According to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the NWLC, womxn are earning just 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This is $10,157 less per year in median earnings for full-time working womxn,” CNBC reported.
Over the years the gap in financial literacy and agency for womxn globally in traditional finance has continued to widen. Unfortunately, a pretty similar narrative is developing in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space.
According to a Coingecko survey, DeFi users are dominated by men, more than half of them 20-40 years old. Exchange platform surveys indicate that women make up 15-55% of crypto users, depending on the region.
Below is an interview with Maggie Love, co-founder and Business Development Director at W3BCLOUD and founder of SheFi on the emergence of this gap and how she intends to change it.
Tell us a little bit about your journey into the blockchain space?
The promise of blockchain to build more inclusive and resilient financial systems is what initially excited me about blockchain technology in 2016 while at IBM Watson. In 2017, I wanted to be part of the Ethereum ecosystem so I joined ConsenSys, where I had the opportunity to drive ventures, partnerships, and client engagements.
Most notably, I am the Co-founder and Director of Business Development at W3bCloud, a joint venture between Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), and ConsenSys. W3bCloud is building the compute and storage infrastructure layers to enable Web 3.0 and the blockchain economy.
How did you originally get involved in DiFi?
When decentralized finance started taking off, I was excited about the fact that it enabled more inclusive and resilient financial systems. DeFi built on Ethereum broadens access to wealth-building tools and services by enabling anyone anywhere with an internet connection and a small amount of capital to onboard without an arduous KYC or approval process. I was empowered by the fact that I didn’t have to belong to Wall Street to build and accumulate wealth, and I started learning about the different projects.
SheFi is a DeFi educational program that is also a vehicle to donate funds to nonprofits that educate womxn in STEM programs. Each month, a cohort of womxn learns about a new DeFi project as well as concepts from or topical areas and how to use different DeFi applications. These sessions are held over Zoom and recorded to share with those who could not attend a session.
Can you talk a little bit about SheFi’s key idea?
SheFi is also a community of womxn from diverse backgrounds, experiences and careers that get to connect and build relationships with each other both personally and professionally. It’s important to me that SheFi is fostering and contributing to an environment of healthy and positive communication where all ideas and questions are welcome. With a cohort that consistently meets, womxn can ask questions, give feedback, share stories of successes and mishaps, and most importantly, support each other on our collective DeFi journey.
Why did you decide to launch it?
A desire to both reduce the financial literacy gap and empower womxn to participate in DeFi led me to launch SheFi. While the innovations in DeFi make it an incredibly exciting time to be part of the crypto scene, it’s discouraging to see a lack of women participating in and benefitting from DeFi.
Please share more details about an educational process, cohorts and the program
I’ve taught 20+ hours of DeFi topics. The topics I’ve covered include:
- Intro to DeFi
- Technical session on the blockchain, transactions, fees, etc.
- NFTs x DeFi
- Lending Platforms / Money Markets
- Exchanges / Automated Market Makers
- Looking forward: ETH2 & Staking, Insurance Liquidity Mining, etc.
The educational process is that I pick the foundational DeFi topical areas and projects. Then in a session or two depending on how dense the topic / project is, I will present on the DeFi and traditional finance concepts, terminology and mechanics as well as a project that showcases it.
For example, when I go over decentralized exchanges, I’ll cover the key concepts and mechanics of them as well as how to use Uniswap for lending protocols and using Aave, etc. I do my best to break up the content between sessions so there is plenty of time for questions and feedback. I am always fine tuning the process to the needs of the cohort.
How do you select new participants?
Last year, I ran a pilot cohort to prove out that DeFi education presented in this format as well as this type of community were things womxn were looking for. I am a fan of walk, crawl, run methodology. So while I announced it publicly, I worked out the mechanics with a pilot cohort. Then in the fall of last year, I opened a cohort through Mochi Club — an interdependent organization of activists, audiophiles, designers & engineers, seekers & advisors, cyber feminists & crypto nerds, film snobs, accountants & art-y flaneurs, unstoppable meme lords & fun intellectuals.
So how did this progress?
In March I started the last cohort of womxn who all responded to an application link I put up last year on the SheFi website and social media platforms. SheFi is scaling partially through the communities I am involved in and partially through opening our net wide to the Internet.
There is no real hard selection process, but womxn that apply agree to fostering a positive environment and being ready to learn. There are about 70 womxn both new to and veterans in the crypto space learning through SheFi. I can hardly believe that we have these numbers in less than a year.
Describe some of the trends are you seeing emerge around DeFi?
It can be quite hard to keep up with everything going on in the DeFi space, but it’s also exciting to see how quickly teams innovate in a short timespan. One trend I am noticing are DeFi projects launching on multiple chains — Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum Layer 2’s like Polygon, Optimism and Solana.
I think we’ll continue to see DeFi projects embrace a multi protocol approach. DAOs have been around for a while, but they are picking up speed as projects work towards being community owned and governed. Projects are not only looking for users but for communities, and that’s going to be incredibly impactful to how crypto scales and creates value.
What sort of impact do you believe womxn can bring into this industry?
The impact womxn can bring to the crypto industry is massive. We know the research shows that more diverse teams build better products. If we look outside of crypto, we’ve seen throughout the pandemic that womxn make great leaders as well.
Also women hold a large percentage of wealth, and all of that is potential to be tapped into for the crypto industry. Whether it’s using crypto platforms or building them, women are capable and ready to make impacts.
Finally, tell us about the goals you have set for yourself and SheFi in 2021?
Scale, scale, scale. Between the two cohorts, there are 70 womxn participating, and I have a waiting list of 150 womxn looking to join SheFi. I also am working to build out the community component so it is both an educational initiative and a community for womxn.