The blockchain industry has been growing tremendously since the introduction of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, the application of blockchain has become widespread. From cloud storage to photography, film production, energy, transportation, security, real estate, pet care, to addressing climate change, blockchain technology has become indispensable.
However, there is a yawning gap between the contributions of men and women to this evolving technology. It is not too clear why this inequality in gender participation exists. Nonetheless, women are playing a lesser role in this industry.
But there is a light of hope as statistics show more women are coming day by day to contribute to the industry.
Women’s Contribution to the Crypto Industry is Increasing!
In July 2016, the percentage of women participating in the Bitcoin community was 1.76%. This progressed to 3% in September 2017, which is a welcome development. Then in May 2018, women’s active participation was 5.27%. However, with the influence being exerted by the few women in the industry, more women are getting attracted and showing interest in crypto.
According to Google Analytics, currently (September 2019), women’s engagement in the bitcoin community is 9.91%. This shows that things have improved steadily, even though we are yet to arrive where we feel women should really be.
Women who are pulling the strings
Even though men currently dominate the crypto industry, there are still women who are contributing immensely to the growth of the sector. These women play different roles, ensuring that their presence is felt in various aspects of the industry. What exactly are the roles women are playing in the crypto/blockchain industry?
Founders of startups and crypto projects
Though the percentage of women in the blockchain industry is low, several women are doing quite well what men can do. On this list are names like Tavonia Evans, Founder of $Guap. $Guap is a decentralized data platform that collects and analyzes transaction information which it draws from the blockchain, to provide users in the Black Community with the right details on business potential and risks.
Masha Drokova is the Founder of Day One Ventures. This is a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage tech companies and organizes their communications.
Another influential name in the crypto/blockchain industry is Connie Gallippi, Founder/Executive Director BitGive. The BitGive project is designed to social impact and philanthropy, using the power of bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Catheryne Nicholson, CEO BlockCypher. BlockCypher is the infrastructure fabric for blockchain applications, for businesses, developers, and miners.
Working as Co-founders
A glance at the industry shows that women are Co-founders of some blockchain startups and relevant ICOs. Examples include Galia Benartzi, Co-founder of Bancor. Bancor is a decentralized liquidity network that plays a role in on-chain liquidity between assets that are based on blockchain.
Elizabeth Stark is the Co-founder of Lightning Labs. Lightning Labs is an open-source protocol that provides cheap, fast, private transactions, using the power of blockchain and smart contracts. The platform makes its services available to anyone around the world.
There are also women like Maxine Ryan, Co-founder and COO of Bitspark; and Elizabeth Rossiello, Co-founder and CEO of BitPesa – a cheap, fast and reliable payment system for Africa. On the list also is Charlene Chen, UK Director & Co-founder of BitPesa.
Developers and coders
Men are not the only ones versed in coding and programming. Some women are equally playing the roles of developers in various startups and blockchain projects. Examples include Zhiting Lin (Bytom), and Kathleen Breitman, a developer at Tezos. Besides being a developer, Kathleen is the Co-founder and CEO of Tezos.
We were able to identify some women who play a role in the governance structures of specific blockchain projects. One of them is Sarah Nabaa, General Manager at VeChain. One other woman on the project is Flora Wang, Partner Chief Human Resources Officer. Besides, there is Lemonie Gao, Manager of HR & Administrative, at Neo Smart Economy. Another notable name is Casey Taylor, who works as VP Network at Digital Currency Group (DCG). Additionally, there is also Christiane Shaw, who is an Executive Assistant on the same project. Moreover, there is Elizabeth McCauley, who is a member Board of Directors, Bitcoin Foundation.
Those mentioned above are not the only women performing governance roles in various crypto projects. Another name that readily comes to mind in this regards is Maddie Callander, VP Accelerator & Portfolio at Boots VC. Working also on the Boost VC team is Jessica Robertson, Executive Assistant to Adam Draper & Office Manager.
Tess Rinearson works in a governance capacity, as the VP Engineering Manager, Interstellar. This is a new company which resulted from Stellar and Chain, leveraging the Stellar network to build new tools and products.
Amber Baldet led the Blockchain Center of Excellence at J.P. Morgan for over 2 years.
Some women also play advisory roles in some blockchain projects. One name that has done relatively well in this area is Karen Huh (Theta Token).
Women are not onlookers in the field of crypto journalism. There are famous writers notable amongst which are Rachel Wolfson (Bitcoin Magazine), Caitlin Long (Blogger), and Maria Bustillos (Popula.com).
Women are equally spending their hard-earned money to support startups or invest in laudable crypto projects. Some of the famous female crypto investors include Jalak Jobanputra (Future Perfect Ventures), and Ambre Soubiran (Kaiko). Others are Lisa Wang (SheWorx), Sherman Lee (Raven Protocol), and Blyth Masters.
More women are participating slowly but surely
The participation of women in the crypto/blockchain industry has been very slow. This makes it almost impossible to notice their presence. Allowing men to dominate the sector ultimately makes it look like there is gender discrimination in the crypto ecosystem. However, few names like Elizabeth Rossiello, Catheryne Nicholson, Masha Drokova, Galia Benartzi, and Kathleen Breitman have stood out from the packs. Their popularity is as a result of the prominent roles they are playing.
We also can’t ignore that some giant companies have female members in their executive team. For instance, Natalia Ra is the CFO at Bitcoin.com and Ethereum Foundation has Aya Miyaguchi as their Executive Director.
Women still need to up their game in the industry. The current 9.91% participation is too negligible. Nonetheless, there is hope that the percentage can improve significantly in the nearest future since the few ones that are around are already exercising their influence in the crypto ecosystem.