How Emi Lorincz is Bringing More Women to the Space
It is not a secret that the crypto and blockchain industry is lacking female talent. While it is not entirely impossible to find great female representation for panels or developer teams, it is often required to dedicate a bit more time to do so. We talked to Emi Lorincz, who founded “Women in Blockchain Switzerland” (WIBS) to learn more about how she wants to change that.
You’re the Co-Founder and Vice-President of Women in Blockchain Switzerland. How did you come to the decision to found this organisation?
When I first learned about Bitcoin I was living in London and thought that this trust-minimized, programmable, native-to-internet “digital gold” is something what will never make it and is a result of an overly creative nerd’s imagination. The more I started reading about Bitcoin and the underlying technology, the more I realized how logical it is and that it’s based on mathematical algorithms, consensus mechanism and gives transparency.
When I moved to Zurich and started going to crypto meet-ups I was surprised to see that I was one of only 4 to 5 women at these events and I wanted to encourage all my friends to come and learn about the use cases and technology. So I created a Facebook group called “Women in Blockchain Switzerland” and started connecting with others.
A few months later I got invited to a group, with the same name on LinkedIn, containing leaders outside of the blockchain industry who were interested in building knowledge on the topic. The initiator of that group was Kamales Lardi. At this point it became clear to me that we should connect and join forces, since we both share the passion of building more diversity in this ecosystem — so that’s what we did and wibs.io was born in 2018.
What are the goals and vision of WIBS?
At WIBS we are shaping diversity together. Diversity that goes beyond gender, people of different profiles, industries, cultures, experiences. Our vision is to have these kind of diversity elements infused in our communities ensuring that our members are encouraged to participate, develop and also apply for positions in the space.
Six months after the launch of WIBS — what has changed? Which achievement are you most proud of?
WIBS was launched in October 2018, since then we managed to grow our community to over 150 women and men across Switzerland and we facilitated events with CitiBank, Falcon PB and our very first international event with the Global Blockchain Business Council in Davos during the World Economic Forum. We have exciting partnerships in the pipeline and we are constantly growing.
How can interested women (and men) get involved?
Best is to email us at email@example.com and subscribe to our newsletter to be informed about future events. Kamales Lardi, the president and co-founder, and myself are very approachable and we want to encourage you all to get involved. LinkedIn and also Twitter are other ways to connect with us.
Many blockchain companies and events lack female professionals. What’s the best way to change that?
I think there is a lot of misconception around blockchain. You do not need to be a renowned cryptographer or phyton developer to work in the space. It’s important to gain an understanding about the technology, consensus models and how distributed ledgers can offer enhanced methods of transacting anything.
“If you have a suitable skillset for a position and you are eager to learn, you are hireable in this industry.”
There is need for good marketing professionals, controllers, tax experts, lawyers, business people, journalists and the list goes on — besides developers. We should also emphasize that men are part of the solution in equalizing the workspace.
“The best way to change the status quo is through education and by unleashing the misbeliefs around the barriers of entry into the blockchain world.”
What advice do you have for event organisers or recruiters, who give up and think there just aren’t enough women in the space to ensure a minimum level of diversity at events, in teams or on boards?
That there is never a more convenient moment for change than now! Diversity in all teams, panels and boards should go beyond the diversity of gender. I also believe that having a diverse team is not enough. It’s not about quotas but inclusion. WIBS is always happy to recommend industry experts for speaking engagements. We believe that in the near future we can work together with other stakeholders of the ecosystem — that can be recruiters, boards, corporates or governmental bodies.
You worked and lived in many places — what brought you to the Crypto Valley?
That’s correct, I lived in 6 other countries prior to moving to Switzerland. I left London because of personal reasons and joined Credit Suisse in Zurich. I got more and more immersed in the crypto and blockchain world by investing in coins, learning about various protocols and exciting projects to the point that I find no other area as exciting as I currently find this space.
What do you appreciate about the Crypto Valley Community?
The diversity in terms of nationalities and cultures, interesting people, openness and that we all believe that we belong to the fortunate ones, who got here early and have the possibility to shape the ecosystem.
Who inspires you?
Erik Voorhees’ (CEO of ShapeShift) vision has inspired me multiple times and I am proud of having been part of the FoxFamily. CZ from Binance absolutely does as well. He is innovative, he built a billion-dollar business with the most trading pairs, highest volume and stayed down-to-earth. I respect that he has a centralized exchange but is also exploring DEX’s. He puts great emphasis on education, research and has the purpose of increasing the level of freedom in our society. I am also a fan of Meltem Demirors, who is the Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, WGMG podcaster and is involved in many great projects. She is smart, witty and always gets her point across.
“Another female who has inspired me is… Satoshi :)”
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in your career and how did you do it?
I used to work in automotive, then banking and later in oil shipping on the trading floor in London. After that jumped into FinTech and now I work in Tech. Many hiring managers asked me why my career is so non-linear and how this would add value to their firm. I learned that if they do not see the value in daring to switch industries and being hungry for learning new things, — then probably that is just not a good match. I believe that non-linear careers and freelancing will become more and more common in the future.
What was the best advice you were ever given and by whom?
This is a great question and it’s tough to select one, therefore will share three with you :)
- “Always treat your customers like rockstars and educate them.”
— Megan of ShapeShift
- “Don’t settle for conventional but follow your dreams — sometimes you can grab a star!”
— Daniel Birnbaum, CEO SodaStream
- “Trust your gut!”
— Richard Olsen, CEO Lykke
Next WIBS event?
As next we will be at the Paris Blockchain Week and later we have our own event coming up early summer. Stay tuned for more details through our newsletter or dm us on Twitter.
About Emi Lorincz
Emi Lorincz is an economist who has an extensive background in financial services and trading in Budapest, Dusseldorf, London, and Rome. She is working with various start-ups and is engaged in digital assets and blockchain technology. Her stealth-mode company provides advice on exchange listings, liquidity and market making issues. She was previously heading Business Development in Europe for ShapeShift AG.
Emi co-founded WIBS in 2018 and is a mentor and expert at the CV Labs Incubation Program and at the Blockchain preAccelerator of Latvia.
She encourages everyone to continue learning about cryptocurrencies and the technology that powers this expanding field.