This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Women in the fintech and crypto sectors are faced with challenges on a daily basis, but through learnings and personal development, many are rewarded with a gratifying career. Not all journeys are the same, or even planned that way, but if anything, reading about them can help to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
Ali Paras, is the Community Manager of Wirex, a digital payment platform aiming to make crypto and traditional currencies accessible to everyone. Here she speaks about her serendipitous path into the flourishing world of crypto.
I’ve been working in crypto for the past 3 years as Community Manager of Wirex, a digital payments platform, but in all honesty, my crypto journey was a bit of a fluke. One that came about by sheer nosiness on my part.
It all started with a few texts from an old high school friend. Whilst catching up about each other’s lives, I learned that she’d packed up her life and moved overseas to Central America for a while. She was carefree, happy, enjoying life and to my surprise, had no day job. After realising this, the only thing I could think about was… How was she able to do all this without working those standard 9 to 5 hours? Like I said, nosiness.
When it was finally time for our face to face, I casually asked (blurted out), “well, just how are you managing this wondrous lifestyle?”. She looked at me and paused and grinned slightly. Her response in one word was… ‘Cryptocurrency’.
Now that I’m recanting this story, I’ve realised this was the exact moment the bubbling of emotions stirred, internally not knowing which one to grasp hold of first. Excitement, curiosity, doubt, to name a few. But as she started explaining with greater detail, I knew right then that this was something I had to be a part of.
In terms of timing, this all happened before the big and dramatic rise of crypto at the end of 2017 with new all-time highs (ATH) of Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin on a daily basis. When we had the chat that Summer, Ethereum was about $46 (for context, it recently reached $2000!). The following few weeks of learning about crypto online seemed like a wonderous spiral down the rabbit hole.
Autumn the same year, I met up with her again to fulfil a favour she had asked of me… babysitting duty. The reason why this is relevant is because that was the day I received my very first ETH coin. A babysitting tip of epic crypto proportions, roughly $283 to be precise by that point. From that day on, I started investing in cryptocurrency.
While the beginning of my crypto journey was a favourable one, the overall journey was riddled with a few challenges along the way. Getting to grips with the volatile market and being able to analyse charts was the first hurdle. Knowing what projects/companies/coins to invest in and back was another. Learning what research to acquire before investing in the latter, was yet another. Then there were platforms and exchanges, and the transferring of coins/tokens from one wallet to another was jitter-inducing in the beginning. And lastly, the most unwanted challenge of all was learning about, and coming face to face with, those pesky and persistent scammers.
Overcoming these challenges started with a simple recalibration of the mind and a ton of research. I don’t want to re-use those wise old sayings, but, it’s true what they say, knowledge is key. It’s easy to succumb to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) when you’re starting out in this industry, not knowing who to listen to or what to read. So, I suppose pairing that with the volatility of crypto can easily make you shift coins around like a pinball machine. Bouncing from wallet to exchange and back to another wallet, all the while seeing your funds dwindle with each transfer because you haven’t considered the blockchain fees, admin fees, etc. Therefore, for me, the acquisition of knowledge in this field was imperative. It enabled me to understand the drastic changes in the market, to know which online publications and/or YouTube gurus were being objective and unbiased, learn how to avoid scammers, and of course making sure to know each coin/token that I had vested interest in.
Throughout my time in crypto, I’ve made sure to stay well informed, which like I said, has easily helped me overcome the initial hurdles that this world brings. However, it’s a vast one, and one you’ll never stop learning from. Perhaps comparing it to a universe is more fitting, for much like our own, it’s a universe that we haven’t even begun to tap into fully.
The sheer potential of crypto is remarkable, and I think that’s the beauty of it. We are witnessing a technology that’s still in its infancy, and I for one, am excited of what the future holds.