African Women In Crypto: An interview with two outstanding Startup Founders

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible.” - Amelia Earheart.

Like so many other tech fields, the representation of women in crypto is still minimal and somewhat overshadowed by stereotypes. However, blockchain technology’s democratic and dynamic nature is drawing more women to take active roles in this sector. Representation is growing, and the free nature of crypto makes it ideal for women to leave their imprint on this significant time in history.

At Adaverse, we encourage African women-led businesses to grow their crypto products on the Cardano blockchain. For this reason, we decided to spotlight the incredible work of two pioneering female crypto entrepreneurs from Africa: Victoria Haruna, founder of Deftify, and Linda I.A Obi, founder of TechonomyAfrica.

Here is our interview with both of them where we spoke about their journey as crypto entrepreneurs in Africa and how the blockchain landscape has changed in terms of gender equality.

🎤 To start, please tell us more about your business and its impact on the continent!

Victoria: Deftify is a multipurpose DeFi and NFT ecosystem that focuses on three major product areas, providing Africans as well as people from other regions easy access to crypto. In short, Deftify is the world’s first Africa-focused crypto incubator and launchpad; diverse index funds with an integrated portfolio management tool: and a Play-to-Earn game called Metacurse.

Linda: TechonomyAfrica is building Africa’s largest “Learn 2 Earn” blockchain ED DAO. TechonomyAfrica is a project-based learn-to-earn platform that teaches blockchain enthusiasts and students how to leverage blockchain and crypto education for investment and trade, and how to build real products in areas such as NFTs, metaverse, tokens, blockchain, cybersecurity, data science, game development and programming. All content is organized around projects where people learn and earn from watching experienced curators, instructors and developers that teach and build practical products.

🎤 Both projects are incredibly ambitious yet have proven to be successful in their goals! When did you decide to start your own business in the crypto and blockchain space? And how did that turn from a brilliant idea to a concrete and successful career?

Victoria: It’s been three years now in the crypto space. I started off as a content writer at a microblogging crypto site. There I learned more about crypto and various projects as well as got involved in them. This gave birth to my educational platform, Becryptowiz, where we educate Africans on crypto and blockchain. This in turn opened my eyes to the challenges Africans face in crypto. From there, we conceived Deftify to be a bridge between Africans and success.

Linda: I’d love to be able to say that scam rates and misinformation that existed in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space was an immediate trigger, however, our story dates back to October 2020. What is now being called Africa’s largest blockchain ED DAO started in October 2020 during the EndSARS protest led by Nigerian youths. Fiat donations and remittances to fund basic supplies at the protest ground were truncated by the authority and we all witnessed the power of cryptocurrency — specifically Bitcoin.

Interestingly, Africans received $105.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency payments last year — an increase of 1,200% from the year before. However, 1 in 4 people is reported to have been scammed out of their funds for the lack of education that exists in the blockchain space.

We founded TechonomyAfrica to bridge the gap and serve as an all-information highway for young Africans. What started as pockets of communities grew into a full-stack learning platform with over 16,000 users.

We have created over 1,000 bite-sized beginner to advanced level video projects to teach blockchain, DeFi, DAO, crypto development, trading, investments and application development related to financial apps, decentralized markets, games, crypto wallets and more.

🎤 Victoria, what advice would you give to someone interested in starting a blockchain business? What are some key aspects to keep in mind when starting your project? How do you choose a specific blockchain over another?

Victoria: When you think of building, you have to put into consideration what’s best for your community and why your product would be the most preferred among the lot. At Deftify, we intend to build on multiple chains or better still provide a cross-chain solution.

However, we have selected the Polygon and Cardano blockchains for starters. Polygon is a Layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum. Cardano, on the other hand, is a decentralized Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain designed to be a more efficient alternative to Proof-of-Work (PoW) networks.

To also add, not so many projects with our kind of products are built on these ecosystems — and as such, this provides yet another excellent reason why our community would stick with our solutions and more.

🎤 Linda, is there anything you wish you knew when starting your business in crypto?

Linda: I wish I knew first-hand the “infiniteness” that comes with the technology (blockchain). So far, it has proven to be relevant across diverse business environments, with so many use cases. Technology is constantly evolving…

🎤 As we have seen, the crypto scene is characterized by creativity and life-changing ideas. These aspects attract more and more women to enter this field and develop their businesses. Victoria, through your experience, how has the blockchain space evolved over the past years in terms of gender equality?

Victoria: Women are underrepresented in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries when compared to the mainly male tech sector as a whole. Women have played a modest role in defining blockchain technology applications thus far.

However, women’s presence in the cryptocurrency industry has increased significantly over the last three years, according to the trend. Women are now in more managerial positions and are increasingly launching cryptocurrency businesses.

🎤 How can the democratic nature of blockchain help women to become successful entrepreneurs?

Linda: While crypto still has to connect with traditional finance, the fact that it does have its own distinctive culture makes it more open to and appealing to women. One of the defining characteristics of the crypto industry is its rapid growth and change, which creates great opportunities for female leaders to shine bright and get funding for their ideas.

🎤 Africa is seen as a blooming continent for blockchain and crypto projects. In your experience, what regional challenges and opportunities have you met? In your opinion, what type of incentives should be implemented to better support African businesses in crypto and foster an innovative ecosystem?

Victoria: Despite the fact that the African region only receives 2% of the global value of cryptocurrencies today, their rapid growth will revolutionize financing in a more digital and urban sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, for example, are already among the top ten countries in terms of cryptocurrency usage.

However, Africa is perceived in a bad light therefore cryptocurrency investors and other people find it difficult to trust Africans. The good news is that things are changing, and African countries are adopting cryptocurrencies.

Linda: In my opinion, a fund dedicated to “idea stage” blockchain startups would need to be put in place here in Africa — especially for female-led startups. African Fintech startups (crypto and blockchain inclusive) commanded half of the VC funds that were raised in 2021. We do not see enough funding or backing for educational focused startups here in Africa.

Fixing the education side of blockchain remains critical to accelerating adoption and acceptance while protecting the continent from scams that lurk on the world wide web due to the information gap.

As for mentorship, I did not get much of that from women in the crypto space because the participation level is low at the top and women who practise in the space are few and far between. I had to get a formal education and learn the operability of the technology, and I now play an active role in the development and deployment of unique use cases.

🎤 To conclude, do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs entering the blockchain world in Africa?

Victoria: Get the right enthusiastic team and keep pushing. It will never seem all put together from the onset.

Linda: Perseverance, consistency and staying up to date should be your guiding principle. The space, while still nascent here in Africa, is fast evolving. Entrepreneurs entering the space must brace up for the race ahead. It is a marathon and not a sprint.

We’d like to extend our thanks to both Victoria and Linda for their valuable insights into this article. Make sure you check out both Deftify and TechonomyAfrica as two excellent examples of female-led blockchain projects from Africa.

If you’ve got an idea, or have even started growing your business, get in touch with us today. Adaverse is open to applications from founders all year round. Apply Here

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