Web3 is not exactly the sphere associated with women professionals. However, their presence in this innovative financial ecosystem is growing along with the impact they make
Gender diversity is still quite an issue in traditionally male-dominated industries such as banking, investment, and technology, including IT. The fintech community, in general, consists mainly of men, while women constitute about one-third of the employees.
Meanwhile, more innovative financial segments, such as Web3 and crypto face even stronger female underrepresentation. It is estimated that as much as 85% of the crypto community is male. Moreover, between 75% and 95% of crypto-related services’ user base are male.
At the same time, the number of female crypto investors is rising. Thus, the crypto trading platform WazirX conducted a survey which showed that trading volume in crypto assets by female investors rose from 15.27% in 2021 to 18.57% in 2022.
The lack of gender diversity negatively affects all the participants of the Web3 ecosystem. Particularly, Web3 products, including crypto platforms, are either ill-suited or poorly marketed to women.
To fix that, the industry has to encourage female participation. One way of reaching this objective is by highlighting the stories of women successfully developing their careers in Web3.
The most influential women in the Web3 segment
Although the number of women in the Web3 industry is extremely small, those who have dared to enter the male-dominated ecosystem manage to not only strive and succeed themselves but also make the projects they’re responsible for prominent and successful.
Here are some examples of women positively changing the Web3 landscape:
Nicole Muniz – an entrepreneur and CEO of Yuga Labs, the company behind the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club nonfungible token (NFT) collection.
Elizabeth Stark – co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, a company developing the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a protocol for fast and scalable Bitcoin transactions.
Caitlin Long – entrepreneur, lawyer and blockchain advocate, the founder and CEO of Custodia Bank, which aims to provide banking services to the crypto industry.
Cathie Wood – one of the boldest and most successful American entrepreneurs and investors, the founder of ARK Invest, a global asset management firm specialising in disruptive technology companies.
Cathy Hackl – the founder and chief metaverse officer at Journey, an innovation and design consultancy, recognized expert in branding and marketing techniques for VR and AR.
He Yi – co-founder of Binance cryptocurrency exchange, the head of Binance Labs.
Jaime Leverton – CEO of Hut 8 Mining, previously chief operating officer of hyper-scale data centre company eStruxture.
Jinglan Wang – co-founder and CEO of a decentralised financial platform PlasmaPay.
Female-led Web3 projects
Being severely underrepresented in the Web3 community, women who participate in the industry have often felt uncomfortable at networking events and conferences. Therefore, they created a number of support groups and non-profit organisations to invest in and promote diversity in the space.
Some examples of such vibrant Web3 communities dedicated to women and non-binary people are Women in Blockchain (WiB), she256 and the Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC).
A few members of Women in Blockchain have founded a women-only DAO, Komorebi, working on the Syndicate Protocol. It concentrates on funding female and non-binary project founders.
As discovered by Venture Capital firm First Round, women-led startups receive only 2.3% of venture funding though they perform 63% better than all-male founding teams. Therefore, the Komorebi community has all the chances not only to promote diversity in the crypto space but also to witness their investment’s brilliant performance.
Although the Komorebi founders do not disclose the exact details of the projects they have already invested in, it is known that the DAO raised about $400,000 as of early 2022, with 65% of that sum already invested in diverse companies across the globe.
One of Komorebi’s sub-DAOs is Ola Guild Games (Ola GG) aimed at creating social and financial inclusion for the Hispanic Community through P2E gaming. Its main platform is Axie Infinity, but players can engage with other P2E game systems as well. The Guild educates people on new monetisation tools arising due to Web3 gaming, also creating educational programs — learn-to-earn — where users receive payment for educational achievements.
NFTs as a way to promote women in Web3
Through the rise of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), women’s voices in the Web3 community got more opportunities to be heard.
This March, Melissa Jun Rowley, founder and CEO of social impact marketing collective and production company Warrior Love Productions, introduced a new NFT collection on the SOLIS Market named HerVoice.
The collection’s animations were created by CreativeAya. They used AI to process the still images of choreography by Ty “Crux” Jones-Bain and Nneka “Delacyn” Irobunda.
In addition, 26 women who are active leaders in the Web3 industry, art and social innovation contributed to the collection as narrators of the poem. A total of 21 countries are represented in this digital artwork, and a total of 10 different languages are spoken in the art pieces.
HerVoice does not only highlight women’s presence in Web3 but also uses digital assets as a vehicle for the public good by distributing raised funds among women activists and community leaders across the globe.
The revenue from NFT sales will go toward Web3 education events held by Warrior Love Productions as well as programs supporting women and girls as agents of change from the international nonprofit CARE. CARE operates in more than 100 countries and measures its programs’ impact based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
World of Women (WoW) is another example of a global community built around the original collection of 10,000 NFTs designed by artist Yam Karkai. It has received support from prominent NFT influencers including Gary Vaynerchuck, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Aoki.
The first collection consists of empowering depictions of diverse female avatars celebrating WoW’s mission of diversity and promoting equal opportunity in Web3.
Meanwhile, the WoW team dropped a second collection of 22,222 NFTs, known as WoW Galaxy, in March 2022. It is described by many as the female version of CryptoPunks.
The NFT collection is accompanied by a new interactive storyline that involves a cryptic message sent to the WoW Assembly of Women. The message helps them discover a new planet known as Nova Gaïa.
WoW community enjoys a lot of exclusive perks such as tickets to Madonna concert, virtual property in the metaverse, gamified social media experiences, and branded merchandise created within high-profile partnerships, collaborations and special projects.
Web3 is still a largely male-dominated industry which is not good for the segment’s growth and its creative opportunities. The focus on men ignores the needs of the rising number of crypto investors. However, due to the passionate female-led Web3 grassroots organisations and communities, the industry has all the chances to increase diversity and promote inclusion.