by Cindy Huynh
Karen Chen, the former president of UBS China, is now the chief executive officer of financial technology group Higgs Block Technology Pte. Ltd. Chen is another example of a financial veteran that decided to jump from the financial industry to the blockchain sector.
Making the Crypto Leap
However, according to a phone interview with Bloomberg, Chen mentioned that she left UBS in October 2017 for personal family reasons. Chen initially started working with the Singapore-based blockchain company in December. Higgs Block Technology is however quite a young company. They were founded in August 2017 but have expanded relatively quickly.
Higgs Block Technology currently has five subsidiaries including Higgs Chain, BitUN Fintech, Higgs Consulting, Higgs Exchange Group, and Exchange Technology. The group also includes Coinsuper, a token exchange. These businesses overlap between blockchain technology, financial management consulting, and one-stop exchange solutions.
Bloomberg also pointed out that there has been an increasingly growing number of financial professionals that have joined the cryptocurrency industry. The trend is however significantly less for Chinese executives due to the regulatory crackdowns. However, while the government is strict on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology remains highly relevant for Chinese clients.
“There are many challenges, including security, risk management, custodian and settlement issues,” said Chen. “Those important controls and risk management rules haven’t all been adopted in the crypto world. That offers the business good opportunities.”
Higgs Block Technology
According to Higgs block technology’s website, their vision is “to improve the connect of two-dimensional virtual work to every aspect of the three-dimensional real world via blockchain.”
Higgs block technology’s goal is to, therefore, create a heterogeneous blockchain technology platform. The Higgs Chain was built and developed from the Higgs Block, a blockchain-based open source technical platform. The platform has two hierarchical systems, Higgs Trust and Higgs Global. These structures help handle the low performance seen in public blockchains and its partial consensus problems.
Females in the Male-Dominated World of Blockchain
Chen has become not only a Chinese executive jumping ship from fintech to blockchain but is also one of the few female executives in a male-dominated blockchain sector.
According to Yahoo Finance, she believes that “there is a market need to disrupt the industry by integrating the cutting-edge technology with traditional financial assets and services to help sophisticated investors to bridge this gap.”
With blockchain and cryptocurrencies becoming a sizeable disruptive force in society, unfortunately, there’s exceptionally high gender inequality in the industry. While the lack of diversity has plagued both the finance and technology sectors, the number of women in the cryptocurrency industry is significantly lower.
As mentioned by Forbes in December 2017, only five to seven percent of cryptocurrency users are female. Further to that, although bitcoin created approximately $85 billion in wealth in 2017, only 5.88 percent of that was obtained by women.
Masha Drokova, the founder of Day One Ventures, did, however, mention to Forbes that “no one really cares about your gender. They only care if you are able to deliver or not. The crypto space is not about gender, but more about your energy, professionalism, and speed. As a female investor and professional, I never felt more appreciated and supported in any industry than in blockchain.”