In the traditional worlds of STEM and finance, women can find glass ceilings, male-dominated social structures, frustrating inequalities in salary, opportunity, and subtle prejudice. Women fight an uphill battle in these industries in order to reach leadership positions.
While these frustrating misconceptions are undoubtedly alive in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sector, women like ShapeShift’s COO Lisa Loud, see crypto as an environment that is ripe with opportunity for women. Crypto is still a nascent industry, and she sees a space for women to establish themselves in its vanguard.
Women have long been among the movers and shakers of the crypto space, and are filling more and more leading roles as the industry continues to gain steam. Below are just a few of the women who are transforming the face of crypto and driving it forward to bring about mass adoption.
- Elizabeth Stark
- Meltem Demirors
- Lisa Loud
- Elena Sinelnikova
- Naomi Brockwell
- Rachael Horwitz
- Laura Shin
- Catherine Coley
- Caitlin Long
Elizabeth Stark is the Co-Founder of Lightning Labs, a company that creates software to power the Lightning Network. She received her Juris Doctor from Harvard, has taught at Stanford and Yale, and continues to develop never-before-seen blockchain technology advancements. Lightning’s potential to change the blockchain technology ecosystem is enormous. The off-chain transaction structure that Stark’s team is helping to build has the chance to solve the scalability and transaction speed issues faced on the Bitcoin blockchain.
“Cryptocurrency has reached a point of inevitability.” This was stated by Demirors last summer, as she spoke before Congress (starts at 5:10:00) on Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra. Demirors is the Chief Strategy Officer of CoinShares, a digital asset management firm that handles over $800 million from investors. In the last six years, she’s built three investment firms and invested in over 150 cryptocurrency-focused companies across 30 countries.
Lisa Loud joined ShapeShift in January as our new Chief Operations Officer, heading up our engineering, marketing, and international expansion efforts. She’s been an engineering lead at tech giants like Apple and Oracle, helped lead PayPal’s launch into the Canadian market, and became PayPal’s Head of Merchant Acquisition. She then joined BitMex as the company’s CMO.
Elena Sinelnikova is the Founder of CryptoChicks, a small meetup group that grew into an internationally self-financed non-profit. The organization has educated thousands of women on cryptocurrency and blockchain tech, as well as AI. They’ve helped hundreds of women find jobs, and now have hackathons and established chapters in Dubai, Pakistan, Switzerland, Canada, the U.S., and the Bahamas.
Naomi Brockwell is a podcaster, award-winning producer, panel facilitatory, and MC. She’s hosted major blockchain conferences like Bitcoin 2019 in San Francisco, and has been producing blockchain tech and economics content on her YouTube channel NBTV since 2013. Subscribe to Naomi’s YouTube channel for videos and interviews about blockchain, technology and the impact they have on the world.
Rachael Horwitz, the VP of Communications at Coinbase, was brought on to help tell the story of digital currencies, and help the emerging technology break into the mainstream. Raechel’s career path has seen her at tech giants like Twitter, helping them develop their narrative, and at Facebook, where she was a Director of Technology Communications.
When it comes to many crypto and blockchain tech communities, Laura Shin is a household name. She was a senior editor at Forbes in 2017 and 2018 and became the first mainstream journalist to cover cryptocurrency and blockchain technology full-time. She produces Unchained and Unconfirmed, top tier podcasts chock-full of great content from the crypto space.
Catherine Coley is the CEO of Binance US, Binance’s regulated entity created specifically to serve users in the United States. Coley’s extensive experience includes foreign trading and sales with Morgan Stanley in the UK and Hong Kong, acting as foreign exchange advisor to Silicon Valley Bank, and heading up institutional XRP liquidity at Ripple. She’s also one of the co-founders of WAM: Women and Money, an organization that connects women to discuss earning, investing, and responsible use of money.
Caitlin Long is the Founder and CEO of Avanti Bank, a bank created to cater to the cryptocurrency space as a bridge between government, big institutions, and the crypto ecosystem. Caitlin has over 20 years of Wall Street experience, was a member of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force from 2018–2019, and helped push regulation that made Wyoming the most crypto-friendly state in the US.
Happy International Women’s Day
These are just a few of the many women who are paving the way for mass adoption in crypto. From speaking to governments and educating women around the world, to crafting groundbreaking technology for much-needed infrastructure, these women are showing us that crypto is not just for men, and in fact, benefits greatly from the women who step into it.
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