I hear about women in tech and think of brilliant women with thick rimmed glasses emerging from their work spaces to give TED Talks and become thought leaders in a man’s world. I imagine them as intellectual wonder women who had to fight with their wits to achieve that coveted position in a loosely defined, but prestigious sounding group. I’m not overly impressed because the women I know who live and work in the tech space don’t really give too much thought to the accolade or the label unless they are actively promoting technology as career options or occupied in noble causes like equal pay to their male counterparts or fighting sexism in the workplace. Kudos to those women.
There is another narrowly defined group of women to which I belong and that is Women in Crypto. These women are not so easily identified or described. During the past week I had the privilege of meeting three very different women who are actively involved in cryptocurrency. I would like to introduce them to you.
Last week I met “C” for coffee at a local coffeeshop after she reached me on Facebook Messenger. When I saw that her profile was full of cryptocurrency posts and topics I was intrigued — and she was local. How had we not yet met? I really looked forward to hearing her story.
“C” was middle-aged and divorced about four years ago. Her children were grown and she lived alone with her dog. She admitted that she knew little about money or investments and had concerns about her financial future. When an acquaintance introduced her to One Coin, she bought in. Through some series of finagling (which I didn’t quite follow), her One Coin is locked down and she now owns CoinMD instead. I admitted I had heard of both but didn’t really know much about either. When I told her that I really didn’t have time to investigate any new cryptocurrency projects right now the conversation pleasantly moved on and before we said goodbye, I learned that most of her BTC were on an exchange that “moved” overseas and she had no access to her funds. Not surprisingly, this situation was somehow (not clear to me) connected to One Coin. In spite of her prolific reposts, “C” actually knew very little about cryptocurrency and did very little research.
In the silence of my car I remembered what I knew about One Coin. Thinking about “C’s” experience in the world of cryptocurrency I concluded she was very desperate and gullible. I fingered the two business cards that indicated that she was some sort of brand ambassador for CoinMD and tossed them into the pile where business cards retire.
I wish that were the end of the story and that I could look forward to another crypto coffee meeting with a new friend. Instead, I’ve had to mute her on Messenger. “C” immediately began messaging with more information and links about CoinMD with walls of text to convince me to sign up. She sent a shorter message earlier today asking me to at least recommend it to others. I assured her I would not. I hope two things for “C” — first, that I won’t have to block her and second, that she could extract herself from this situation.
And then I met “N”. She was representing a blockchain consulting company at The Blockchain Event, part of the IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale this week. We shared our stories and discovered we entered the cryptocurrency space at about the same time and remarked that the word blockchain wasn’t part of the discussion back then. Why is that important to know about “N”? Because in the space of several years she has become a self-taught expert about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. “N” is a respected professional in the field based on the merits of her knowledge and contributions.
The following day we found seats together in the crowd. When she was approached by the emcee to participate in a last-minute panel discussion she didn’t even hesitate. She walked up to the stage with poise and confidently answered every question with the insight of a woman who really knew what she was talking about. I hadn’t known her long, but I felt proud of her.
“N” is not the typical woman in cryptocurrency. In fact, I see very few women at blockchain events and even fewer of those are attending as professionals. She is an example to which many may aspire.
It was a pleasure to finally meet “M” on a video call. We had been exchanging occasional messages on the Meetup site and it was finally time to just talk through some of the logistics of what we are planning. Of course, I looked forward to hearing her story too.
“M” was recently divorced and living alone with her dog. After observing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency for years she told her daughter she was ready to buy some and asked for her help. Together they set up wallets, joined exchanges, bought their first BTC and began to learn about alt coins. After some research the daughter decided the best investment for her Mom would be Ardor and Nxt and they bought both. “M” hasn’t regretted it and has become part of the Ardor / Nxt fan club. We met because she reached out to me to see how she could help.
“M” has become a crypto trader. She has her wallets set up properly, knows enough about TA to talk about MACDs, can talk about her losses in the context of lessons learned and evaluates her gains to determine how to re-invest. And she studies. She uses Trading View and reads white papers. Our discussion was lively and passionate as we talked about topics that revealed that she was well informed and aware.
Meeting these three women in the space of one week brought my observations about Women in Cryptocurrency into a sharper focus. No doubt there are other profiles, but these three are good examples of the kinds of women you will find in this space.
There are many women like “C” who become involved in cryptocurrency on the word of an acquaintance or based on something they read. They either neglect due diligence or aren’t able to put the information they find into an informed context to make good decisions. Often they are lured by the anticipation of what could be and refuse to look at facts because the promises are so bright.
Thankfully, we have women like “N” — professionals who navigate the topics of cryptocurrency and blockchain with the confidence of years of study and participation. These women will not be the norm, they will be the leaders.
Women like “M” can get involved and succeed in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology by studying, researching and learning. They can participate in the discussions and find ways to contribute to the many legitimate and valuable projects. My hope is that the normal Woman in Cryptocurrency will be more like “M”.
TLDR: to be a successful Woman in Cryptocurrency like “N” and “M” study and DYOR — Do Your Own Research.