It’s an amazing time to be a woman interested in diving into the nebulous cryptoverse, especially if you’ve got an appetite for learning and fast change. The crypto and wider tech industries have been infamously male-dominated for decades, leading to bro culture (I’m cringing just thinking about Super Pumped) and an inequity in positions of influence between men and women. According to Bloomberg, only 15% of Bitcoin traders are women and while I couldn’t find the sister stats for Ethereum (especially DeFi), I suspect the numbers are similarly dismal.
However, as I discovered through hours of research and conversations with incredible crypto gals, there’s a small but exponentially growing segment of women hungry for blockchain knowledge. It’s paramount that we don’t exclude 50% of the world’s population in tech that will revolutionize financial institutions and transactions. It’s your classic asymmetric bet - there’s no downside to women also riding the Banzai Pipeline of wealth and innovation and a limitless upside.
From watching Girl Gone Crypto imitate Michael Saylor in a whale costume to studying Laura Shin’s hard hitting podcasts, it’s clear that women are making considerable strides in crypto. We can admire and praise these outliers, but finding a community of other would-be lady cypherpunks is a little more challenging. Thankfully, community is built into the crypto DNA, so a slew of programs, fellowships and other initiatives aimed at women in crypto have popped up. See below for the ones I’ve discovered or personally interacted with:
For all the womxn itching to deploy their funds in DeFi (“Decentralized Finance”) protocols like Uniswap, Aave and MakerDAO, then SheFi is the premier program to look to. Founded by Maggie Love, the co-founder of W3BCloud, SheFi is a “DeFi educational program that doubles as a vehicle to donate funds to nonprofits that focus on educating women in STEM.” Maggie and the SheFi team lead informational webinars for their numerous cohors, hold office hours and foster community through their cohort Telegram groups. Applying is simple but the connections you make with other womxn interested in DeFi are priceless. Consensys did a brilliant interview and write-up with Maggie for International Women’s Day that I highly recommend reading!
Founded by students at UC - Berkeley in 2018, She256 has grown into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes diversity within blockchain by organizing conferences, connecting women with mentors, hosting technical workshops, launching their own research study and so much more. What amazes me about She256 is the volume of opportunities they offer - you can create your own fellowship with them and contribute to their open source GitHub dedicated to educating high schoolers about blockchain. Even their bold branding colors - saturated pinks and glinting yellows - are empowering. Check out their beginner’s guide to blockchain here - it’s one of the best (and prettiest!) resource I’ve seen.
WiB Boston is one thriving instance of the Global Women in Blockchain network with chapters everywhere from Denver to Mountain View. They host online workshops (the latest one, WTF is Bitcoin, was presented by Amiti Uttarwar of Bitcoin Core), provide educational resources co-curated by themselves and She256 and held in-person networking events pre-pandemic. WiB Boston is geared more towards professional working women but is still accessible to anyone interested in learning blockchain tech. For a fantastic primer on the why? of Women in Blockchain Boston, I recommend this Medium post by founder Manasi Vora. For direct links to other WiB chapters in North America, see this comprehensive list.
Founded at ETH Denver on February 14, 2020 ❤️, Meta Gamma Delta is a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) that supports and funds women-led initiatives in the crypto ecosystem. A Web 3.0 version of a sorority, MGD pledges to “... provide community, mentorship, resources and grants for those who want to build dope sh!t.” Women-led companies can apply for grants, and supporters of MGD can donate to their DAO at 0x7d58c962356ae66ba91b108751d67ae5d3b022fc. My favorite part is that potential “sisters” can “rush” the sorority and become part of the sisterhood by pledging 10 DAI and applying online. Why weren’t these kinds of sororities available when I was at university?!
This program isn’t specifically geared towards women, but it’s an amazing opportunity for college women and recent grads. Blockchain Capital is one of the biggest crypto VC firms, and this rolling internship allows participants to conduct “deep research” in crypto. Scholars investigate a crypto topic (i.e. smart contracts, cryptoeconomics, crypto taxes and public audits) for 3-4 months and present results to leadership. If you’re looking to make contacts in the crypto VC world, this internship is perfect.
If you want to be part of a burgeoning global blockchain community, Shanghai Blockchain is a fantastic place to land. Their leader Jo-Ann is also the founder of Rare Birds, a startup that connects emerging market entrepreneurs to investors (and includes a social token, $RONES). The chapter is new to the Codecademy network, but Jo-Ann has ample blockchain experience and passion for helping women.
“I am very excited about the future of this space and my role in encouraging women to get involved in tech as there are so many opportunities waiting for us all!”
Of course, I have to plug the Phoenix Crypto chapter! As a female-founded community, Phoenix Crypto is an open place for everyone to discuss, learn about and promote crypto while falling down the crypto rabbit hole. I started the chapter because I was high on crypto fumes and fascinated by its accounting/tax implications. Today, we have over 170 members and are expanding our leadership team as well. If you’re a woman interested in running a crypto community, reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org - I’m hoping to build an all-female leadership team and empower every woman I work with (of course, our meetups are still open to everyone!).
If I missed any women-centric communities, please reach out to @phx_crypto on Twitter, and I’ll append them to the list! The ladies running these communities are truly world class and cool - for example, Maggie from SheFi is a DJ on the side and Jo-Ann teaches blockchain concepts to high schoolers and college students in developing countries. That being said, I could only find four well-established crypto communities for women (the other are incredible opportunities/groups but aren’t necessarily targeted at women). I’m hoping to add dozens more in the coming weeks and months - crypto is going to the moon, and scientists think women make better, more efficient astronauts than men. 🚀