The gender gap in the cryptocurrency world might be notable, with more men than women around as users and leaders. According to CoinDance, only 14.2% of Bitcoin users are women; but this gap is smaller day by day and worldwide. Women in crypto are already there, and they’re doing marvelous jobs, indeed.
On its last internal study, CoinMarketCap, one of the most popular cryptocurrency services, registered a 43.24% growth among female users worldwide. Europe and the Americas even surpassed that figure, with Romania and Greece leading.
And all this goes beyond the mere use. A lot of women are already working in cryptocurrency or blockchain firms, and even leading them. Let’s check some remarkable female personalities inside the crypto-world.
Ms. Gallippi is maybe one of the earliest and more relevant women in crypto. She’s the founder and current Executive Director of BitGive, considered the first Bitcoin non-profit organization since May 2013.
BitGive has partnered so far with NGOs like Save the Children, The Water Project, TECHO, Medic Mobile, Direct Relief, and GiveDirectly; by making possible donations through BTC. Besides, its flagship platform, GiveTrack, let anyone start their own charitable project and verify the donations with blockchain technology.
Before BitGive, Ms. Gallippi got a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from Virginia Tech and gathered 14 years of experience working with non-profit organizations, especially related to environmental care. She’s led projects for Sacramento Tree Foundation, Conservation Strategy Group, California Urban Forests Council, and Forbes Nonprofit Council.
As a side note, we can say that she’s the sister of Tony Gallippi, co-founder of BitPay.
In 2014, Ms. Boring founded the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), considered now the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. They currently have eight active initiatives and working groups related to the improvement of the crypto-world in the United States and internationally.
Among them, we have the Token Alliance, the Smart Contracts Alliance, the State Working Group, and the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council. All of them try to promote the practical uses of these technologies while paying attention to the best practices and regulations.
Besides, any company that is “investing in or innovating with blockchain technology” can join the Chamber. Key members are Accenture, Block.One, Bloq, Deloitte, PNB Paribas, Citi, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, Ripple, CoinMarketCap, Stellar, and Visa.
Previous to the Chamber, Ms. Boring got a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of Florida and started her career as a legislative analyst in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was later a TV host for an international finance program. She’s also a blockchain adviser on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD’s) and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
She’s co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, a company founded in 2016 to develop “software that powers the Lightning Network (LN)”. This is a decentralized protocol on top of Bitcoin and Litecoin; which works to make instant and cheaper payments with these currencies by using their own “channels”, outside the main blockchain.
Lightning Labs has four main products so far: Pool (marketplace for LN channels), Loop (to keep the channels opened indefinitely), Daemon (an LN node), and Neutrino (an LN light client). Among its investors are Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Jacqueline Reses (Square), Charlie Lee (Litecoin), Kevin Hartz (Eventbrite), Vlad Tenev (Robinhood), and the Digital Currency Group.
Despite the main purpose of this firm, Stark isn’t really a developer herself. She has a law degree from Harvard, and she used to teach about P2P technologies, open-source software, privacy, and Internet at Stanford and Yale. She’s also a fellow at the cryptocurrency nonprofit Coin Center, and an advisor at Chia Network, the new blockchain that’s being built by Bram Cohen (BitTorrent). Totally, a woman in crypto.
Believe it or not, one of the main development sources for Bitcoin is the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), or, more specifically, its Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) led by Ms. Neha Narula. She’s the first software engineer on our list, if not the last one.
Neha it’s been the director of DCI since 2016, barely a year after its initial launch. They have very interesting projects around the blockchain and cryptocurrency world, like blockchain labs for students, a “pool detective” to monitor mining pools, or an Open Solar platform to use blockchain in solar projects. They also have investigations about zero-knowledge proofs for privacy, a decentralized web, and central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
Beyond this, one of the most remarkable things from DCI is the fact that they are continually contributing to Bitcoin development through the support of Bitcoin Core, the most popular Bitcoin client. Cory Fields, one of the prominent Bitcoin devs, was hired in 2015 by DCI along with Wladimir van deer Laan (main Bitcoin maintainer) just to take care of the Bitcoin network. And Thaddeus Dryja, one of the Lightning Network creators, also belongs to DCI.
Long before this, Neha worked as a Senior Software Engineer for Google and was a Data Scientist for the news aggregator Digg. Now, she’s also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council on Blockchain and has given a TED talk on the Future of Money.
Anyone can contribute to Bitcoin Core development on GitHub since this is open-source software. Even the women in crypto. However, you won’t see an awful lot of women there: Bitcoin devs use to be either anonymous or men.
Now, among those +700 devs from every corner of the world, we also have Ms. Amiti Uttarwar, a software engineer from Carnegie Mellon University who’s dedicating full-time to Bitcoin Core development. This is thanks to a $150,000 grant for 12 months provided by OKCoin and BitMEX.
Inside the Bitcoin Core’s client on GitHub, Amiti is working on the P2P layer and some privacy features, like identifying how nodes can give away sensitive information. She already has 73 commits on the code and counting so far, after more than a year of work in Bitcoin Core.
That’s because, previously to the grant, Amiti was financed to do the same for some months by Xapo, the company behind the namesake cryptocurrency wallet and exchange. An interesting transition for her, since she worked only for private software companies before 2019, including Coinbase, Simbi, and Wanelo.
More women in crypto
These female cryptocurrency leaders are just a sample of a large group. Other names we can mention, in no particular order, are Elizabeth Kukka (Executive Director at Ethereum Classic Labs), Christina Lomazzo (Blockchain Lead at UNICEF), Kathleen Breitman (Tezos Co-founder), Arianna Simpson (Managing Director at Autonomous Partners/ASP), Gloria Zhao (Bitcoin Core developer), Amber Shook (Founder and CEO at Zebra Global), Lucy Gazmararian (PwC Crypto & Fintech Advisory Director), Meltem Demirors (Chief Strategy Officer at Coinshares) and Ani Itireleng (Founder of Satoshi Centre in Africa).
Undoubtedly, women in crypto are bound to keep growing in the next years. One of them is writing this from our Alfacash, after all.
Originally published at https://blog.alfa.cash on December 17, 2020.