Women — not quite the demographic that comes to mind when you think of the cryptocurrency space. According to a February survey by eToro, of all the Bitcoin traders in the world, only 15% are women.
This small percentage of “women who crypto” should not be taken lightly though. They underpin important innovations in investments and technology, be they in leading new developments in the realm of coding, trading, or regulations. In an environment where women largely remain the minority, we shine a spotlight on some of the greatest achievements and contributions they’ve made to the world of crypto. Remember these names, for their significant share of voices could very well play an integral role in charting the future of crypto.
First up on the list has to be Hester Peirce, affectionately dubbed “Crypto Mom” by most in the crypto industry, and considered one of the largest proponents of crypto. A rare supportive voice emerging from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), this former lawyer is trying to lead an epochal shift at the regulatory front line and pushing for clarity and fairness in laws governing crypto businesses.
Since she was sworn in three years ago, Peirce has spoken out against several SEC rulings, one of which includes the famed Telegram “Gram” token case. It stands to reason that Peirce is concerned with the SEC potentially stifling growth in the U.S. crypto industry; she has been unreserved in her criticism of the commission’s insistence at wrongly punishing firms for the sale of tokens under the Securities Act.
Peirce continues to live up to her moniker as she encourages lawmakers to create an effective balance between ensuring investor protection from truly fraudulent companies and safeguarding the freedom of serious crypto firms to experiment with and launch new innovations.
CEO of investment firm ARK Invest, Catherine Wood, has made headlines recently for her vocal pro-Bitcoin stance. A former fund manager at AllianceBernstein, Wood founded her very own company in 2014 with only one goal in mind: to drive innovation in investments with a diversity of technological ETFs-based funds, in a time when disrupting the financial status quo was not quite a popular concept just yet.
Considered a maverick when she moved out of an established role and market, Wood’s gamble has paid off. As of February 2021, assets under management for ARK Invest’s funds reached $50 billion. Wood is confident that crypto is a viable alternative to traditional portfolio diversification strategies, especially as quantitative easing and policies that are being rolled out by the U.S. Federal Reserve paint a worrying economic future for cash holders.
A Wall Street expert with more than two decades of experience, Caitlin Long is better known for spearheading the launch of the world’s first crypto bank headquartered in the U.S., the Avanti Financial Group. The bank has since received a banking charter from the Wyoming State Banking Board.
Long was first introduced to the world of crypto in 2012, before committing herself to what would prove to be the future of finance and technologies in the years that followed. An avid believer of enabling widespread blockchain solutions in finance, Long is also contributing at the legislation level with newly sworn-in Senator Cynthia Lummis to drive greater regulatory improvements for crypto in the U.S. this year.
This seasoned financial news reporter found her calling in the crypto market after covering news on how citizens in Argentina were looking towards alternative currencies, including crypto, to circumvent the lack of U.S. greenbacks following a ban in the country before 2015. She went on to publish her very first crypto-related article on Bloomberg in 2017.
Russo is now a primary campaigner of Ethereum as she continues to drive the narrative and education on the world’s leading blockchain network and corresponding token Ether, which are typically overshadowed by the noise surrounding Bitcoin. Currently, Russo has published a paperback chronicling Ethereum’s humble beginnings, titled The Infinite Machine, and spends most of her time on DeFi-centric online publication The Defiant.
The world’s first female Bitcoin Protocol developer and engineer, Amiti Uttarwar, emerged from under the radar in 2019, proving that the technical side of crypto and blockchain technology is not just for the opposite gender. In 2019, Uttarwar was driven to involve herself in Bitcoin coding after realizing that there were no women in the network’s development team. As of today, she is one of only 21 working developers on Bitcoin to receive funding.
For her achievements thus far, Uttarwar snatched a spot under Forbes’ “30 Under 30” rankings in Finance for the year 2021. Many see this young rising star a likely candidate to lead newfound innovations in the realm of Bitcoin and crypto, and also empower other female coders to chase after their tech dreams.
Our next two picks are women who do not play a direct role in the crypto industry, but their decisions have far-reaching implications for crypto as well.
The economic power and influence that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wields today are unparalleled. One remark from Yellen speaking out against the godfather of all cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was enough to cause temporary disruptions to prices in the market.
A seasoned economic strategist who is no stranger to making tough decisions for the good of her nation, Yellen is now the frontwoman signaling the economic leanings of Joe Biden’s administration. While this harsh Bitcoin critic has not yet spoken in favor of digital assets, Yellen is inarguably someone the crypto industry cannot turn a deaf ear to.
Christine Lagarde, currently the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has an extraordinary list of accomplishments under her belt. Changing the way others saw women in positions of power, Lagarde not only helms one of the most prominent banks in the world at present, but was also France’s very first female finance minister back in 2007 and the first female managing director of the illustrious International Monetary Fund before assuming her current position.
Lagarde is one of the world’s biggest proponents of a CBDC and is a staunch advocate of rolling out a digital euro. On Bitcoin, however, she is certainly more reserved, as she points out the need for more stringent global regulations to combat the risks that Bitcoin poses. Lagarde will certainly be a large part of regulatory reform on digital assets in the future as she simultaneously oversees progress on the development and launch of a digital euro.