Women Leaders in Crypto and Blockchain: Meredith Darden

We're continuing our conversations with women leaders in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Today, we hear from Meredith Darden, a communications specialist at PIVX who is passionate about connecting with others and building communities around cutting-edge tech and finance developments and opportunities. The crypto enthusiast, educator, and mother of two from Baton Rouge, Louisiana wants women to dive in and take advantage of opportunities available with crypto that often were not possible under traditional financial systems. She discusses how she discovered the potential for investing in the crypto ecosystem and blockchain technology, some exciting new projects and collaborations that open up new prospects and possibilities, the inspiring women who are involved in the field, how to encourage more women to join, and more.

How did you first become involved with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency?

Like many people I know, my introduction to cryptocurrency and blockchain was somewhat happenstance. As a single mom of two young children, one day I had the realization that it was up to me to make sure I diversified financially to set us up for the best possible future. I reached out to a friend who was privy to markets and investing, and he told me about Ethereum. He was so enthusiastic and on fire about it, I almost thought he was about to pitch me a MLM scam. Instead, he encouraged me to do my own research. From there, I was absolutely hooked, and I think my friends and family thought I was going crazy for a while. Initially I viewed cryptocurrency as an investment opportunity, but my focus quickly shifted as I realized the real implications of blockchain technology.

What is your background, and what do you and your company do now in the crypto world?

Surprising as it may be, my background has not been in finance or tech. The majority of my career has been spent in real estate, property management, and multifamily housing. Prior to that, I worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters in volunteer recruitment and training. Though I’ve always been interested and informed when it comes to technology, I never imagined I would leave my career to migrate in to tech. Since doing so, I have aligned myself with a couple projects that I believe provide meaningful, real-world solutions.

Currently, I am the communications specialist for PIVX, a privacy coin with a very community-centric focus. I’m very passionate about privacy and it’s important to me to make sure people understand the value in protecting information and data. PIVX makes instant, private transactions possible and as such, I was a fan of the project long before I joined the team. You can catch me on the website, YouTube channel, and other mediums sharing information about what we have going on.

I was recently brought on as the digital marketing lead at Digipharm. I cannot share many details just yet, but Digipharm is utilizing private and public blockchain solutions to create an ecosystem that will accelerate the restructure healthcare to a value based approach. I’m very grateful to be involved, and I am bursting at the seams to share with everyone what we have in the works!

What do you think are some of the most interesting developments in blockchain, and what do you think are some opportunities for development or things to watch today?

I am a cryptocurrency enthusiast, so I’ve always got my eyes on a whitepaper. There are quite a few projects out there that are making major move, but I won’t get too wild here.

One of my all-time favorite projects is Kyber Network, a decentralized exchange that will support cross-chain transactions. They’ve made many noteworthy partnerships over the last few months, and they offer numerous solutions outside of the cryptocurrency exchange that will benefit crypto as a whole. Another one of my favorites is Bloom, a company that aims to create a secure and fair global credit scoring model. They’ve partnered with district0x to create the Bloom Lending District, as well as several other cryptocurrency lenders with the goal of helping those who are unbanked have more access to fair lending.

My list could go on and on, but Kyber and Bloom are constantly backing up their words with action, so that’s an A-plus in my book.

The number women in cryptocurrency is still quite small, and it lies at the intersection of finance and technology—two areas in which women are still underrepresented. Is there an opportunity for women to get into this industry in ways that they haven’t in the past in these areas? Is there still work to be done to get more women involved, and if so, what?

Right now, one of the most beautiful things about the cryptocurrency space for me is the intelligent, inspired, driven women I’ve encountered. Many of us come from various backgrounds and work on projects that differ vastly, but it’s incredible to witness and experience the synergy despite the differences. Its seems like everywhere I turn, I am being supported and uplifted by ladies who have the same goals I do. I moderate Crypto Coin Trader Women’s Group, and we are nearly 4,000 women strong! I think that is a powerful indicator that women are feeling less afraid to not only invest in cryptocurrency, but to become more involved and have a voice. While there is not a huge presence of women, it’s growing every day. The best way to get more women involved is to make sure they feel welcomed and included. A few kind words can go a long way.

Is it an equal playing field? Do women have access to the same opportunities and information, and how can they best make their mark in this industry?

Through my own experience and conversations with other women, I don’t believe the playing field is equal. It’s no secret that women have many obstacles and uncomfortable situations to face in fields that are dominated by highly successful males. I have had several disconcerting experiences as a woman in crypto, but ultimately, they fuel me. It often feels like I have nothing and everything to prove all at the same time. I recently read an amazing piece on Kavita Gupta that encouraged women to “push back,” or to essentially draw a line in the sand and stick to it. That really resonated with me.

I find that the best way to make a mark in the industry is to be unwaveringly, joyfully, you. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you are saying or doing isn’t important, or that you are less than because you’re a woman. Take time to foster connections with other women, and seek them first for professional advice and assistance. We are stronger together!