Home Insights Women Leading in the Blockchain Space | Highlight on Elizabeth Stark, Neha Narula and Elaine Shi

Women Leading in the Blockchain Space | Highlight on Elizabeth Stark, Neha Narula and Elaine Shi

by Meredith Loughran

The technology revolution often has the feel of rolling thunder by making noise in all areas of business and industry, shaking up the status quo. Women are playing a vital part in this new dynamic in technology and business. This series highlights women who are leaders in blockchain, fintech and crypto; inspiring and empowering examples for the next generation of business.

According to American Express OPEN “The State of Women-Owned Businesses 2017,” more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017. As more attention is being drawn toward integrating business and blockchain, it seems clear that women would take an active role in driving business and blockchain to the next level.

Today’s highlight is on Elizabeth Stark, Neha Narula, and Elaine Shi.

Elizabeth Stark

Elizabeth Stark, CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs, saw the potential of digital currency, which allows people to send micro payments without being charged excessive fees. Motivated by making knowledge available through peer-to-peer networks which is intended to circumvent traditional control centers, her goal was to make digital currency mainstream while creating alternative revenue streams.

Lightning Labs uses second-layer software for the Bitcoin payment network which allows people to transact back and forth within minutes but delays the final bulk ledger to the blockchain, allowing for faster transactions without congesting the network.

Watch her Blockstack presentation

A fan of open source and decentralized protocols, Ms. Stark is a fellow at Coin Center, has a law degree from Harvard, speaks four languages, and has taught at Stanford and Yale universities. She has been engaged in SOPA protests against internet censorship for nearly a decade for a free and open internet.

Where to find her:
Twitter @starkness
GitHub /starkness

Neha Narula

The director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT Media Lab, Neha Narula, PhD, has been a pioneer in cryptocurrency technologies that will help solve issues like privacy, security and scaling which currently prevent mas adoption.

In her presentation she says, “Cryptocurrencies are the first step to a world with a global, programmable money… I can pay anyone else securely, without having to sign up, or ask permission, or do a conversion, or worry about my money getting stuck. It’s this idea of permissionless innovation.”

Watch her presentation on the future of money

With the mix of excitement and trepidation surrounding cryptocurrencies, Ms. Narula seems confident that it’s here to stay, but is clear that learning how to scale the technology for mass adoption is necessary to mainstream it. She continues to educate people about how money is changing.

Where to find her:
Twitter @neha
LinkedIn /in/neha-narula2310

Elaine Shi

Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at ThunderCore, Elaine Shi co-wrote the first peer-reviewed academic papers on Bitcoin and decentralized smart contracts. As blockchain is still in its infancy, she is aware that many of the dApps created on top of current blockchain tech would be difficult to mainstream because they’re too slow.

Elaine Shi is an expert on cryptographic protocols and consensus with a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She is instrumental in the development of ThunderCore, which is backed by rigorous mathematical proofs that coordinates a network of consensus nodes. These accelerated consensus nodes vote to confirm transactions in under a second which allows for faster transactions with no compromises in security.

Elaine Shi explains consensus protocol behind ThunderCore

Professor Shi has been a leader for innovations in speed and scalability in blockchain technology, with interests in cryptography, distributed systems, randomized algorithms, and programming languages. She has received many prestigious awards for her work. Elaine Shi is also the co-founder and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3).

Where to find her:
Website: elaineshi.com

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