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NFT.NYC 2022 Recap: Breaking the Boys Club Culture in Crypto

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Ripple made its return to NFT.NYC this year with back-to-back talks from GM Monica Long and CTO David Schwartz. 

As NFTs continue to skyrocket in popularity—and more utility-based use cases come to fruition—so does the need for more technical talent to bring these projects to life. But one group that’s glaringly underrepresented in the Web 3 future? Women. 

A lack of gender diversity is a persistent problem for the broader tech industry. But it is particularly acute in crypto, where a new OKX study found there are nearly four times more men than women in the blockchain industry—despite YOY growth in talent. 

But Monica says that crypto’s more egalitarian founding ideals are ideally suited to reverse this trend and that now may be the perfect time for women to enter the field. 

Calling All Women 

As part of a fireside chat at NFT.NYC, Monica and Cointelegraph’s Rachel Wolfson laid out a primer for why and how women should engage in Web3. 

While the industry continues to be dominated by men, Monica said it’s come a long way over the last few years—primarily due to its original vision of a more democratic future. Its commitment to innovation also makes it uniquely equipped to deliver on the promise of equal representation. 

Monica also believes now is the perfect moment for more women to become involved in Web3. The crypto winter—while discouraging—is part of a normal cycle that she says will help the industry emerge more focused and with better product market fit. And the rise of NFTs is drawing more women into the sector.

“I was literally the only woman in the room in 2013 or 2014,” she said. “Now, you can look around and see the difference [at shows like this].” 

By showcasing functional use cases for crypto that touch on people’s own life experiences, she says NFTs contribute to a greater sense of enthusiasm. They also highlight the work that still needs to be done and the opportunity for women to participate. In her words: “Builders build!” 

A Path to Inclusivity 

For those women that do want to join the Web3 movement, Monica encouraged them to begin by asking questions…lots of questions.

“It’s early. Ideas are fluid, and concepts are still taking shape and being molded. This is a conversation we’re having [together]…don’t be intimidated…everyone’s learning.” 

She recommends beginning by gathering basic information through media outlets and podcasts. Women-led podcasts like DAOn the Rabbit Hole and The Defiant are good places to start. 

From there, narrow down areas of interest and build a network using online resources like Discord or Telegram or through in-person meetups or conferences. Women’s groups like Unstoppable Women of Web3, AllBright Meta and My BFF can also be welcoming, accessible ways to find information and expand a network. 

For her part, Monica was emphatic that her nine years at Ripple have proven crypto can be a diverse, welcoming place. 

Why? Ripple’s culture emphasizes representation at all levels of the company, using deliberate hiring practices like the Rooney Rule to build a more diverse team. The company is also committed to curating a more inclusive culture through its employee resource groups, ensuring every team member feels welcome, heard and supported. 

Women at the Fore 

Ultimately, Monica believes that because of its founding ideals of democratization and equality, Web3 can deliver a more inclusive financial system working in service to all its participants. But she is adamant that crypto will not reach that potential without women in the room. 

“Crypto won’t realize its promise if we don’t have representation at the table, designing the systems.” 

To do that, she says more women need to get involved as investors, leaders and team members. And now is the perfect time for them to take that first step. 

Want to meet with Ripple? Follow us on Twitter @Ripple to stay up-to-date on the next crypto industry event.

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