When Olayinka Odeniran attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami back in 2018, she saw a real diversity issue in the crypto space. Just three women were speaking, of the total 88 speakers. Not only that, but they held the networking party at a gentleman’s club, a place where many women weren’t necessarily comfortable making connections.
Amber Baldet has a similar story. She’s a financial expert who gave up her spot at JP Morgan to found a crypto startup company. Amber led a team to help create Clovyr and serves on the board of a crypto company, the Zcash foundation. Although Baldet is very accomplished in crypto, she lost her seat as the speaker at a conference to a man. The worst part was that he would be talking about a subject she had taught him. It’s moments like this that highlight what has been an ongoing diversity issue women face in crypto, but it’s about to get better.
Diversity In Crypto
When you look around the crypto space, you’ll find that only 15% of the investors in Bitcoin are women. Furthermore, only five founders are women out of well over a hundred of all the top crypto companies. There are way more men in the space, so these brilliant women are fighting to change that.
Olayinka Odeniran is the founder of the Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC). Her experience those several years ago at the North American Bitcoin Conference was her motivation. She founded BWBC so that black women could support other black women.
“I started to look around, and I was seeing only a handful of people that look like me. So, I started seeking out other Black women in this space.”
Many women don’t invest in crypto due to a lack of confidence in what they know about it. Women groups like BWBC hope to bridge that gap and give more women confidence in investing. Another interesting note is that some of the women who have invested have had issues with harassment and subpar inclusion, like putting a networking party at a strip club.
Other Women In Crypto
Manasi Vora is the founder of the nonprofit Women in Blockchain (WiB). Years ago, she worked in traditional finance and became interested in Bitcoin while doing some research. But the eye-opener for her was when prime minister Narendra Modi banned many of the currency notes in India,
“That sent a lot of shockwaves across the Indian economy. The marginalized population was affected the most. And that was a pivotal moment where I started thinking about money.”
Kinjal Shah is a partner at VC Blockchain Capital. She partnered with Vora to found Komorebi Collective, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), to bring women together to invest. Members vote on investments as it gives all of them a seat at the table,
“Inclusivity needs to be a larger part of the discussion, earlier on in the conversation in crypto. I’m particularly conscious of creating safe spaces and communities for anyone to be able to participate. My hope is that Komorebi can be a part of this change.”
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