Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have brought us a decentralized world that transcends geographical, political and cultural barriers where there is supposed to be no bias based on religion, gender, language, or ethnicity. As the world celebrates women in tech and women in crypto this Women’s Day, we reached out to one of the prominent women leaders in the crypto industry, Sandra Lou – the CEO of Bitget, a leading derivatives platform to understand whether women are getting a fair chance and a fair representation in the crypto sector as widely assumed, or not.
Q: Hi Sandra, glad to be having this conversation on International Women’s Day. It will be great if you could introduce yourself and the organization to our readers.
A: Thanks. My name is Sandra Lou, and I am the founding member and the CEO of a fast-growing derivatives exchange platform called Bitget. Having started in July 2018, Bitget has grown to become one of the top five exchange platforms in the industry. In less than 4 years, we have acquired over 2 million customers from across 50 countries, offering some of the best features and services in the segment.
We started Bitget with a mission to offer a better crypto trading experience to the community, and everyone in the team believes in the motto – “Better Trading, Better Life”. As a result, we have been able to create our flagship One-Click Copy Trade products to achieve the distinction of being the world’s largest crypto copy trading platform. We love sports, and it shows in our partnerships with leading sports clubs and events, including Juventus, Galatasaray, and eSports organizations including PGL and Team Spirit.
Q: Thanks for the detailed description. So, what influenced you to become part of the tech and crypto industry?
A: In short, I can say curiosity and interest in Bitcoin and blockchain technology along with my work in the traditional finance sector got the best of me. While working as a vice president in a listed financial company, I was introduced to Bitcoin by an investor friend in Japan. It happened in 2016, and as I explored it, I became more and more interested in blockchain technology. I started learning about them and investing in digital assets until eventually, I came across a wonderful team with an exciting idea and an offer to be part of it.
Q: Can you tell us more about joining the Bitget part?
A: I have always believed that making the right choices is as important as working hard. Joining Bitget is one such choice. It happened in 2017 when the market was doing good, and I was looking to invest my time into a place that is easier to create value. The excellent corporate culture and the founding team with extraordinary entrepreneurship experience attracted me to Bitget. I was convinced that it would become a top-tier trading platform in the future, making blockchain technology more accessible for users across the world. So, I ended by joining the founding team and becoming its Global CEO.
Q: What convinced you that Bitget is going to be a huge success?
A: The collective expertise and the spirit of entrepreneurship among the founding team members seemed like the right fit to build and operate a crypto exchange, which is one of the most mature businesses in the blockchain industry. My understanding of finance and over a decade of experience in global financial operations helped me recognize the potential, and also the valuable contributions I can make towards its success.
Q: How has the journey in the crypto space been so far?
A: Challenges and opportunities are part of life, and the crypto industry is no different. I have always been willing to do what I love to do and strive hard to realize my dreams. There have been many anxious and frustrating moments stretching beyond my entry into Bitget which I am not going to deny. But it has been a learning process for me. Thanks to those moments, now I have learnt to accept what I may not like and may not be interested in the first place, as there is no other way but to take it as a challenge and overcome it.
I keep reinventing myself, which is no different from what Bitget continues to go through in its evolution. After all, it is that unremitting innovation that enables us to launch products like One-click Copy Trade that has gained enormous popularity among users.
Q: You talk about challenges; can you elaborate on a few?
A: Some of the challenges I faced on the Bitget front could be attributed to the sudden shift in the industry. For someone who has come from a traditional financial background, there is a stark difference in the customer mindset. Unlike traditional finance, users here are less sensitive to risk but are more active. We had to understand the customer, their expectations and learn about various aspects of the industry to create solutions that benefit both. On the other hand, the regulatory aspects are quite different and at times even confusing due to lack of uniformity across geographies.
It took a lot of effort from me and the team to meet these diverse requirements. As a result, today, we have a security insurance fund, top security teams, a professional customer support team, a competent global compliance team and more. I keep receiving constant feedback from all quarters, which is valuable to make decisions.
The whole process needs a lot of patience, dedication and commitment which is not so easy. But thanks to like-minded team members and a collective effort, today we have trade volumes surpassing $8 billion on Bitget as we continue to work on enhancing the users’ trust in the platform as more investors and governments look at embracing digital assets.
Q: What are your thoughts on gender disparity in the crypto industry?
A: I think you are referring to recent surveys which put the number of female crypto investors at around 30%. You must understand that crypto is still a growing industry and these numbers are gradually increasing. Thankfully, the digital asset industry is very open and eventually, I hope the disparity in numbers will reduce further.
Personally, I know a lot of successful female investors around me, and studies show that female investors are emerging as a new force in the digital asset space. At Bitget, we are also working on ways to attract more female investors to our platform.
Many times, women are considered weaker than men when it comes to dealing with pressure and there are times when I have been the only woman on a company’s executive team. While the high pressure and long working hours in the digital asset industry can deter some women, it is definitely not something that they can’t handle. Thanks to the inclusiveness in the crypto sector, we now have many women who are breaking the stereotype.
Also, talking about female representation in the crypto industry, we can take Bitget as an example where many top executives are women. We are proud to share that we have 67 female employees across our international offices, who make up nearly 35% of our global headcount, as well as the women in senior roles, who represent 50% of the senior management team. As long as women are brave enough to pursue their careers and interests, I am sure the crypto industry will accept them with open arms.
Q: Do you think there is something we can do to increase female representation in the industry?
A: Even though the crypto industry is more receptive than a few other sectors, I believe that further improvements can be made to encourage more participation to promote gender equality. Meanwhile, women should also invest more in life-long learning and personal growth so that they are prepared to grab the opportunity whenever and wherever they arise.
Evidence suggests that diversity in corporate leadership is good for business growth. Although the crypto industry is still male-dominated, I believe as it gradually becomes mainstream with outstanding female leaders and investors standing in the spotlight, we will see more women joining us in the future.
Q: What changes would you personally like to see in the crypto industry to promote gender equality across the board? How do you wish to contribute to that?
A: Gender disparities have long been present in the traditional financial industry, but the development of crypto was meant to democratize the investment environment, welcoming new and diverse investors in the space. Unfortunately, research still shows that there are twice as many men as women investing in the crypto space. With the development of NFTs, the Metaverse and many more initiatives in the blockchain space, I truly believe that there is certainly something for everyone. Looking forward, it would be great to see more content and initiatives catered to females and live out the true meaning of decentralized finance.
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