- Lo Furneaux
Asset Reality Investor Launches The Association for Women in Crypto
Asset Reality is thrilled to congratulate our investor Amanda Wick on the successful launch of her new initiative focused on women working in the crypto space.
Amanda has long been an advocate for our mission to make crypto safer for everyone:
“Having worked in asset recovery at the Department of Justice, and with our foreign counterparts in law enforcement, I’ve seen firsthand the need for the technology products that Asset Reality are building. It’s an important problem that no one else is addressing, and they’re the first and the best to address it.”
As fierce supporters of the advancement of crypto education, our staff and senior leadership team are keen to support Amanda with this necessary enterprise.
WHY IS THIS INITIATIVE NEEDED?
The Association for Women in Crypto (AWIC) has been designed to support these women with their professional, educational and financial career development.
Having previously worked in both the public and private sectors as the Chief of Legal Affairs at our partner Chainalysis, as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); Amanda is acutely aware that there is no level playing field for the women working in the male-dominated field of technology, as she explained on LinkedIn:
“I learned firsthand that men still far outnumber women as cryptocurrency industry decision-makers, advisers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Data also suggests that twice as many men as women invest in digital assets and related technology and products.”
A recent diversity report on Women in IT conducted by The Chartered Institute for IT revealed that in 2020 women only accounted for a mere 19% of the total workforce, despite them accounting for 50% of the working-age population. More startlingly, a survey carried out by Women in Tech revealed that the quit rate in technology for women (47%) is more than double that of their male counterparts at just 17%.
The unconscious bias towards men during the recruitment process often leads to further disappointment, as female workers are routinely passed over for promotions and raises in favour of their less-experienced male colleagues.
While these abysmal statistics are hardly unexpected, when faced with such a demoralising backdrop, is it any wonder why only 3% of women told PricewaterhouseCoopers that a career in technology was their first choice?
WHAT WILL MEMBERS GAIN?
Alongside a growing number of other women in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Amanda has developed a new support system designed to advance the interests of women working in the predominantly male-dominated fields of cryptocurrency, web3 and the blockchain.
Thanks to an extensive network of experienced professionals, mentors and advisors from across the public and private sectors, as well as a comprehensive calendar of events, workshops and seminars annually, AWIC will strive to ensure that it’s members voices are heard and respected.
By providing female technology workers with the kind of dedicated help that has been sorely missing from the industry until now, they hope to advance the opportunities available for women within the crypto community and to ensure they are represented equally in the future of digital finance.
As she continued her explanation on LinkedIn, Amanda seemed to be keen for her association and it’s mission to really mean something to it’s members:
“I decided to start the Association for Women in Cryptocurrency (AWIC)...to help women develop and advance their educational, professional, and financial development in FinTech and the various rapidly growing and evolving fields involving cryptocurrency, other digital assets, and related technology and services. Importantly, AWIC is more than just a networking association; its mission is for women in crypto, and their allies, to truly help each other succeed.”
One of the biggest issues facing women once they have begun a career in technology is the lack of funding set aside for female-led businesses. Forbes magazine recently revealed that startups led by women received just 2.3% of the total venture capital funding that was offered to in 2020. As a result of this astounding inequality, one of the associations’ first priorities will be to increase awareness of the exclusive venture capital funding and investment opportunities that are available to crypto companies owned and operated by women.
“There is an indisputable truth that information is power, and those who gather it will attain the competitive advantage necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs, executives, advisers, and investors. Going forward, it is AWIC’s intention to ensure that women who seek to succeed in the cryptocurrency field possess up-to-date skills, training, support, and access to education, financing, and other opportunities and resources necessary to maintain that competitive advantage.”
HOW DID WE REACT?
When our Chief Growth Officer Shannon Eastman was first introduced to crypto after working for the Irish Funds Treasury, she had no idea what she was looking at. Thanks to her background in the world of traditional finance, she was able to recognise the importance of this new asset class and began volunteering her time to a select few crypto-focused community initiatives.
Despite its current level of success, Shannon believes that the best is yet to come for crypto:
“‘The darkest hours come right before the dawn!’ - I'd suggest that this is the darkest part of the Crypto night before the Crypto dawn so to speak. The Crypto space has yet to make its full debut - and as such, in that experience, you get to do two things: 1. find out what you're really made of - and 2. influence the next iteration of business.”
When asked why she thought this new initiative was needed, 3 obvious reasons came to mind for Shannon:
“Firstly, Diversity & Inclusion has a direct impact on the commercial vision, profit and innovation of a company - and more often than not , the practical application of D&I in the workplace, expedites sustainable and profitable growth. We could all use more of that.
“Secondly, Women create impact. We may differ from our male colleagues as to how we go about that, how we monetise it - or how we engage our networks around it - the bottom line is we make a valuable impact that contributes enormously to the overall outcome. Not having this form of impact in the Crypto space would leave the Crypto space incomplete and lacking.”
“And finally, Education! We don't know what we don't know until we do. Initiatives like this democratise knowledge - and then facilitate the practical application of that knowledge. Both are as important as the other. Organisations like AWIC and WomenInCrypto are a vehicle to share this information through forms that are more easily embraced by the sisterhood.”
A similar lack of knowledge also prompted Stacie Cook to become a Cryptocurrency Analyst straight out of school:
“My interest started whilst I was doing my BA. I was delving into the darknet and came across a form of currency there that was somewhat anonymous. Only cryptocurrency seemed to keep my interest throughout my education. I wanted to delve deeper into the growth of Financial Fraud and the use of cryptocurrency, so I ended up writing my MSc thesis on the reporting of Financial Fraud involving cryptocurrency and was lucky enough to pursue a career in my passion.”
When asked what she loved about her job, Stacie highlighted the impact of her work on the victims of crypto-related fraud:
“I love my job, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like one. I’m constantly learning especially in investigation; criminals are always keeping me on my toes with new inventive ways of moving their cryptocurrency around. Most people lose hope that they’ll ever get their crypto back when it’s stolen, I want to give them that hope back.”
Stacie went on to praise AWIC for their commitment to advancing the education of women in crypto:
“It’s important for women to grow their knowledge within crypto. Initiatives like AWIC and women in crypto will help others know that there are women who are working in this world and that we can support each other and share our knowledge.”
For our Chief Recovery Officer Joanna Summers, the journey into crypto was a little different. She was working as a Case Manager for the Complex Assets Unit of the U.S Marshals Service when her team was given custody of all the Bitcoin that was seized from the infamous Silk Road Marketplace.
Since nobody on the team had ever worked with cryptocurrency before, Joanna took the lead in researching this new asset class:
“When the Silk Road seizure was sent to the USMS it was the first time anyone on the team had worked with crypto. We dove into researching what cryptocurrency was, how to take custody of Bitcoin, and what would be the best sale process for it. I found the idea of cryptocurrency really interesting and knew it was something I wanted to continue learning about.”
Since then, Joanna has particularly enjoyed being able to learn something new in the crypto space every day:
“I think we are still in the early days of crypto and it’s exciting to be able to shape where the industry is heading. The landscape changes quickly in crypto and I enjoy the challenge of keeping up to date.”
As a founding member of AWIC, Joanna attended the initiative’s launch meeting alongside Amanda last week. She was able to meet many of the organisation’s international members, and hear their thoughts and desires for the future of the network:
“I met a few group members and we talked about what we’d like to get out of the membership. General responses from the many international members who attended included networking, mentoring, and speaking opportunities. What an inspiring group of women working in interesting avenues of crypto and the financial sector. I am looking forward to the events and networking opportunities coming in 2023.”
Speaking after the launch event, Joanna was full of hope for the brighter days ahead:
“I think networking with other women who are working in a field similar to mine is really rewarding. It’s great to know I’m not alone and I’ve got a support network of strong, capable women with me. It’s also important to help mentor and show women just getting their first tech job or deciding on their college major that they have a network of resources available to them for support and advice.”
EXTENDING OUR THANKS
As one of our first investors, the support and feedback that Amanda has provided to Asset Reality in our start-up journey so far has been completely invaluable.
Since we’ve enjoyed the astonishing level of expertise that Amanda can bring to the table for ourselves, we know firsthand the many benefits that female members of the crypto community can expect to enjoy from AWIC.
If you are a woman working at any level in the crypto industry, the Association of Women in Crypto may be able to help you to achieve your career goals. Take a look at their website for more information and membership options.
If you would like to know more about our work in crypto-related frauds and asset recovery, contact email@example.com
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