Georgina Brett hopes to encourage more women to work in blockchain, after taking the “leap of faith” into the industry herself at the start of 2018.
She is the chief of staff at The Reserve in London, which aims to help companies raise funds. They deliver end-to-end fundraising solutions, public events, professional advice and community management services. The Reserve team personally introduce projects to crypto-focused investors and fund managers in the space.
It has “never been harder”, she says, to raise capital for companies in blockchain as a lot of the money raised by investors investment was from cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, and these cryptocurrencies are now “down 75%”.
She speaks of the changing world where, prior to the fall in the price of cryptocurrencies, companies used to be looking at £1m investment and now the level of investment may have fallen to £100,000.
“If companies are good enough they can still raise the capital,” she tells me.
She became involved in the world of blockchain after studying for a degree in law and economics in South Africa followed by a second law degree at Oxford University.
After working as a communications consultant in commercial PR she found the corporate environment “didn’t fulfil my expectations as I envisaged it”. She longed for more stimulation.
She discovered a company called Codex Protocol which used blockchain to tokenise art and fine jewellery. After studying the whitepaper she became interested in blockchain.
She made the life-changing decision to “make the leap” into blockchain at the start of 2018.
Although it is a relatively short space of time to be working in this field, she says “in any other industry I’d be a novice, but because it is such a steep learning curve this isn’t the case”.
The company is currently involved in a drive to recruit more women. She says the lack of women in blockchain is noticeable with only “one in 40 applications from women”.
“We are actively trying for a 50/50 gender split at the company,” she stressed.
“We were doing quite well but then two of the women left. We are actively recruiting now.”
She muses that it could be the fact that women don’t know what it is, or historically there’s a lack of women involved in STEM subjects, but says she honestly doesn’t know the reason why.
The Reserve was only founded 18 months ago and during that time they’ve witnessed the “evolution and the rise and demise of the ICO”.
She believes after the market chaos of recent weeks there will be a one-year lull in the industry but it will be at its healthiest and will grow organically as a result.
“Investors are always up for weeding out the good from the bad and companies in the markets are better placed to use the technology with solid infrastructure,” she adds.
She feels it is premature to be a female role model in blockchain after such a short period of time.
“I think women need to take bigger risks and get comfortable being out of their comfort zones,” she continues.
“Generally I have noticed, women tend to be more cautious and second-guess their right to be a voice of authority, whereas men are more likely to act like the authority whether they deserve to be there or not.
“In short: men are better at ‘faking it until you make it’. In a nascent industry like blockchain, voices of authority can be people with six months’ experience and stepping into authoritative roles is very achievable if you have demonstrable value you can bring to the table.
“It would be wonderful to see more women stepping into roles where they can influence the narrative and course of this emerging industry and position themselves to be the future leaders of the sector.”
She would like to see more women speakers on panels. At a recent event, there were five women speakers and someone commented how refreshing it was. She says people would “never have blinked if it was all male. I would like it to become more normal for women to be on panels”.
She is immensely grateful to the generosity and encouragement of Jess Houlgrave: the COO of Codex Protocol and the woman who encouraged her to make the leap into blockchain and a woman who has been a constant source of support.