The Kiwi women disrupting the 'crypto-bro' stereotype in Web3 world

Beyond Studio CEO Jessica Manins (second from R) featured in a huge panel at SXSW this year.
Beyond Studio CEO Jessica Manins (second from R) featured in a huge panel at SXSW this year. Photo credit: Supplied / Beyond

The stereotype of 'crypto-bros' running cryptocurrency and NFT worlds may be widespread but two Kiwi women are leading a charge to show the cliche far from the truth.

Last week Janine Grainger, CEO and co-founder of New Zealand crypto exchange Easy Crypto, told Newshub digital money was going mainstream and she was able to give other women confidence the industry was for them.

"One of the biggest things is just being able to see that the space is more diverse than perhaps the portrayal you see out there," she said.

Beyond Studio CEO Jessica Manins is also spreading the message, including with a major role at this year's SXSW Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

Manin's company, which won a Spark 5G Starter Fund award in 2021, has been developing virtual burrows that owners of Fluf World NFTs - another Kiwi company - can occupy.

Fluf World recently raised more than a million dollars for the Auckland City Mission through an online auction and with a bit of help from legendary rapper Snoop Dogg.

The Fluf village at SXSW had over 13,000 visitors, including panels with both Manins and Beyond Studio COO Anton Mitchell.

However it was an all-women panel that Manins featured in that stole the show, packing out the largest dome to hear them talk about the future of the internet.

'Women Rocking Web3' featured the Kiwi CEO alongside a company president, a musical artist and other leaders in the metaverse talking about the impact women were having in the space.

The discussion also included how important it was for women to support each other through their projects, as well as in business and in life.

Manins told Newshub that having a supportive group of people available to her was hugely important.

"I realised six years ago that I needed more mentorship and help, and so I went onto LinkedIn and found some kickass women, messaged them and said I really like you, would you mind coming and meeting with me and we could just hang out each month, and just help each other," she said.

"We have been doing this now for six years. It’s such an important thing to do and all you have to do is to reach out to people, and people will say yes because we want to lift each other up."

That really helps when the going gets tough, Manins said.

"If you surround yourself with great and supportive, good, kind people then it will be a lot easier to carry on after mistakes if you're passionate about what you are doing.

"The panel really showed the comradery that Women in Web3 hold for one another and the progression that has happened in regards to diversity," Manins said.

US businesswoman Tanya Sam, who also featured in the panel, said it was a "really big deal" that people were supporting more women-led projects.

"What's really special about Web3 is that we are creating these ecosystems and economies that we don't have to go through the traditional gatekeepers," she said.

"We are building communities... and breaking these archaic and broken systems where we had to honestly beg people for capital, beg people to understand why our idea was important, beg people to recognise why women entrepreneurs could build high growth, scalable businesses.

"This is what a lot of these projects are doing now which is incredibly exciting... and we are proving that we are creating incredible businesses with or with you."