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The Top 3 Crypto Projects Driven by Women in the Blockchain Industry



Photo by Traxer on Unsplash

The leadership space of cryptocurrency is changing slowly. The historically male-dominated industry has seen a shift towards female participation in recent years, but that has not always been the case.

In the past, women have been seen as less likely to take investment risks. Statistics still show that there is less interest in funding female founders, and the workforce is still slow to adopt women in crypto workplaces.

Despite more women vying for positions in the digital currency space, in 2021, less than 20% of the space was female-led, and it was estimated that of the top 120 currencies, only 5 had female owners. In the same year, while men set out to buy crypto with credit card, only 9% of women knew how the crypto landscape actually worked. While the growth has been slow over the years, by 2022, 29% of cryptocurrency investors were female. In 2023, the number jumped to 34%.

1. Lightning Labs

Elizabeth Stark has shown that women are capable of great things. Not only is she a Yale University lecturer and entrepreneur, but she is also the CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs, which was established in 2016. Under Stark’s leadership, Lightning Labs set out to transform blockchain technology from its headquarters in San Francisco.  

As a technology start-up, Lightning Labs made blockchain transactions faster and more cost-effective by developing an L2 (Level Two) open protocol layer. The layer leverages smart contracts and the blockchain to process transactions in a scalable manner. The development also allowed new markets to access Bitcoin transactions at a lower cost, which had a positive effect on a BTC price prediction.

Another feather in Lightning Labs’ cap is the creation of the Lightning Network Daemon. Alongside this, the Stark-led enterprise launched the Lightning Network protocol, designed to be developer-friendly. Both aim to connect the next generation of FinTech with the global market through open-source software.

Stark is a Coin Centre fellow and advisor for companies dealing in cryptocurrency and related initiatives. During her time at Stanford and Yale, she taught about the Internet’s impact on law, society, and the economy. She holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and has also worked closely with start-ups in the fields of AI and decentralized technology.

2. Colendi

Colendi was founded in 2016 out of Switzerland to enhance the FinTech ecosystem through the use of blockchain technology. Colendi was co-founded by Mihriban Ersin Tekmen, who also serves as Colendi’s COO. At its heart, Colendi is a secure blockchain-based credit scoring platform used by global FinTech firms. The Colendi platform allows for the development of credibility valuations and financial applications.

The tools developed by Colendi have made it easier to enhance programs that deal with installment procurement, P2P financing, and microcredit. And, there is no slowing down for Colendi; more systems are planned for the protocol, which will help millions of people globally access funds they would never have been able to use traditional finance routes.

The ultimate goal for Colendi is to offer inclusive support to every unbanked global citizen in the microfinance field. Tekmen, as the Colendi COO, is a relative newcomer to the blockchain field, and as such, she has become an advocate for women leading the charge in the sector. She graduated from Istanbul University, and her first job was a PM for the EU and European Commission.

Her position with the EU and EC catapulted her on a path as an entrepreneur in FinTech. She co-founded Ininal in Turkey, which reached 1 million active users in less than six years. Tekmen also founded and edited FintechTime, the leading FinTech magazine in Turkey.

3. BitPesa

BitPesa is an exchange and payment platform launched by Elizabeth Rossiello in 2013. The platform is aimed at emerging markets and runs on the blockchain. Under the leadership of Rossiello, its CEO, BitPesa was the first cryptocurrency platform to connect Africa’s mobile money platforms to Bitcoin.

It is well-known that cryptocurrencies can have a lasting impact in emerging markets where traditional banking services are limited. As such, BitPesa set out to develop a digital payment platform that accepts Bitcoin. BitPesa helps users trade their local currency for Bitcoin and send money to mobile wallets and bank accounts.

Thanks to Rossiello, BitPesa now covers not only African countries but European as well. Rossiello began her career as a rating analyst for microfinance institutions in Africa, working with the organizations like the Gates Foundation. She holds an M.A. in International Business and Finance from Columbia University and co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Council on Blockchain.


Cryptocurrencies have traditionally been male-dominated, but today, women are carving out their own paths. Women are taking the lead on global crypto-projects that are changing the world. Far from the world of making money, the projects headed up by women are making sustainable changes that will ensure the future of communities and the technology behind blockchains.

From creating systems of inclusivity to redefining blockchain technology, women are paving the way for the future. The number of women in crypto-driven projects will hopefully increase as more women advocate for better changes in the FinTech sector.

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Firm secures US$1.9m grant to support women entrepreneurs in Africa

eha Impact Ventures aims to support women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises



Evelyn Castle, chief executive officer at eHA Impact Ventures / Source:

The impact investing enterprise eHA Impact Ventures (EIV) has been awarded a US$1.9m grant from the non-profit organisation eHealth Africa (eHA) to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.

eHA’s board of directors approved the donation as part of its effort to “strengthen” healthcare delivery systems and support vulnerable populations.

The grant, the organisation said, will be deployed to “upscale” women-funded companies to improve the health and wealth of African women, their families and their communities.

The donation is hoped to address the US$42bn funding gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa and help female founders have better access to funding opportunities.

In addition, the funds are expected to support health interventions like the pre-screening of cervical cancer and improve delivery of blood and blood products to healthcare facilities.

“The grant will be instrumental in boosting the economic capacity of women across Africa by supporting high-impact women-owned businesses,” said Evelyn Castle, chief executive officer at EIV, who founded the firm in 2021.

“Furthermore, it will [help us] upscale funding, mentorship and training programmes to help women create thriving businesses that drive economic growth in their communities.”

My Le, board executive at eHealth Africa, said: “These donations could not have come at a better time as  women continue to struggle to meet up with both health and economic demands. Thus we are optimistic that the funds will go a mile in bridging fiscal gaps for women and other vulnerable groups to lead healthier lives.

“Supporting women will go a long way in not just improving their societal impact but also contribute immensely to sustainable development especially in the African region.”

Recognising women’s “vital” role in building strong health systems, Atef Fawaz, CEO of eHealth Africa, added: “We acknowledge the profound impact women have in strengthening healthcare systems, aligning with our vision at eHealth Africa.”

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Menstrual product wins innovation award in Switzerland

Egal’s innovation consists of a roll of pads that operates in a similar fashion to a toilet paper roll and comes in its own dispenser



Penelope Finnie, chief executive officer at Egal

Pads on a Roll, a menstrual product that can be dispensed in public stalls similar to a toilet paper roll, has won a prestigious award at the Women’s Health Innovation Summit Europe in Basel. 

Each year the Women’s Health Innovation Summit (WHIS) helps promising start-ups raise their brand awareness and pitch their solutions in front of investors and industry leaders.

Egal, the company behind Pads on a Roll, has been honoured with this year’s Women’s Health Innovation award after the WHIS selection committee recognised the start-up as an innovative company poised to disrupt the European women’s health landscape.

“Egal Pads is so honoured to have been chosen for the Women’s Health Innovation Award,” Penelope Finnie, Egal chief executive officer, told Femtech World.

“The other nine finalists were amazing companies run by wonderful people. The whole conference was a testament to the importance of the femtech movement.

“For us, it was particularly exciting as the EU is the next market we are focusing on. We hope that having period products available in stalls just like toilet paper is, will become the norm as it is necessary for equality.

“We also hope that by winning, it brings attention to this easily solved but long ignored issue,” Finnie added.

Egal’s innovation consists of a roll of pads that operates in a similar fashion to a toilet paper roll and comes in its own dispenser.

Egal aims to sell Pads on a Roll to universities and public schools

Each roll contains 40 pads and can be placed directly in stalls, unlike the typical tampon dispensers that often require money to access the products and are located outside the stall.

The pads are less expensive to maintain than products in vending machines because they are easier to refill, and require less space and packaging.

Research shows that 20 percent of girls in the US and UK have missed school due to lack of access to period products, with more than 90 per cent of menstruators having experienced jammed, broken or empty dispensers in public toilets.

Egal aims to solve this issue by selling Pads on a Roll to universities and public schools.

The Boston-based company has done pilots at various universities across the US and is hoping to develop a flushable version of the product in the future.

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‘It’s hard to stay healthy’- experts raise alarm over ‘pervasive’ economic challenges in US

A report highlighting women’s struggle with economic stress in the US has prompted experts to demand change



Experts have raised concerns over the “pervasive” economic and health challenges women in the US are facing, after a damning report exposed significant financial stress.

national survey of women over 25 has found that American women face significant economic stress, with half of women reporting feeling “uncertain” or “worried” when thinking about how to pay for healthcare later in life and low-income and rural women reporting challenges to staying healthy today.

The report, which highlighted financial difficulties among women for the second year in a row, has prompted experts to speak out and demand change.

“The recent findings from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) underscore the pervasive economic and health challenges confronting American women, particularly those from low-income and rural communities,” Georgie Kovacs, women’s health expert and founder of Fempower Health, told Femtech World.

“Many women juggle caregiving responsibilities for their children while managing employment, often in environments that offer limited support.

“The scarcity of healthy food options in low-income areas, coupled with restricted access to essential healthcare services, exacerbates their daily struggles, impacting both their mental and physical health and that of their families.”

Underlining the “profound” impact of the menopause transition, Kovacs said women across the country are in desperate need of enhanced workplace policies and better access to specialised care.

“Our approach to addressing these challenges cannot be piecemeal – we require comprehensive systems that integrate childcare, health services, job security and mental health support, ensuring that no aspect of a woman’s health is overlooked,” she explained.

“It is imperative that we view the economic insecurities faced by women through a holistic lens, recognising the interconnectedness of health, employment and wellbeing.

“It’s time for all stakeholders, including government bodies and private sectors, to unite in crafting and implementing solutions that are as multifaceted as the lives of the women they aim to support.”

Katie Higgins, chief commercial officer at fertility benefits platform Progyny, called on employers to do more to support women, arguing that the pressure of financial uncertainty could “erode” self-esteem, strain relationships and compound parental stress.

“Balancing financial pressures with caregiving responsibilities can heighten feelings of guilt and inadequacy, impacting maternal mental health.

“Employers play a vital role in empowering women to prioritise their health without financial barriers through comprehensive benefits that include family building, fertility, maternal leave and menopause.”

Lois Quam, chief executive officer at sexual and reproductive health organisation Pathfinder International, noted that there is an important connection between health and income, meaning that women with the least financial resources often find themselves unable to access health services and modern innovations.

“From rural areas to the wealthiest cities in the world, women everywhere are being left behind. In the US and globally, they get paid and promoted less than men and leave the workforce at greater numbers to raise their children.

“Closing the gender pay gap could help keep women in the workforce, especially when childcare is so costly and inaccessible,” she told Femtech World.

Author and women’s health expert, Dr Mindy Pelz, encouraged women to “take control” of their health.

“It’s hard to stay healthy, even without the added pressure of economic stress,” she said.

“Many women just can’t rely on the American healthcare system to take care of them. That’s why I’m such an advocate for taking your health into your own hands.

“Simple lifestyle changes like intermittent fasting, meditation, cold exposure, walking 10,000 steps a day, avoiding electronics before bed might seem small on their own, but if you add them together and are consistent with them over time, they can make a huge difference.”

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