Female engagement in Bitcoin recently hit a record high at 9.1%. This is good news for us women who made up just 3% of the Bitcoin pie last year. And it’s one of the many indicators that women in blockchain are on the rise.
We may still be woefully outnumbered by the men, but awareness is spreading, and that’s the point. Coin Rivet spoke to blockchain lawyer Celine Moille to find out her take on the space.
Stepping into the world of blockchain
With a background in law, what was it that compelled Moille to get involved in emerging tech and specifically in blockchain? It turns out that she’s always had a passion for international issues and all things tech. She says:
“I did a PhD in private international law, so I have always been interested in international regulatory issues. Blockchain and crypto are a new playground for me.”
Moille spent several years working as a lawyer for companies and start-ups focused on new technologies before she became the co-founder of a legal tech firm focusing on debt recovery called DODOBANK.
And when it comes to circling in on blockchain in particular, it was a no-brainer. Moille’s partner is the Honorary Consul of Malta.
“As you know,” she says, “Malta is the ‘Blockchain Island’, one of the first countries in the world who decided to create rules for blockchain and crypto.”
The greatest challenges of working with companies in this industry
Moille reflects that perhaps the hardest part about working with companies in this space is that you must know “how to reconcile technology and law”. As the debate rages on over whether regulators even have any place in the cryptocurrency space, I ask what she thinks of the cypherpunk argument that KYC and Bitcoin are incompatible bedfellows. She doesn’t agree.
“Even if at the beginning the idea was not to be regulated, we don’t live in the times of the Wild West anymore. Rules are essential if we want the community to trust this technology. The democratisation of the blockchain will happen through regulation.”
It’s an interesting point that no single Bitcoin maximalist would agree with. However, as a legal professional in this space, it makes sense that Moille believes in regulation for good. On that note then, which countries does she think are getting it right when it comes to regulating the space?
“Malta has opened the way in the European Union”, she replies in no uncertain terms. “France is now positioning itself very well since the adoption of the PACTE law. It’s very exciting! We have some well-known partners in Malta, Switzerland, and the US, and we want to work together in the blockchain space.”
Will France succeed in thrusting its regulatory model on the rest of the EU?
Moille calls the regulatory steps in her country “exciting”. But does she believe that there is one model, such as the French model, that other countries should accept? “It was a part of my thesis topic,” she replies. “Countries cannot remain insensitive to what happens in the international scene. There is an inevitable influence in local legislation.”
So, in other words, each individual country will have the final say in how they regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. However, Moille believes that they will take inspiration and guidance from other jurisdictions. Right now, it happens to be France and Malta that are leading the way.
How does Celine Moille feel about being a woman in this space?
Just like anyone in this industry, male or female, her learning curve has been steep. After all, it takes some time to digest the concept of an alternative financial system with a censorship-resistant technology, as well as all the implications of that.
She reflects: “It took a lot of time with the specialists to understand and learn. But we spent so much time exchanging that they became real coworkers, and we keep getting better and better!”
And when it comes to being a female in a male-dominated space, well, Moille is just used to that, and isn’t intimidated in the slightest.
“I do not think it’s an obstacle. You have to be a good professional, that’s all!”
As for what can be done to encourage more women to get into blockchain, she says:
“We must not believe that new technologies are reserved for men. I work with fantastic female lawyers who are often much more curious and imaginative than men! When you’re a young woman, with blond hair with a baby at home, and you want to be a lawyer in business law and new technologies, I have just one piece of advice: be yourself, be professional, and everything will be fine!”