heavily involved in the Dynamic Ledger Solutions ICO from its initial stages through completion. Kathleen remains passionately committed to the success of Tezos, although it is currently facing significant legal challenges.
Rossiello founded BitPesa. Developed in 2013, BitPesa is a foreign exchange and payment platform that operates in Africa. The company is believed to be an ideal model of the potential that cryptocurrency possesses in terms of worldwide monetary revolution.
The company is a leading pioneer in using blockchain technology for fast and secure payments. Most African currencies are exchanged with the majority of the world’s currencies almost seamlessly. This evolution represents a commensurate state of the mobile money revolution today.
Rossiello experienced significant momentum in raising capital after enjoying a successful first round of funding. The funding process involved extensive participation by Timothy Draper, a billionaire investor, during the set-up of the company. Currently, BitPesa is present in Europe, the UK, and in seven African countries.
When Tess Rinearson learned about the immense potential in blockchain technology and Bitcoin, she decided to get involved in shaping its future. She took a job at Chain, whose core business is building blockchain networks for various financial services in partnership with organizations such as Nasdaq and Visa. Chain boasts the fact that 26% of its employees are women..
Currently, Tess is still working with Chain as an engineer, working on developing a new technology called Sequence. This new product aims to take blockchain technology to the cloud while operating it securely.
Tess takes it upon herself to encourage more women to get involved in blockchain. Her notable programs include “Girls Who Code” (GHC) where she works with high school girls to educate them extensively about Bitcoin. She also teaches a programming course about blockchain technology at the MIT Media Lab.
Tess also runs a blog on Medium, which primarily translates the complexities of cryptocurrency and blockchain into simple terms. Thus, she strives to make the industry much more accessible to everyone and, more specifically, to women.
Elizabeth is the CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs. Her company is a significant player in the development of the much-awaited Lightning Network in the Bitcoin space. The new technology is thought to be the “layer 2” solution which will bring instant transactions to Bitcoin that are almost free.
Elizabeth is also an advisor to many blockchain and tech start-ups, including a company that is developing self-driving cars. She previously taught at Stanford and Yale universities. She has also played a key role in the political effort to eliminate internet freedom threats posed by the PIPA and SOPA bills.
Connie Gallippi is the founder of BitGive, the first non-profit company in the Bitcoin world. The idea for this venture was inspired in a 2013 Bitcoin conference. Her moment of brilliance was the discovery that the crypto space required a responsible, charitable organization. BitGive is the best platform for users to donate digital cash to charitable causes.
Currently, Connie is working on a new platform called GiveTrack. This platform aims at tracking what charity organizations do with the donations they receive through cryptocurrencies. The platform will review the entirety of Bitcoin’s public record transaction details to determine how all of money received via donations is spent.
Amber Baldet left her thriving eight year career at J.P. Morgan after learning about the tremendous social potential of blockchain technology. She joined Chipin.com, a start-up that develops software for businesses exploring cryptocurrency and blockchain. During her tenure at J.P. Morgan, Amber aspired to ensure that the firm recognized the significance of Bitcoin in the current world.
She then helped the firm in the cryptocurrency evolution while leading, for at least two years, the Blockchain Centre of Excellence. During this time, she interacted with several individuals with different perspectives that included central banks, start-ups, hardcore blockchain developers, and investment banks. Her vast experience and network have proved invaluable in her new venture. She seeks to develop user-friendly software to make cryptocurrency transactions quick and secure.
Even though there is a significant gender discrepancy in the cryptocurrency industry, the wonder women mentioned above are paving the way for others to enter and improve the industry. It takes hard work and dedication to master this technology, but the rewards are worth the effort, as these women can attest.