There’s been a large movement of people into blockchain over the past few years, likely due to the lucrative and challenging nature of the space, perfect for professionals that want to maximize their contribution towards challenging the status quo. Helping encourage this trend to continue is important, especially in regards to attracting professional women to the space. My belief is that having the right people is key; only with the best team can you achieve your greatest goals, create the best products, and best serve your customers — and ultimately, the best teams include women.
As an example, some of the very top thought leaders in blockchain are female. In fact, there are lots of exceptional women that have really made their mark on the space, ranging with anything from evangelizing adoption to spearheading innovative companies that are pushing the envelope and setting the industry’s agenda. There is truly a positive, female wave in blockchain. Let’s take a look at 3 of the many women who are leading this charge, in no specific order.
1 — Elizabeth Stark
Elizabeth Stark is the Co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, the company spearheading development of the Bitcoin Lightning Network. The Lightning Network is essentially a Layer 2 scaling solution for Bitcoin, allowing users to utilize payment channels and payment routing with immense speed and low fees, bypassing the low TPS and occasionally congested Bitcoin mainchain.
By leading Lightning Labs and the development of the Lightning Network, Stark is helping Bitcoin reach a point where it can be adopted by the masses for a wide range of small and large retail purchases, e.g. at coffee shops, electronic retailers, and so much more.
Furthermore, Elizabeth Stark is a fellow at Coin Center, the leading organization within the space that’s aiming to educate regulators about blockchain technology and digital assets, ensuring reasonable and perhaps favorable regulation.
In addition to all of the above, Stark holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard and has taught at Stanford and Yale. It’s clear that Elizabeth Stark is a highly valued contributor to the blockchain space.
2 — Galia Benartzi
Galia Benartzi is the Co-founder and Head of Business Development for Bancor, an innovative company that has created a wholly decentralized liquidity network and protocol, and that has introduced the concept of ‘Smart Tokens’ to the blockchain space. Smart Tokens are inherently liquid, being backed by ETH and other tokens, e.g. BNT, which they can be converted into at any time through their decentralized smart contract, with price calculated based on the token’s reserve balance and its supply. Smart Tokens entirely remove dependency on an active market of buyers and sellers at a centralized or even decentralized exchange. Thus far, Bancor’s network has processed a total of over $1.5 billion dollars in conversions, an obviously impressive number.
Benartzi has a wide range of experience outside of Bancor as well, having previously successfully exited two of her tech startups, most notably selling Mytopia to 888 for $18 million dollars.
All in all, with Galia Benartzi’s blockchain and wider FinTech and entrepreneurial experience, she is clearly a valued asset to the blockchain space and one to look out for.
3 — Sally Eaves
Sally Eaves is a woman of many professional talents, having applied her craft in a multitude of senior positions at leading tech companies, ranging from Chief Technological Officer to Global Strategic Advisor and Practicing Professor. She’s an accomplished author and keynote speaker, regularly appearing at blockchain and wider tech conferences to evangelize the benefits of disrupting technologies when applied as solutions to societal problems and more.
Currently, Eaves sits on the Forbes Technology Council, an exclusive invitation-only group for senior tech executives. Sally Eaves’ current work is increasing the knowledge of emerging technology for businesses and governments, easing knowledge barriers and encouraging adoption. You’ll also find her actively engaged in a variety of different blockchain startups and various other foundations as an advisor or mentor.
I think it’s fairly clear that Sally Eaves is, alongside the others listed, a true asset to the entire blockchain space; I doubt anyone will contest that fact. Her value is reflected even further by the ‘traditional’ recognition her work has received, earning her a spot on the shortlist for UK IT Woman of the Year Business Role Model Award, as well as having won her the Decade of Women’s FrontierWomen50 Award.
The Importance Of (Female) Thought Leaders
It is incredibly important that individuals such as Stark, Benartzi, and Eaves spread their knowledge, both to businesses, customers, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and lawmakers. Only with knowledge about blockchain technology can it be adopted and regulated properly, and these thought leaders are spreading just that. In general, knowledge leads to maturity, something which the blockchain space desperately needs to grow.
As for the female aspect, historically, finance has been favorable towards men. In later times, this has started to change as seen with the appointments of Christine Lagarde to lead the IMF, previously Janet Yellen for the Federal Reserve, and Inga Beale for Lloyd’s of London. With the emerging industry of blockchain-specific FinTech, we seem to have not fallen into these traditions of old; this is a good thing. I am not a fan of quotas, and as such, I hope we can encourage this natural trend of unforced diversity in the blockchain space.
To reiterate one of my earlier points: having the right people is key; only with the best team can you achieve your greatest goals, create the best products, and best serve your customers — and ultimately, the best teams include women.