The introduction of blockchain technology has transformed the way the world views a lot of things today. Technology has become the symbol of democracy and decentralization, especially in the financial sphere where women entrepreneurs are posing as torch bearers to build on top of innovative technologies. There’s a more enabling environment and a level playing field for every participant. Regardless of where you are from or what profession you studied in the University — or didn’t study —, or what gender you are, there’s been great progress across different disciplines because of blockchain technology.
In the financial sector, one critical issue blockchain technology is solving is the problems associated with traditional finance. Traditional modes of carrying out financial transactions are either becoming obsolete or riddled with slow bureaucratic processes and this is where Decentralized Finance (DeFi) comes in. Since the emergence of DeFi, the rapid rate at which it is getting adopted has caused widespread disruption and provided opportunities in the world’s financial services industry.
While it is great to look at the DeFi space, the solution’s projects in it are offering and the total value locked in the sector as parameters to measure success for the space, we think there is another parameter that counts for success as much as all of these mentioned here. That parameter is women’s growing involvement in decentralized finance. At this stage in the growth of the industry, it is both very significant and very understated.
Women gravitating to DeFi
Since 2009, when Bitcoin and Blockchain technology gained increased popularity across the world, men have dominated the industry and this has made the space be looked at as an industry for men. Only 15% of Bitcoin traders are women, this is according to Bloomberg. The reason for this can be attributed to the idea that not only did men take a liking to the phenomenon and showed more interest, but the industry and technology also had a lot of technicalities to it and it came across as “too geeky”. It quickly became an enjoyable pastime for people who grew interested in charts, indicators, lines and technical analysis. Recently though, this is changing. There are now a lot of women in the industry. These women aren’t just being a part of it, they are blazing trails and building DeFi products that are solving problems in our world today.
“At the heart of blockchain’s promise is greater inclusivity, and nothing reflects this reality better than the projects in DeFi being advanced by the industry’s leading female entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. Besides their roles behind some of DeFi’s most exciting new projects, the leadership of these initiatives is busily encouraging a new generation of women to join the revolution.” Luis Aureliano, a Macroeconomics expert with more than 15 years of experience as an Analyst in the financial services industry said, to underscore the point about women in the DeFi ecosystem.
Recognizing blockchain’s vast potential in championing greater female participation, Luis added, “Although women’s participation in the fields of finance and STEM has been historically obscured, blockchain is showing once again that the antiquated hierarchies inhibiting greater female engagement can be demolished. There is no better blank canvas than DeFi for democratizing DLT participation.”
Great projects led by women in DeFi
In this article, we’ve selected a couple of great DeFi projects that are led by some really smart women in the industry. These projects are trailblazing and they are an embodiment of strong female leadership.
- Firdosh Sheikh — Co-Founder/CEO of Drife
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Firdosh has over 5 years of industry experience leading large teams in the I.T and Capital Market industries. Her background in professional business, I.T, and finance, gave her a passion to bring a creative approach to the often-mundane business world. Sheikh’s understanding of blockchain technology, smart contracts, and Decentralized Finance has made her one of the top women entrepreneurs to build phenomenal protocols for the better.
As an early blockchain and cryptocurrency investor, she saw an opportunity with the space and creatively came up with an alternative to the traditional ride-hailing industry we have today. This idea brought about the founding of Drife. Founded in 2018, Drife is a decentralized ride-hailing platform powered by the EOS blockchain. The company was started with the intent of empowering both the drivers and the riders without any existence of a central entity controlling every little detail.
The company recently ran its Initial DEX Offering (IDO) and in just 48 hours the DRF token achieved over 2000+ holders of the token clocked an all-time-high of 15x & sustained a 10x from listing price. These stats and a lot more great fundamentals behind Drife show just how well of a solution this is going to be in the $42 billion ride-hailing industry.
- Kristen Stone – Chief Operating Officer at Balancer
Having spent five years in the Business Development and Product Management units at Coinbase, Kristen Stone joined Balancer as COO in November 2020. While at Coinbase, Kristen led the development of the company’s backend product that connected seven of the company’s applications to multiple blockchains.
After leaving Coinbase, she worked with some other projects that included DFinity and BlockDaemon before moving on to Balancer last year. Clearly, Kristen is making her mark as in February, Balancer completed a $5 million raise, and this brought its funding total to $12 million. Just a few weeks after that, Balancer confirmed a partnership with Aave to build the first decentralized asset manager on Balancer’s version two. This decentralized asset manager will allow idle assets on Balancer to earn yields on Aave.
- Maggie Love – Founder of SheFi
SheFi is an initiative geared towards providing DeFi education to women. And as the founder, Maggie Love has earned a spot on this list. After realizing that there was a clear absence of women venturing into DeFi territories, Love launched SheFi in the spring of 2020.
An initial pilot was carried out and after proving successful, SheFi now accepts female (and people who identify as female) applicants in cohorts for its educational program. As participants learn about DeFi, they pool funds. At the end of the course, these funds are donated to a non-profit that is dedicated to educating women in STEM programs. SheFi so far has onboarded about 60 alumni to DeFi, but Love plans to scale up and is looking at accepting more participants.
Alongside SheFi, Love also works her day job at W3BCLOUD, a joint venture between Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and ConsenSys, which Love co-founded.
All of these women entrepreneurs mentioned here didn’t just become CEOs and top guns at their companies in one day. They started from somewhere and this is where a lot of people (women) looking at working in DeFi don’t get it. There are a lot of job opportunities opening up in decentralized finance and blockchain. The industry is still young and these opportunities will keep coming. What you should do is apply for them. Learn and master the required skills, build your knowledge and understanding of them and you’re good to go.
You can start as a Content Writer, a Blockchain Developer (start with Solidity), as a Graphic Designer, a Marketer, or even a Meme Creator. Almost every crypto project needs people to handle these positions and this is your get-in card. Once in, work hard and you could be on your way to the top and just like these women, maybe build a solution to a problem and help foster the goal of decentralized finance.