The world of cryptocurrency is a far cry from the stuffy and suited world of other forms of investment and finance. But, the main difference isn’t that the payments are faster; the industry more exciting and those involved are the pioneers of the digital world. The main difference is that cryptocurrency isn’t the boy’s club that other forms of finance are and has plenty of women working in the sphere. The nature of cryptocurrency opens itself up to being anyone’s game and not being subject to some of the biases that the previous ways of working with money tended to lean towards. So, who are two of the forerunner female figures in the world of cryptocurrency?
Maxine Ryan – Bitspark
Bitspark founder Maxine Ryan is an example of a pioneering woman in the industry. The company Bitspark is based on the blockchain ledger principle and allows people to send currency overseas without a bank. Ryan has no formal tech training and quit her international relations degree six months shy of graduating to help those low-income workers in her native Hong Kong that would benefit from what blockchain technology can do financially. Ryan helped close the gap between the fledgling financial services systems in place in parts of Asia and the potential that blockchain technology offered to create a solution to the problem. But Ryan isn’t the only female forerunner in blockchain. Spice girl Mel B accepted Bitcoin as payment for her single back in 2013 – long before the cryptocurrency hit the mainstream and during the time when people suspected it of being too volatile.
Connie Gallippi – BitGive
“Why do you think there are not a lot of women in Bitcoin?” Connie Gallippi is often asked, being the founder of not-for-profit blockchain company BitGive. Her answer is simple: there are plenty of women but they just aren’t given the exposure that men are. So, to remedy this, Gallippi began compiling lists of the women making waves in the sector and sending it to event organisers – for their largely all-male panels. She also argues that the more women that are seen in the sector, the more likely it will be that more women will become involved with the sector. Gallippi is strong in the belief that, in order to get more women seen to be in tech, it’s down to other women to help pull them through the ranks and show that they do exist and are prevalent in the field despite misconceptions otherwise.
The peer-to-peer network of cryptocurrency makes sense to be less gendered than other methods of finance from days past – and, indeed, technology itself is hoping to close the gender gap in the industry. The very basis of cryptocurrency eschews any of the tethers that the old world monetary systems were tied down by. Not just in the way in which the cryptocurrency’s blockchain works without the need for intermediaries, governments, or banks – but because the field is open to anyone to get involved. The view that cryptocurrency is a field dominated by men is one that should immediately be dispelled, and the women making waves in the industry are a testament to that fact.