The blockchain industry is thriving, with its many applications across society, from politics to energy, property to education, fast becoming apparent. That said, in the UK at least, there are precious few women working in the space.
Though it’s a common complaint in the tech industry, which we are daily reminded is still very ‘bro’-centric, there is still plenty of space for great female minds to enter the fray and make a real difference. As a self-confessed Steminist myself, I was keen to seek out some of the women in blockchain who are already getting their hands dirty.
I didn’t just want to look at the Big Girls who are at front and centre of the industry, though. There are plenty of young women in blockchain coming up through the ranks and making their voices known, so I was very keen to get in on the action and chat to some of them ‘before they were famous’, as it were.
So here we go… all the very best women in blockchain for you to keep an eye on this coming year!
Amélie Arras (@AmelieArras)
Arras is, first and foremost, a marketing and communications professional, with a background in FinTech and payments. She has recently become her own boss, as a PR Communication Consultant. So where does blockchain come into this? Well, with Arras, it’s a matter of Bitcoin.
She is known best in these circles for her participation in the Money 20/20 Asia Payments Race. The race is an interesting annual experiment in how far one can get across Asia by transacting solely in cryptocurrency. Flying the flag for Bitcoin, Arras came First in the 2017 battle, clocking 2,300 miles over two countries and five states. She came Fifth in the 2018 race, however, perhaps highlighting the growing acceptance of other coins over the year.
Blythe Masters (@blythemasters)
Masters is the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a FinTech firm using blockchain technology for financial services. She previously worked as global commodities executive for JP Morgan Chase, and is widely acknowledged as the creator of the credit default swap as a financial tool. At Digital Asset, Masters is working on an SDK to enable streamlining the ways in which financial infrastructures can use blockchain technology. The aim? To generate revenue for financial platforms and give them the edge on their competition.
Diana Biggs (@DianacBiggs)
Currently Head of Digital Innovation for HSBC Retail Banking & Wealth Management in UK & Europe, Biggs boasts an impressive CV across fintech. She is also a Tutor for the Oxford Said Business School Blockchain Strategy Programme. This is just a snippet of the amazing work Biggs does in the fintech space, culminating in her naming within the top 25 Fintech influencers in the UK by CityAM, on the Fintech Finance GOLD Power List, in the Blockchain News Top 100, amongst the The 100 Most Influential Blockchain People, in the Kurtosys Women in Finance Power 100 and on Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist 2016.
Teodora Sevastru (@coingirlhere)
Sevastru, more widely known as Coin Girl, is fast becoming a prominent young voice in blockchain and cryptocurrency, with a thriving YouTube channel, on which she documents her journey through the world of crypto. Her enthusiastic and engaging approach to the topic makes her vlogs and other social platforms very accessible and enjoyable to follow.
“I entered this space because I feel I want to be part of something great, something that can shift our mentality from centralised and vertical to a flat, shared economy.”
Clare McCartney (Clare_McCartney)
McCartney has worked mainly in traditional finance for many years before moving over into impact investment. It was in this sector, working with tech-for-good companies that she came across blockchain and, more specifically, the social applications of the technology. She has also worked with Alice.si (a blockchain powered platform facilitating donations and impact investment) and is following closely the work of other projects in the Blockchain for Good sector such as ixo and giveth.
“I have been involved in the Blockchain for Good meetup group in London and have tried to spread the word via presentations to OnPurpose (which I am a part of) as well as writing some of my own pieces on Medium/LinkedIn. I have now actually moved to Berlin to pursue opportunities in the blockchain space over here.”
Annabelle Sanderson (@trixy002)
Annabelle Sanderson, in a former life in Politics, was Communications Manager for the European Parliament, and remains a vocal Brexiteer. She is now Head of Communications at Global Services Marketplace, having recently entered Tech as a move away from her previous career in politics, quickly discovering the sheer potential blockchain technology has for societal reform:
“I’m new to the tech world, having spent most of my career in politics, but I have just been totally blown away by how innovation can make life so much better for businesses and, if the government and civil service caught up, how it could improve the lives of people in areas like borders, tax and in particular, healthcare. The only problem is getting politicians to understand that!
“I am sure that anyone watching the recent debates over Brexit in this industry has been shouting ‘blockchain’ at the TV screen just wishing one of them would pay attention.’
Anna Bennett (@AnnaB_Tech)
Up until recently, Bennet was Vice President of Partners at Gospel Technology and is now Executive Director of Emerging Technologies Adoption at Differential Group, returning to Differential from her role as a Senior Management Consultant at the firm between 2010 and 2013. Her background in the tech world spans a 25-year career, punctuated by six years in which she ran her own successful photography business. A self-defined ‘girl geek’, she flies the flag for women bosses everywhere, with an emphasis on eradicating discrimination and promoting diversity in tech, and in industry as a whole.
Imogen Heap (@imogenheap)
Grammy award-winning musician, Imogen Heap, may seem like an unlikely candidate in this list of top UK Women in Blockchain. However, her work to spread the word of how the technology could represent a new renaissance for the music industry, and particularly for artists, is profound. Her blockchain project, MyCelia, aims to empower musicians with the tools they need to manage their careers with respect to pay, distribution and rights.
Molly Spiers (@coincornermolly)
Spiers has been an enthusiastic proponent of blockchain and crypto since 2015, when she joined CoinCorner as their Marketing Manager. She has since fallen in love with the whole industry, and is fast becoming a name to watch in the field of blockchain and crypto.
“I came across crypto completely by chance! I was looking for a new career opportunity around the same time, CoinCorner – which was a brand new crypto startup at the time – was advertising for a marketing position. I had no idea what Bitcoin or Blockchain were back then, but it sounded fascinating, so I decided to apply and was offered the job and I’ve never looked back!
“I love working in crypto. The industry moves very quickly and every day is a learning curve. The industry may still be young, but it has so much potential and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Hanane Boujemi (@HananeBoujemi)
“Blockchain can be a key element in limiting corruption in many countries, but we’re at the stage where we need to know how the concept will be applied in the practical sense. The next five years will be crucial for this technology to prove itself.”
Boujemi holds a Masters degree in Human Rights and Democratization from the University of Malta and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies—University of London. Her professional career has seen her in a series of senior policy analyst positions with various UN institutions including ITU, UNESCO and UNESCWA.
Her key area of expertise? How blockchain can be used to improve human rights, with a particular emphasis on democratic voting:
“Voting may be straightforward in the UK or in different countries, but in other contexts, it’s very difficult to get a genuine vote and make sure that everything is in place for a democratic setup”.