Anna Godfrey is Social Media Manager at Qredo
Happy International Women's Day! 🎉
To celebrate, I wanted to write a post highlighting the women in crypto I look up to.
One of the first things I noticed when I started working in blockchain was how few women there were.
When I began to branch out and collaborate with other projects, agencies, and influencers, this status quo remained. Similar to traditional finance, I could see the systemic biases drip into the male-dominated space which I had entered.
One meeting, in particular, will always stick in my memory. It was an initial meet-up with another blockchain project and – of the 10 attendees – I was the only woman in the room. At this point, I really began to consider what was blocking women from working in the space.
Even when it comes to investing, twice as many men invest in cryptocurrency (16% vs 7%). According to a 2021 study by AnitaB.org, within the technology industry, just 26.7% of tech-related positions are held by women.
However, I’m hopeful that blockchain can become a space in which the scales can come to be more balanced.
Through my journey in crypto, I've been lucky enough to meet some amazing women, whom I admire and respect hugely. For any young women pursuing a career in blockchain, it is crucial to have these inspirational figures to look up to; individuals pushing the space forward, and showing other women and young girls that this is not just a boys club.
Seeing their hard work and success has energized me, giving me confidence in all the things I can one day achieve. Crypto pioneers in their own right, these 11 women are shifting the paradigm.
Meltem is an established veteran of digital asset investing and uses her influence to accelerate crypto growth and acceptance.
Previously, she worked in the oil & gas industry and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of CoinShares.
I first came across Meltem on ‘UpOnly TV’ in May last year. Listening to the way she discussed DeFi piqued my interest in the subject and was one of the catalysts that set me on my path to Qredo. Her depth of knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics in the crypto space is something I admire hugely.
Caitlin is a Wall Street vet and has been a bitcoin advocate since 2012. She is the CEO and founder of Custodia Bank (previously Avanti Bank), a chartered US bank specializing in digital assets.
Caitlin has volunteered in her hometown of Wyoming to enact a series of enabling blockchain laws. She is also a gubernatorial appointee (non-voting) to the Wyoming Blockchain Select Committee.
I was fortunate enough to get a direct quote from Caitlin giving some helpful advice to those looking to enter the crypto industry:
“My best advice is that code doesn’t care about your gender, or your age, your wealth, where you live, what language you speak or your social status. It’s a great equalizer.”
A compliance and risk management expert, and founder of BWBC (Blackwomen Blockchain Council), Olayinka has 16 years of experience helping financial firms navigate international regulation. Olayinka wants to make all sectors of tech inclusive and diverse, including blockchain.
She does a lot of work in this respect with a view to ensuring that the opportunities presented in the space we love are made open to all. Regardless of race, gender or economic status. Blockchain is about the power of many and by definition requires inclusivity. Olayinka has consistently worked to ensure our egalitarian ideals can be achieved in practice and, for that, she is truly someone to look up to.
Follow Olayinka on LinkedIn
Diana is a recognized blockchain and fintech expert and has made it to the top of many crypto influencer lists.
She’s currently Chief Strategy Officer at DeFi Technologies, a project bridging traditional financial market access to Web 3.0 and decentralized finance.
Diana is passionate about the use of technology to empower disenfranchised populations, promote access and transparency, and enable economic and financial inclusion.
Dawn is Professor in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. She’s also the CEO and founder of Oasis Labs, which offers a suite of APIs that make it easy to integrate privacy, data governance, and blockchain into your product.
The scale of optimism surrounding the Oasis project has recently been underpinned as they have been backed by Binance Labs in a $200 million ecosystem development fund in January of this year. Oasis initially raised $45 million in pre-sale financing from some of the biggest names in venture capital and cryptocurrency investing.
Dawn is a true heavyweight in the space with Oasis currently sitting at #87 in terms of market capitalization on Coinmarketcap. Given the enormity of the aforementioned ecosystem development fund, this rise looks set to continue. If anyone is demonstrating that women can go right to the very top in the world of Layer 1 blockchains, it’s Dawn.
Hailing from the cannabis industry and moving into crypto, Orca Protocol Co-founder, Julia Rosenberg knows the impact women can have in the crypto space.
Orca Protocol uncomplicates DAOs and makes governance accessible by creating tools around people. Julia describes Orca Protocol as a “people first protocol."
Julia is easy to relate to, especially when it comes to being the only woman in the room. Some past advice she has given (that is sure to resonate with women looking to enter the space) is to find your own support system, even if it’s only a few female peers. Her road to blockchain also demonstrates that for someone switched on and adaptable, you can arrive in the space from a wide range of industries.
Kathryn is a former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the largest and most successful venture capital firms in the space. While working there, she co-chaired crypto funds but more recently launched crypto venture fund KRH partners.
Kathryn serves as an independent director in the board for Coinbase and the board at OpenSea, she is also on the board at HackerOne where she serves on its Audit and Risk Committee. She also joined the board of directors at Autograph (alongside Tom Brady and the Weekend). Her endeavors continue to advance the space and bring web3 to the mainstream.
The skillset she derived from roles in venture capital, a centralized exchange, and then auditing is diverse. This gives her a depth of knowledge and gravitas within many niches that is truly remarkable for anyone in the space regardless of gender.
Marguerite deCourcelle (who goes by the alias COIN ARTIST) is the CEO of Blockade, a blockchain game studio. She is an avid NFT collector and the first game from Neon District allows players to earn and buy NFT items.
The NFT OG even tokenized her online persona “Coin_Artist” as an NFT, in a social experiment allowing investors to buy shares of her brand. She was the first-ever to do so. Marguerite is also number 30 on Forbes NFTy 50.
As someone interested in play-to-earn games myself, I enjoy following her progress and that of her projects. Her magnetic personality and her energy make me feel like success in this space does not have to come to the detriment of life balance and enjoyment of your work.
Marieke worked in a broad range of companies across the globe including luxury giant LVMH, and crypto giant Circle, where she was Managing Director of Europe, and Global CMO, building a user base of 2 million in under 2 years.
Marieke is now the CEO of NEAR Protocol, a climate-neutral, high-speed, and low transaction fee Layer-1 Blockchain platform. NEAR currently has a market cap of over $7 billion. This makes it the 22nd largest project in terms of market cap, and top 20 when you discount dog coins and stables (which you probably should).
What makes Marieke even more of an inspiration is her devotion to diversity and inclusion. During her time at Circle, they were the first Fintech company to sign HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter and achieve a 50-50 gender split in the sector.
Elizabeth is CEO and Founder of Lightning Labs, a Layer 2 solution that seeks to combat the scalability issues within the Bitcoin network. It does so using micropayment channels to conduct transactions effectively and at much greater speed.
Elizabeth has taught about the future of the internet at Stanford and Yale Law & Tech. She also played a big role in the Internet freedom effort that defeated SOPA/PIPA.
Given our connection with El Salvador and interest in banking the unbanked, you may be interested to know that Stark's Lightning Network can be used in San Salvador to buy your McDonalds breakfast!
Follow Elizabeth on Twitter
Charu Sethi is the Chief Marketing Officer of Unique Network, an NFT chain for Polkadot and Kusama. She has over 13 years experience in tech marketing across infrastructure, services, and software; with four years of experience in the blockchain industry. Charu has worked for companies like IBM, helping build out their APAC blockchain adoption marketing across the Supply Chain, Finance, and Healthcare Sectors. She is based in Singapore.
I have collaborated with Charu in the past and she has always been someone I look up to. I had the opportunity to connect with Charu once again and she was kind enough to offer these words of wisdom for women looking to enter the space:
“For the web 3.0 vision to become a reality, all individuals and a variety of skills are important - artists, creators, story tellers, developers, dreamers, visionaries, mathematicians, scientists and more! Unless we are all-in we won't make it! The more inclusive we can become, the stronger we will be! For any woman who is curious about this space, I'd say - Just Jump In & WAGMI!”