Caterina Ferrara, Founder & Community Manager, Blockchain Ladies – Top 100 Fintech for SDG

This article features an interview with Caterina Ferrara, Founder and Community Manager of Blockchain Ladies, and one of our Top 100 Fintech for SDG Influencers.

Caterina Ferrara

This article features an interview with Caterina Ferrara, Founder and Community Manager of Blockchain Ladies, and one of our Top 100 Fintech for SDG Influencers.

1. Tell us more about what you do and how your role or project is making an impact. How do they support the SDGs?

The fifth sustainable development goal is: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

The project that I created two years ago, Blockchain Ladies, aims exactly at this goal by focusing in particular on equality at professional level and in reference to all women working in the Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies sphere. When I started, women involved were very few regardless of their role (marketing, business, law, trading, etc.). To date, as confirmed by, the Bitcoin community (just to mention one fact) consists of 90.17% men and 9.83% women. The statistics are staggering. It is clear that my intent in the foundation of Blockchain Ladies was to inspire and bring together all those women who, scattered around the world, in a fragmented way, were and are committed to a common goal: development, dissemination and mass-adoption of Blockchain and crypto. I wanted them to be able to find support, encouragement and practical help by comparing themselves with each other, overcoming every geographical barrier in a sector where male dominance is overwhelming.

Female communities are a key factor in overcoming the gender gap and inequalities and a greater financial support would be needed for women’s organizations and for projects dedicated to women’s empowerment. In my opinion we are all members of many communities (family, work environment, our neighborhood, etc.). We move within them constantly, depending on the situation. Being part of a community means growing with others and – building – a community means being able to bring order to a fragmented world. Some members are invited, as role models, to “put their faces”, sharing their personal projects and opinion on the future of this technology. Through our social pages and our newsletter, we provide advice on books to read concerning the subject, on the best conferences to take part in, on job offers, on the best refresher courses and, above all, we promote the initiatives that each of us is carrying out for weaving relationships and new forms of partnership, sponsorship and collaboration.

Gender discrimination affects all sectors at multiple levels. To give an example, in 2018 the UN launched a dramatic complaint: according to reports there is not a single country, nor a single sector in which women have the same salaries as men. The “pay-gap” is just one of the many issues surrounding the problem. Unfortunately there is always some difficulty in combining the words finance and gender. The presence of women is very scarce, they are more subjected to the threat of unemployment and dismissal because of maternity or marriage and with great difficulty they manage to reach managerial and leadership positions. Many exclude themselves from this possibility, discouraged by previous experiences, data or simply fear. Undoubtedly, the workplace environments in which one gender prevails over the other are never healthy.

2. Why do you see Fintech and/or Blockchain in particular as an important enabler in creating a social impact?

Blockchain initiatives dedicated toward social impact are still in the early days — 34% were started in 2017, and 74% are still in the pilot or idea stage. Fintech and Blockchain have impact in several areas: agriculture, financial Inclusion, Energy, Climate, Education, Human Rights, Water Democracy and Governance, Land Rights, Health, Philanthropy, Aid, Donors and Digital Identity.

The motto of Blockchain Ladies is “It’s not about money, it’s about values”, which means that the real power of Blockchain is not money but the values ​​that underlie it: transparency, efficiency, fairness. Social inequality and financial inclusion are top global problems.

Fintech and Blockchain companies can create low-cost and scalable products, having a profound impact on underserved customer segments by reducing cost structures and redesigning social business models. Over 2 billion people worldwide did not have access to adequate banking services and the traditional bank system had no reason to invest significant resources in what seemed an unprofitable market. Fintech is about making things easier. Thanks to the advent and proliferation of smartphones, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, barriers to untapped economies have started to fall and now is clear that we have to focus on the value of investing in financially vulnerable people.

3. What are some challenges you face along the way?

Challenges exist but also challenges within challenges. If we think of unbanked, we must take into great consideration the fact that women are the majority. They are the weakest, the poorest and those with the least access to credit. So my first aim is to be able to involve the greatest number of women in the adoption of cryptocurrencies and the other is doing it by asking for support from men, so that they are on our side, to support us because they recognize the value and importance of our presence and our voice. And more importantly, we need to encourage younger women, to encourage their education in the tech world.

4. What more do you think is needed in the ecosystem to support and facilitate creating a greater social impact?

It is necessary to promote a framework of rules capable of encouraging collaboration between institutions, the economic and entrepreneurial system and citizens. This requires finding the right balance to achieve positive social, cultural and regulatory convergence, useful for creating the best opportunities to improve services in both the public and private sectors.

5. What do you hope to see or achieve in 10 years’ time?

A new kind of economy that is more automated, decentralized, trusted, and driven by data. I see decentralized smart cities that use IoT and AI.

IoT, AI and blockchain are emerging technologies more valuable together than apart. The impact of this combination on both economy and society will be gradual but really high. Connected objects offers many new opportunities in terms of creating new services. Data generated by the billions of connected objects will be the fuel to many AI applications and Blockchain will be used to secure the ‘internet of things’ and generate smart contracts as instrument to create sustainable communities.

Obviously, there are many challenges to face. At first, we can’t forget that business models that include IoT, AI and blockchain need among other characteristics: Volume and Scalability. On the other hand, not all the IoT applications require blockchain, or AI, but the potential is very great. So what I hope to achieve in next 10 years is to work at the best use cases with the best benefits showing the effective feasibility of blockchain-IoT-AI based projects to the industry.

This interview is part of a series of interviews featuring Fintech influencers who are doing work that advances our efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

LATTICE80, in collaboration with FinTech4Good, presents the complete list of Top 100 Fintech for SDG Influencers who are leveraging the power of fintech and blockchain technology to create a positive impact on the future. LATTICE80 is launching our accelerator programme based in Hong Kong to help SDG-focused startups build blockchain solutions. Are you a SDG-focused startup? Click here to indicate your interest.

Disclaimer: The interviews are published on a rolling basis and the order by which they are published by no means representative of any rankings.