Today is International Women’s day, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to give credit to some distinguished women in crypto space and tell you about their contribution to the blockchain and crypto industry.
Even though the gender of Satoshi Nakamoto is still unknown, crypto is considered to be a male-dominated space. A stereotypical crypto owner is a highly educated man under 35, working in a high income job as a manager or above, and living in a big city. However, is it still the case?
Is it still a man’s world?
Among crypto investors, men still constitute a vast majority. However, this gap is slowly decreasing. According to the survey conducted by Fider.com in February 2018, 11.86% of all men in the US owned crypto. For women this share was only 4.27%. In November 2019 these numbers went up to 19% for men and 10% for women. So the gap decreased from 66 to 48%, and now 35% of all crypto investors are women. In Europe, this growth is even faster. According to the research conducted by Bitpanda and GlobalWebIndex in 2019, one in five women in Europe owns crypto (prior to the research the women to men ratio was believed to be 10% vs 90%). According to a recent study, conducted by ZenLedger, 15% of our clients are women.
Similar trends exist in the crypto industry itself. According to PitchBook, for the period from 2012 to 2018, only 0.3% of all blockchain companies were founded exclusively by women. For tech companies, this share is much higher (but still not high enough) – 5% . 8.2% of blockchain companies had a combination of male and female co-founders (12.7% for tech companies).
And even though these numbers might appear very low, there are some positive signs indicating that more and more women will get involved in crypto. According to Investopedia, 1 of 5 top bitcoin millionaires in 2020 is a woman – Blythe Masters, the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings (DAH) and a former Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Women are also becoming an important part of mapping the future regulation of crypto. For example, one of the most important bills relating to crypto, The Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020, was introduced by two representatives one of whom is a woman – Suzan DelBene (D-WA). Another great example is Hester Peirce, a Republican Commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who is also known as “Crypto Mom” for her strong pro-crypto position.
Every year we see more and more female experts, business owners and enthusiasts in crypto space. To name just a few of them: Laura Shin, Forbes’s cryptocurrency & blockchain expert; Elizabeth Stark, CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs; Kathleen Breitman: co-founder of Tezos; Kathryn Haun, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz; Arianna Simpson, Managing Director of Autonomous Partners; Tricia Martinez: Founder and CEO of Wala; Catherine Coley, Head of XRP Institutional Liquidity at Ripple, and many more.
What makes crypto a good career path for women? I met with three inspiring leaders last week to discuss why women have a lot to contribute to crypto space and how to become successful in this field.
“A country of newcomers”
Crypto and blockchain represent a unique opportunity for smart people who are passionate about technology and love to learn. The field itself is very young, and almost everyone is an early adopter and newcomer. For this reason, women who don’t have background in blockchain or technology in general, still can find their good niche in this space. You just need to be brave and learn fast. And let’s be honest, most of the A students at schools are girls!
Rachel Wolfson is one of the most inspiring examples of a successful lady in crypto space. She is a talented journalist, reporting for Cointelegraph. Rachel previously wrote for Forbes, Huffington Post and more. She is also a public speaker and expert in crypto and blockchain. And even though I strongly believe that nothing in one’s career happens by chance, Rachel could have chosen a different field (and I’m sure would be as successful in it) if in 2017 her friend hadn’t told her about a company using blockchain for supply chain management. Rachel got interested in this use case and wrote an article in the Huffington Post on blockchain being used for the supply chain. The article received a lot of positive feedback. Since then, she has become hooked on the technology and the connection it has with crypto. “For instance, it’s amazing that cryptocurrency can solve many of the problems people encounter with traditional financial systems. A currency without borders provides financial inclusion to those who might not otherwise have this privilege. That being said, it’s also really interesting to see enterprise blockchain use cases apply that same technology for supply chain management and data sharing across multiple entities.”
Wendy O, Founder of Beyond Associates LLC, a company specializing in marketing consulting for blockchain companies, as well as organizing events in crypto space, is another great example of someone who was new to crypto, came, saw and conquered. Wendy has gone a long way from a Pharmacy Services Coordinator, to a well known crypto and blockchain influencer. Her YouTube Channel CryptoWendyO is followed by almost 6 thousand crypto enthusiasts. Wendy recalls: “I had no intention of working after I left my previous role, but once I found crypto and became immersed in the space, I began to see a real need for transparent and creative marketing efforts. I also believe that the space is still at it’s very early stages and I feel very passionate about bringing new people into the space, especially those without tech backgrounds, people like myself. Which is why I started my consultancy Beyond Associates, which focuses on marketing, business development and professional events for blockchain companies globally”. Another aspect of Wendy’s career in crypto is her vlogging on Youtube, and this is not just work, it’s her mission, because the main goal is to help other people who are new to crypto: “My YouTube channel is for newcomers and those who are not tech savvy. I remember how I struggled when I first entered the space and wanted to create a place and community for folks to learn judgement free.” The majority of Wendy’s followers are men, and she admits that currently mostly men are interested in crypto. But Wendy hopes to get more female followers, which will inevitably happen with the current trends.
Teaching people about crypto and helping them achieve great professional or financial results, can be a legitimate career path. Cynthia Huang is the CEO and Co-Founder of Altcoin Fantasy, a company helping people learn about blockchain, crypto and crypto trading through fun, fantasy trading games with real crypto prizes. She fell in love with crypto because of the philosophy behind it – that it provides access to anyone, anywhere and enables new economic opportunities and mechanisms that were previously not possible. “This is a big part of why we created Altcoin Fantasy – we wanted to make it easy and accessible for anyone, anywhere to learn about crypto and get started without having to jump through hoops such as signing up for wallets or investing money. I strongly believe that crypto and blockchain will play a huge part in the future and the best way to ensure that it happens is to get as many people interested in it as possible, which is our aim. So whether you’re a grandma in Nepal, a farmer in Vietnam, a doctor in Russia or a teacher in the UK, we want to help you ease into the journey of crypto through having fun in our trading games. After all, if you’re not having fun, then what is the point?”
Benefits and Struggles
One of the reasons I respect women in crypto is because most of them want to be measured only by their work and achievements. They realize that they are unique, they were brave enough to get into a male-dominated space, and people respect them for choosing this path. But what really makes them unique is not their gender but their expertise, and they want their work to be recognized. I wouldn’t describe it better than Rachel Wofson: “I’m unique because I am a woman in blockchain, but even more so, I understand the space well. I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem if I didn’t understand the technology and how to interview and relate to the experts. That being said, I have an advantage because I am a knowledgeable woman in the blockchain space. There are many male blockchain and crypto influencers out there, but there are far less women. I’m very proud to be a woman in blockchain that people want to follow and learn from.” No doubt, these words will become a great motivation for women who are considering entering crypto space.
Cynthia Huang shares similar feelings: “Fortunately, most of the time when dealing with people in the blockchain and crypto space, I never really think of being a woman as everyone has been really open, friendly and welcoming. However, I do think it’s an advantage to be a woman, especially a CEO, because it’s not as common in this space and in tech overall. There’s also many wonderful communities of women working in crypto and I’ve found these groups to be very helpful, open and inclusive and not just to women but to everyone.”
There is still some work to be done, for sure, not balancing the number of women in crypto industry, but also changing the attitude of the community. “It has its challenges being a female in the space, especially on Twitter” – Wendy told me. “I am by no means a feminist but I do get treated differently at times and it is important to speak about this as I have a three year old daughter and I would like to make the world a better place for her.”
Trying to succeed in your career and proving to everyone that you deserve respect and recognition is added to the struggle finding the right balance between your family and your career. Wendy is a great model and inspiration for me and for any working mom: “I am a proud mom for a three year old girl who loves Willie Nelson and a stepmom to two amazing boys. It’s honestly challenging to find time to do everything, but I have always been active doing multiple things throughout my life – If I’m not busy being productive I feel empty. I guess my hobbies are working to find solutions to improve the quality of life for myself and others.”
Your advice to other women considering starting a career in crypto space?
Rachel Wolfson: “Do it! Cryptocurrency and blockchain are both fascinating topics that represent the future of data sharing and money. It can be a complicated and confusing space to learn about, but once you go down the rabbit hole you will be happy you did. I wouldn’t want to write about anything else.”
Wendy O: “Go for it! Bring your talents from previous industries and help crypto grow. At the end of the day mass adoption will not occur if we can not extend our message to the masses and the best way to do that is through those who can articulate the message to others. I believe women bring an interesting perspective to crypto and it’s extremely valuable to companies who want to expand.”
Cynthia Huang: Run, don’t walk! Crypto presents a unique opportunity to work with people globally and be a part of a promising industry that has the potential to change the world. Because the industry is still so small and nascent, many of the people in the industry have close relationships and you have the opportunity to shape and be a part of it in a way that you can’t with established industries.
At ZenLedger, we cherish diversity and believe that women can make a big positive impact on the blockchain and crypto industry. We are proud that 40% of our employees are women (in 5 major tech companies the ratio is 33.5%) , including 25% in the leadership team (director and above), and 30% of tech roles (which is much higher than 21.5% average for 5 major tech companies).
Kiran Pun, Quality Assurance Engineer, was one of the first women to join ZenLedger in November 2018. She sees her work in blockchain/crypto space as a great career opportunity: “ZenLedger is part of the Crypto / Blockchain domain which is rapidly advancing and growing. It’s amazing to work on this project and be part of this massive wave of digital innovation. Also, knowing that our work is providing significant ease to our customers is extremely fulfilling.”
One thing that makes ZenLedger stand out from other companies in the space is its multicultural, inclusive and welcoming environment. For Kiran, the best part of her work at Zenledger is her co-workers. Men and women, they are all experts in what they do. “There is so much to learn from each and every person in the team which has really driven me towards self improvement,” – Kiran says.
Learning and educating others are important aspects of work for Rebecca Lowe and Jamie McDonald who recently joined ZenLedger’s customer success team.They both have extensive experience in customer support, but are new to the crypto space. Now not only they are familiar with all aspects of crypto accounting, but they share their expertise with clients and provide 24/7 customer support. Prior to joining ZenLedger, Rebecca worked in customer-facing roles interacting with every demographic from new mother to music fan to American Express black card members. “What I find refreshing about this space is the democratization of finance and talking to regular people just like me who are excited about the possibilities decentralized currency and finance has to offer them. Some of my favorite customers are the delightful women who come in on weekends just to chat about crypto while we work on uploading their wallets — I get to hear about their visits with grandchildren, garden planning, and trips to the mountains while also talking about what investment strategies they had for the year”. For Jamie, the best part about working with crypto investors and technology is being able to educate people about cryptocurrency, while learning and being a part of a newer industry: “Working with crypto investors has been a little different from working in other financial industries, because it is decentralized and not as common, but this is why I love it. Crypto investors come from all walks of life, all over the world and it has been so amazing to be able to work with such a dynamic group of people.”
We wanted to use this opportunity to congratulate all ladies in crypto space – crypto investors, professionals, leaders and enthusiasts on International Women’s Day and thank them for their contribution to the development of blockchain and crypto space!
To celebrate this we are launching a short-term special offer: everyone who purchases ZenLedger on March 8 – March 15 will get a 20% discount. Use coupon code WOMEN20. ZenLedger will contribute 50% of all money raised with this promo to AnitaB.org, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and promoting women in tech.
By Irina Barber,
Director of Marketing at ZenLedger