What is up with the hype around the Bitcoin currency? Digital money? Instant transfers? For myself, Bitcoin is a social, political and economic Game Changer, specifically for women around the world. My name is Elizabeth Ploshay. I serve on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and additionally handle non profit outreach for BitPay. I also recently joined the Board of Directors for Code to Inspire, an organization focusing on digital literacy for girls in Afghanistan.
I first learned about Bitcoin in January of 2013. When I looked further into this incredible platform for social good, I started to peel back the layers of how this innovative payment gateway is not just a representative of ease of transfer of funds but a tool to empower and change the lives of women globally.
Let’s consider this: there are around 2.5 billion individuals around the world who are either under banked or unbanked. AND: many of these individuals are women. Why? More times than not, women are excluded from the global financial ecosystem.
Now, let’s look at Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a digital, decentralized, cryptocurrency and a platform to send funds anywhere around the world with internet connection. What does this mean? With Bitcoin, we can literally reach women around the world financially who have traditionally been excluded from financial interaction.
Bitcoin empowers. Imagine if you were told, “sorry, but because you are a female, you just cannot open up that bank account”. However, with Bitcoin, a woman can simply through internet access have access to a Bitcoin wallet and a way to receive funds and even spend those funds to get connected to individuals around the world. Now you tell me if there has been another technology to date that has been this impactful on the lives of women and girls across the globe.
Here are some truly inspirational women in the Bitcoin community who are making it happen!
Alakanani Itreleng, otherwise known as The Bitcoin Lady, on her own initiative brought Bitcoin to Botswana. You can learn more of her story here when I had the privilege of interviewing her at the Bitcoin Foundation’s Conference in Amsterdam this past May.
Alakanani went from researching Bitcoin to learn how to store up finance’s for her ailing son’s surgery to in turn inspiring many and even fundraising in Bitcoin for SOS Children’s Villages of Botswana.
Fereshteh is the co-founder of the Women’s Annex Foundation and most recently founded Code to Inspire. Code to Inspire is aimed at educating and empowering Afghan female students. Fereshteh recognizes the opportunity with Bitcoin to raise funds for women most in need and additionally teach women about financial independence.
Connie Gallippi is the Founder and Executive Director of the BitGive Foundation. The BitGive Foundation is the first Bitcoin 501c3 organization focused on empowering charities to embrace Bitcoin as a method for donation as well as raising funds in Bitcoin for select projects.
Connie is currently in Kenya visiting the Shisango Secondary Girl’s School which just received well from the WaterProject. Through BitGive, Connie raised over 11k in Bitcoin for this well!
Connie is made it happen!
There are countless other stories of women empowering women and using Bitcoin to do so!
This post was written by Elizabeth T. Ploshay (@etploshay) of BitPay, Bitcoin Foundation, and Code to Inspire in support of #BitcoinWomensDay.