For a long time, gender diversity has been an issue in most industries, including the crypto space. Since its inception, the crypto industry has been considered a male-dominated sector. However, the narrative in the cryptosphere is gradually changing. More women are getting into this space as investors, founders or employees, and this trend is already bearing fruit.
For instance, a 2022 crypto diversity report by Forex Suggest showed that all of the 30 biggest crypto companies on their list had at least one female board member. Research showed that 49% of women prefer to invest in cryptocurrency, and 19.7% of women are involved in trading. BlockFi also conducted a survey showing that one in 10 women picked cryptocurrencies as their first investment. Further, female Generation Z and Millennials new to investing are willing to put their money in crypto before anything else.
Women are already succeding in crypto
As a board member of a crypto company, I’m seeing a growing number of women get involved in building crypto infrastructure in important roles, from founders and executives to marketers, managers and developers. They are having a global impact and are showing that women can succeed in the crypto space. All it takes is the right mindset, the right skills and taking action.
Here are a few examples of influential women who have been driving different changes in the crypto world. (Neither my company nor I have any ties with these women or their companies.)
- Katie Haun
Katie Haun’s story is an inspiration to all women out there currently in industries other than financial technology. The former federal prosecutor owns a US$1.5 billion cryptocurrency fund, Haun Ventures. It’s the largest debut fund ever raised by a female-founded venture capitalist firm.
Haun started her career as an attorney and later participated in designing and teaching the first-ever course on “Digital Currency and Cybercrime” at Stanford Law School, from which she graduated. Prior to striking out on her own, she joined Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner. She has also been a board member for major Web3 platforms such as Coinbase and OpenSea.
Recently, Haun’s VC firm led a US$11 million round for a Web3 community platform, Highlight. It also led a US$50 million round for another NFT startup, Zora Labs.
- Maggie Love
Maggie Love is the co-founder and director of the W3B Cloud, an ecosystem that runs high-performance data centers for blockchain applications. In 2019 Maggie joined ConsenSys, an Ethereum blockchain software company, before co-founding W3B Cloud. It’s now going public at a US$1.25 billion valuation.
She also founded SheFi, a platform offering education and community to women looking to enter the crypto world. She often describes the ultimate goal of SheFi as the provision of crypto literacy to help women understand how DeFi works. Consequently, they’re empowered to invest in or work in the crypto market.
- Yi He
Yi He is the chief marketing officer of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. She was recently assigned a new role in the company’s venture arm as the head of Binance Labs.
Yi started her career in the entertainment industry before joining OKCoin in 2014, taking up a branding and marketing strategy role. She successfully helped OKCoin obtain about 60% of the Chinese market share.
In 2017, she joined Changpeng Zhao, a former colleague and now co-founder of Binance. Yi has since played a key role in growing Binance, handling marketing operations management, social media management, branding management, and public relations.
Benefits of a crypto career
Why is the crypto market becoming more attractive to women? In my opinion, these are the key reasons why:
- The crypto industry’s innovations and rapid growth
The number of crypto users is growing at about 80% annually. Consequently, the industry innovates at high speed, creating plenty of opportunities.
The cake is big enough that women no longer need to play minor roles in the industry as the case has been in the TradFi space. Women in the crypto industry are now coding, marketing, making policies, teaching, founding companies and investing. Overall, increased opportunities in the industry have allowed women the space to enter, overcome stereotypes, and explore male-dominated roles.
- Blockchain’s principles of decentralization
Decentralization is the core principle of the decentralized finance (DeFi) system. As the name suggests, it means transferring authority and responsibility from a central party such as an individual, corporation, or group. Decentralization is intended to enhance equality, transparency, and accessibility of financial services.
As a result, women are increasingly joining the crypto space to take advantage of the DeFi system to access broader financial tools to supplement income. Because blockchain is open access and available to anyone worldwide, more women can join the space, from anywhere.
What crypto employers look for
To bring more women into the crypto space, they must have the right mindset and skills. From my experience, anyone who wants to get started should be willing to learn and invest in sharpening and expanding their skill set. One should also take a step further to build a portfolio and network with other blockchain professionals. Meeting the right people, especially while starting your career, can open new opportunities.
Crypto employers are looking for a wide range of hard and soft skills. They include programming, risk management, data analysis, software development, UX design, business development, sales marketing and content writing. Moreover, age, gender and background do not matter, provided you can learn/train and deliver according to the industry’s standards.
Is a crypto career still viable in Crypto Winter?
A large portion of 2022 was dominated by Crypto Winter, which has led to many layoffs that continue into 2023. While the situation may seem nerve-wracking in the short term, consider the industry’s longer-term prospects.
More institutional investors are increasing their crypto portfolios. A recent survey has also shown that about 56% of consumers are still interested in buying cryptocurrency in 2023. It shows there is great growth potential in the crypto industry. Therefore, I would still encourage women or anyone interested in entering this industry to keep honing their skills and keep networking.
Another big career benefit of crypto is the industry’s flexibility. As a young industry founded on the principles of decentralization and equal access, crypto companies often have decentralized workplaces as well. Many jobs in the crypto space, such as customer service, computer programming, marketing, sales and analysis are often designed as remote jobs, which could allow women of all ages and family situations greater flexibility than a career in older and more tradition-bound industries.
Crypto is an excellent career path for women interested in tech jobs. The fintech industry may still appear male-dominated, but enthusiastic and capable women are thriving and breaking through the digital ceiling.
Crypto is an industry for the economy of the future, with loads of opportunities, and the time is ripe for more women to leave their mark on a sector whose core technology — blockchain — was founded to give all people, including women, more financial independence and freedom.