Looking at the statistics, the crypto industry doesn’t seem too popular among women. But how are women actually represented in the industry, and what power do they hold? We’ll be looking at Femme Power: some of the most powerful women in the cryptocurrency industry, so stay tuned.
One of the most incredible things about cryptocurrency is it’s accessibility. Whether you’re a man or a woman, cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, a person of color, differently abled (or any other marginalized identity), if you have internet access and some money to rub together, you can transact with crypto just like everyone else.
Yet crypto remains a bit of a boys club – according to Coin Dance (as of October 2019), only 9.91% of Bitcoin community engagement and participation comes from women, while 90.09% is from men. Still, this is a massive improvement from May 2018, when only 5.27% of engagement came from women. In October 2017, Reddit user loveYouEth conducted a survey which found that 96% of Ether users are male, and MyEtherWallet reported that 84% of their wallet holders were men.
Let’s jump in and take a look at some of the most powerful women in the cryptocurrency industry and what femme power they’re bringing to the table.
Kathleen Breitman is really well-known within crypto circles for her involvement in Tezos. Well, “involvement” is a mild way of putting it – she’s the CEO and co-founder of the cryptocurrency project that raised a record-breaking $232 million USD during it’s ICO. Breitman, who left her job as the senior strategy associate at R3, developed most of the Tezos blockchain’s protocol.
Connie Callippi is definitely up there with the most powerful women in the cryptocurrency industry. She is the founder and executive director of BitGive (the first government recognized 501(c)(3) Bitcoin non-profit), which is a non-profit that aims to bridge the gap between innovative technology like Bitcoin, and its potential practical applications for nonprofits and humanitarian efforts.
Gallippi advocates for more diversity and equal opportunity in the cryptocurrency industry, and aims to impart the social impact that Bitcoin and Blockchain can have.
Tavonia Evans came up with the idea for a cryptocurrency, $GUAP, which aims to serve black consumers specifically. $GUAP is designed to reward spending behaviours that ensure that money circulates in an ecosystem of black-owned businesses. Evans, based in Atlanta, Georgia, aims to take what she sees as two serious problems facing black consumers in a modern economy:
- That black consumers don’t get enough credit for their spending power, even though they spend upwards of $1.2 trillion a year. Brands are much less likely to reinvest their profits into (particularly poor) black communities.
- When money does make it back into black communities, it doesn’t stay there for very long because most people aren’t spending their money on black-owned businesses.
Galia Benartzi is one of the creators of the Bancor Protocol – a non-profit foundation that specializes in converting cryptocurrencies. She describes Bancor as a way for anyone to create their own cryptocurrency, and for it to still be automatically exchangeable with others. As of right now, Bancor can facilitate automated conversions for around 70 different types of cryptocurrencies.
Elizabeth Rossiello is a fantastic example of femme power and powerful women in the cryptocurrency industry. Hailing from Queens, New York, Rossiello now lives in Dakar, Senegal, where she runs one of the most widely known projects in the crypto sphere. BitPesa, which she founded in 2013, aims to use Bitcoin and blockchain tech to make transactions between African currencies and the rest of the world simpler and faster.
BitPesa is now hosted in 7 African countries, Europe and the UK. It helps people in frontier markets transact in their local currencies, allowing businesses to grow faster and enter new markets that would have been inaccessible to them before. 70% of BitPesa’s team members are African, and half are women.
Caitlin Long has been active in the cryptocurrency sphere since 2012. A Wall Street veteran, Long saw inaccuracies in Wall Street’s ledger systems while running Morgan Stanley’s pension solutions business. Long looked to blockchain to try and fix these problems, and was chairman and president of Symbiont from 2016 to 2018, where she helped spearhead blockchain delivery of index data to Vanguard. Since January 2018 she has volunteered in her home state of Wyoming, to try and implement a series of enabling blockchain laws.
Feminism and cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is, in many ways, a response to the unequal and discriminatory practices of the global financial markets – which means that it should go hand-in-hand with feminist theory. Feminism should no longer be reduced to the simple definition of “equality between the sexes”. Feminism should be accessible to everyone, just like cryptocurrency – and with companies like $GUAP, BitPesa, and BitGive, we can see the impact of true feminist theory on crypto – and it’s a good look. Femme power and powerful women in cryptocurrency are changing the game, now it’s up to everyone else to catch up.