Men have historically dominated the traditional finance sector, and, in many ways, this is still true today. In 2019, it was found that women held only 21.9% of senior leadership roles in financial services. The tech industry is slightly more inclusive, but not by much, with 24% of women in senior leadership roles in the same year.
Unfortunately, women are severely underrepresented in finance and tech. If you consider the lack of representation of women of color in these industries, the numbers are even grimmer.
The cryptocurrency industry has started similarly to its predecessors, mostly male and frequently white. However, as a relatively new industry dedicated to financial equality, crypto has the unique opportunity to build a diverse and inclusive workforce from the ground up. Plus, it has been proven that a diverse workforce caters to more creativity and employee engagement.
Cryptocurrency still has a long way to go in terms of inclusive representation - it has recently been reported that only 15% of bitcoin investors are women. Still, there are many powerful and inspiring women across the crypto space. In honor of women’s history month, I am highlighting six incredible women in the industry.
6 Powerful Women in Crypto
1. Meltem Demirors - Chief Strategy Officer, Coinshare
Meltem Demirors has been an active member of the crypto industry since 2015. In addition to being the Chief Strategy Officer at the digital assets management firm Coinshares, Demirors is the author of the commonly referenced Coinshares report claiming most bitcoin mining is done using renewable energy.
In 2019, Demirors testified in front of Congress against Facebook's Libra project and in support of Bitcoin. During her testimony, she provided excellent information about the fundamental principles of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Demirors also has a "Demystifying Crypto" course on skillshare that is perfect for beginners looking to learn cryptocurrency basics.
2. Tonya M. Evans - Professor, Dickinson Law
Professor Tonya Evans teaches about the intersections of blockchain technology and the law at Penn State's Dickinson Law school. She is an expert on intellectual property, new technologies (including blockchain and distributed ledger technology), entrepreneurship and innovation (including advisor to startups), and more.
Before joining Dickinson Law, Professor Evans was the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law. There, she created and directed the law school's Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Law Online Professional Certificate Program.
Evans is also the founder of the online learning program Advantage Evans Academy, with free courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency targeted towards "underestimated lifelong learners traditionally locked out of tech and finance."
3. Catherine Coley - Chief Executive Officer, Binance.US
Catherine Coley is the CEO of Binance.US, the stateside leg of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange. Coley has helped guide Binance.US through the US regulatory process, ensuring that customers in 43 states can safely buy and sell more than 50 different coins, with plans to expand to all 50 states by the end of the year. Before working at Binance, Coley was in charge of institutional liquidity at XRP and has a long history of working in finance pre-crypto.
Coley is also the founder of a non-profit called Women and Money that is all about inspiring and empowering women to take control of their finances so that they have more attention, energy, and resources to impact the world with their other unique skills. She also is a big proponent of the US using digital money to send stimulus funds to citizens rather than relying on paper checks and direct deposits.
4. Layah Heilpern - Journalist/ Influencer
Layah Heilpern is a UK-based broadcaster and influencer who specializes in cryptocurrency, fintech, and politics. She has been broadcasting on crypto since 2018 and was the producer and anchor of BlockLive TV, the world's first blockchain and crypto news network based in Malta.
Currently, you can find Heilpern discussing crypto, politics, and entrepreneurship on her podcast, The Layah Heilpern Show. She explores the political ideologies behind bitcoin and plays her part in spreading mass adoption by welcoming influential thought leaders to the show. Heilpern is dedicated to empowering people to take personal responsibility over their finances, health, life, and general success.
5. Tavonia Evans - Founder, Guapcoin
Tavonia Evans is the founder of Guapcoin - a cryptocurrency launched in 2017. Guapcoin seeks to provide a sound and revolutionary economic base for the black community. $GUAP is designed to reward black consumers' spending behaviors that support black-owned businesses, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and philanthropic organizations.
In addition to creating a cryptocurrency, Evans is a mother of eight and a data scientist with 20 years of experience in the tech industry. When she is not working on GUAP, you can find her speaking at educational events on crypto throughout the Black and tech communities.
6. Miss Teen Crypto - Influencer
Miss Teen Crypto, whose name is kept private, is an 18-year-old social media influencer dedicated to educating Gen Z on all things crypto. To spread crypto awareness and adoption, Miss Teen goes to public places to talk to strangers and hand out cards with QR codes that link to informational resources about crypto. Miss Teen Crypto has already done so much for the crypto community for someone still in high school.
As a woman in the crypto industry, I look up to the thought leaders above so much. I love that these women have dedicated themselves to spreading cryptocurrency awareness and adoption and empowering other women and underrepresented groups by sharing the tools of financial freedom.
Moving forward, I hope that one day soon, we can shatter the age-old boys club reputation in finance and tech. I want to see an equal representation of women, particularly women of color, across the board - in executive leadership roles, as journalists, educators, miners, and more.
Cryptocurrency is about equality and inclusion, and crypto-centric workforces should showcase that.