To some extent, Web3 seems like one of the most diverse places to work in. However, being still closely linked to the financial industry, it is still highly male-dominated.
Biggest Challenges Faced by Women in Web3
The Web3 industry highly depends on new technological advancements, and with those come the technical terms which can be quite daunting to many newcome employees, Pelli Wang, the co-founder of Bracket Labs, told Technopedia.
“Since I came from a non-technical background, I had to quickly immerse myself in all of the crypto jargon from reading, talking, and networking with as many people and projects as possible. Luckily, that was back in 2017 when the industry was much smaller.”
Wang added that because the cryptocurrency industry tends to move very quickly, the development of new projects can change from day to day. She said: “Every year in crypto is like 7 years in a regular industry. It takes marathon stamina to keep up with everything that is going on.”
Maria Eisner Pelch, the senior manager, ESG, and sustainability lead at Concordium, added that, like in any other male-dominated industry, she also gets “inappropriate comments and experience[d] people using condescending language, especially around technical components.”
“Thankfully, I am not shy and just respond with a smart comment or go even more technical to highlight their own embarrassing limited bias. In some places, the traditional “boys club” still very much exists and I think one of my biggest challenges is that I have to fight unnecessarily to get a seat at the table.”
Now, who are the leading female entrepreneurs in Web3 today?
Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs in Web3
Maria Eisner Pelch
First on our top female entrepreneurs in the Web3 industry list is Maria Eisner Pelch.
Pelch is the senior manager, ESG, and sustainability lead at Concordium, a public–layer-one blockchain aiming to balance privacy and accountability. She describes herself as “curious by nature” and has spent most of her career working with new technologies.
“In many ways, I fell in love with [blockchains’] potential for doing good – it is transparent, trustworthy and most importantly decentralized. Take for instance the climate crisis, you can not solve a decentralized problem with centralized solutions. It was this potential that immediately drew me to Concordium and Web3.”
Pelch has five years of experience working with new technologies and has extensive experience in innovation and adaptation of new technologies in heavy-legacy companies.
Second on our top 10 female entrepreneurs in Web3 is Pelli Wang.
Wang is the co-founder of Bracket Labs, a Web3 company striving to democratize financial products for all users.
According to her, Wang has always been passionate about bringing technological advancements into the financial industry, which is what attracted her to join the fintech industry.
“Currently, Web3 is at the forefront of that – using blockchains and smart contracts – to update the infrastructure of trading, lending/borrowing, payments, derivatives, [and more]. I am very excited to be working on many exciting projects in this field.”
Kristin Smith is the CEO of the Blockchain Association, a trade association representing over 100 blockchain companies. At the company, Smith is spearheading the creation of a strategic public policy roadmap for the advancement of the cryptocurrency industry.
Her main role is to act as the middle person between federal agencies and the cryptocurrency industry as she assists in the creation of legislation that would promote the growth of cryptocurrencies in the United States.
Denelle Dixon is the CEO and executive director of the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization that supports the further growth of Stellar, a blockchain network for money transfers from cryptocurrencies to fiat.
Under her leadership, the SDF had forged strategic alliances and investments, including collaborations with institutions like DSTOQ Group, Abra, and Bankhaus von der Heydt for stablecoin issuance on the Stellar blockchain.
Dawn Song is a distinguished entrepreneur and computer science scholar known for her roles as CEO of Oasis Labs, a blockchain-based cloud computing program, and as a professor at UC Berkeley.
Song has intensively researched deep learning, security, blockchain, and cryptography, with notable affiliations, including the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab.
As a leader in the Web3 space, Warren collaborated on the CBDC policymaker toolkit in 2020 and engaged in numerous industry events over the years, promoting diversity in the blockchain sector.
Linda Xie is an investor, co-founder, and managing director of Scalar Capital, a crypto investment firm. She is also a co-producer of Ethereum: The Infinite Garden, a feature documentary film about Ethereum.
As an investor, Xie had created a $20 million fund that focused on investing in blockchain companies in exchange for tokens, prioritizing technology companies.
In addition to leading Scalar Capital, Xie is also an adviser at 0x, an open protocol that allows peer-to-peer (P2P) asset trading on the Ethereum blockchain.
Closing our top female entrepreneurs in Web3 is Nicole Muniz.
Muniz joined Yuga Labs, the creators of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible token (NFT) project in 2021. In 2022, Muniz propelled the project into prominence in the Web3 and NFT space as Yuga Labs acquired other prominent NFT collections like CryptoPunks and Meebits.
In addition, under her leadership, Yuga Labs launched apecoin (APE), a token that had achieved significant market capitalization.
Shaping the Future of Web3
Web3 is still in the early stages of adoption, with huge opportunities for the creation of more decentralized applications (dApps).
“Women have a lot of opportunities to get involved – in building the business on the technical or non-technical side,” Wang said.
Pelch added that women can offer more inclusion and diversity of perspectives to the Web3 space. She added:
“I hold immense respect for the women not only paving the path but also focusing on bringing more women with them into the Web3 ecosystem – there are plenty of these communities that focus on education and inspiration to bring more women and diverse talent to Web3… Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.”
Steps for a More Diverse Environment
Pelch noted that while this is an issue that is not exclusive to just Web3, the industry is seeing a considerable gap in the funding of female-led start-ups.
Pelch explained: “More specific to the Web3 ecosystem, I’d love to see more women at the blockchain events and conferences. Here, women are still widely underrepresented. The easiest way is to connect with local female Web3 guilds and create specific female-focused events.
“It’s about getting the younger generations interested as well and starting already when they are at university. To get more women into the space, we need more women to know it.”
Pelli added that female representation in the crypto space is still poor when compared with other established industries, such as the tech sector. However, she noted that a number of established companies in the space are looking to hire a more diverse workforce.
“On the women’s side, if they are truly interested in the industry, they should just jump feet first and get in on the ground floor. If you believe that the crypto industry will be the infrastructure to underpin the future of how money moves on the internet, they have to start now.”