Women in Cryptocurrency
The global tech industry has historically been a largely male-dominated industry. Women often make up a considerably lower percentage of the workforce. This usually holds true for most levels of the industry, from CEOs to the workers in the bullpen. The same trend seems to be true for the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology niche as well.
The cryptocurrency industry is relatively new. In the early days from 2009 to 2011, it was common in Bitcoin conferences to have zero female presence in the room except for journalists. One commentator even went as far as to label cryptocurrency as having a “pale male problem.”
A few years ago, a Fusion piece about the lack of representation of women in Bitcoin caused a great deal of controversy within the industry. The “cryptocurrency-tweetosphere” became awash with a rebuttal of Felix Salmon’s infamous “Brocoin” tweet. The tweet stated that he carried out a cursory search for substantive participation and contribution of women in the crypto industry and turned up with “zero”, “zilch”, “nothing.”
The truth is, that while the industry continues to be dominated by males, there are women who are making significant contributions to the industry. Women are involved in almost all constituent segments from cryptocurrency development to exchange and trading platform, and even online cryptocurrency forums. In this article, some of the leading women in cryptocurrency will be profiled.
Kathleen Breitman is the co-founder and COO of Tezos and a graduate of Cornell University. Prior to her involvement in the Tezos blockchain project, she worked at R3 specializing as a Senior Strategist. R3 is a large blockchain consortium that encompasses more than 70 of the world’s biggest financial firms. Her professional career also includes stints with top-tier firms like the Wall Street Journal, Accenture, and Bridgewater Associates.
Tezos was the third highest grossing ICO of 2017. The project raised $232 Million during its 2-week ICO campaign. Kathleen is the co-founder of Dynamic Ledger Solutions (DLS), the company behind the creation of the Tezos blockchain. She played a central role during the Tezos ICO, regularly appearing and speaking at crypto conferences and interviews. Despite the legal troubles that have plagued the Tezos project post-ICO, Kathleen still remains firmly committed to the project.
When it comes to cryptocurrency payment services in Africa, BitPesa is the gold standard. Elizabeth Rossiello is the Co-Founder and CEO of BitPesa. She established the company in 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. It has since gone on to expand its influence across Sub-Saharan Africa, with offices in Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria. BitPesa also opened a regional office in London. It is the first digital payment solutions firm to ever receive FCA approval as an authorized payment institution. BitPesa has recorded a lot of success in its operations and Elizabeth is pioneering fast crypto payment transfers across the continent at relatively low transaction fees.
Elizabeth has had a distinguished career in Fintech, right from her days as an Economic researcher with the German Bundestag. She holds a Master’s degree in International Finance from Columbia University. Her Fintech career includes positions at Credit Suisse and the Grameen Foundation. She is fluent in four languages and has both Senegalese and Nigerian residency permits.
At just 30 years old, Barbara Sołtysińska is already a force to be reckoned with across the cryptocurrency, digital marketing, and brand management industries. In January 2016, Barbara launched IndaHash, a company that specializes in brand management and corporate content management. The company has successfully created more than 1,000 campaigns in several markets across the globe.
The company launched its ICO in November of 2017. It was one of the more unique ICO campaigns given that it was for a service that already had a strong user base, rather than the more common crowdfunding for a project still in development. The project is an automated app that helps brands and corporate entities with their marketing campaigns through a network of social influencers.
Barbara is a notable figure in the corporate branding world. Through the IndaHash cryptocurrency project, she is incorporating blockchain technology and melding cryptocurrency with the digital marketing industry. The IDH coin (the native crypto of the IndaHash app) is an ERC20 token running on the Ethereum network. Barbara and her team are looking for more efficient scalability solutions. Barbara believes the potential for mass adoption of IndaHash makes it important to develop off-chain or other blockchain solutions to support the core ERC20 IDH token.
Meltem Demirors is the Director of Development at DCG (Digital Currency Group). DCG is a New York based company that is heavily involved in the development of blockchain-based solutions. They also participate in building digital currency investment portfolios. Meltem is described by her peers at DCG as the being the veritable link between the core areas of the company’s operations.
Meltem is a vocal proponent of mining decentralization. She sees it as an important aspect of ensuring equitable capital distributing within the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology ecosystem. As part of her purview at DCG, she is actively developing investment constructs that will help distribute the crypto wealth and network power beyond the early adopters of cryptocurrency.
Before working for DCG, Meltem had been a consummate management consultant and finance professional. She holds a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from the William Marsh Rice University and an MBA from MIT.
Tavonia Evans is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of involvement and experience in the tech industry. She has worked as a start-up owner with a multitude of patents as well as holding several consulting positions within both Government and Fortune 500 companies.
Throughout her career, Tavonia has been passionate about bridging the wealth gap within the African American community and empowering African American startups. To this end, she has launched the $Guap ICO which is ongoing at the time of writing this article.
The $Guap cryptocurrency project is all about recycling wealth within the African American community. The project aims to reward consumers for lending their support and patronage to African American businesses. The project runs on the Ethereum blockchain and it supports institutions in Education, Philanthropy, and Commerce.
Fondly called the Bitcoin Evangelist, Elizabeth Ploshay is one of the most recognizable figures in the cryptocurrency scene. Her active involvement in the crypto community is monumental, to say the least. She has played a vital role in improving the level of Bitcoin acceptance, especially in the United States.
She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, as well as being the Secretary of the Board. She also serves as an advisor on both Coin Congress and the BitGive Foundation. She was previously an Account Manager at BitPay Inc. where she played a great role in introducing charities, politicians, and NGOs to Bitcoin.
Using experiences gained from her background in policy making and grassroots activism she has managed to create a lasting impact within the crypto community in such a short space of time. She is an alumnus of Wheaton College, Illinois, where she graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science.
Maxine Ryan is the quintessential example of someone who took a bold career step and had it paid off. Six months prior to her graduation, Maxine dropped out of college to pursue an idea. That idea was Bitspark, the first ever blockchain remittance platform for cash-in and cash-out business transactions. Launched in Hong Kong, the Bitspark ICO raised over $1.4 Million. The company has since gone on to open offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
At just 25, she is one of the youngest Co-founders in the blockchain community. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bitspark. She was raised in Hong Kong and is of Chinese and Australian heritage.
Galia Benartzi is a genuine Technology and Economics guru. Prior to her role in being a co-founder of Bancor, she co-founded Particle Code Inc. as was a Venture Partner at Founders Fund. Particle Code Inc. is a mobile app code writing and deployment platform. Founders Fund is a reputable Silicon Valley-based Venture Capital firm.
Bancor is one of the highest grossing cryptocurrency ICOs of all time, raking in $153 million. Galia is a co-founder of the Bancor project and shuttles between Israel, the United States, and Switzerland. She is a firm advocate of women’s participation in the blockchain space. Galia is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University.
These are just some of the women who are making a tremendous impact on the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry. While the industry certainly has a higher male presence, women have been part of and continue to be part of the growth and advancement of the market.
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