Women Power the Blockchain Industry
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are the latest innovation in technology. In fact, distributed ledger technology and its unique methods of cryptography are being referred to as internet 3.0. This is a move away from monetizing free data from consumers (internet 2.0) to consumers now being in control of their data and getting paid for the work they create. Internet 3.0 is ‘internet of value’ where value creators are now compensated for their work.
Gone are the days when people are freely giving away data which is then monetized by big corporates. That's how the titans of the internet were created in the last decade; think Facebook, Google and all the other social media channels that turn your free data into money.
Blockchain has moved from being a buzzword into mainstream everyday language. More and more people are waking up to the new possibilities and opportunities blockchain can bring. And perhaps now is the best time to start learning how you can benefit from this new wave of technology.
There is excitement about the opportunities blockchain presents, nearing a pivotal moment in history. And while this brand-new field is still heavily dominated by men, women are quickly closing in and making names for themselves.
In fact, the blockchain space is the ideal place for women who want to make an impact and shape the future in the advent of ‘the internet of value.’
Since the premise of blockchain is about democratizing and giving all participants an equal and transparent playing field, this lends itself as the perfect place for women to make a real and lasting impact on this infant industry.
Blockchain no doubt is here to stay, and even traditional industries reluctant to change such as banking and insurance, are waking up to the fact that they need to pay attention to the changes blockchain can bring about.
While almost every tech sector is heavily dominated by men, women now have an opportunity to enter this dynamic industry and actively contribute to and shape the future of this technology.
Why women need to be a part of the blockchain movement
It’s important that women are a part of this movement so they too can shape the next era of change.
The lack of women in blockchain has nothing to do with lack of skill but lack of awareness about the technology and lack of a clear path into the emerging industries related to blockchain. It is important to encourage women to become active in the cryptocurrency space and to lead by example.
The blockchain is not just the preserve of the finance industry which is heavily dominated by men. Blockchain can disrupt every industry known to humankind, including those traditionally dominated by women such as education, healthcare, social and other non-government sectors, which is all the more reason for them to get involved.
With the potential use cases of blockchain-based products being particularly vast, so are opportunities for women. Many professionals in the industry hold various roles. Although technical skill-sets are most in demand, women in blockchain can take up various other roles as well – such as academic, commercial, regulatory, and public relations.
The great news is that there is an increasing number of women entering the blockchain space. Already, women are making big waves in blockchain, and leading by example. We must shine a light on their achievements because it can only help to bring more women into this field and show support and encouragement to those already breaking boundaries. Here are some of the notable women in blockchain:
- Toni Lane Casserly, CEO of CoinTelegraph: Toni is co-founder of one the biggest online publications for cryptocurrency
- Galia Benartzi, co-founder in charge of business development of Bancor. Bancor is a digital token platform, one of the most successful initial coin offerings in history.
- Fereshteh Forough, founder and CEO at Code to Inspire: Born as an Afghan refugee in Iran, Fereshteh went on to found Code to Inspire, an after-school program that teaches girls in Afghanistan how to code and aims to decrease the gender gap in computer science fields in Afghanistan.
How can we get more women involved in blockchain?
As a female tech-founder, working in the blockchain space, I’m often asked how I came into the blockchain space and the answer is simple: I followed my curiosity.
I spent over a decade in finance and banking working closely with technology teams. During conversations, I would sometimes hear the word ‘blockchain’ bandied around which piqued my interest. Fuelled by my curiosity I started to look into this field but only actively jumped in a year ago when I decided I wanted to become a vocal part of this rising industry.
I realized that the absence of female mentors can create a barrier to entry, but this should be seen as an opportunity for future female leaders. Many women are unfamiliar with blockchain technology and obtaining technical knowledge can serve as a challenge, especially when the information is varied and scattered across the internet.
The only way you can participate and make a difference is to get involved. Here are my tips for getting more involved in blockchain, if you are a beginner.
- Join local meetups for blockchain
Being based in London, I am part of multiple ‘Women in Blockchain’ groups where we meet on a monthly basis and share our learning on the latest topics and trends in the blockchain space. Sometimes we invite mentors and speakers to share their experiences to learn from.
- Attend conferences
There are hundreds of conferences happening globally on blockchain. Spend the day immersing yourself in learning about blockchain, talking to the exhibitors and other attendees. See where your curiosity is piqued and where you would like to learn more.
- Join a start-up in the blockchain space
If you’re looking for a new opportunity, join a start-up in the blockchain space. This is the best way to get hands-on learning about this technology. You don’t have to be a tech expert but you can still help to build and shape products when you understand the basics of how blockchain works.
- Attend courses and seminars on blockchain
Similar to attending meetups, attending workshops on this topic will help give you deeper insights into how this industry works and to network with other members of the industry.
- Reach out to mentors and role models
I believe we can all learn from each other so don’t hesitate to reach out to other women working in blockchain and ask for their help. It’s important that women support other women onto the blockchain ladder especially when just starting out. If you are already working in this space, think about mentoring other women or speak at events to raise the profile of women working in blockchain.
We can collectively help to create an atmosphere and environment which encourages more women to consider careers and opportunities in blockchain in the following ways:
- Diversity and inclusion: Reaching out and providing opportunities for those who lack it
- Disruption through education: Bringing blockchain education to different communities
- Networking opportunities: Bridging information gaps to people with all educational and professional backgrounds
This is an industry where anyone with a great idea can disrupt. The possibilities for women are endless and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing things women do to supercharge this emerging industry.
Sukhi Jutla is the author of 3 books and the co-founder of MarketOrders, the online B2B marketplace for gold jewelry and diamonds. As a female tech ambassador, Sukhi is a regular keynote speaker, passionate about supporting female entrepreneurship. She is an IBM Blockchain Foundation Developer and her efforts have been recognized by a number of industry awards including the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, We Are The City Rising Stars Award, Management Todays '35 Women under 35' and listed as one of the Top 100 Asians in UK Tech. In April 2018 Sukhi made global headlines when she became the World’s First #1 Bestselling ‘Blockchain’ Author. Connect with Sukhi here:
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