How Bitget CEO Gracy Chen plans to shake up the male-dominated crypto industry

The cryptocurrency industry, despite its forward-moving and innovative edge, remains largely male-dominated, especially in leadership roles. 

However, on May 21, the cryptocurrency exchange and Web3 company Bitget announced the appointment of its new CEO, Gracy Chen. Chen succeeds Sandra Lou as Bitget CEO and brings decades of leadership experience both inside and outside of the Web3 world.

Cointelegraph heard from Chen to better understand how she views her role as the only female CEO of a top crypto exchange and what unique perspectives she brings to the industry.

With 25 million users Bitget ranks among the most popular crypto exchanges, a top five futures trading platform and a top 10 spot trading platform. The platform has a global reach with a presence in more than 100 countries — making Chen a challenger to this male-dominated industry norm.

She told Cointelegraph that being the only female CEO among the top crypto exchanges is “truly an honor” as it helps the company “foster a broader perspective.”

“I think women business leaders bring a more collaborative approach to the job, which is crucial in the crypto space.”

Her priorities and focus as she enters the new role will be on compliance in the many regions the company is available, fostering long-term growth in emerging markets and supporting women-focused initiatives such as mentorship programs and networking events that empower women and the youth in the crypto industry. 

Chen has already started initiatives focusing on inclusion and diversity, such as the $10 million project #Blockchain4Her, which aims to elevate, empower, educate, and embrace women contributors in the blockchain space through tailored educational programs, workshops, and mentorship initiatives for women.

“Over 50% of managerial positions are held by women at Bitget. We like to encourage more emphasis on women-led initiatives. Bitget is living proof of the growth women-led companies can achieve.”

She also mentioned the forthcoming launch of a new incubation program that will focus specifically on female entrepreneurs to pitch to showcase their innovations and secure potential investments.

Three prominent female individuals have joined the B4H Ambassador Program, including Tess Hau, the founder of Tess Ventures, Yevheniia Broshevan, the co-founder of Hacken, and Cecilia Hsueh, the CEO of the Layer-2 ecosystem project Morph.

Related: Crypto’s glass ceiling: Obstacles remain for women in Web3

Sticking to strategy 

Chen said that in her previous role, her focus was on increasing the exchange’s user base and smoothing out the user experience. She said her next initiative is to build a strong international presence.

“Security and compliance were the other focus areas where we did a substantial amount of work. These measures and localized marketing campaigns helped us build trust with users and increase our user base significantly.”

According to the new CEO, Bitget recently received licenses in Poland and Lithuania and is currently in talks with multiple regions to explore similar possibilities.

In late 2023, Bitget launched its “Bitget Card” — a crypto-backed credit card with Visa — to allow its users to use crypto “beyond just investment purposes.” Chen said developing more services to support this integration is also on her list of to-dos. 

Blockchain with a purpose

Over the years, there have been multiple initiatives in the blockchain and crypto space to equip the generation of users with the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in a tech-dominated world.

Examples of this include a scholarship initiative led by Binance and the Blockchain 4 Youth program, which has drawn 6,000 participants across more than 54 campus lectures and workshops worldwide. These events have taken place in Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, Europe, and South America.

Chen said Bitget has investment plans for an investment of $10 million over the next five years to the program.

“[We] believe that a blockchain-based future is crucial for catalyzing new solutions that drive acceptance and encourage people to embrace this new world.”

“The younger generation needs to be educated about the potential of Web3 early on,” she said, “so that they not only fully reap its benefits but also lead the movement.”

This is an idea shared by many leaders within the crypto space, and rightly so, as Gen Z and Millennials already account for nearly 94% of all crypto buyers, according to data from Stilt. This will continue to shift as younger generations grow up more “tech native” than the previous. 

This sentiment is widely echoed among leaders in the crypto space, and for good reason: Gen Z and Millennials already make up nearly 94% of all crypto buyers, according to data from Stilt.

Chen as a leader in this space, and particularly as a female leader, said the value placed on continuous learning and adaptability are both “big assets” and key to success in the fast-paced and rapidly evolving cryptocurrency industry.

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