Australia’s First International Exchange and a Chat About Women in Crypto: Interview With Blockbid’s Emma Hoffman
Australia is set to get its first truly international cryptocurrency exchange, with Melbourne-based Blockbid — currently in beta testing — set to launch in August/September. Bitsonline caught up with Emma Hoffman, Blockbid’s Chief Marketing Officer, to discuss the exchange’s forthcoming launch and to chat about women in crypto.
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A Barren Landscape
The Australian crypto exchange landscape is somewhat lacking in terms of exchanges that provide access to altcoin trading and exchanges that can cater to foreign users. Australia’s only genuinely multi-altcoin platform is CoinSpot, which offers trading in just over a hundred coins. (New Zealand’s Cryptopia is truly a one-stop-shop exchange, offering trading in over 400 coins.)
Other mainstay retail exchanges BTC Markets, Cointree, and British-owned CoinJar operate more as on-ramps to crypto from fiat, with a limited number of coins available to trade. Marketing itself as the institutional investor’s exchange of choice, Independent Reserve accepts three fiat currencies and offers trading in four major cryptocurrencies.
One of the aims of blockbid.io is to change that landscape.
On Blockbid and on Women in Crypto — an Interview With Emma Hoffman
Paul de Havilland: Is Blockbid more of an on-ramp from fiat, like, say, Cointree, or are there plans for a bigger range of coins to trade with? It’d be interesting to see a new Australia-based exchange with more trading pairs, but perhaps that market is cornered by the likes of Binance?
Emma Hoffman: Great question. We’ll be listing some of the top traded cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin, and more. We’ve had listing applications from approximately 400 coins so far. We’re very excited to announce the finalized list of cryptocurrencies we’ll be launching within the coming weeks.
Our aim is to list more coins than any other exchange, whilst providing as many fiat deposit/withdrawal options as possible as a way to provide greater access to traders (whether beginner or advanced). What we found during our research is that most exchanges will either list a large number of coins but no fiats, or a smaller number of coins and a couple of fiat options — we really want to satisfy both ends of the market and become a one-stop trading platform, so that users no longer have to set up accounts on multiple exchanges if they want to trade a variety of coins. We’ll be launching with seven fiat currencies (AUD, USD, Euro, JPY, NZD, HKD, and GBP).
PdH: And what does Blockbid specifically offer crypto enthusiasts that other domestic exchanges don’t?
EH: There’s three main pillars at the core of Blockbid: security and compliance, education and support, and ease of access.
In regards to security and compliance, we’re the only exchange in the world that has an insurance policy protecting our users’ crypto assets against potential cyber attacks, and have strong strategic partnerships with third-party companies to solidify the security of the Blockbid exchange. We’ve partnered with LexisNexis-ThreatMetrix, the world’s largest anti-fraud, KYC-processing, and anti-money laundering risk management company.
We pride ourselves on our corporate culture of transparency and accountability. As such, we’re registered with AUSTRAC to operate as a digital currency exchange and are a proud member of industry bodies such as Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, ADCA, the Blockchain Association of Australia, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and more.
In terms of education and support, we are focused on providing a 24-hour support desk and tutorial guides to help users transition from beginner traders to more advanced.
In relation to ‘ease of access’, we’ll be listing more coins than any other exchange as well as seven fiat currencies, with unlimited deposits and withdrawals. Our 0.1 percent trading fee is super low compared to some other exchanges and we accept users from around the world. Furthermore, we’ve built our UI with user-friendliness as the objective and have ensured that the trading process is easy to navigate and features ongoing support.
Where’s All the Women in Crypto?
Blockbid’s website introduces a team of thirty, including external partners and advisors. Of those thirty, only 2 are women. This is not uncommon to see in the tech sector, and certainly in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. Join any crypto Facebook group and it is impossible not to notice the scarcity of women members. As a serial entrepreneur with a prominent business profile in Australia, we thought it would be insightful to get Hoffman’s views on why she thinks there are so few women working in cryptocurrency, if she thinks it is a problem, and if she would like to see that change.
Paul de Havilland: The crypto industry appears to be decidedly lacking in gender diversity. As someone with experience in a range of industries, does the crypto industry stand out to you as unique in that regard?
Emma Hoffman: Yes, it is definitely different from other industries I’ve worked in for a couple of reasons. On one side, there’s a gender imbalance greater than most other industries, and on the other side there’s less sexism or hostility because of the industry attitude of ‘open-source-ness’.
There’s an inherent culture of shared information and decentralization, which means that people are more focused on merit and capability above all else. To put it simply, there’s a massive gender imbalance but no one seems to care about the gender of their teammates – just about the quality of their work and contribution to the project in question.
PdH: I do take your point. Nevertheless, do you think there are reasons that crypto workplaces tend to be male-dominated, in terms of employee numbers? Is it simply a matter of men tending to be more interested in IT than women, for one reason or another, or do you think that, perhaps, men traditionally liked IT more than women, creating structural imbalances at IT workplaces, inadvertently having a dampening effect on women who might otherwise be interested in IT?
EH: In my personal opinion, I don’t believe workplaces should be preoccupied with the gender of their employees. I think the best representation of equality is to simply treat each employee based on merit and not biology. When we start making concessions and considerations based on gender, trying to ‘balance’ them in a workplace, that’s not equality.
I think it would be fantastic to see more women enter the cryptocurrency space and I believe this will come with time and more mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. Last time I checked, approximately 95 percent of employees and traders within the cryptocurrency space are male, which is a huge imbalance. However, I don’t believe this is a matter of discrimination or employer bias, but rather I think can be likened to similar industries such as Forex trading or traditional stock market trading.
I’m certainly no sociologist or anthropologist, but knowing that the number of women who attended university in my generation compared to my parent’s generation has almost tripled… in the next generation or two, I think these imbalances will start to resolve themselves organically.
PdH: Do you personally think there are too few women in crypto and that companies should do more to encourage women to become interested in crypto?
EH: I’m not sure whether I think women should be encouraged to become interested in crypto but I definitely think that there should be more education and exposure (which will come with greater mainstream adoption), so that women are informed and can make the decision for themselves. I guess I have a really ‘laissez-faire’ approach, but I think the best way to encourage women [to get involved in crypto] is to give them the tools and resources and empower them to decide for themselves.
Have your say. Would you like to see more women in crypto?
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