On Tuesday night, Brit + Co discussed all things Bitcoin, Blockchain, and more at Decrypting Crypto: A Primer for Women Investing in Digital Currencies. The event included some of the top thinkers and entrepreneurs from the crypto industry, with the goal of educating women on this growing sphere. Currently, women only represent four percent of investors in cryptocurrencies, now a $500 billion market, so the opportunities could be huge.

If you couldn鈥檛 attend the gathering in person or via live stream, check out the top five highlights from it below. Then, be sure to follow along with the buzz with hashtag #DecryptingCrypto.

Cyrptocurrency Summit 1

1. Cryptocurrency is changing history. Dave Morin, Partner at Slow Ventures, set the tone for the night by telling us how cryptocurrency is changing the course of history, but not before providing some context around what 鈥渃rypto鈥 means exactly. In plain terms, cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses encryption to ensure a secure transaction (Bitcoin was the first decentralized digital currency). While it had a very volatile (and public) past, it鈥檚 also had an incredibly fundamental one. 鈥淯p until this point in society, there were only a few currencies that dominated the conversation鈥 It鈥檚 the first time in history that we鈥檙e taking things that weren鈥檛 currencies in the past and turning them into currencies that can be exchanged in various ways,鈥 he said. Since the technology behind the digital money has finally caught up to enable these secure transactions, we鈥檙e left with an entire new form of exchange, none of which would鈥檝e been possible without our next point鈥


2. Trust is everything. A major keyword of the night 鈥 Blockchain 鈥 was discussed in detail. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it鈥檚 essentially a server that allows you to send and receive money and keep a ledger in the crypto-sphere (Morin compared it to the likes of an email server). Since it鈥檚 not controlled by any one party, it鈥檚 redefining the way we rely on our financial institutions. As he put it, 鈥淚t changes the ability for all of us to trust each other when we鈥檙e doing transactions through the internet鈥 you don鈥檛 have to trust any one entity anymore. You can trust your own server in your house; you can trust anybody鈥檚 server on the internet. They鈥檙e all networked together and every single server has a copy of the ledger that the whole system is running on. And it鈥檚 completely decentralized; if one computer turns off, the network keeps running鈥 Sending and receiving $$$ is now much more transparent and quick, since we鈥檙e bypassing traditional banking processes and putting these directly in the hands of the consumer.


3. Arianna Simpson shares why this trend is *so* talked about. If you鈥檝e been around any major media sources recently, you鈥檙e probably well aware of cryptocurrency. But Arianna Simpson, Managing Director at Autonomous Partners and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Crypto, provided more details around why there鈥檚 so much hype. The 鈥渂ubble activity,鈥 as she called it, is merely just the beginning of a long-running trend. 鈥淭he market has appreciated but is still relatively small. You don鈥檛 need that much money to move the market,鈥 she said. So while you鈥檙e seeing big ebbs (people making a lot of money), there鈥檚 bound to be flows (price corrections/drops) to counteract them. Based on this, she emphasized the importance of not getting too caught up in these high points. 鈥淢ajor technological trends take decades,鈥 she said. 鈥淭aking the time to understand [them] is critical to understanding the space.鈥


4. Good news 鈥 you don鈥檛 need to be an expert to get involved. If talk of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ICOs makes your head spin, fear not. Some of the pros themselves are still familiarizing themselves with the industry. And Simpson is encouraging you to do the same. 鈥淭here鈥檚 an unspoken expectation that you need to be an expert before you do anything,鈥 she said. However, permission isn鈥檛 required to play around in the space. 鈥淪tart dipping your toes in, read about it, do it physically, play around with it, you won鈥檛 really understand it until you鈥檝e done it on a physical level,鈥 she encouraged. All of this said, it鈥檚 important to keep one rule-of-thumb top of mind: 鈥淒on鈥檛 put in an amount that you鈥檒l lose sleep over,鈥 she said.


5. Here鈥檚 where cryptocurrency is headed. Nathana Sharma, Partner at Crypto Lotus and Faculty of Law, spoke to the future of cryptocurrency: 鈥淸It鈥檚 a] new economy we鈥檙e building鈥 it鈥檚 an exciting gateway to learning about a whole new set of technology building out our future.鈥 With potential for augmented reality integrations and day-to-day digital coin payment, there鈥檚 a lot on the horizon for cryptocurrency. And after last night鈥檚 summit, we鈥檙e eager to learn more.

Follow along with hashtag #DecryptingCrypto to see more from the event, then check out us聽@BritandCo for more inspo and info.

(Photos via Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)