How can things change for women in cryptocurrency, and what does the future hold?
As we reach the end of Crypto News Review’s Women in Crypto week, it’s useful to look ahead to what could change for the industry, women’s place within it, and also look at the effectiveness of female-only events, social media groups and communities.
A wider surge in female entrepreneurship brought about by the internet, blogs, YouTube and social media can be seen to trickle down to other new sectors, but for some reason the industry has inherited more from the business and finance worlds than the relative meritocracy of the web.
As with any underrepresented group, women in crypto have used the challenges present in the industry to build a strong community amongst themselves.
Michelle Roberts, director of partners at Ensono, said: “For me, attending #WomeninTech conferences and being part of the community online and offline helped me develop a new-found level of confidence and insight into the way I perform as a woman in tech.
“Having the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with many other like-minded women in technology and hearing from female CEOs is not only eye-opening, but encouraging. This encouragement is all women need to enter the tech industry, as they are certainly not lacking in talent or promise.”
“You see stories all the time of young girls who are inspired by what they see on the internet and social media,” said Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of blockchain-based real estate transaction platform Propy. “But that’s the thing, women have to be seen and heard before they can be a role model. Social media helps us all to see one another more clearly.
“Collectively, women in crypto can tackle our challenges together and support one enough. Who knows what little girl might see our progress and know that she can take that path too. I don’t know anyone who isn’t inspired to make that happen — female or male.”
But all of the solidarity in the world doesn’t work when inclusivity isn’t moving in the right direction. For Marion Vogel, director at smart contracts blockchain company aeternity, it can be useful to remember the real goals and not get lost in ‘women only’ groups and events.
“There are women in blockchain online events, women-only chat groups, and plenty of other initiatives,” she told CNR. “Some of them are very nice and have good intentions. However, there was a tweet by a lady that went viral that said something like: ‘If I cannot sit at the grown up people’s table, I don’t want to be invited’. She was referring to an invitation to a women-only panel at a big conference. I thought it was a great statement!
“There is one big difference to the crypto community compared to other tech industries. Many of use are over-the-top vocal about topics we think are wrong or simply not cool. There are constant discussions or even fights about nearly every topic. I think this is sometimes exhausting, but also refreshing and it shows how much people care.”
The anonymity of crypto and its devotees could also be seen as a positive thing for those ordinarily excluded from traditional business and finance worlds, as anyone with a computer and the know-how could theoretically get involved.
“If we consider that this self-same anonymity has allowed women and minorities to thrive regardless of public perception, then we could also argue that the industry is less sexist than ever before,” said Hither Mann, crypto trader and CEO of a trading education company. “Women are now able to trade anonymously online without discriminatory gender labels and, on the whole, trading crypto is relatively gender neutral.
“There is no longer a need to be physically located in a trading room, and for those with childcare commitments, full-time jobs, or who are unable to travel, they now have access to unprecedented opportunities within the market.”
One thing everyone can agree on is the need for more education and encouragement towards tech and STEM subjects including crypto for every child at school level, rather than just those presumed by society to be predisposed.
Mann added: “Within the crypto courses I teach, the ratio of women to men currently stands at 70:30. I find that my female students thrive on the smaller investments required to trade in crypto; the issues is that we do not hear of these successes.
“We as an industry need to begin educating from a young age. We need to be encouraging women into STEM subjects, teaching children about crypto and blockchain in schools, and promoting and supporting diverse members of our community.”
On the immediate future of the blockchain industry and women’s place within it, co-founder and chairwoman of Social Alpha Foundation Nydi Zhang said: “As the blockchain industry and community are rapidly growing every single day, I believe a strong demand for great talent has attracted more women to the space.
“There is a growing number of female professionals from other industries crossing over to the crypto space, and there are also more and more women-focused blockchain groups and events popping up in the last few months, demonstrating a growing interest in the technology. I am confident that the number of female leaders in crypto will continue to grow in the next six months.”
Mann added: “What we have here is an opportunity to shape the future of currency, the markets, and to change our financial institutions, and I think grass roots education and visibility will be crucial to achieving this.”