Women in Blockchain – Helen Astaniou

With a focus on making the finance and blockchain sector relatable through content marketing, Contentworks also places a high emphasis on equality. As active participants within the blockchain space, we believe the technology can provide a level playing field for everyone to succeed. Throughout the Women in Blockchain series we will be interviewing senior women from the blockchain sector to learn about their challenges, successes and ambitions for blockchain technology.

In this episode of Women in Blockchain, we’re meeting Helen Astaniou, CMO of successful fintech brand trade.io. Helen is the CMO of trade.io, a next generation fintech company with an emphasis on equality in finance through blockchain. Her own specialism is in integrated marketing – fusing the digital with the physical – via communicative / data led standard and alternative techniques.  Helen has thrived in some of the largest and most successful financial firms worldwide and has a colourful CV spanning 15 years.  She balances her passion for marketing and round the clock commitments with being a mum, a wife, a foodie, a blockchain enthusiast and a travel buff.

#1 Tell us about your role in the blockchain community right now

I’m acting Chief Marketing Officer for tradeio. We have our own crypto exchange, ICO consultancy services and our own cryptocurrency called the TIOx. Before we launched our exchange, we crowdfunded for our ICO and through the team’s combined efforts successfully raised nearly 32 million USD equivalent. There is an ever-growing interest in crypto worldwide and as part of this people are curious to know how we achieved success from a marketing perspective in our ICO.

We gladly share our experiences and best practices – in part because we know the industry and we know what works and doesn’t work, but also to help others avoid making costly mistakes. I’ve been asked to share my experiences on the first ever Bloomberg panel in Cyprus – a real honour. Mostly though, our expertise is shared with our community via social channels as well as with those wishing to engage in our ICO consulting services.

#2 What were your first impressions of blockchain?

I had heard about bitcoin long before I understood the power and the potential of blockchain. Like many others, I had heard about Silk Road and how bitcoin was used as a means for people to anonymously purchase drugs online. I was oblivious in those years to the potential that bitcoin and other cryptos had to make the simple process of buying and selling become fairer and more transparent. The blockchain coding on which bitcoin is formed takes financial processes out of the hands of the banks and into the hands of the consumer.

This affects every single one of us with a bank account or who isn’t hoarding their cash under their bed. When I was working in a widely known FX firm, the company introduced cryptos to its portfolio of tradable instruments and I was wowed by how popular it was. Clients were calling out for cryptos and it seemed that investors were genuinely interested in moving away from traditional instruments and towards the new fashionable, edgy (as it seemed then) crypto instruments. It wasn’t until our ICO was launched that I fully understood the power of blockchain and its potential to improve transparency in any range of industries and spheres – not just finance.

#3 What made you want to be a part of the blockchain scene?

Being honest, I didn’t find blockchain. It found me. There I was minding my own business when the executive team at tradeio asked me to help with the PR for its upcoming ICO. Over time I applied a more integrated strategy to the company’s marketing efforts including introducing digital assets and comms. It was crazy, scary, exciting and exhilarating all at once.  It all happened so fast and then in the blink of an eye, our ICO was over and I was tasked to put together a talented global marketing team to lead the company through its commitments.

Now that I’ve been shoulder deep in crypto for over a year, I can say I am passionate about crypto and blockchain both inside and outside of the office walls. It’s an industry for people who believe in the power of change and in equality. People talk about blockchain as a ‘virus’ that infects you and spreads to others once you’ve caught it. Despite the pretty nasty mental image of that I’d say as a metaphor it’s spot on.

#4 Have you faced any challenges as a woman in blockchain?

Looking around, it would be silly to say that crypto is entirely equal opportunities. Do a quick google search of blockchain company corporates and you’ll find mostly men. That’s not however to say that crypto deliberately excludes women in my view. I’ve not faced any gender-related challenges to-date. There are also some excellent and highly respected female kops (key opinion leaders) in the crypto social sphere. Not many. And not enough. But I believe and hope that as crypto fever spreads, this will change.

#5 How do you see blockchain shaping our future?

Despite my obvious biases I firmly believe that blockchain will become more widely used as people, firms, governments will get value from its adoption.  The fact that the value of crypto led by bitcoin is down as of today – queue eyebrow raising by gleeful sceptics – means nothing. Day by day more and more local authorities, agencies, institutions and even banks are announcing their adoption of bitcoin as a payment method or are utilising blockchain for their products and services. The revolution is happening and can’t be stopped.

#6 What advice would you give to newbies?

Be warned newbies – blockchain doesn’t sleep. If you’re ready to work hard and you’re passionate about making real change – the world is your oyster.

Thank you Helen for your great insights! Contentworks Agency is at the centre of marketing for the blockchain sector. We stay up to date with the latest technological developments and regulatory news to help finance companies and ICOs succeed. If you enjoyed this episode of Women in Blockchain, please share it with your networks. For more information about blockchain marketing services connect with our team.