Women in Blockchain: Making a Difference

In Part I of ODEM’s Women in Blockchain blog series we highlighted the lack of female representation in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Today, I want to tell you about an exciting group dedicated to helping women overcome barriers to greater female participation in our industry.

Elena Sinelnikova and Natalia Ameline founded CryptoChicks in Toronto in 2017. At the first CryptoChicks meetup they organized, fifty women showed up to learn about wallets, private keys, addresses, security, cryptography, and smart contracts. Since then, the organization has spawned chapters in the U.S., the Bahamas, Israel, Pakistan, Switzerland, and Russia.

“We created CryptoChicks with the mission to improve the gender balance [in the blockchain industry] and increase participation by women in the community,” Ameline, who holds Masters degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration, said in an interview last year. “We’re trying to create an environment where it is safe for women to learn.”

To bridge the gender gap, CryptoChicks organizes meetups and women-friendly hackathons to raise awareness and address what Ameline, the mother of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, calls the gender “chasm.” The group is also developing educational programs to introduce more young people of all genders to the basics of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

“It all started because at [typical crypto] meetups there would be one or two women, out of hundreds of men, who would be afraid to ask stupid questions,” Nataliya Hearn, CryptoChicks Director of Youth Education, said in a separate interview. “So we said, ‘there are no stupid questions. Come and join us. We’ll show you how to open up a wallet and what blockchain is all about.’”

CryptoChicks is currently organizing a hackathon and conference in Toronto from May 31-June 2 featuring a keynote speech by Buterin. The three-day event is in line with CryptoChicks’ mission to develop the leadership potential of women in blockchain and artificial intelligence through education, networking, and mentorship.

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