It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the technology and financial industries. In the U.S, women only hold a quarter of computing-related jobs. Some sectors, like software engineering, fare even worse, with female representation as low as 15%.
And now along comes blockchain, a technology that promises a global revolution through decentralization. Blockchain has already begun to transform many industries, from finance and supply chain management to healthcare and governance.
However, it has yet to significantly change the demographics of the tech industry.
According to a study conducted by Long Hash, a cryptocurrency research firm, women only represent 14.5% of blockchain startup team members. At the management level, the number is even lower, with women only accounting for 7% of executives and 8% of advisors.
Africa paints a different picture
In Africa, the story has been quite different. The continent has greatly taken to blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and women have been playing a key role. Despite the tech industry traditionally being a ‘boys’ club,’ a rapidly growing number of fearless, dedicated and determined women have taken the industry by storm, rising to various positions of power and influence.
In Africa, women have faced marginalization for centuries. Economic exclusion, lack of access to education, gender-based violence, limited participation in political decisions – these are just a few of the many challenges that the continent’s women face.
This has been one of the reasons Bitcoin, and the underlying blockchain technology, have appealed to many women. For them, blockchain promises freedom. The technology gives them hope that they can break free from the shackles of financial captivity by the legacy systems, decades of corruption, lack of opportunities and more.
For example, in Botswana Alakanani Itireleng has been on the frontline in preaching the blockchain gospel. Known as ‘The Bitcoin Lady,’ she is the founder of Satoshicentre, a blockchain hub which works with several developers to use blockchain to solve Africa’s biggest challenges.
In South Africa, Sonya Kuhnel has continued to be one of the most renowned leaders in the blockchain space. Kuhnel is the founder of Xago, an XRP cryptocurrency exchange and payment gateway that allows retailers to accept XRP payments. She is also the founder of The Blockchain Academy, an institution committed to up-skilling 10,000 software engineers on blockchain technology by 2022.
In Kenya, Roselyn Gicira leads blockchain innovation and adoption, serving as the chairperson of the Blockchain Association of Kenya. Gicira also leads the Kenya Women in Blockchain Chapter which seeks to ensure that more women get into the blockchain industry.
And in Nigeria, Doris Ojuedeire’s efforts to promote blockchain have gone beyond her home country, reaching out to women across the continent and bringing them into blockchain and cryptocurrencies. She shared her journey with me, one that has seen her rise to become one of Africa’s most influential blockchain voices.
Of scams and triumphs
Doris got into cryptocurrencies when she was studying accounting in university, eight years ago. At the time, crypto was a niche field that few in Africa were involved with — most of them men. This didn’t faze Doris, and she sought all the materials she could find to learn more about Bitcoin and other upcoming cryptocurrencies.
She started off by investing in crypto trading. As a novice, Doris lost a lot of money initially through online scams. However, she battled on, and in time she started making profits from crypto trading. The venture proved to be quite fruitful for her, giving her financial independence while still at the university.
It was when she graduated that she discovered there was much more to Bitcoin than just making profits. As she learned about blockchain technology, she realized that it had the potential to transform lives for millions of Africans, especially the continent’s women. It was then that she decided to embark on educating the masses about blockchain, a passion that still drives her today.
Blockchain Africa Ladies
In Africa, Bitcoin had become synonymous with scams after several investors lost millions of dollars to Ponzi schemes. This was the first thing Doris set out to change, educating thousands of Nigerians about Bitcoin and the world of opportunities it opens up.
She realized that women were vastly underrepresented in Bitcoin and blockchain. She set out to change this, eventually leading to the birth of Blockchain African Ladies (BAL). BAL is a non-profit organization that educates African women on blockchain technology. The organization has grown rapidly and now has members in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire and many other countries.
BAL organizes meet-ups, workshops, mentorship programs and conferences for the women, geared towards sparking an interest in blockchain. Its biggest event is the Blocktech Women Conference, an event that attracts some of the foremost leaders in blockchain to inspire, educate and interact with the women. Unlike most blockchain events that have only a few female speakers, 80% of the speakers at Blocktech are women.
Doris has gone beyond education, though. She told me:
“While blockchain can help eradicate, or at least reduce, many of the challenges that African women go through, teaching them about it isn’t enough. The women need to be financially independent. This is the biggest weapon they can use to liberate themselves. When they no longer depend on anyone, they can then reach their full potential.”
Her desire to make African women financially stable led to the founding of Crypto Lioness, a platform she uses to educate women about crypto trading. Crypto Lioness allows the women to connect via WhatsApp, Telegram and other social media platforms to learn the do’s and don’ts of crypto trading, share tips, learn from experts and support each other.
Women in blockchain
Through Doris’ efforts, thousands of women in Africa have joined the blockchain industry. This is her greatest accomplishment, she tells me. She believes that this will be a catalyst for widespread adoption of the technology and cryptocurrencies across the continent.
However, she believes that there is much more to be done if women are to become fully involved in blockchain, a belief that Ciara Sun, the vice president of Huobi Global shares.
Sun joined the blockchain industry after working with global giants such as the Boston Consulting Group and Ernst & Young.
“Having seen how the current financial world was working, it was an easy move towards what I considered the future world of finance,” she tells me.
Women continue to face challenges that most men don’t, including having their decisions frequently questioned, she revealed. With blockchain being an intersection of finance and technology – two industries where women are underrepresented – it’s no surprise that women occupy very few positions of power and influence.
This has to change if blockchain is to achieve its full potential, she believes, stating:
“Crypto and blockchain is so heavily based on doing things differently, but when you have only one half of the population involved in up to 99 percent of the big decisions, you are limiting the potential to really change things and cause great disruption.
The crypto and blockchain space needs to be bold and brave enough to seek out the other perspectives that can come from women in the space.”
Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?
When it comes to the altcoin market, the past few months have shown how important a cryptocurrency Ethereum is. With DeFi growing substantially in 2020, the gains have been felt by ETH in many ways. While ETH has miles to go before it can challenge the market cap and dominance of Bitcoin, its remarkable growth thanks to DeFi and the proposed ETH 2.0 shift cannot be overlooked. With Ethereum’s use cases diversifying, users and investors within the ecosystem are reaping its benefits too.
According to recent network data provided by Glassnode, Ethereum balances on centralized exchanges have fallen substantially over the past few weeks. In fact, the aforementioned data showed a drop from over 18,750K to around 16,750K, resulting in Etherum balances on exchanges falling to their lowest level for the year 2020, at the time of writing.
While this drop may seem alarming to some, it also illustrates a silver lining of sorts for the cryptocurrency. A fewer number of users are now holding their Ethereum on exchanges. Instead, they are moving them to cold storage or cold wallets – a sign commonly associated with increased hodling sentiment. As more users hold on to their Ethereum, the price of the cryptocurrency is also likely to be positively impacted.
One of the reasons why many users are feeling inclined to do so can be due to its recent performance, as well as its ability to derive growth from a booming DeFi ecosystem that is based on its platform.
In fact, it is also interesting to note that over the same timeframe, Ethereum addresses with greater than 10 ETH have also seen a significant rise. According to network data provider Glassnode, such addresses have risen from 275K to 283K in the last three months alone.
One of the key reasons behind the aforementioned drop in Ethereum stored on exchanges ties back to increased hodling sentiment within the Ethereum community, as highlighted above. This, coupled with a rise in Ethereum locked in smart contracts (Since investors are looking to generate greater returns at a time when Etherum’s price is consolidating on the charts), bodes well for the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.
Brace for it – Bitcoin Futures may be nearing a tipping point
What’s the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures on top derivatives exchanges like the CME, an exchange that has recorded a daily trading volume of over $300M and Open Interest of over $400M, consistently, for the past 3 months.
Well, a small shift in Open Interest or trading volume can have a cascading effect on Bitcoin Futures’ performance in the next 180 days. Such a shift will be influenced by several factors, and it begins at the tipping point. Three factors, to be more specific.
In the current phase of Bitcoin’s market cycle, these factors are more relevant for traders on derivative exchanges. This becomes more evident when the Liquidations chart for BitMEX is observed. Over the past 3 months, sell liquidations have paid for buy liquidations. However, over the last few days, this trend has been reversed, and buy liquidations have covered for sell liquidations on BitMEX.
The point here is to detect the source of the domino effect before the dominoes start falling. In the case of Bitcoin Futures, the tipping point may be closer than anticipated.
One of the top factors influencing the tipping point is the Law of the Few.
The Law of the Few states that “the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”
In the case of Bitcoin, institutional investors, derivatives traders, and whales fit the bill. The success of Bitcoin Futures in the global trading community heavily relies on institutional investors trading on CME. In fact, the daily trade volume and Open Interest on CME influence the trading sentiment across spot exchanges as well.
The last time a cascading effect was witnessed was when BTC Futures’ Daily Trading Volume hit $445M on CME and there was a rally all the way up to $614M. At the time of writing, the Daily Trading Volume was up 63.3%, when compared to the figures 6 months ago, and it has the potential to hit $614M with one move in the right direction.
This effect heavily relies on another key factor – The Stickiness Factor.
Back in 2017, when Google search results for “Bitcoin” and “Crypto” broke the record, the trading community witnessed a historic Bitcoin bull run and altcoin rally. Institutional interest and growth of Bitcoin derivative products ensued. A similar event transpired when Bitcoin Futures’ aggregated daily volume hit $184B on 27 July 2020. This event was a unique occurrence, and it made Bitcoin Futures stick in the portfolio of the average institutional investor and the derivatives trader.
The aggregate trade volume hasn’t dropped to pre-July 2020 levels since then. Despite drops in Bitcoin’s price on spot exchanges, Futures contracts continue to trade at a premium and there is more optimism. Volume is not directly impacted by Bitcoin’s price and when the spot market is riddled with bearish sentiment, long contracts continue feeding shorts on BitMEX. This stickiness is a driver of the aforementioned tipping point.
Inching closer to the tipping point, the powerful context is the rise of stablecoins and their instrumental role in lowering the barrier to entry on spot and fiat-crypto exchanges.
Over the past three months, stablecoins like USDT have added $100M in volume every day and their market capitalization and dominance have risen tremendously. In fact, Tether has also crossed a market capitalization of $15B.
This directly influences the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures as it makes Futures trading more accessible to traders. Bitcoin held on exchanges has nearly doubled over the past month, corresponding to an increase in Tether’s market capitalization and circulation. This resonates with derivatives traders who opt for physically-settled Bitcoin Futures contracts on exchanges like Bakkt. In fact, on Bakkt, the daily trade volume was upwards of $80M for the past week, while the Open Interest has been consistently above $10M.
All of these factors are highlighting a shift in derivatives traders’ strategy, while also underlining increased activity on derivatives exchanges. The race to the tipping point has begun – An increase in aggregate trading volume on physically-settled Futures contracts or CME may trigger the much-awaited domino effect.
Tron, Synthetix, VeChain Price Analysis: 19 September
Tron was observed to have hit a strong zone of resistance, before being rejected and pushed to the downside, at the time of writing. In fact, such bearish momentum appeared likely to continue for TRX. At a time when Ethereum was increasingly being criticized for high Gas fees and a congested network, it could have been Tron’s moment to shine, but things didn’t pan out that way at all.
TRX was seeing oversold conditions a few days ago when its RSI hit a low of 23, before ascending just past 50. However, the RSI was unable to remain above 50, and its drop beneath the level highlighted the fact that TRX’s recent 12% surge from $0.263 to $0.296 was merely a bounce.
TRX found a zone of strong resistance at $0.3 and looked likely to drop towards the support at $0.265.
Interestingly, a recent Reddit post has raised questions about JustSwap’s vetting process, claiming that the Tron Foundation has whitelisted a DeFi project that has since pulled a $2 million exit scam. This, despite DappRadar listing the project as “high-risk.”
Synthetix underlined the possibility of dropping lower on the charts. The Directional Movement Index did not yet show a strong trend, but ADX (yellow) was inching towards 20 and could move further north. Also, the rising -DMI (pink) denoted a bearish trend.
Over the past week, every SNX bounce off the level of support has been overwhelmed by selling pressure. This can be expected to continue. With the price registering lower highs, the way down remained the path of least resistance for SNX.
The next level of support after $4.23 lay at $3.36, representing a 20% depreciation.
VeChain showed bullishness in the market after a period of consolidation. The Bollinger Bands expanded to indicate heightened volatility, while the price broke out towards the upper band. At the time of writing, the price was staying above the 20-period moving average, a moving average that could be tested as support as VET steadily climbs toward its resistance around the $0.158 zone.
The breakout was also accompanied by high trading volumes, legitimizing the breakout.
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