Despite the progress made by women in FinTech, a recent bitcoin conference revealed the blockchain industry’s male-centric bias. CIO Monica Eaton-Cardone explains why diversity in FinTech and blockchain is critical to future growth.
(Tampa Bay, FL) April 17, 2018 – Bloomberg Technology recently proclaimed that the $460 billion digital currency world is starting to open to women, noting that four of the 30 largest initial coin offerings last year had female co-founders, including two of the biggest ICOs: Tezos, at $232 million, and Bancor, at $150 million.(1) Yet the 2018 North American Bitcoin Conference (NABC) in January sparked harsh criticism for its lack of diversity and inclusiveness—among 80 speakers, there were just three women; and the conference’s only official networking event was held at a strip club.(2) Monica Eaton-Cardone, a financial technology (FinTech) executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention, believes women can play a major role in advancing cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies—and warns that excluding them could hinder industry growth.
A report by Ernst & Young (EY) revealed that women have tremendous spending power—their global incomes were projected to rise from $13 trillion as of 2013 to an estimated $18 trillion this year; and by 2028, females will control nearly 75% of discretionary spending worldwide.(3) However, as the NABC uproar has shown, many in the bitcoin and blockchain industries appear to underestimate women’s potential. An analysis of 67 companies in the Digital Currency Group’s portfolio revealed that just 17% of those companies’ employees are females, while one-third of the organizations employed no women at all; and when CoinDesk compiled a list for a vote on the most influential figures in blockchain, only one-fifth of the 153 identifiable candidates were women.(1)
“Conventional banking and finance firms have long been regarded as a male bastion, though we’re finally seeing some progress made by women in FinTech,” said Eaton-Cardone, who serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911. “Bitcoin and blockchain are viewed as major disruptors to the traditional finance industry, so it’s disheartening that this damaging mentality is rearing its head again.” Given women’s growing spending power and unique insights into consumers’ wants and needs, I believe anyone who ignores or overlooks them is holding back this industry from achieving its full potential.”
As EY noted in its report, “Studies have repeatedly indicated corporations with a higher proportion of women in top management show more successful growth in terms of a range of goals including operating results, employee satisfaction, public image and stock price.”(3) Other EY research determined that an organization with 30% female leaders “could add up to 6 percentage points to its net margin.”(4) Women who have earned renown as FinTech pioneers and leaders have suggested that the negative feedback from NABC’s “embarrassing Bitcoin Miami event” can provide an impetus for positive change,(2) and several big names in crypto and blockchain—including the co-founders of Tezos and Bancor—have expressed optimism and confidence regarding females’ future in these nascent fields.(1)
“As cringe-worthy as the NABC fiasco has been, at least it has raised awareness of how foolish and shortsighted it is to gear industry events exclusively to males,” stated Eaton-Cardone. She applauds those who have leveraged subsequent media attention to shine a light on women’s tech contributions, such as the group CryptoFriends, which spotlighted women leading the future of blockchain at the recent SXSW conference in Austin and will be hosting a female-led blockchain conference called New Girls on the Block in Tel Aviv in May. “Women have proven to be capable innovators and leaders in technology, cryptocurrency and blockchain. Working to achieve greater diversity in FinTech not only helps women to succeed, it benefits businesses, investors, consumers and the industry as a whole.”
Monica Eaton-Cardone welcomes the chance to discuss opportunities for women in FinTech and blockchain at upcoming industry events. She has been a featured panelist at TRUSTECH, the IATA World Financial Symposium and TRANSACT, and is also available for interviews and future speaking engagements. For more information, visit http://monicaec.com.
About Monica Eaton-Cardone:
Monica Eaton-Cardone is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, author and industry thought leader who is internationally recognized for her expertise in risk management, chargeback mitigation, fraud prevention and merchant education. Eaton-Cardone found her calling as an entrepreneur when she sold her first business at the age of 19. She later became an eCommerce merchant; and after grappling with chargebacks and fraud, she took it upon herself to develop a comprehensive, robust solution that combined agile technologies and human insights. Today, Eaton-Cardone’s innovations are helping thousands of organizations achieve sustainable growth, and she continues to pioneer loss-prevention best practices as CIO of Global Risk Technologies and COO of Chargebacks911. Eaton-Cardone is a champion of women in IT and business leadership, and aims to inspire the next generation of young innovators through her nonprofit organization, Get Paid for Grades. Get to know her at http://www.monicaec.com.
- Lee, Justina. “Bitcoin Started With All Men. Now Crypto Is Opening to Women”; Bloomberg Technology; December 12, 2017.
- Grimsley-Vaz, Ebony. “The Myth of No Women in Blockchain: Embarrassing Miami Conference Resists Tech Inclusion”; Moguldom; February 6, 2018.
- EY (Ernst & Young Global Limited). Women: The Next Emerging Market;
- “New Research From The Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY Reveals Significant Correlation Between Women in Corporate Leadership and Profitability”; news release issued February 8, 2016.