Web3 and Blockchain for Women, with Sanja Kon from Circle Europe

What if owning digital assets could safeguard your wealth and provide financial mobility, even amid war or economic turmoil?

This episode features an insightful conversation with Sanja Kon, Vice President of Circle Europe and former CEO of Utrust, as she recounts her journey from corporate roles at Vodafone, eBay, and PayPal to pioneering the Web3 and blockchain space.

Sanja shares the challenges and triumphs she faced while developing Utrust, a crypto-to-fiat payment platform, and discusses her transition to Circle, emphasizing the significance of user experience in the broader adoption of Web3 technologies.

We delve into the empowering themes of Sanja's new book, "Web3 and Blockchain for Women," which addresses crucial topics like money mindset and financial freedom.

Sanja passionately speaks about the transformative potential of Bitcoin and stablecoins in fostering financial inclusion for those affected by instability. She underscores the importance of women taking control of their financial futures and reframing their perceptions about money to achieve empowerment.

Tune in for an episode rich with insights, personal stories, and practical advice on embracing opportunities in the blockchain economy. Don't miss the chance to be inspired by Sanja's journey and learn how to navigate the evolving landscape of digital finance.

Introduction to Financial Freedom through Web3

Today, if you have a wallet and an Internet connection, you can own bitcoin, stablecoins, and other digital assets. This means you can be financially free, move to another country, and still own your money without anyone being able to take it away from you. This is the essence of financial freedom in the Web3 era.

The Power of Digital Assets

Digital assets like bitcoin and stablecoins offer unprecedented financial autonomy. Unlike traditional banking systems, which can be restrictive and opaque, digital assets provide transparency and control. For instance, during times of economic instability or political unrest, having access to digital assets can be a lifeline. You can move your wealth across borders seamlessly, ensuring that your financial security is never compromised.

Consider the example of Sanja Kon, who experienced the harsh realities of financial instability firsthand. Born in Sarajevo during the war in former Yugoslavia, she witnessed her family lose everything. This traumatic experience ingrained in her the importance of financial security and control. When she discovered bitcoin, she immediately saw its potential to provide financial freedom and security, something she wished her family had during those turbulent times.

Meet the Speaker: Sanja Kon

Sanja Kon is the Vice President of Circle Europe and a former CEO of Urust X Money. She has been a prominent figure in the Web3 space since 2017. Her journey into blockchain technology began with a speculative investment in bitcoin in 2016. Working at PayPal, she realized the inefficiencies and lack of transparency in traditional payment systems, which led her to explore blockchain technology further.

In 2018, she co-founded Urust, a crypto-to-fiat payment platform. Despite initial challenges in convincing merchants to adopt crypto payments, Urust grew into a reputable platform and was eventually acquired by a layer two blockchain. Sanja's dedication to financial inclusion and innovation led her to join Circle in October last year, where she continues to advocate for the transformative power of digital assets.

The Inspiration Behind "Web3 and Blockchain for Women"

Sanja's new book, "Web3 and Blockchain for Women," is not just about blockchain technology; it's about empowering women to take control of their finances and investments. Sanja noticed a significant gender gap in the Web3 space, with many women feeling intimidated by new technologies and financial concepts. Her book aims to demystify these topics and encourage more women to participate in the blockchain economy.

She emphasizes the importance of a positive money mindset, which often stems from childhood experiences and societal conditioning. For example, many women grow up hearing phrases like "money doesn't grow on trees" or "you have to work very hard to earn money," which can create limiting beliefs about wealth and financial success. Sanja's book addresses these issues and provides practical advice on financial freedom, ownership, and investment strategies.

As Sanja puts it, "You need to reframe what you think about money." By changing our mindset and embracing the opportunities that digital assets offer, we can achieve true financial freedom and security.

The Importance of Money Mindset and Financial Freedom

Understanding the significance of a positive money mindset is crucial for achieving financial freedom. Many of us carry financial beliefs from childhood that can hinder our ability to build wealth and feel secure. These beliefs often stem from well-meaning but misguided messages from our parents or caregivers. For instance, phrases like "money doesn't grow on trees" or "you have to work very hard to earn money" can create a scarcity mindset, making it difficult to feel deserving of financial success.

Overcoming Childhood Financial Beliefs

To break free from these limiting beliefs, we need to reframe our thoughts about money. Sanja Kon shares her personal experience of growing up in Sarajevo during the war in former Yugoslavia, where her family lost everything. This traumatic experience instilled a deep-seated fear of financial instability in her. However, through research, coaching, and mentorship, she learned to manage her finances and start investing. Sanja emphasizes that even without such trauma, many of us still carry convictions from our families that need to be addressed and transformed.

For example, some women believe that having a lot of money makes them bad people because they associate wealth with negative behaviors. This subconscious association can prevent them from feeling comfortable with financial success. By identifying and challenging these beliefs, we can start to see money as a tool for empowerment rather than a source of fear or guilt.

The Impact of Financial Trauma

Financial trauma, whether from personal experiences or inherited beliefs, can have a profound impact on our relationship with money. Sanja's story of losing everything during the war highlights the importance of financial security and control. This experience drove her to explore blockchain technology and digital assets, which offer a way to safeguard wealth and ensure financial freedom. By addressing financial trauma and learning to manage our finances effectively, we can overcome the fear and uncertainty that often accompany financial instability.

Empowerment through Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is a key component of empowerment. Sanja's book, "Web3 and Blockchain for Women," aims to demystify complex financial concepts and encourage women to take control of their investments. She believes that education and awareness are essential for overcoming the fear of new technologies and financial systems. By providing practical advice and strategies, her book helps women build confidence in their financial decisions and embrace the opportunities that digital assets offer.

Taking Ownership of Your Finances

Ultimately, taking ownership of your finances means understanding and managing your money with confidence. This involves setting financial goals, creating a budget, and investing wisely. Sanja's journey from a corporate career to becoming a leader in the Web3 space demonstrates the power of taking control of one's financial destiny. By adopting a positive money mindset and leveraging the tools and resources available in the digital economy, we can achieve true financial freedom and security.

As Sanja aptly puts it, "You need to reframe what you think about money." By changing our mindset and embracing the opportunities that digital assets offer, we can transform our financial futures and empower ourselves to live more secure and fulfilling lives.

Practical Investment Strategies for Web3

Investing in the Web3 space can be both exciting and daunting, especially for newcomers. However, by following some fundamental strategies, you can navigate this dynamic landscape with confidence and security.

Educate Yourself Before Investing

The first and most crucial step is to educate yourself before making any investments. Understanding the basics of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and DeFi is essential. Take advantage of the plethora of free resources available online. Follow reputable influencers, read whitepapers, and join communities that discuss these topics. As Sanja Kon emphasizes, "Take the time to really educate yourself. There are so many free resources. Web3 is amazing because of that."

Start Small and Minimize Risk

When you're new to Web3, it's wise to start small. Begin with a modest investment to familiarize yourself with the market dynamics. This approach not only helps you understand how the market works but also minimizes your risk. Sanja advises, "Start with something like bitcoin and leave it there for a while. Don't look at it every day, every week. Leave it there. It's a long-term investment. Don't panic."

Diversify Your Investments

Diversification is a key principle in any investment strategy. While it's tempting to put all your money into the latest trending cryptocurrency, it's important to spread your investments across different asset classes. Sanja shares her approach, "I don't have all of my money in Web3 and crypto. I have investments in real estate, Web2 startups, and other areas. I don't put all of my eggs in one basket."

Secure Your Digital Assets

Security is paramount when dealing with digital assets. Use secure, offline wallets, also known as cold storage, to store your cryptocurrencies. Hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor are among the safest options. Additionally, consider using multi-signature wallets, which require multiple approvals before a transaction can be completed. This adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for scammers to access your funds. Sanja advises, "Don't leave your money on exchanges. Secure it in a ledger with a seed phrase. Understand what that means because it really sounds complicated, but when you do it once, it's not at all."

Beware of Scams and FOMO

The Web3 space, while full of opportunities, is also rife with scams and hype. Be cautious of influencers or celebrities promoting certain tokens without substantial backing. Always do your own research and ensure you believe in the project before investing. Sanja warns, "Just because someone on YouTube is talking about it, or just because a celebrity is talking about it, it doesn't mean that it's something you should put your money in."

By following these strategies, you can navigate the Web3 investment landscape with greater confidence and security. Remember, the key to successful investing is education, diversification, and vigilance. As Sanja aptly puts it, "Take the time to understand it and to really secure your money."

Avoid Common Pitfalls in Web3 Investments

While the Web3 space offers numerous opportunities, it's essential to be aware of the common pitfalls that can derail your investment journey. By recognizing these challenges and taking proactive steps, you can protect your assets and make informed decisions.

Beware of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

One of the most pervasive issues in the Web3 space is FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new token or project, especially when you see others making significant gains. However, it's crucial to stay grounded and not let FOMO drive your investment decisions. Sanja Kon advises, "Don't fall for it. Unless you really take the time to understand it and you really believe in the project yourself, then great."

Recognize and Avoid Scams

Scams are unfortunately common in the Web3 space. From phishing attacks to fake investment schemes, scammers use various tactics to steal your assets. Always be skeptical of unsolicited offers and do thorough research before investing. Sanja warns, "If someone is sending you an email saying that you should be donating to this cause to this address, probably it's a scam."

Trust Your Instincts

Your instincts can be a valuable tool in navigating the Web3 landscape. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut and take the time to verify the legitimacy of any investment opportunity. Sanja emphasizes, "Just because a celebrity is talking about it, it doesn't mean that it's something you should put your money in."

Verify Sources and Authenticity

Always verify the sources and authenticity of any information you receive. Look for reviews, ratings, and feedback from other users. Use reputable platforms and avoid new or lesser-known exchanges until they have a proven track record. Sanja advises, "Check if the platform or person you're dealing with is legitimate. Look for reviews, ratings, and feedback from other users."

By staying vigilant and informed, you can avoid common pitfalls and make smarter investment decisions in the Web3 space. Remember, the key to successful investing is not just about seizing opportunities but also about protecting yourself from potential risks. As Sanja aptly puts it, "Take the time to understand it and to really secure your money."

Web3 and Financial Inclusion

Web3 technologies hold immense potential for promoting financial inclusion globally. By leveraging digital wallets and stablecoins, we can overcome traditional barriers to financial freedom and create more accessible financial systems.

The Role of Digital Wallets and Stablecoins

Digital wallets and stablecoins are at the forefront of this transformation. Digital wallets provide a secure and convenient way for individuals to store and manage their digital assets. They eliminate the need for traditional banking infrastructure, which can be unreliable or nonexistent in many developing regions. Stablecoins, like USDC, combine the efficiency of blockchain technology with the stability of fiat currencies, making them an ideal medium for transactions. As highlighted by Meina Tilleman Paras, "USDC is being leveraged to expand financial access across the globe."

Overcoming Barriers to Financial Freedom

Web3 solutions can bypass many of the traditional barriers to financial freedom. For instance, in regions where banking infrastructure is lacking, individuals can use digital wallets to perform transactions directly. This is particularly impactful in developing countries where financial inclusion is a significant challenge. However, there are still hurdles to overcome, such as technology and infrastructure development and regulatory acceptance. Addressing these challenges is crucial to fully harness the benefits of Web3 technologies.

The Importance of User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)

For Web3 technologies to achieve widespread adoption, they must be user-friendly. A strong emphasis on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design is essential. As Meina Tilleman Paras explains, "By adopting a human-centered approach, I'm hopeful that the next generation of Web3 applications and infrastructure is better equipped to serve an increasingly broad part of the population." Simplifying the user experience can help bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, making these technologies accessible to a wider audience.

Integrating Web3 into Everyday Experiences

To truly revolutionize financial inclusion, Web3 technologies must integrate seamlessly into everyday experiences. This involves creating applications that are not only functional but also intuitive and easy to use. Innovations like the ERC-4337 standard are making this possible by enabling users with only Web2 experience to interact with Web3 technologies without the complexities traditionally associated with blockchain. This seamless integration is key to driving user adoption and making Web3 a part of daily life.

In conclusion, Web3 technologies have the potential to significantly enhance financial inclusion by providing accessible, efficient, and secure financial services. By focusing on user experience and overcoming traditional barriers, we can create a more inclusive financial system that benefits everyone.

Empowerment and Opportunities for Women in Web3

One of the most significant barriers women face in the tech industry, including Web3, is the need for perfection. Many women feel they must meet every qualification before applying for a job or taking on a new challenge. This mindset can hold you back from seizing opportunities that could propel your career forward. As Sanja Kon advises, "Don't wait to be in a place where you need to know 100% of the things, because once you get there, it will be too late."

Instead of striving for perfection, focus on seizing opportunities as they come. The Web3 space is still evolving, and there are countless chances to make your mark. Whether it's applying for a job in a Web3 company, investing in a promising project, or simply learning more about blockchain technology, the key is to take action. "Go for it. Lean in," Sanja encourages. This proactive approach can open doors you never thought possible.

Encouraging women to lean in and take risks is crucial for achieving gender parity in the Web3 industry. Men are often more willing to ask for opportunities and join new ventures, even if they don't feel entirely comfortable. Women, on the other hand, tend to hold back until they feel fully prepared. By stretching yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone, you can achieve your goals and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive Web3 ecosystem.

To help you stretch yourself and achieve your goals, consider adopting a growth mindset. This involves viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and growth rather than as obstacles. As renowned psychologist Carol Dweck found, people with a growth mindset are more resilient and more likely to achieve their goals. By embracing this mindset, you can see your journey as a continuous process of development, where each step forward is a victory.

In conclusion, the Web3 space offers immense opportunities for women, but it requires a shift in mindset and a willingness to take risks. By overcoming the need for perfection, seizing opportunities, and adopting a growth mindset, you can make your mark in this exciting and rapidly evolving industry. Remember, your journey is unique and significant, and each step you take brings you closer to your true potential.

Conclusion: Embracing Financial Freedom and Inclusion through Web3

As we navigate the transformative landscape of Web3, it's clear that digital assets and blockchain technology hold the key to unprecedented financial empowerment. The ability to own and manage digital assets like bitcoin and stablecoins offers a level of financial freedom that was previously unimaginable. As Sanja Kon eloquently put it, "Today, if you have a wallet, if you have an Internet connection, you can own bitcoin, you can own stablecoins, you can be free, you can move to another country, and you can still own your money, and no one can take that away from you."

To effectively harness these opportunities, it's crucial to adopt strategic investment approaches. This involves not only understanding the technology but also staying informed about market trends and regulatory developments. As we discussed, the integration of Web3 into everyday experiences is essential for widespread adoption. By focusing on user experience and making blockchain technology more accessible, we can drive greater financial inclusion.

Financial literacy plays a pivotal role in this journey. Educating yourself about digital assets, blockchain technology, and the broader financial landscape can empower you to make informed decisions. This is particularly important for women, who have historically been underrepresented in the tech and finance sectors. By taking charge of your financial education, you can break down barriers and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable financial system.

Finally, I want to encourage all women to take charge in the Web3 space. The industry is ripe with opportunities, and your unique perspectives and skills are invaluable. As Sanja Kon advises, "Stretch yourself and go for it. Lean in." Whether you're looking to invest, start a career in Web3, or simply learn more about the technology, now is the time to take action. Your journey in Web3 is not just about financial gain; it's about contributing to a movement that promises to redefine financial freedom and inclusion for everyone.

Web3 and Blockchain for Women: A guide for women on working, investing and thriving in the bitcoin economy

Sanja Kon


[01:11] Could you share your journey into Web3 and blockchain, and what inspired you to write 'Web3 and Blockchain for Women'? 

[04:42] You have a clear mission to empower women through mindset and financial freedom, particularly with blockchain technology. Why are these themes so important for women? 

[07:51] In your book, you discuss practical investment strategies. Can you share some of these strategies or tips for our listeners who are new to investing in the Web3 space? 

[11:28] Are there any pitfalls we should be aware of when entering the Web3 space and wanting to invest? 

[14:23] How do you see Web3 technologies contributing to financial inclusion, and what more needs to be done to achieve it globally? 

[17:50] Your book aims to empower women in the blockchain economy. What specific advice would you give to women wanting to make their mark in the industry? 

[20:01] If my listeners are curious about your book and want to read it, where can they find it? 


"Today, if you have a wallet, if you have an Internet connection, you can own bitcoin, you can own stablecoins, you can be free, you can move to another country, and you can still own your money, and no one can take that away from you." 

"If something looks fishy, probably it is." 

"Go for it. Apply for that job. Even if it's web3 and you don't know much about it. Maybe it's your opportunity now to join a company." 

"She warns against falling for FOMO and influencer shilling, and stresses the importance of researching projects thoroughly before investing." 

"She advocates for women to take ownership of their finances and not outsource them to partners or third parties." 


Web3 and Blockchain for Women: https://www.amazon.com/Web3-Blockchain-Women-investing-thriving/dp/B0D1CMK6ZL 

Circle: https://www.circle.com/ 


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sanjakon/ 

X: https://x.com/SanjaKon 


About the author, JoeriBillast

Fractional CMO
Web3 Marketing Strategist
Bestselling Author on Amazon
Host of the Web3 CMO Stories podcast