In today’s blockchain environment, the number of women working in the industry is far lower than in general technology fields. It’s no surprise that what you now read about women in blockchain invariably focuses on this stark gender gap.
Additionally, a McKinsey Report revealed that computing roles for women in US tech companies dropped off significantly in the past few decades. Melinda Gates and other philanthropists are developing programs to better engage girls in technology fields. Yet many point to the still dismal numbers of female team members globally. The report went on to explain how a low level of diversity may even affect a company’s bottom line:
“Diverse teams, including those with greater gender diversity, are on average more creative, innovative, and, ultimately, are associated with greater profitability.”
On the blockchain industry front, you have an ecosystem bursting with innovation – and populated primarily by men. But that’s not to say that many women aren’t blazing trails in blockchain technology today. They are. While their numbers may be few, their contributions are impressive.
Today’s Women in Blockchain
Let us introduce you to some of the most promising female entrepreneurs in the cryptosphere. You may be surprised at what these global women in blockchain have been up to, and we hope you take inspiration from their groundbreaking work! This represents just a tiny sampling of the women active today in blockchain technology. But we hope it sheds some much-needed light on the women who are making it happen.
Three of HedgeTrade’s writers, Sara Joudrey, Sarah Kordyban, and Mary Thibodeau, put this piece together. Here at HedgeTrade, we value diversity. We truly enjoy getting to know a growing network of blockchain entrepreneurs, as well as crypto traders and enthusiasts, from all over the world and from all walks of life.
We often like to say that HedgeTrade is “Built for traders, by traders”. In keeping with that line of thought, this article was created “For the ladies, by the ladies” 🙂 Respect.
Now, on to these leading women in blockchain!
Faith Chimerem Titus
Faith Is the Founder and CEO of eWealthAtlantic, blockchain technology and digital academy based in Nigeria. She’s also the Co-founder and Regional Director of Blockchain Nigeria User Group and Chapter Lead for the Government Blockchain Association of Port Harcourt. Faith is a practicing, chartered Surveyor and Business Entrepreneur with a ten-year demonstrated career history in the public and private sectors. She holds a Master’s degree in International Oil and Gas Management from the University of Dundee, UK. After her studies, Faith returned home to Nigeria to put her wide set of skills to use for her country.
One of her projects, Blockchain Nigeria User Group, holds local blockchain conferences and seminars. Moreover, they curate learning resources to help local people learn about cryptocurrencies, trading, and wealth creation and management. Faith told us that educating people in practice is essential. Because people want to know about blockchain, and it’s important, she said, that people learn how to implement blockchain technology in their primary business operations. By learning how to use it, they may better achieve financial enhancements and experience the impact first hand.
With all this going on, Faith has another side project. This one is a blockchain-based survey and research platform with a focus on data validation on the blockchain. She has seen in her region a globally noted lack of trusted and accurate information. Faith recognizes that this is a challenge that blockchain has the potential to solve.
Faith is building trust within her local community. Her work helps to boost the idea of trustless governance. What this means for Faith and her country is a near eradication of corruption at different institutional jurisdictions.
“Blockchain technology was born for Africa.” – Faith Titus
Faith Titus on Twitter
Contributor – Mary Thibodeau
Stellar doesn’t even begin to describe the one and only Joyce Kim (notice what we did there). Joyce is an inspiration, truly embodying that women can do it all mentality. As an expert in the cryptocurrency space, she continues to present her ideas for this industry to the UN, multiple government organizations and banks around the world.
Joyce continues to invest as an angel on many crypto-related projects and ICOs and has a background that truly reflects her doer of goodness. Prior to her work in the crypto community, Joyce also participated in pro bono work representing immigrant women.
But where does our stellar reference come to play? Stellar is the name of the organization that Joyce Kim previously co-founded (and formerly directed). This organization is classified as a nonprofit with the aim to build a decentralized platform, that is truly accessible to EVERYONE. As a nonprofit, Stellar continues to aid in social issues such as aiding in projects in South Africa to help young girls create secure savings accounts.
For projects like these, Stellar truly earned its name by being the first crypto platform to improve the financial situations in less developed countries. This was only possible through the lower costs that blockchain technology enables. Large organizations like IBM have more recently stepped in to aid in the development of this open-source payment network.
Joyce Kim on Twitter
Contributor – Sarah Kordyban
For three years, Heidi Chakos of Crypto Tips has been providing catchy, relevant and thought-provoking content through her cryptocurrency-focused YouTube channel. With more than 140 videos, over a million views, and 56,000 subscribers, Heidi has captured the attention of those crypto enthusiasts looking for YouTube learning without strings attached.
In other words, Crypto Tips does not do paid reviews for crypto projects, and the channel is free from paid promotions. This really sets it apart from most YouTube crypto influencers and ensures that the focus is on quality of information, accuracy, and the most important industry trends.
Heidi discovered Bitcoin while searching for ways to invest that were outside of the heavily manipulated gold and silver markets. At the time, she also wanted to find ways that would enable her to “exit the fiat currency system and poor economic decisions made by the Federal Reserve.”
Ms. Chakos has built up her channel because, as she told us, “it’s incredibly important that more people get exposed to WHY cryptocurrencies exist. Most of the talking heads in this space are so obsessed with price, but that’s only scratching the surface.”
Heidi believes that the real value behind cryptocurrencies lies in their disruptive nature. Legacy financial systems have been long overdue for disruption in her mind. She feels that someday, everyone will be thankful that voluntary, free, and open systems exist, giving everyone a choice to exit the government-controlled fiat system.
It’s Heidi’s goal to keep people up to date on the latest crypto events, what to watch out for (such as scams and phishing attempts), and how events in the global economy affect the cryptosphere. As such, her Crypto Tips YouTube channel offers videos on a wide array of crypto-related themes, including:
- “Bitcoin Futures: What You Need to Know”
- “Are You an Early Adopter?”
- “Famous Bitcoin Addresses”
While the titles are indeed quite catchy, each and every video is crafted to provide about ten to fifteen minutes of high-quality educational content on bitcoin, blockchain, altcoins, and the community at large. Chakos delivers on her mission of providing a valuable resource for shill-free blockchain education.
Heide Chakos on Twitter
Contributor – Mary Thibodeau
When you think of social blockchain, the name Raine Revere is likely one that is top of mind. Notably one of the most powerful women in the crypto community industry, Raine is recognized for her contributions as a cryptocurrency engineer and co-founder of Maiden, a Finance and Blockchain firm. Maiden was created in response to the lack of diversity that was currently seen in this industry.
Since the blockchain world is still relatively new, Raine advocates for experimentation while the industry is still young and agile. With expected growth looming, she makes the case that awareness about who currently holds power in the crypto community was a must.
With these aspirations came the creation of Maiden. This company brought rise to a more diverse ecosystem. It was made possible after Raine pointed out that blockchain’s decentralized ecosystem was currently existing in a caucasian, male-dominated space. Raine demonstrated that regardless of your ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, you could have a voice in the crypto industry. With her help, she continues to steer the industry (as a whole) in a more inclusive direction.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. From the beginning, Raine Revere quickly realized just how big of a game-changer crypto really was. So, to get her foot in the door, she began taking courses and embarked. What resulted was a four-month deep dive into all things crypto. With these efforts came her work as the MVP of Prism. Her help in the development of this digital asset management platform provided even greater security for the Ethereum community and the development of smart contracts.
Is that all? Not quite. When Raine isn’t disrupting this growing industry, she continues to inspire others by speaking at blockchain conferences and panels around the world. She continues to make connections with those that share her affinity for social impact in the blockchain community. For these reasons, it was a no brainer that Raine be included in our powerful women in blockchain.
Raine Revere on Twitter
Contributor – Sarah Kordyban
Adventurer Christine Perry once participated in a Skydiving World Record event with 116 other women. The teamwork, organizational skills, quick decision making, and ability to freefall were all skills she came away with from that experience. They’ve also carried over and have helped Perry in her pursuits within the blockchain technology realm.
Christine has degrees in Computer Science from the University of Maryland. Following her education, she started out as a software developer building full-stack, production-ready systems as a Department of Defense contractor.
Christine started with SKALE Labs in December of 2018 after deciding to pivot her career to the blockchain industry. In a Medium article, she wrote to explain her career change, saying that she “completely understood the value in decentralization and disintermediating industries.”
Additionally, Perry found more value in engineering that truly served the needs of the end-user. She had experienced a disconnect In her work at the DoD:
“I recognized my lack of communication with customers as serving to prevent my understanding of what really mattered to them and hinder my ability to build great products“
So she launched her career developing in the blockchain industry as a solutions engineer. At SKALE Labs, Perry’s goal is to expand blockchain usability with scaling solutions like elastic sidechains, which help simplify the link between blockchain and real-world usage.
Christine Perry on Twitter
Contributor: Mary Thibodeau
In our powerful women in blockchain countdown, we had to include the one and only Naomi Brockwell. In addition to being a blockchain influencer, Brockwell is a well-known actress, film producer, and opera singer. While her expertise touches many areas, we attribute her influence in the crypto community largely to her YouTube channel, NBTV.
This channel shows that crypto can be fun and exciting for anyone and everyone. Her channel is notable as it continues to spark interest for newer members of this industry. She creates fun music videos and tutorials for blockchain beginners while uncovering the public’s opinion on crypto and hosting interviews with industry leaders. Creativity is a must to stand out in this constantly growing industry. This is why “Bitcoin Girl”, a take on Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”, still remains one of the most viewed bitcoin covers and one of Naomi Brockwell’s staples.
Maybe you’d like to share your love of Blockchain with your children. Naomi Brockwell has thought of that, too. As the co-author of the children’s book Billy’s Bitcoin, she shares the story of a little boy who struggles with bullies stealing his lunch money. With the help of his dad, we learn just how blockchain really does have vast applications to our own lives (even if we aren’t a school-aged child being bullied).
Her creativity did not stop here. In 2015, she also produced a documentary titled, “Bitcoin: The End of Money as We Know It”. This documentary has continued to win multiple awards at the Amsterdam film festival. These initiatives continue to catch the eye of big names in Tech, Business, and Politics and have resulted in “Naomi Brockwell” features on many more platforms in addition to those we’ve mentioned.
Since 2013, Naomi has proved that crypto is here forever, and she continues to inspire those who might not have looked twice at blockchain technology. Therefore, in our coverage of leading women in blockchain, we could not leave the original Bitcoin Girl out of the mix. Her aspirations for decentralized banking continue to shine through all her initiatives.
Naomi Brockwell on Twitter
Contributor – Sarah Kordyban
If you were looking for an addition to your blockchain development team, it might be your dream to find someone with a PhD. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford, or a Masters in Computer Science from Harvard, or an Electrical Engineer from Caltech. Roll those all up and add accomplished author and world adventurer, and you’ve got someone resembling Elaine Ou.
Now you just need to add her experiences developing software trading systems using statistical arbitrage. She’s also created low latency financial applications, which speed up reactions to the market while increasing profitability and competitiveness.
Ms. Ou is currently a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. There, her articles cover big tech, Internet security, blockchain, and other fascinating topics, such as “Bitcoin’s Anarchy.” She’s also written for American Banker while crafting her own eclectic collection of works on her Elaine’s Idle Mind website.
Naturally, with all her knowledge and experience, Elaine spends much of her time building. While her social media profile is low key, Elaine in action is a force to be reckoned with. Recently, she presented, “How to Resist Censorship with Bitcoin” at the 2019 Magical Crypto Conference in New York City, which was held during Blockchain Week.
Elaine has also appeared in other instructional presentations, including one teaching about “Bootstrapping and Maintaining a Lightning Node.” In the past, she worked as a blockchain engineer at Global Financial Access in San Francisco.
Not impressed yet? She’s also a pilot!
Elaine Ou on Twitter
Contributor – Mary Thibodeau
In the words of Leigh Cuen’s bio on Bustle: “I hail from Orange County, California, but left my heart in Jerusalem.”
Cuen is a reporter from Coindesk with an extensive past as a journalist with a wide variety of focuses. Primarily, she is a tech reporter covering stories about blockchain technology for an array of publications. These include news outlets such as Newsweek Japan, International Business Times, and Racked. In the past, her work has graced the pages of Teen Vogue, Al Jazeera English, The Jerusalem Post, Mic, and Salon.
Outside of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, she has a track record of writing about science fiction and gender. Notable topics in this field that she wrote about include the sex industry and reproductive rights. Moreover, she has scriptwriting credits to her name from when she worked for Imperson from 2014 to 2015. She was also part of the development team on an interactive script from concept to production.
Leigh was first introduced to bitcoin in 2015. At the time, she was working at a Tel Aviv media company with a team of dark web experts who were part of elite military units. It was there she learned about Tor. Soon she was able to research there in her investigative work on sex crimes, drug markets, and other illegal activities.
In that position, her first assignment was a story about buying drugs with bitcoin. This led her down the rabbit hole of digital currencies. From there, the idea of programmable money (and not crime) became firmly rooted in her consciousness. To this day, she has an avid interest in bitcoin’s use cases and the massive development surrounding the project.
Ms. Cuen first started writing about blockchain technology when IBT Media hired her in 2017. At the time, her knowledge of the subject was small, as was the organization. In Cuen’s own words, they needed someone on staff who was willing to figure out something that they could not fully understand
Upon entering the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain, she had to dig deeper into the mechanics. Having only heard the basics of Bitcoin while she was in the Middle East, she needed to educate herself more. “I needed to get deeper into technology,” she says in an interview with BlockChannel when mentioning her transition to CoinDesk. The more she learned about it, the more she understood the biases that are present within the community.
In keeping with her style of reporting, she continuously aims to provide readers with “objective truth.” Within a world of fake news and receding journalistic standards, Leigh stands out as a respected voice in the crypto community.
Leigh Cuen on Twitter
Contributor: Sara Joudrey
While completing her MBA from Duke University, Jenia Barkanova was fortunate to work with world renown behavioral economist, Dan Ariely. During the time she spent learning from and working with Arierly in the Duke Behavioral Economics Lab, Jenia participated in running experiments on the psychology of money. The unique perspective she gained has aided her well in a new industry steeped in a new kind of money.
In addition to her knowledge of money psychology, Barkanova has carved out a career in building powerful marketing campaigns. She’s been at the forefront of marketing initiatives in just about every industry imaginable, from high tech Silicon Valley startups, to Pharma, Finance, Oil and Gas, and just about everything in between. Jenia has at companies like iMARS Group, Imagine Communications, and, more recently, Adobe. There, she guided and managed customer retention strategy for Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Education.
Barkanova’s previous marketing leadership experiences have made her a brand-building Megaforce who has put her energies into her VP Marketing role at SKALE Labs. This massive project is growing an elastic blockchain network called, SKALE Network.
Even though Jenia is currently working around the clock on a massive Network launch for SKALE Labs, she took the time to respond quickly to our request for contributions.
Ms. Barkanova was our second profile from SKALE Labs, which has seven women on the core team of twenty. Three of them hold leadership positions, and together, the seven women have roles in engineering, operations, marketing, and web development.
Jenia Barkanova on Twitter
Contributor: Mary Thibodeau
If you have the slightest interest in decentralized finance and Ethereum, subscribing to Camila Russo’s hyper informative and up-to-date newsletter on all things DeFi is a must. The Defiant, her daily email information blast, covers the intersection of finance and blockchain with a focus on money as information and financial control an important individual right.
While The Defiant is a paid newsletter, Camila also offers free content. In fact, her free daily email would blow away most decentralized finance advocates. In a recent email, she provided a weekly recap and a Monday interview, as wells a ‘dives’, ‘sums’ (summaries) and ‘bytes’ of relevant Ethereum-based information. She then goes on to curate the most interesting, recent social media postings from influencers in the industry.
Before writing about cryptocurrencies, Camila was a Bloomberg Finance Writer for over seven years. She had several roles while there, the last of which was as a Market Blogger. In this position, Russo wrote an instant commentary on the US and Latin American market moves for a live blog on Bloomberg’s terminal.
Russo attained her BS in Journalism from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and her Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. She’s also now an independent finance journalist covering multiple markets across the globe and a broad range of assets.
Currently, Russo’s primary focus is on cryptocurrencies and emerging markets, such as Argentina. An upcoming book that she’s writing in collaboration with HarperCollins has the title, “How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum”. It is available for preorder with a July 2019 release.
Ms. Russo defines The Defiant Newsletter as: “Decrypting the intersection of blockchain and finance.”
Camila Russo on Twitter
Contributor: Mary Thibodeau
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some of the leading women in blockchain. All of these ladies dedicate their careers to advancing the global adoption of cryptocurrencies. They’re also out there right now creating worldwide opportunities for people of all walks of life. We thank them for their contributions and look forward to seeing them continue to break new grounds in a budding industry.