Bitcoin and blockchain, as we already know, are making waves in the digital ecosystem of Africa. The underlying technology and the mother of all cryptocurrencies, respectively, are producing some breeds of entrepreneurs and innovators from the continent.
To appreciate the contribution of African women to the sector(s), Paxful, a P2P marketplace for crypto, has launched an annual list of the females whose voices are presumably the most heard in the continent.
Though the International Women’s Day was about less than 2 weeks, ago, Paxful has decided to still commemorate the celebration by appreciating matriarchal strides in the worlds of the distributed ledger and virtual currencies. As such, here are the most influential African women in blockchain and bitcoin.
1. Ojuedeire Doris (Nigeria): Founder, Blockchain African Ladies (BAL)
A professional accountant, Doris is the founder of Blockchain Ladies Africa (BAL), a 3 000-member all-female group that focuses on uniting African women and leading blockchain education.
She is a serial entrepreneur and business advisor with a unique combination of experiences in entrepreneurship, business development, and strategic marketing. Doris is passionate about women in Africa and believes blockchain represents freedom for African women.
2. Alakanani Itireleng (Botswana): Founder, Satoshicentre
Known as “The Bitcoin Lady”, Alakanani is one of the leading blockchain influencers on the African continent. She tragically lost her son to illness in the late 2010s, but in her battle to fund her son’s treatment, she heard about bitcoin as a way to accept international donations. This led to the start of Alakanani’s journey, which has seen her become one of the first proponents of bitcoin in her country.
As a trained teacher, she has transferred her teaching ability from traditional subjects to teaching blockchain technology. She established the Satoshicentre, a blockchain hub in Gaborone where she works with developers to try to increase the understanding of bitcoin and how to utilize blockchain technology in developing solutions to the everyday problems faced by Africans.
3. Yaliwe Soko (Zambia/South Africa): Founder and Chairperson, United Africa Blockchain Association (UABA)
As a blockchain and crypto early adopter, Yaliwe has established her presence in the sector by becoming the Chairwoman of the United Africa Blockchain Association and founder of Essence Crypto Consultants, as well as United Africa Women in Blockchain.
Passionate about education, technology, and financial inclusion, she ventured into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in 2016 upon discovering the difference it can bring to the world, especially how it can help improve inefficiencies in Africa.
As a qualified training facilitator and assessor, she has developed a learner guide for beginners and numerous YouTube tutorials on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and how to explore opportunities.
4. Monica Singer (South Africa): Country Lead, Consensys SA
As a seasoned executive, Monica ushered in change in the financial sector space. In 2017, she was appointed as South Africa Lead for Consensys, an international venture production studio using blockchain technology to build distributed applications on the Ethereum world computer.
Monica has held numerous board and advisory positions, including board member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Accounting Blockchain Coalition – which sets the audit accounting and tax guidelines for crypto assets based.
5. Sonya Kuhnel (South Africa): Founder, Blockchain Academy; Co-founder/Director of Bitcoin Events; Co-founder/COO of Xago
Sonya was one of the first women involved in the industry in South Africa. In 2013, she started a bitcoin payment company called Bitcoin Payments, a BitPay Affiliate partner, which allowed online merchants in South Africa to accept bitcoin as a payment method for goods and services.
She went on to co-found Bitcoin Events in 2014, a company that hosts South Africa’s leading cryptocurrency and blockchain events, namely the Blockchain Africa Conferences as well as the Crypto Fest.
Realizing the need for education around blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Sonya established the Bitcoin Academy in 2015 which was later renamed to the Blockchain Academy.
Sonya is also the co-founder and COO of Xago, a Cape Town-based company offering an XRP cryptocurrency exchange, gateway and payment platform for retailers enabling fast and cost-effective payments using the Ripple blockchain.
6. Imen Ayari (Tunisia): Head of Innovation Factory, Talan Tunisia
Imen is a Mechanical engineer from Tunisia and executive MBA graduate from the Mediterranean School of Business. The Tunisian has many years of experience working in finance and technology for multinational firms such as Ubitrade, Gltrade, Fis and Sunagrd where she founded the Sungard Byrsa Lab.
She has been the Chief Blockchain Officer and Head of Innovation Factory at Talan since 2017. As a leading blockchain and cryptocurrency expert, Imen has established and managed a number of tech organizations aimed at disseminating consistent innovations in Africa.
Ayari enjoys training individuals and businesses on how they can implement the new technology in their operations and make it work for them. She also organizes hackathons and events related to solving problems with tech.
7. Roselyn Gicira Mwangi (Kenya): Chairperson: Blockchain Association of Kenya; Head of the Kenyan Women in Blockchain Chapter
Roselyn is the Chairperson of the Blockchain Association of Kenya and also heads the Kenyan Women in Blockchain Chapter. She is very interested in the innovation coming from disruptive technologies like blockchain start-ups and has worked to empower innovative tech start-ups in East Africa.
Roselyn is a certified member of the Kenya Institute of Directors, a non-political professional organization of individual corporate directors and senior managers committed to the professional practice of corporate directorship in Kenya.
She previously worked for eight years as a UN Women program officer. Thereafter she went into business for 10 years as a Safaricom business dealer where she opened and operated several Safaricom retail and money transfer outlets.
8. Naomi Snyman (South Africa): Blockchain Lead, Standard Bank Group; Chair for the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium
As one of the top African women in blockchain, Naomi is the Blockchain Lead for the Standard Bank Group, a role that stretches across 16 African countries for both Commercial and Retail Banking.
She is also Chair of the South African Financial Blockchain Consortium. She sees the main potential of Blockchain on the African continent to drive economic freedom in the ecosystems that we live and work in, through the distribution of trust and central power.
Naomi is also passionate about discovering and developing strategic business ideas throughout Africa by creating value through solving key customer problems that result in commercially viable business opportunities by leveraging emerging disruptive technologies.
9. Michelle Chivunga Nsunsumuco (Zambia): Founder, CEO, and Investor, Global Policy House; Senior Advisor to Government of Bermuda (Global Fintech Advisory Board)
Michelle owns a digital and investment business exploring emerging technologies such as blockchain technology in the context of emerging markets, trade, enterprise and sustainable development.
Referred to as a young thought leader in the blockchain space, Michelle is working across borders to evaluate the impact of emerging technology for different segments of society including women, business, governments and others. The Zambian also drives for education, especially on how to leverage digital tools to drive forward social and economic development.
Her first engagement relating to blockchain was in 2009, which lead to the start of her journey to evaluate the growth of the digital economy and potential of emerging technologies such as blockchain, quantum computing, Big Data and others.
Michelle has also been undertaking research and education on these technologies with university partners and global institutions such as WTO, UN, World Bank, African Union and many others. Michelle holds several positions on various boards including the African Union – Digital Trade and Transformation Taskforce.
10. Olayinka Odeniran (Nigeria): Co-founder, Black Women Blockchain Council (BWBC)
Another one of African women in blockchain, Olayinka is a highly respected financial services risk management expert and renowned international attorney who specializes in blockchain, crypto and emerging technologies. She has over 15 years of experience in compliance and helping financial firms navigate through international regulations.
Olayinka holds an M.S. in Cybersecurity Management and Policy which she relies on to provide information assurance to financial institutions and the blockchain landscape. She now combines her passion for blockchain, cybersecurity and compliance to provide consultancy services for financial institutions.
In her spare time and as the co-founder of the Black Women Blockchain Council, Olayinka strives to increase the number of young girls and black women in blockchain, fintech and other emerging technologies. S
he is also a digital content writer and has produced several informative and engaging articles for major online global magazines. In addition, as a renowned speaker, Olayinka has presented at several blockchain conferences.
Featured Image: Minute Hack