In the 21st Century, Tech isn’t just a “Boys only club,” and so is the case for crypto. These days, increasingly more women get involved in various tech projects and companies, and the results are genuinely enlightening. Crypto was not left behind, of course, especially during times when the industry is becoming so popular that it is hard not to be part of the movement.
So, in this article, we will talk about 20 of the most influential women in the crypto industry, along with the projects they contribute to.
1. Elizabeth Stark – Lightning Labs
Elizabeth Stark may be the most popular woman in crypto, being among the influential female figures. She is best known for her role in developing Lightning Labs, a revolutionary solution for Bitcoin users.
Lightning Labs develops software that powers the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Moreover, the company offers a series of verifiable, non-custodial lightning-based financial services.
Through Elizabeth Stark’s dedication and passion for addressing Bitcoin’s scalability issues, Lightning Network went from an idea to a practical solution that is changing the way we use Bitcoin. From being a true advocate for blockchain technology to creating a more efficient Bitcoin network, Elizabeth Stark’s story proves how much women can contribute to the crypto space.
2. Meltem Demirors – CoinShares
With a background in traditional finance, Meltem Demirors transitioned into the world of blockchain and crypto. According to Demirors, her passions include “Bitcoin, sci-fi novels, and talking with hands.” And 2 of these passions helped her become more than just a supporter. She is an educator, teaching people about the potential and complexities of cryptocurrency.
Meltem Demirors is the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of CoinShares. CoinShares is a leading full-service digital asset investment and trading group that offers many financial services such as trading, investment management, or securities. Besides, Demirors is a trusted partner to investors from the digital asset ecosystem and has invested in over 250 companies in the crypto industry while being part of Digital Currency Group, at first, then of CoinShares, but also as an angel investor.
3. Nicole Muniz – Yuga Labs
Nicole Muniz is an inspiring woman who has significant contributions to the field of blockchain technology. Remember the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most popular NFT collections? She is the CEO of Yuga Labs, the company that created BAYC.
At the moment, Nicole Muniz is one of the most influential women in tech and Web3. Under her tenure as CEO, Yuga Labs has become surprisingly popular, especially during times when crypto and Web3 were experiencing a worrying period.
With many significant initiatives for Yuga Labs, such as Second Trip, Dookey Dash, or avatars, Nicole Muniz has strategically positioned the company for exponential growth. Although she was replaced by Daniel Alegre during the first quarter of the year, Muniz is still a partner and strategic adviser of Yuga Labs.
4. Joyce Kim – Stellar Development Foundation
Joyce Kim is co-founder and executive of Stellar Development Foundation, a digital currency payments platform that aims to increase the interoperability between various financial systems and currencies, be they fiat or crypto. Stellar is the first crypto project that focused on improving financial inclusion by using the efficiencies of crypto-currency platforms to offer lower costs for financial services. This way, everyone can have access to financial services, even those who don’t have bank accounts.
Joyce Kim is also a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Furthermore, she has spoken at the United Nations and World Bank about how open networks can significantly increase economic access, especially for those unable to use traditional banking services due to their location. Kim was selected as a Pop Tech fellow for her Stellar work.
5. Sheila Warren – Crypto Council of Innovation
Sheila Warren is the Chief Executive Officer of the Crypto Council of Innovation, a leading global alliance for advancing the promise of new technology through education, research, and advocacy.
As a founder of the World Economic Forum’s blockchain and digital assets team, Warren dedicated the past years to developing and innovating as much as possible in the blockchain field. She also was a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. During this time, she oversaw tech policy strategy across 14 countries. She also briefed ministers, CEOs of the Fortune 100, and Heads of State.
6. Blythe Masters – Digital Asset Holdings
In March 2015, Blythe Masters was named the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a company that builds secure and distributed processing tools aiming to speed up settlement, reduce costs, and provide high levels of financial security and transparency in the regulated financial industry.
Although she stepped down as CEO in December 2018, Masters still remained a board member, strategic advisor, and shareholder of Digital Asset Holdings. During her time as CEO, Blythe Masters contributed to raising more than $100 million in multiple rounds of funding, gathering over 15 tech and financial companies around the project, including JPMorgan, Citibank, IBM, and Accenture.
7. Cynthia Lummis – Pro Crypto US Senator
Cynthia Lummis may be the woman who fights the most for the well-being of the crypto industry. As a US senator, her latest request and goal is to dismiss the SEC Lawsuit against Coinbase, one of the most popular and widely used crypto exchanges in the world.
With a strong belief in the power and benefits of cryptocurrencies, Cynthia Lummis is one of the few voices for crypto in Congress. In 2022, Lummis, along with Senator Kristin Gillibrand, built the Responsible Financial Innovation Act. This bill aimed to address specific Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission jurisdictions. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it out of committee despite the support of many lawmakers.
Despite facing specific difficulties as a US senator, Cynthia Lummis is constantly supporting legislation in favor of crypto adoption in the United States, working along with other few senators eager to make the world a better place for crypto.
8. Kathleen Breitman – Tezos & Emergents
Along with her husband, Arthur Breitman, Kathleen Breitman founded Tezos, an open-source platform for assets and applications that can evolve by upgrading itself. Basically, Tezos encourages users to participate in decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (dApps), and non-fungible token (NFT) projects.
Kathleen Breitman is also the co-founder of Coase, a company that aims to make gaming easier and fun with a new game, Emergents. Coase lets users easily acquire and swap cards for card games.
Unlike other card games, Emergents lets players buy the cards they want instead of offering them a pack with random cards. According to Brian David-Marshall, the 3rd co-founder, Coase has “an economic model for doing a collectible card game on the blockchain that captures a lot of what makes physical card games great.”
9. Jinglan Wang – Optimism
Jinglan Wang has significantly contributed to the crypto world by founding Optimism, a blockchain-based protocol that enables developers to build dApps on the Ethereum network. With a long history working in the blockchain space, Wang still plays a pivotal role in driving technology development.
Jinglan Wang has been involved in developing the Optimism protocol since the very beginning and has been responsible for developing the crypto project’s core features. Furthermore, she highly contributed to developing the protocol’s security and privacy features. She has also worked hard to develop the user interface to allow developers to easily build and deploy decentralized applications.
10. Aya Miyaguchi – Ethereum Foundation & Blockchain Global Council & Kraken
Aya Miyaguchi is the Executive Director (CEO) of the Ethereum Foundation, an NGO (Non-Profit Organization) dedicated to supporting the development of one of the biggest crypto projects in the world, Ethereum. Her contributions to the Ethereum Foundation are truly valuable, as she drives the ecosystem through core development and research activities.
As one of the most important people in the Ethereum ecosystem, Miyaguchi is also promoting educational efforts around blockchain. In 2019, she also joined the Blockchain Global Council of the World Economic Forum. Aya Miyaguchi was also a Managing Director at Kraken before starting her journey with Ethereum. Although she was a high school teacher before, she rapidly changed paths when moving to the US and meeting with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who was 19 then.
11. Alena Vranova – Trezor & SatoshiLabs & Casa Inc.
With over 20 years of experience in business development and management, Alena Vranova is now a blockchain entrepreneur and the founder and former CEO of Trezor. In 2013, she also co-founded SatoshiLabs, a security hardware and software company.
As founder and CEO of one of the most popular hardware wallet companies, Vranova has highly contributed to developing some of the most useful crypto products we now always recommend as the most secure crypto storage options.
Alena Vranova is also head of strategy at Casa Inc., a Bitcoin self-custody company. Casa builds a self-custody BTC wallet that allows users to control their private keys. This differs from the custodial model exchanges use and is widely appreciated by Bitcoin users who want to “be their own bank.”
12. Tina Bhatnagar – Coinbase
Tina Bhatnagar joined Coinbase as VP of Operations and Technology in 2018. Since then, she has highly contributed to developing the platform and making it as straightforward and user-friendly as possible. Tina leads all operational teams related to Coinbase customers and ensures the company meets its commitments to offer high-quality support to worldwide customers.
Prior to Coinbase, Tina Bhatnagar was VP of Operations and User Services at Twitter. Dedicating to the company and the platform, she managed to grow a team of thousands of employees operating out of 6 locations and handling all support requests received. Furthermore, she worked for IBM for 8 years, helping companies build and scale their operations.
13. Elizabeth Rossiello – AZA Finance
Elizabeth Rossiello is the founder and CEO of AZA Finance, a global fintech company that aims to accelerate economic growth in developing countries from Africa, one of the most unbanked regions. Through its foreign exchange, treasury, payments, and settlement services, AZA Finance manages to provide financial services to those who don’t even have a bank account.
Elizabeth founded AZA Finance in 2013 in Nairobi. Over time, she was a rating analyst for global institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, consulting for various organizations, such as the Acumen Fund, the Grameen Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rossiello is committed to helping the unbanked population by expanding access to financial technologies and global markets.
14. Catherine Coley – Binance US & Ripple
Catherine Coley is the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance US, the largest crypto exchange on the market, available almost worldwide. She was the first CEO of Binance and started her journey with the company in 2019.
Before her position at Binance, Catherine Coley was Head of XRP Institutional Liquidity at Ripple, a blockchain-based digital payment network providing financial services to worldwide users. In 2021, before stepping down as the only female CEO of Binance, she was celebrated on the fortune “40 under 40” list.
15. Catherine Wood – ARK Invest
Catherine (Cathie) Wood is an American investor who founded ARK Invest, an investment management firm. She also is the CEO and CIO of the company.
Selected for the inaugural 2021 Forbes 50 Over 50, Catherine Wood worked hard to prove crypto’s potential to worldwide users. ARK Invest believes that “cryptocurrencies governed by open source networks are enabling a new paradigm for monetary systems and mechanisms to store and transfer value.”
Before founding ARK Invest, Cathie Wood joined Alliance Bernstein as CIO (Chief Investment Officer) of global thematic strategies, where she worked for 12 years since 2001 and managed $5 billion.
16. Caitlin Long – Wyoming Blockchain Coalition
Caitlin Long’s contribution to the crypto space is undoubtable. After spending 22 years on Wall Street in senior roles, she became very interested in crypto and Bitcoin in 2013 after reading an article about how to buy and store Bitcoin. With a passion for crypto and blockchain technology, she set a goal to make securities markets fairer by issuing and trading securities on blockchain.
In 2017, Caitlin Long co-founded the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, and during 2018 and 2019, she played a pivotal role in the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, which was responsible for building 13 blockchain-enabling laws in Wyoming. Also, during these years, she chaired the WyoHackathon, a non-profit hackathon.
17. Linda Xie – Scalar Capital
Linda Xie co-founded Scalar Capital, a hedge fund company focusing on crypto assets. Currently, she is managing director of the crypto project. She was also listed in the Forbes 2019 30 under 30 list.
Before Scalar, Linda Xie was a Product Manager at Coinbase, the 2nd largest cryptocurrency exchange. She has raised a $20 million fund to invest in blockchain companies, focusing on privacy technology.
Before Coinbase, Linda Xie was a portfolio risk analyst at AIG and focused on advising another cryptocurrency exchange called 0x.
18. Leanne Kemp – Everledger & World Trade Board & IBM
Leanne Kemp is an Australian tech entrepreneur who founded Everledger, a crypto project that uses blockchain technology to track the provenance of various crypto assets. The platform focuses on combating fraud and money laundering while protecting worldwide investors.
Leanne Kemp also sits on boards for various companies, including the World Economic Forum’s blockchain council, the World Trade Board, and IBM’s Blockchain Board of Advisors. Her main project, Everledger, has won plenty of awards for innovation in Fintech, including the Meffy Award 2015 and the Fintech Finals Best in Show Award 2016 in Hong Kong.
19. Perianne Boring – Chamber of Digital Commerce
Perianne Boring founded the Chamber of Digital Commerce, one of the world’s largest trade associations representing the blockchain and crypto industries. She is also the CEO of the association. Currently, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has over 200 members, including massive companies such as Microsoft, Accenture, IBM, Cisco, Wells Fargo, Fidelity, Digital Asset, TrustToken, and Bitpay.
Perianne Boring’s contribution to the blockchain industry is remarkable. Through her association, she launched multiple initiatives, both nationally and globally. This way, she promoted and encouraged the acceptance of regulatory interoperability and real-world applications of blockchain and crypto.
20. Zoe Adamovicz – Neufund
Zoe Adamovicz is the co-founder and CEO of Neufund, a company founded in 2016 that launched a decentralized platform for crowdsourced projects developed on blockchain. The main goal of the company is to connect investors and entrepreneurs seamlessly. To do this, it develops blockchain-based solutions and services, including a fundraising and investing platform, a light wallet, and an employee stock option plan (ESOP).
Before her work at Neufund, Zoe Adamovicz was the co-founder and Member of the Board of JiM Technologies, a consultant at Deloitte, a Strategic Business Development Manager at News Corp, and an Innovation Manager at Verisign. With a true passion for computer science, she first founded Concise Software, a software development company, where she was also on the Management Board.
Crypto certainly is the perfect place to innovate, and many people understand that. Being passionate about technology and crypto, many women manage to have a positive impact and develop useful crypto products and projects. Besides, their power and courage to change spread worldwide, helping people embrace the amazing magic of cryptocurrencies, offering financial empowerment, and building a strong blockchain community.