Women in DeFi
We’re highlighting the powerhouse women building technology in decentralized finance.
By: Sunita Rao, Tokenization @ Republic
At Republic, our aim is to democratize access to investing — specifically equity crowdfunding for private companies. Through the Republic platform, investors can stake a claim in companies in many sectors, including video games, real estate, and crypto. We believe that equitable access for investors is key to driving value and growth for our users and companies alike. On a personal level: as I embarked on my journey with Republic Crypto, I knew I wanted to create space for the things I care about, like the intersectionality of DeFi, impact, and equality.
In my career thus far, the unifying element has been exploring the impact that technology can have on the lives of people around the world. It’s incredibly personal and important to me. I find myself at Republic and working in DeFi specifically because of the promise I saw in creating equality, access, and transparency — and a system that works for the masses versus the few. Of all the disruptive technologies changing the world right now, blockchain technology promises transparent, trustless, equitable technology with use-cases that span industries.
As we close out Women’s History Month, let’s touch on the current status of women in crypto, as well as highlight important trailblazers and organizations in the space.
The Current Landscape
One of the most promising indicators of the past year in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space has been the skyrocketing number of women participating in the ecosystem. For example, a study in 2020 indicated 43% of investors interested in Bitcoin are women. There have been many barriers for women in the traditional financial system. Systemic barriers make it harder for women, non-binary people, and other marginalized communities to earn on-par income as men. It’s no secret as well that women have traditionally been inhibited from making progress in the realm of financial literacy because of these same structural barriers.
Decentralized finance is creating transparency, access, and equality to the financial system. It stores transaction history on the blockchain, creates community-centered governance power through DAOs, maintains a borderless system allowing for equal access, and more. While there may be an increase in women interested in crypto such as Bitcoin, I believe it’s not enough for underrepresented folks to be interested in DeFi, it’s important to actively participate in building this future as well. Let’s take a look at some women and organizations at the forefront of building technology.
There are a number of women leading the pack in cryptocurrency. In the international development realm, Christina Lomazzo is Blockchain Lead at UNICEF. Lomazzo leads the team in a multi-pronged approach to utilize blockchain for impact including the UNICEF Venture Fund, utilizing blockchain to bring connectivity to schools, and educational training sessions for young students looking to explore blockchain. Personally, I am so excited by what Christina and the team at UNICEF are building , because I believe it speaks to the core of what DeFi is built upon — access, equality, and transparency. There are many other powerhouse leaders in the industry including Bette Chen, the co-founder of both Laminar and Acala. Laminar is building an open finance platform powering synthetic assets & margin trading and Acala is a decentralized finance hub and stablecoin platform powering cross-blockchain liquidity and applications. Allison Lu is Co-Founder at UMA — the decentralized financial contracts platform built to enable universal market access. A blockchain leader, Kristen Stone is the Chief Operating Officer at Balancer Labs where she is leading the team building the protocol for programmable liquidity.
Further, scores of organizations are appearing in the ecosystem built specifically for women and non-binary people to participate and work in the blockchain space. She256 is an organization that spotlights mentorship, educational learnings/events, as well as fostering community amongst underrepresented people in the blockchain space. The org states it “fundamentally believes that blockchain technology will shape our future financial and governance structures, and as such it’s crucial that those building these systems are representative of the global, diverse population which they intend to serve.” If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or mentee in the program, their applications are open until May 7th!
At Republic Crypto, we’re lucky to work directly with some incredible women in the blockchain realm, including Zhen Cao, Partner. Zhen leads our team in Asia and has been a part of the blockchain industry for years, she is the early supporter for lots of base layer infrastructure projects and exchange media. Before Republic, she was a Partner at JD Capital’s crypto arm JLAB, the only publicly traded private equity firm in China. She believes in the mission of utilizing blockchain gaming as a financial paradigm shift for underserved communities.
As I join Republic Crypto, I’m eager to dive into the ever-evolving use cases of decentralized finance. There’s much to be unpacked within the space, and I’m hopeful for the access, equality, and transparency this financial system can bring to the world.
To join us on this journey, follow Republic Crypto on Twitter, and join our Telegram community to get the most up-to-date information from the Republic team. We’re continuing to cover many more topics within the Decentralized Finance space on our Medium page so keep an eye out for our next blog post soon!
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This piece was written by Sunita Rao and does not necessarily reflect the views of OpenDeal Inc. dba Republic, Republic Crypto LLC dba Republic Advisory Services or their affiliates. This piece is for educational purposes only and is not meant to convey any investment, tax, legal or other advice.