Women Play an Important Role in the Crypto Space: Min Teo
Min Teo, Executive Director for strategic initiatives and investments at ConsenSys based in London, UK, is a well-known woman in the blockchain and crypto ecosystem. She has graduated from the University of Toronto- University of Trinity College with a specialization in economics and finance. She was previously the trustee and London head at Techfugees and Vice President of finance and operations at Yoyo wallet. Min Teo ardently sends a very powerful message to all the women working in the technology space and to inspire them to participate in the same. She also believes that all the boys and girls must know what they like and should not be under any pressure from the society.
Involvement in Blockchain, companies and more…
After being asked about her first involvement in the crypto space she said that back in 2015 while working for a credit fund organization, she encountered a few clients who were mining Bitcoin. However, while working with a startup she explained her concerns regarding the current system of cross-border payments and their pricing strategy. After being persistently questioning about the current payments system – “Why are scheme fees set that way? Why is interchanged set that way? Why do we have to pay gateway fees? ,” all she got as an answer was- “Min, that’s just the way things are. You can’t really question them.”
This triggered a spark in her where she thought that- “true disruption doesn’t happen while the incumbents are still very much entrenched in the ecosystem.” All she felt as a solution was “to rip it out and replace it with a new system.” That is when she started researching about the Blockchain Technology and cryptocurrencies. The most crucial use case that intrigued her was cross-border payments which could “take up to a week.” Finally she said that- “ And that was the point where I really understood that technology can truly revolutionize the way that people interact with commerce, the way they buy things, the way they pay for things, the way that they pay each other, and it seemed like a tremendous opportunity, and I want to be involved straight away.”
Min has been involved with ConsenSys from the past six months. She was highly impressed with the people at the company and knew some who were quitting mainstream jobs to join companies like ConsenSys. She said that- “ The idea of working for a fully decentralized company I believe is very inspiring to smart people to build cool stuff, and that was very appealing to me.”
She said that ConsenSys was unique in its own way because they were striving for a completely decentralized mode of operating. This means that they were inspired at empowering each person in their company to “seek creative solutions to problems rather than what is prevalent in many traditional organizations where office environment is typically structured to prevent people from screwing up.” ConsenSys employees, as described by her were “self-governing” and allows each one to become an entrepreneur internally and derive the best out of all the opportunities.
She complies with the fact that there are a lot of philosophically-driven people out there within the crypto space and supports them too. She said in this context that- “ I think I’m a little bit less pedantic ideologically, but philosophically speaking, I do very much believe in structures and systems that empower the individual from the bottom up.”
Thoughts on men welcoming women in crypto or not
Min has been working in a male-dominated industry for almost her entire career- from finance to tech startups and blockchain- and said that “men in the crypto and blockchain industry are more welcoming of women.” In any case, the industry still has more of men working than women, “yet although women have come a long way.”
Taking “diversity” in a broader sense she expressed that all types of people- LBGT, transgender, non-binary class, old, and young- need to considered equally which will highly impact the future generations.
Talking about females exclusively she said that- “It’s one thing that I think that makes me very proud to be working in this space. It’s just a level of female talent that is building cool stuff in the ecosystem and they also just happened to be female. ” Some noteworthy names she enchanted were of Elizabeth Stark and Jutta Steiner. She said that- “… women are leading predominantly male engineering teams and also, producing some market-leading products that are being very widely used by many participants in the blockchain ecosystem.”
Min ardently focusses on those women techies who work their way through without concentrating on all the hype of ‘women-empowerment’. “I think women have come a long way and in a lot of ways and, given the spotlight that is on this issue, like, there has been no better time to be a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated space,” added Min.
Min asserted by saying that there “should” be more women in the crypto industry and that it is “important”. While developing new things she believes that men and women can equally contribute to the same, provided, “it has to be first and foremost in your mind that we are equals.” She talked about invoking human principles which can only start if we consider a “human-centered design as opposed to gender-centered, ”- “ If you think about women being half of the population and we’re trying to drive blockchain adoption, and we’re thinking about a content or a community initiative that only appeals to men. Then you are, in many ways, excluding half the population, ” she explained.
Women indeed have calm-minded decision-making capabilities along with seeking consensus to get a majority for optimized decisions. On the other hand, some men being aggressive and impulsive may take the wrong one. She said that- “I think having women sitting around tables will improve the decision-making and also help the calibration towards better outcomes on the floor.” Very positively concluding Min said that- “yes, you can make a connection that more women in technology will make the world a better place.”
Her message to all the women who need to participate for a change
“I would tell them to be curious, to never stop learning. There’s a vast movement globally to get more girls into stem education and given that a lot of the future lies in technology and having a strong foundation in stem education. It’s best you prepare for the future. But, I also believe that multidisciplinary studies are very important.” She completely believed that the human element of technology is important which lines up in the education of an individual. Being more flexible and constantly learning new things are the key to being a happy successful ‘women’ in this industry.
Min is determined to continue working in the Blockchain space and dedicate her resources for innovation in the same in the foreseeable future. She has a positive attitude towards mass adoption of Blockchain and its power in eradicating poverty, corruption, and inequality. Similarly, her thoughts on governments and regulators accepting Blockchain seem good. She says that Blockchain “is a journey rather than a destination.”