Elizabeth Ploshay: ‘The Majority of the Financially Excluded Happen to Be Women’

CoinTelegraph spoke to Elizabeth Ploshay about the Bitcoin companies and related projects she's involved with as well as crypto’s potential to bring in the world’s financially excluded population

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Elizabeth Ploshay: ‘The Majority of the Financially Excluded Happen to Be Women’

CoinTelegraph spoke to Elizabeth Ploshay about the Bitcoin companies and related projects she's involved with as well as crypto’s potential to bring in the world’s financially excluded population, the majority of which “happen to be women.”

Elizabeth T. Ploshay is a very active player in the Bitcoin world. The last time CoinTelegraph spoke with Ploshay, she was integrated with many fronts in the industry. Today is no different. She is the account manager of BitPay, a long serving board member for the Bitcoin Foundation, and an advisor to the charity BitGive. Ploshay is a well known for adding her personal touch to a lot of Bitcoin projects and speaking at conferences.

She is very excited about Bitcoin's potential this year, particularly its use in philanthropy, calling its potential to be the most "cost-efficient" way to raise funds for charities to political campaigns. "Most importantly," says Ploshay is the "financial inclusion" that’s enabled by cryptocurrency.

"In terms of encouraging women to join this growing industry, it is very clear that Bitcoin is an opportunity for global financial inclusion. The majority of the financially excluded happen to be women."

— Elizabeth T. Ploshay

Elizabeth T. Ploshay

CoinTelegraph: How are things going with your position at BitPay?

Elizabeth T. Ploshay: I’ve been very pleased to see the growth of interest in Bitcoin among the charities and nonprofits I’ve worked with in the past year. This technology has real potential to motivate tech-savvy supporters and give organizations a faster, safer, and more cost-efficient way to raise funds. We’re excited to be providing the payment and donation tools for that. It has been great to introduce Bitcoin to political campaigns and universities as well.

I have high hopes for how Bitcoin will be used to forward concepts of individual liberty and inclusion as with this open source, peer to peer movement, individuals globally can utilize this technology.

CT: What's your current view of the state of the Bitcoin Foundation right now?

EP: As the oldest Bitcoin membership organization, the Bitcoin Foundation has filled many roles since its founding in 2012. It has been a privilege to serve on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and see the numerous projects the Foundation has been involved in, most importantly core development. The Bitcoin Foundation hired Gavin Andresen back in 2012 as Chief Scientist to assist with maintaining the Bitcoin Core Protocol.

Too often, we may take the ease of use of Bitcoin for granted and not acknowledge the fact that many developers give of their time to maintain the Bitcoin protocol. The Bitcoin Foundation was also the first organization on call for policy matters, specifically in the US but also in Europe. Back in the early spring of 2014, the Bitcoin Foundation hired a professional lobbying team to lay the groundwork for discussion and dialogue around digital currency with policymakers.

The Bitcoin Foundation has also been called upon to testify at groundbreaking hearings such as the first Senatorial hearings back in November of 2013. The Foundation has been instrumental in the expansion of the international Bitcoin community as well with our International Chapter program. The Foundation has been involved in raising education and awareness as well as bringing the Bitcoin community together for one of the first Bitcoin conferences, Bitcoin 2013 in San Jose, California.

Yet, by and large, one of the best assets the Foundation has provided is a place for members of the Bitcoin community to come together and dialogue on our membership forum and for businesses to take part in the dialogue as well. The Foundation has undergone transition this year and we are pleased to have Bruce Fenton serve as our new Executive Director. Bruce has deep rooted experience in the Bitcoin community and we look forward to seeing him take the lead in the next few months to help transform the Foundation to be even more attentive to our active membership base.

“It has been unbelievable to see the exponential growth that has taken place in the Bitcoin space […] with global companies such as Microsoft accepting payment in Bitcoin and traditional financial institutions exploring blockchain technology.”

As an elected member of the Foundation’s board, I am always available for further dialogue with Bitcoin community membership and can be reached at elizabeth@bitcoinfoundation.org. We always appreciate feedback from the Bitcoin community.

It has been unbelievable to see the exponential growth that has taken place in the Bitcoin space. 2014 and 2015 have been years of steps toward mainstream adoption of Bitcoin with global companies such as Microsoft accepting payment in Bitcoin and traditional financial institutions exploring blockchain technology.

“Sometimes, the extraordinary female leaders in the community are just not included in the dialogue.”

CT: Recently there was an article that said there were a ‘Lack of Women in Bitcoin’ - your thoughts?

EP: It has been great to see many more women get involved in Bitcoin since I first got involved back in 2013. For example, you attend a Bitcoin conference now and there are certainly more women involved in the space. It has been great to see the rise of Bitcoin start-up female CEOs and Co Founders.

In terms of a 'Lack of Women in Bitcoin,' I see that certainly, more women can get involved but there are many qualified women in the Bitcoin space. Sometimes, the extraordinary female leaders in the community are just not included in the dialogue.

In terms of encouraging women to join this growing industry, it is very clear that Bitcoin is an opportunity for global financial inclusion. The majority of the financially excluded happen to be women.

CT: You are a member of BitGive. Can you tell us a little about this and what your position is there with this project?

EP: I am glad you asked! It is my privilege to serve as an Advisor to the BitGive Foundation. The BitGive Foundation is the first Bitcoin 501c3 organization supporting charitable giving with Bitcoin and helping non profits explore digital currency. Since it’s founding in July of 2013, the BitGive Foundation has spearheaded several successful campaigns including raising over 11,000 dollars in Bitcoin to build a well with the Water Project in Kenya.

Just recently, BitGive’s Founder and Executive Director, Connie Gallippi, traveled to Kenya for the building of the well at the Shisango Girls School in the Kakamega District of western Kenya. You can see a powerful video here on the impact just this well alone has on the lives of many. I encourage the Bitcoin community to support the efforts of the BitGive Foundation. You can learn more about opportunities to support the utilization of digital currency for good here.

“I have high hopes for how Bitcoin will be used to forward concepts of individual liberty and [financial] inclusion.”

CT: How do you view the current state of Bitcoin now in 2015?

EP: It has been unbelievable to see the exponential growth that has taken place in the Bitcoin space. We have seen presidential candidates accept donations in Bitcoin like Rand Paul and now even Nasdaq is taking note. Most importantly, though, Bitcoin is being viewed more and more as a tool for global financial inclusion with organizations exploring further how this technology can be used to empower the unbanked populations of the world.

I have high hopes for how Bitcoin will be used to forward concepts of individual liberty and inclusion as with this open source, peer to peer movement, individuals globally can utilize this technology.

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