Elizabeth Renieris, a crypto and blockchain lawyer educated at Harvard and London School of Economics speaks about identity and data privacy in the crypto and blockchain space.
Women In Blockchain
Women technologists, entrepreneurs and women working in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, and issues that affect women.
“I think the Wild West of non-compliant token sales is over, thankfully. I think from a securities law perspective, it’s very exciting actually because it’ll make the capital markets more accessible. We talk a lot about financial inclusion in the blockchain industry, and I think this is actually it. With a caveat that it still has to be compliant with securities laws.”
Alexandra Levin Kramer has three degrees, which is probably a huge help since she’s working on three different enterprises in the blockchain space right now. She’s a practicing lawyer and partner at CKR law in NYC and the Founding Chair of its Blockchain Technology + Digital Currency practice group. She also co-founded Women On the Block, which hosts blockchain conferences around the world. And, she’s Co-founder of Womin.io that uses blockchain technology to enable freelancers and employers to interact peer to peer through its decentralized platform.
Women on the Block
Alexandra has been in the space for a few years now, but this past January when there was negative press about the crypto space that emphasized lambos and yachts with party girls, making it look like the blockchain world was a boys club, it bothered her. That wasn’t her experience and she thought if she, as a female had been just starting her career and had that impression, that she would have run for the hills. So she wanted to do something about it. So she co-founded Women On the Block, to welcome women into the space and promote diversity in blockchain.
Through learning about the power of blockchain – she even took a coding course – and realizing that it can have a huge impact, Alexandra decided to create her own blockchain startup. Womin.io uses decentralization and the ability to validate on a blockchain to put employee history verification into code that will allow easy access to an online market of employees.
One of the points she makes about smart contracts is that they are really just a starting point.
“In an actual legal agreement, you can’t cover every possible contingency and similarly in a smart contract, there are going to be things that happen that are not foreseeable under the code. That’s where other issues like governance and some degree of centralization will have to come in, but I think the potential is fantastic and I’m all for more efficiency, lower legal fees, lower legal costs. I think that’s better for everyone.”
Alexandra believes that some good use cases for smart contracts will be lease agreements, and employment and freelancer agreements.
She also talks to me about the differences between men and women. One of the things she mentions is that “women have a reticence to try new things or go out of their comfort zone.” And she also argues that there are studies that show diversity is an indicator of profitability.
What she recommends generally as that we make our own opportunities, learn something new every day. And she says she tries to live by a Jewish saying “Who is a wise person? One who learns from everyone.”
We also talk about:
• Security tokens and the SEC
• Intellectual property rights
• Smart contracts on public or private blockchain
• Lawyers and developers speaking the same language
• AI learning to automate dispute resolution
Women on the Block
Blockchain Conference in Singapore
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Made it to Top 25 of Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge competition.
“I really do think this would make a huge positive difference. And when you find that thing, there’s nothing else in the world you’d rather do than just stick with it until you’ve made it happen.”
Joanna Hubbard found her thing, the thing that motivated her to move mountains or in this case move energy, renewable energy even, distributed on a blockchain.
Working in the energy sector, and recognizing that there was a long way to go where Cleantech was concerned, Joanna started questioning the status quo.
Why couldn’t they work on changing energy demand rather than solely focus on managing supply?
Coal plants being subsidised to keep up their huge production volume didn’t make sense to her, when she knew of much greener ways to produce energy.
It seemed like the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing? Why weren’t these systems integrated, communicating with one another? Why wasn’t a real price being placed on energy, one that factored in the environmental cost?
Why hadn’t the energy sector changed its old ways of thinking and doing things?
Joanna said to me that “It’s partly mindset, it’s partly tech, and it’s always incentives.”
Joanna believed that consumers would be able to change their habits if they were incentivised to do so. And what about incentivising energy producers to find cleaner, greener ways to generate energy? Like a puzzle that was waiting to be solved, Joanna found her missing piece. The thing that would fuel her passion to make a positive difference in the world, — the possibilities that came with energy on a blockchain.
Armed with the ideas of blockchain technology, and the ideals of a Smart Grid, Joanna now works as Co-founder and COO of Electron where their key objectives are decarbonization, decentralization,
We talked about price signals and how to create a more resilient cleaner grid. Batteries, solar power, wind energy and other renewables, and the subsidising of coal plants.
Joanna explains that one of the biggest fundamental problems at the moment is that there is no shared digital infrastructure. It just doesn’t exist yet, but Joanna explains what can be done.
One of the most authentic moments in our conversation is about women in the fintech space. And to be totally transparent, it went in a direction that I didn’t see coming. I would urge other women, and even more, men in this space, to listen in to two women talking about what it’s like to be a woman and to be seen as a woman in a professional environment. #metoo
Last but not least, Joanna answers some of my favourite short answer questions and gives a shout out to the incredibly talented journalist and blockchain podcast host Laura Shin and her show, Unchained
Anna Vladi, Founder of Women4Blockchain, and I talk about why blockchain technology is revolutionary, what are some of its uses, like solar power energy sharing via P2P network or the blockchain. Imagine a world where you could buy solar powered electricity directly from your neighbour at a lower cost than from the power company? This is the future. And what will that mean for the cost of our electricity services to have now new competitors who are also consumers. Will we have an EBay for power sharing? Will we have a new EBay for everything?
Anna explains that her company Women4Blockchain is set up to educate and promote women who are working in the area of cryptocurrency and blockchain development. She talks about her upcoming Hackathon and Conference in NYC in June 2018 (now postponed until October 2018) that asks teams of women to compete in creating blockchain solutions that require the coming together of three pillars – business, legal, and technical.
We also discuss the concept of smart contracts and “law as code” and how the legal agreements as part of a transaction can be embedded in a blockchain itself.
One issue that we touched on that’s sure to be a topic addressed by women for the next months or maybe years is the idea of marketing to women in the crypto space. Jumping off of Meltem Demirors position that we’re not doing a good job of it especially since 60% of wealth is controlled by women and women are responsible for 80% of consumer spending. Shouldn’t there be more women in the FinTech world in order to balance this dynamic? Is it changing?
And speaking of women in the space, should there be blockchain conferences with all women panels or women only areas? There’s some debate around this topic as women are making more of a presence.
For interested developers, and for more information. Anna recommended https://blockgeeks.com/
Preethi Kasireddy on Twitter @iam_preethi and her blog on Medium at
The Ethereum White Paper at https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper
The Ethereum Yellow Paper at http://yellowpaper.io/
Crypto Chicks www.Cryptochicks.ca