Meet the 5 women making a mark in the bitcoin spaceLavanya Singhal
Why should bitcoin bros have all the fun? These five women are tapping Blockchain technology to bring about change.
Statistics peg the number of women attendees at bitcoin events at a small percentage - 18 percent. The number of women speakers at such events is a further reduced number - four percent. Clearly, the Blockchain space has some serious gender imbalance issues. However, that does not mean that women are not reaping benefits of this disruptive technology.
Women have been early investors in the Blockchain space and have contributed to the virtual currency in various forms – by being programmers, writers, and content creators.
Interestingly, women are putting Blockchain solutions to use in socially productive areas and beyond speculative currencies. For instance, UN Women, a sister concern of the United Nations, is trying to use Blockchain to support vulnerable women and girls.
According to recent statistics, the Blockchain space will be worth $3.1 trillion by 2030. Here are some of the women who are making a mark in the Blockchain space.
Arianna Simpson, Founder and Managing Director, Autonomous Partners
Smartly dressed, fiercely independent and a powerful woman — that’s Arianna for you. She has been informally crowned as “Queen of Bitcoin” and rightfully so.
She quit her assignment at Facebook, New York, to embrace the new disruptive technology and joined a bitcoin startup, BitGo.
Arianna, through her blogs, has been advocating that cryptocurrency holds the potential for improving the global financial system. She believes that bitcoins have introduced smart contracts and self-enforcing legally binding contracts that were not possible till now.
Arianna’s fund focuses on cryptocurrencies and digital assets. She has about 40 investments in Blockchain till date. She tops our list just because of her Twitter bio that reads, “Early stage investor. Into crypto before it was cool.”
Hope Liu, CEO and Co-Founder, Eximchain
Hope was the first one in her family to go to university. Her parents had to drop out of high school owing to unrest in China. Having worked in the field of facilitating cross-border transactions for about six years, Hope realised that banking processes were inefficient. Blockchain drew her attention during her MIT days in 2015. Her initial concentration was on using Blockchain to improve supply chain processes.
Her startup, Eximchain, received accolades at various forums and currently, she focuses on fundraising, business development, and strategic direction.
Eximchain received $10 million in funding for the technology that allows proof of transaction to be made public with details known only to the buyer and the seller. However, it was not easy for Hope. She was frequently questioned about her ability to lead owing to her gender. At a recent Blockchain conference in Japan where there were just two female speakers out of 42, Hope said: “There was time when I was told by investors that I should go find a job and I would never make it as a woman CEO, when the combined balance between me and my co-founder was $5. Just want to say thank you, to everyone who supported us since 2015!”
Roya Mahboob, CEO and Co-founder, Digital Citizen Fund
Roya deserves a special mention for her use case of Blockchain technology. Her venture, Digital Citizen Fund, uses virtual currencies to empower women in Afghanistan, a patriarchal society. While on a task to make women financially independent, Roya realised that many women in Afghanistan did not have bank accounts to accept payments owing to the societal setup. Roya worked on a system that allowed women to be paid in bitcoin.
Women’s rights have been improving since the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. While work from home is still acceptable, women are not allowed to go out to work as often as in other countries. Roya’s company employs women who develop software for various companies, content for advertising, and much more from the confines of their house. They earn in bitcoins.
She doesn’t stop there, her idea is to create safe, free internet classrooms across Afghanistan, allowing women to connect with their counterparts across the globe. Access to public internet cafes is mostly restricted for women as they are not considered to be safe places.
Preethi Kasireddy, Blockchain Engineer, Founder and CEO, Schelling
Her immigrant Indian parents in the US wanted Preethi to be to a doctor. Preethi studied industrial and systems engineering at San Francisco when Goldman Sachs hired her. That’s when she realised that banking did not interest her and she wanted to be a computer engineer.
She left her dream job with Andreessen Horowitz on the deal team and turned an entrepreneur. She is today a self-employed Blockchain and a smart contract engineer.
Preethi’s write-ups on https://medium.com/@preethikasireddy have quite a few followers and she has embarked on a journey to create more education about Blockchain.
Jinglan Wang, Executive Director, Blockchain Educational Network (BEN)
Jinglan has literally created a Blockchain university. Her idea is to spread education, knowledge, truth, and empowerment through this disruptive technology.
BEN has on-boarded students from over 60 countries, touching around 3,000 students across 300 schools. Students are encouraged to used Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to create some path-breaking ideas. Her venture provides a platform to students to build their own Blockchain clubs across the globe.
Jinglan believes that the idea should not be to merely make speculative money, but also to engage young brains through volunteer activity to make a difference.