Cointelegraph Talks Recap: Challenges and Opportunities on the Road to Diversity and Inclusion in Crypto

Last week, Cointelegraph organized another episode of “CT Talks” dedicated to addressing challenging issues in the crypto and blockchain space: on diversity and inclusion.

The blockchain space is known for openness, transparency and a strongly liberal environment, but our industry does not always demonstrate these values. During the panel, several ideas were discussed on how the crypto industry’s intrinsic openness can be highlighted in our daily work and life.

Amplifying diverse voices and encouraging public commitment was the answer of Sheila Warren, head of blockchain, digital assets and data policy at World Economic Forum:

“Part of what I see as my role is really amplifying the voices that aren’t often represented. I think it is kind of an obligation that every leader in this space has. And it’s easy to do because a lot of innovation is happening in spaces that are underrepresented in technology. So there’s kind of a twofer: You can talk about really exciting things happening and also they happen to be happening in places that aren’t really presented.”

Warren also encouraged everybody to follow her example and sign on as an accomplice to Black Tech for Black Lives, which has just launched. Her organization, the WEF, has also launched Presidio Principles, a document that provides blockchain app developers baseline guidance on maintaining user rights to transparency, privacy, full disclosure and control of personal assets.

“There are a lot of things you can do personally and as an organization to show and then hold yourself accountable to those commitments you make. That is demonstrating that you are taking it seriously and you’re putting something kind of concrete.”

Denelle Dixon, CEO and executive director of the Stellar Development Foundation shared her thoughts on demonstrating the openness of the crypto and blockchain space, highlighting the importance of one-to-many conversations instead of one-to-one:

“In SDF we focused on our open-source background. What that means is that you just don’t stay opening your code, but you stay open as an organization. In order for us to create the impact that we want and to be able to bring that wallet to someone in Nigeria who did not have a bank account before but can now transact and buy stocks in companies in the United States, you need to understand their views and their challenges and not just sit here in the United States and think what those might be.”

Once we get to that place with blockchain where it is not just this ‘blockchain’ word or this ‘crypto’ word that people sometimes shut down at because they don’t really understand it, and we get down to this simplicity and ease of use and those user experiences that just make sense — that’s how we actually really make this powerful.”

Another participant of the panel, Anino Emuwa, founder and managing director of Avandis Consulting added the point about the importance of leadership in promoting the values of diversity and inclusion that the industry supports:

“It certainly starts with leadership. Leadership always sets the tone and leaders are accountable. And it helps to fit down through the system as well.

Certainly, the industry is shaking off some of the negative view, at the beginning of it being a place of cowboys and the dark side of it. And also with women’s incomes and with the female economy, women began investing and it becomes easier to use. Those little signs that we see are signs that we need to encourage in order to get to gender diversity and not only women in terms of investors, but also involved in the industry as analysts, developers and company leads. We have Bancor and Binance led by females and those give very good signals.”

The road to diversity and inclusion is full of pitfalls and challenges, but the most simple steps are also the ones that make the biggest impact, and talking about existing problems and opportunities is key to driving progress. Check the full discussion on the Cointelegraph YouTube channel.

Cointelegraph Talks is a series of online meetups where crypto and blockchain experts discuss challenging topics in the space. Keep posted for new episodes on Cointelegraph YouTube.

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