Cryptocurrency is having a hot moment, but amongst all the buzz, there's a key ingredient that many are overlooking: diversity.
Many think the white guy in the hoodie is driving the revolution, although in actual fact, some of the key players don't exactly fit this brief. The cryptocurrency marketplace is diverse and exciting, just like the leaders spearheading it all.
Tech companies are among the worst offenders for sexism, and it's no surprise the #MeToo movement started in Silicon Valley. There's still a long way to go for full D&I, with some studies indicating women account for only four to six percent of blockchain investors. But there are green shoots at the grassroots level suggesting things are fundamentally changing.
Introducing women in crypto - not a definitive list (which is hopeful in itself), but definitely a good place to start.
Joyce Kim, Stellar Co-Founder
Joyce is the co-founder of Stellar, one of the best-known alt-coins in the cryptocurrency marketplace - with the market capitalisation to prove it. She's also a managing partner at Spark Change Capital.
While Joyce could easily rest on her laurels - from its listing price to its all-time high in January 2018, Stellar spiked almost 21,000 percent - she is hard at work tackling inequality at the grassroots. Joyce passed the torch on Stellar two years ago and is now dedicated to empowering the unbanked.
As an advisor, Joyce has met with the UN and helped scale various crypto projects and ICOs, and worked pro-bono as an attorney for immigrant families and domestic violence victims.
Amber Baldet, Clovyr Co-Founder
With pink-tipped hair, and enough poise to carry a revolution on her own shoulders, Amber recently left her coveted role as the executive director of JPMorgan's Blockchain Center of Excellence for greener pastures.
Trading blockchain in a bank for working on her own business, it helps that at only 35 years old, Amber already has 24 years of coding experience under her belt.
She's yet to reveal the full details, but having been an integral member of the Quorum team, the bank's business-oriented blockchain that was adapted for Ethereum, you can bet it will be exciting.
Jinglan Wang, Blockchain Education Network (BEN) Executive Director
Education is the most important thing with any nascent technology, but especially in an industry that has seen people go from penniless to paper millionaires overnight.
After matriculating from the MIT Bitcoin Club, Jinglan put her know-how to good use. She balances her role as blockchain product manager at NASDAQ with her passion project, the Blockchain Education Network (BEN), where she's an executive director.
Knowing that movements start on college campuses before spreading into communities, Jinglan's BEN is a cross-campus initiative connecting blockchain hubs with keen students. The community is currently 3000 members-strong, covering 300 schools in over 50 countries. In Jinglan's words, BEN is anchored on providing "financial sovereignty and access to truth" - everything the smart student seeks.
Grace Wong, Liven Co-Founder
From travelling to some of the world's biggest blockchain conferences, to working hard behind the scenes in Melbourne, Australia, Grace is a star on the rise. At the head of her dining rewards startup, Liven, she has quickly become one of crypto's biggest advocates in Australia's startup ecosystem.
Seeing synergy between Liven's integral rewards feature, and the concept of cryptocurrency, Grace and her co-founders started cooking up the idea for a blockchain integration.
Liven plans to sell 1.75 billion tokens through its ICO, with these tokens being redeemable for products at participating merchants. Right now, a customer paying for food at these partner businesses with the Liven app currently gets an instant 15–25 percent reward back on their bill.
By pegging purpose-built food tokens to bricks-and-mortar businesses, Grace and the Liven founding team believe they are tackling one of the cryptocurrency revolution's biggest issues - a lack of everyday use and adoption - by creating a digital currency for something we need everyday: food.
Laura Shin, Unchained Crypto Journalist
Every revolution needs a writer to spread its good word. The recent FAANG tech boom had Kara Swisher, and the current cryptocurrency revolution has Laura Shin.
Formerly on the crypto and blockchain beat at Forbes, Laura has since left to consult, write and produce two podcasts on the revolution of which we speak: Unchained and Unconfirmed. Through these podcasts, and while keeping her reporter's cap well balanced - she wrote on personal finance, business and tech for years - Laura gives a platform to the freethinkers of the crypto community.
Read more about how The LivenPay project is building a stable cryptocurrency for the real world, and making the capabilities and benefits of blockchain technology accessible for brick and mortar businesses and everyday consumers in this announcement.