Many of you closely follow the gathering of the decision-makers at Davos during the annual World Economic Forum. Many of you have very strong opinions about these gatherings, which I share. Right now, however, I would like to discuss what inspired me the most during those five days of the summit. This was my first Davos event, and I could not help noticing how many women decision-makers were present, in stark contrast to similar crypto events happening in Dubai and Lisbon, for example. 

Yes, the Promenade at Davos was taken over by crypto companies, exceeding the traditional finance and tech presence, but it was the presence of so many women in senior positions representing every segment of the crypto industry that increased my firm belief that the future of the crypto industry is bright. As operations lead of UpLift DAO, a launchpad for innovative crypto community projects, I interact with our community intensely to keep them engaged, and reach out to as many different sectors as possible.

Having a diverse community brings greater support to new projects, and ensuring that women are well represented is foremost of importance. It’s exciting now to see women having integral roles in major projects and taking the lead in this space to inspire the community.

Many surveys and reports bemoan the low participation rates of women in crypto — estimates say as much as 85% of the crypto community is male — however, a 2019 study by Grayscale challenges that trend and found that 43% of investors interested in Bitcoin are women. This number has surely grown as cryptocurrencies offer easy and open access to investing, unlike traditionally traded assets and commodities.

Related: An open invitation for women to join the Web3 movement

An April 2022 report saw women’s participation increase over 170% in the last fiscal year, while men’s usage was just under 80% higher. Moreover, women on average made larger initial deposits, and although they traded less frequently, their portfolios showed more structured strategies and focused positions.

The evolution and leveling of the financial playing field has come about as information and resources have become more easily accessible to everyone, another result of widespread community-building efforts and transparency built into project designs. While in Davos, I met up with several extraordinary women — from investors to mentors to entrepreneurs and technologists — making waves in the crypto community. These women are impacting the crypto scene right now, dynamic and inspirational pioneers who are paving the way for other women to come to the forefront. I took this opportunity to ask these outstanding women a few questions and am delighted to share their answers with you.

Marieke Frament, the CEO of the NEAR Foundation

a non-profit foundation headquartered in Switzerland that oversees the development of the NEAR protocol. NEAR Protocol is a shared, proof-of-stake, layer-1 blockchain that is simple to use and scalable. NEAR is also a certified carbon-neutral blockchain.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

“The most exciting thing for me right now about the crypto industry is the infinite possibilities of using blockchain, specifically the NEAR protocol! The opportunities it presents to transform the way we live and organize our lives are truly incredible. DAOs are super exciting and could allow people and society to work and come together in a more inclusive, fair and democratic way.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“Crypto was a prominent theme at Davos this year and it was important for NEAR to be there to back the important initiatives that WEF is championing but also to show the world that we are creating a positive impact in the world with the creation of a protocol that is sustainable, accessible and inclusive for everyone. Blockchain’s reputation is that it’s bad for the environment, and we need world leaders to realize and understand that it’s not the case. In this new world of Web3, diversity is even more paramount, and as the rules are being redefined, we need more women and diversity of thought to build an inclusive future around these new tools. Yet right now in the world of crypto, around 85% of the Bitcoin community is male. Men dominate the investor space and women account for only a third of crypto holders worldwide. This is not sustainable and it won’t lead to the positive outcomes we want for society as a whole.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“For any women looking to join the world of crypto, I would give the following advice. First off, you don’t have to be a developer to get into crypto. Web3, in particular, is about reshaping what we’ve done on Web2, so pretty much all the skills we require today in Web2 are and will be needed in Web3 and many women are qualified to make their mark in the space. Second, get trained up if you want to become a developer and let us help you! At the moment, Web3 isn’t taught yet anywhere, which is why we have launched NEAR University and which is why we are on a path to train millions of developers, both male and female. Finally, my top tips to break into the sector: Start reading and learning as much as you can, and start playing with the tools and DApps that are out there. Also, engage with the companies and projects that resonate most with you and follow influencers on Twitter.”

Kerry Leigh Miller, a founding partner of Overton Venture Capital

an early-stage venture fund investing in next-gen consumer brands and services. Kerry invests in, advises and amplifies best-in-class entrepreneurs and thought leaders across industries and functions.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

The potential to transform every industry by creating incentives and protocols that have the potential to change the world for GOOD.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“I was there to: (1) share my thought leadership on venture capital, decentralization/Web3, (2) learn from other thought leaders in both business, social impact and politics and (3) create new partnerships. One of the ways where I have already seen women have impact is in DeFi and Web3. I believe women are better communicators. What can be an overwhelming and a complex area to understand, I believe women are stronger than men at educating and distilling Web3 and DeFi into simple use cases and connecting the dots.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“Appoint a digital bodyguard (or several!) — someone who you trust to be your mentor/teacher. Start VERY slow and build from there.”

Thy Diep Ta, co-founder of Unit Network

She designs blockchain & crypto learning, mentoring & coaching programs. She has 15 years of experience in creating peer-to-peer and centralized training programs/curricula as well as transformation programs for self- and organizational development.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

“Web3 is an emerging industry with a phenomenal growth rate. As such, there are countless opportunities to come in, shake up and shape the world, and build ventures, products and solutions that drive zero to one farther than nine to 10 innovations. We need every hand to build the economy of tomorrow so everyone is highly welcomed and integrated very fast.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“When you think of the economy of tomorrow, there’s no way to not think about Web3. The World Economic Forum is the melting pot of ideas, talents and where you have diversity of thoughts. It’s the place where every voice can find its audience, and it’s the most fertile spot to build lasting and strong alliances to move the needle on topics such as women’s participation in the economy of tomorrow.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“Please do not think that you don’t know enough about technology to participate. You can learn all you need within a (relatively) short period of time as our industry is still very young. Getting into it now is not too late; you will have an abnormal return on your time investment to skill up on what may prove to be a more impactful social innovation than the internet, itself. The time to enter is now. With DLT Talents, Unit Masters and H.E.R. DAO, we have created many initiatives that onboard you quickly and connect you with different communities to help you thrive and drive the token economy.”

Sandra Tusin of Mindstream AI and NFT.SOHO

She is the driving force behind Mindstream AI, which is partnering with the U.K. government and the Mayor of London to help underprivileged groups gain access to good education and jobs in technology. Sandra is also the co-founder of NFT.SOHO, which quickly gained prominence by bringing together collectors, artists and innovators at monthly events in London. She also currently works at Outlier Ventures.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

“I am thrilled about the number of use cases in blockchain and crypto, and how it can be used to decentralize and make many different industries more efficient and transparent.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“I was at Davos in order to be around like-minded individuals who care about making an impact that reaches beyond their personal lives. I think the boundaries for women partaking in all types of industries are breaking down more and women can certainly leave a mark on very early industries such as blockchain and [nonfungible tokens or] NFTs to make sure that what is being created and innovated has their input and therefore serves all genders of society well.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“I would advise women to find other like-minded females and mentors, to help each other and learn from each other — it’s always easier to start something or learn something new if you have others pursuing the same journey with you or have already been through those struggles.”

Yuree Hong, founder and advisor of Shechain.co

She is passionate about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Diversity & Inclusion and Education as well as the future of decentralized networks and artificial intelligence. She is a founder & advisor of shechain.co, showcasing women-led blockchain startups with a mission to make the blockchain industry inclusive.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

“Crypto enabled by blockchain technology has a hybrid impact involving political, economic and technological advancement. Today, we live in an era of uncertainties such as climate change and geopolitical issues — phenomena the world has experienced in the past when shifting to the new norm. I’m excited about working on the topic right at the beginning when the world is getting prepared for a new kind of transformation.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos, and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“In Davos, I hosted the “Diversity Redefined: The Future of Women’s Economic Empowerment in Web 3” session. One of the challenges we’ve discovered was that there are not enough financial resources available for women. I believe that women entrepreneurs showing more successful use cases will re-educate the investment market and re-invent the perspectives when it comes to funding. I envision a world where everyone is recognized entirely by their deliverables as humans, regardless of gender. I’m working on shechain.co to achieve that.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“Be curious. Applying a diverse approach will help you advance in the crypto and blockchain industry. If you are technical, try experimenting with app development on multiple protocols like Ethereum (ETH), Polygon (MATIC) or Near (NEAR). If you are more into crypto investing, diversifying your investment portfolio will help hedge against high volatility. If you are a business or marketing person, go to as many conferences or events as possible, yet remember to attend some technical sessions to fill in your technological understanding. I suggest investing your energy and time in understanding the fundamental value of crypto and blockchain.”

Juliet Su, the fund partner and ecosystem lead at NewTribe Capital

a venture capital firm based out of Dubai that invests in early-stage crypto and blockchain projects. Juliet has always been curious about ideas and innovation, which led her to the world of Web3, investing and venture capital.

What makes you thrilled about the crypto industry?

“For me, crypto is similar to the internet back in the 90s. It provides you a definite level of freedom, be it time, location, or work — freedom is the ultimate flex now. You can live where you want, travel around the world and yet be able to pay anyone hassle-free, and all of this thanks to crypto. What really ignites my passion is the rapidly changing market, where one has the opportunity to be constantly updated with the new trends, generate new ideas and explore new opportunities. That gives you room for constant personal growth and brings a real excitement when learning new things daily.”

Why are you at WEF in Davos and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“I have attended Davos for several years before the pandemic and it’s exciting to come back here again. I simply love the community and its vibe. People here are very open-minded, eager to communicate and super helpful. It’s not only about coming here and doing business but also about building a quality network and having your energies recharged by the ideas from some of the brightest minds in the industry and mixing with like-minded people who are on the same path to change the world.

“My position on women’s impact is slightly different than most others. I don’t support any feminist movements nor champion any women’s leadership programs simply because I believe that their role in the global economy is inevitable. Women are the ones who inspire and back the global leaders, the ones who bring kindness and empathy to any business and often have a broader vision. With specific regard to the crypto space, for sure, I agree that there’s a definite lack of women in the industry, which should be addressed to make things more scalable and adaptable.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“I would say that there is no right time to start, you start when it works for you, and find your way. I’d suggest that beginners find their personal strong areas of interest and figure out where they are able to thrive. Start building your network, be bold and honest to yourself and never be afraid to step into the unknown world, exploring is the most exciting part, and the journey never ends.”

Irina Heaver, The Crypto Lawyer

Irina is a cryptocurrency and blockchain lawyer based in Dubai and Switzerland representing clients worldwide. She is highly regarded internationally for her extensive experience and deep technical knowledge of blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrency matters.

What makes you excited about the crypto industry?

“The main thing that excites me is Bitcoin and witnessing the full potential being unleashed. Less than 14% of the 570 million population of the Middle East have bank accounts. Some simply do not trust the banking system, some witnessed their country’s currency collapse multiple times just in the last years. Some do not have the required papers to open a bank account. I believe it is one of the basic dignities for each human to be able to participate in commerce and to make a living, and being excluded from financial and banking systems goes against that. Bitcoin fixes this. Each person with a cheap $50 smartphone is now able to participate in international commerce. Let me be clear here, I am not talking about banking the unbanked, I am talking about enabling each person to participate in international trade and commerce, just imagine the potential this will unleash.”

Why were you at WEF in Davos, and how do you think women can impact innovation in the global economy these days?

“I took this chance to come to Davos to participate in side events run by crypto companies, to speak on panels, to meet like-minded Bitcoiners and to speak out on the hypocrisy of the ruling unelected elite. For example, a lot of opposition is happening to Bitcoin mining, as it consumes energy and is allegedly bad for the environment, but here we are in Davos witnessing record helicopter traffic above our heads and the roads are full of petrol-guzzling limousines (with 1 single person being chauffeured around). Is this good for the environment? A lot of talks about banking the unbanked, but in reality, the banking requirements are becoming so ridiculous that we are witnessing the unbanking of the banked. And don’t get me started about digital identity and CBDCs – the perfect instruments of surveillance and quashing dissent.”

What advice would you give to women who want to start their career in crypto?

“The world is progressively moving digital, whether we like it or not, so getting a job in the crypto space makes perfect sense. All finances and financial instruments are already digital, crypto makes it decentralized and cryptographically secured. I would highly recommend attending events in your own city, joining WhatsApp and Telegram groups, finding like-minded people and joining them in the mission to make finance accessible for the many. Clearly, the opportunities ahead are exciting for any women who are looking to diversify and expand their careers in crypto. Learning resources are plentiful and community education is where it’s at — the openness of the community makes it easy to get started and stay active.”

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Irina Berezina is the operations lead of Uplift DAO and has grown the business into a multi-award-winning launchpad that’s blazing the way for the most innovative crypto projects. Since joining Uplift, Irina has grown the platform by $1m in TVL and formed strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Near Foundation, Polygon and Certik as well as onboarded multiple global funds. Irina is based in Lisbon, the “Crypto Capital” of Europe, holds an Master of Arts in business and international relations, and has extensive connections within the crypto industry.