Over the past few weeks, Girlboss has been exploring what it’s like to work in crypto. We’ve spoken to women at different ages and stages, and who work across the industry in operations, culture and community and education. Last but not least, Lauren Abendschein, Director, Institutional Sales at Coinbase.
This content is funded by Coinbase for Girlboss.
How long have you worked in Crypto, and what does your day-to-day look like?
I joined Coinbase in August of 2018. I look after our Americas institutional sales team. We spend our time talking to institutional investors about getting into crypto and employing strategies to engage in the space. It’s been a wonderful journey, over the past three and a half years, to see the growth. Now we see really dramatic expansion of the types of participants — large corporates, family offices that have engaged endowments. These are not just early crypto adopters that would have been unheard of in 2017 or 2018.
What drew you to this field?
When I was in college, I got really interested in social entrepreneurship. I ended up running an entrepreneurship program shortly after. I was always interested in the application of business for social change. I got into crypto while I was getting my MBA at Berkeley. I took the first blockchain class that was offered there, it was a collaboration between the school of computer science, the business school and the law school. It was so timely. I saw that potential for new business models and it got me really excited about the space, and creating open financial systems for the world was really inspiring to me.
Globally, what it means to create an open financial system for the world is that creators from all around the world will be able to participate and have their voices heard. It also allows access for individuals who are under- or un-banked globally, to be able to, through the use of a smartphone, have access to monetary services. It’s about creating new design spaces for creators to collaborate without necessarily having to be in the same space.
Also to have creators own their own work through the emergence of NFTs and Web3 is really powerful. You have creators that are coming together just on the strength of the work they’ve created instead of their identities as individuals.
What are some of your proudest moments?
One of the most meaningful things that’s happened in my career is becoming a manager. I take a hands-on approach and really try to dig in and help my team succeed. It has been rewarding to help hire great talent and empower them to do their best work.
What about the challenges you’ve faced?
Every job has its challenges, and the fast pace of this industry is one of them. Being able to navigate nimbly through really fast-moving technology is a big highlight. There is a misconception that there isn’t as much inclusivity in this space, but I have been very impressed by the community of women in crypto. Our executives like Emilie Choi, our COO and President, and our CFO Alesia Haas, are incredible representatives of women in crypto. They’ve been incredible role models in this space.
I’m a new mom, I have a one-and-a-half-year-old, and I can tell you from my experience on maternity leave, the support that I had and the deep work that I did with leaders here to really enable me to have a successful and wonderful maternity leave was a great indicator of how welcoming and navigable this space is. There’s a lot of intellectual honesty in this space and a willingness to engage. This space is so new, and it’s intended to be about empowerment. There is a really big theme about showing up, doing great work but also a respect for individuals.
What’s your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in crypto?
First of all, there are an incredible amount of resources to help you learn about crypto. One thing that I would say is that this space is big on education and being willing to open up. I would bet if you joined any given Discord or DM someone on crypto Twitter, people will be really willing to engage. It sounds basic, but take advantage of the common resources out there.
This is still very new, we’re still early innings. No one is expected to come in with deep expertise, just deep enthusiasm.