Breaking into Crypto and Fintech industry as a woman: An interview with Caitlin Cook

August 27, 2021

Women have struggled and sought for financial independence and stability for many years. While entering the labour market was a positive step, having control and stability over their money is equally essential.

As a woman in the Fintech sector, I've been asked a lot of questions about my profession and the industry I work in over the years. In my experience, it is far more uncommon to encounter a fellow female at a tech meeting, and many are interested when I tell them about my job. It's not always easy being a woman in the Fintech sector; feeling like an outsider to the "boy's club" lingers at times throughout your journey while breaking into the field.

While women have historically taken a back seat when it comes to making financial choices and calls, new studies and statistics show that this dynamic has been changing over the last two to three years. But all of that is about to change. Women are increasingly learning to take charge of their money, with cryptocurrency becoming one of the most important financial tools.

According to eToro study, just 15% of Bitcoin traders are women, highlighting the gender gap that exists in the realm of cryptocurrency.

While doing extensive study on the top, we realized that the world needs to hear more tales of women who took risks to make their mark in the Fintech industry. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Caitlin Cook to share her journey, opinions, and expertise in order to shine a light on female crypto influencers and encourage other women to pursue careers in Crypto, Fintech and leadership roles.

In picture: Caitlin Cook

Caitlin Cook is a gen-Z twitter sensation and current darling of the fintech and crypto industry. She has done a phenomenal job of building her brand as a leader in the space with her work at Onramp Invest, which just announced a seed funding round of $6 million. Caitlin has worked specifically to build their educational platform Onramp Academy, which has been a hugely successful arm of the company. 

Diksha: Where did it all start? Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your professional background, and what inspired you to become a crypto influencer.

Caitlin: I’m a 23-year-old financial professional who started my career in asset management sales, working with financial advisors to provide their clients with suitable investments across product wrappers and asset classes. I’ve since made the switch out of traditional finance into fintech by joining Onramp Invest, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) company providing the RIA market with the education, access, and tools necessary to adopt the crypto economy. 

My role as Head of Community and VP of Operations at Onramp Academy inspired me to become more involved in the crypto community. It’s clear from the way crypto is represented in the media -- this asset has a PR problem. I want to remedy that and contribute to the investment community by educating them and giving them the information necessary to form their own opinions. Through education, we can help newbies cut through the noise that often deters them from diving in. This space has unlimited potential but without good marketing and bridging the gap between decentralized finance (DeFi) and traditional finance (TradFi), widespread adoption of crypto assets will be slow. Education empowers people to take action. Since working with Onramp, I’ve begun leveraging my social media presence for good by amplifying the work my firm has done to educate advisors on the asset class. 

Diksha: How far do you believe we are from widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology ? 

Caitlin: The crypto asset space is rapidly evolving. However, innovation often outpaces the steep learning curves necessary to adopt technological advancements. While I believe there’s widespread acceptance of the fact that cryptoassets and DeFi are here to stay, widespread adoption requires buy-in beyond just the financial services industry. The changes associated with embracing blockchain technology and crypto are no small feat. Again, the learning curve is steep, and there are many stakeholders. The next handful of years will be spent getting investors, policymakers, and the general public up to speed on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and how it can empower them. 

Diksha: The tech business appears to be dominated by men. What are your thoughts on the dearth of female representation in the crypto space? 

Caitlin: Both the tech and finance industries have historically been male dominated. I believe that although there’s a shortage of female representation in the crypto industry currently, it presents a great opportunity for those who want to dive in. Crypto is a high growth, emerging asset class and, as the space evolves, there is a lot of potential for people of various backgrounds to emerge and deliver value; but, this goes far beyond gender. Open-minded younger generations of investors have eagerly embraced the crypto economy, which holds promise for more equitable engagement as a whole in the future. There are far fewer barriers to entry within this industry in comparison to its traditional counterpart, as it is both decentralized and meritocratic. 

Diksha: How did you overcome your inhibitions and (if any) challenges? 

Caitlin: A pragmatic attitude, and steadfast confidence in my abilities. I’ve earned the opportunities that I’ve been given and though I’m still learning when it comes to crypto, that’s okay. Setting realistic expectations and giving myself grace throughout the learning process is what has allowed me to keep going. You’re your own worst critic - mastering your mindset is the ultimate cheat code. 

Diksha: What, in your opinion, is the best method to promote the profile of women in tech, particularly in the crypto space? How can more women break into the industry? 

Caitlin: Promoting women in tech and in the crypto space requires both public and private support of the women who are leading the way. That means advocating for them in the rooms that they aren’t in and providing them with additional opportunities to flourish whenever the chance arises. Women can empower themselves, but when they are the minority within an industry it is often more challenging. Given that, any chance the majority has to amplify their voices should be taken advantage of to promote equity and diversity of thought. 

Like in TradFi, much of breaking into the industry comes down to a pipeline problem. More women will enter the space if they’re encouraged to do so by those who are already there. However, in the spirit of meritocracy and decentralization, those interested in breaking into this space can promote their skill sets by becoming active online. The beauty of social media is that it often rewards the content regardless of who it comes from, which makes it a great point of entry for those who want to break into the industry. By leveraging social media to tell their story and share ideas, they can open a lot of doors. 

Diksha: What do you believe the future of women in crypto and blockchain will be in the next few years? 

Caitlin: I believe that women will play a pivotal role in crypto and blockchain in the coming years. As mentioned above, the entire basis of decentralization is to put power in the hands of the individual. There is ample opportunity for women to step up within the cryptocurrency and tech space as innovators, thought leaders, and more. It is still very early, but regardless of timing women can and will make a lasting impact as the space continues to grow. 

Diksha: Thank you, Caitlin, for this wonderful interview. In the next few years, crypto and blockchain technology is ready to disrupt a lot of sectors, and we are certain that women like you will play a pivotal part in the change.

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