Are there enough women in blockchain?
in Thought Leadership
A common goal uniting the cryptocurrency industry is getting the next 100 million people onboard. Although different companies jostle on who should be the one to do it first, the end goal is the same – global and mass adoption.
Comprising roughly 50% of the global population, women play an integral role in this aim. In terms of both representation and participation, however, the statistics below are still sub parity.
If blockchain, cryptocurrencies and DeFi are emerging tools that are revising the history books and making future equality possible through diversity and distribution, it’s imperative that women are present and contributing to help shape, mould and participate in the burgeoning movement as it unfolds across various sectors – beginning with greater financial independence and empowerment for the everyday man and woman.
Women are still under-represented today
2021 has witnessed unprecedented levels of crypto adoption across the board, fuelled by consumer platforms such as PayPal and Robinhood. A recent research report by Crypto.com revealed that cryptocurrency adoption has doubled since January 2021 (and in just four months) to a total figure of 221 million by June 2021.
Out of these users, how many of them are women?
The statistics vary depending on where one looks at. A Grayscale survey found that 15% of Bitcoin investors in the United States are women. India’s Coinswitch.co exchange reports that women make up 50% of its roughly 25,000 users. Another crypto exchange, Gemini, found women to make up at least 40% of British cryptocurrency users. In Singapore, where crypto adoption is high, it was found that 35% of women currently own some cryptocurrency. A mean average of these figures gives us a rough figure of 35%, although this number may be much smaller in more experimental and risky corners of crypto, such as the DeFi and yield farming world.
“Crypto is like the intersection of tech and finance, so it’s two super male-dominant industries...I think if we hold a thesis that crypto is going to be adopted by the entire humanity and it’s 50/50 split by men and women, then the process of designing this tech and really getting it to mainstream adoption, we need that representation. ” -- Mia Deng, Partner, Dragonfly Capital
What is clearer is that women are rising to become one of the fastest growing groups investing in cryptocurrency.
According to a study by UK-based CFD trading platform IG, there was a 43.24% increase in the number of women in the cryptocurrency industry in the first quarter of 2020 alone. The trading platform Robinhood reported a 7x increase in female users since the end of 2020.
Another research by Cointelegraph found that the number of female users has grown between 22 - 160% on major top crypto exchanges since the start of 2020. From the research, the top exchange for women happens to be Bitfinex, which saw a record 162% growth of new female users.
Will there be confirmed sightings of female Bitcoin whales in the future?
“Beyond the market cycles, I would urge every woman to stay current and learn about this unfolding technology in our generation. Doing our digital homework and research before diving into crypto is critical to owning your future. If it consumes your thoughts every day, then you should apply that passion to the industry itself.” -- Catherine Coley, CEO, Binance.US
What women bring to the table
It goes without saying that any company which embraces diversity by hiring women leaders and employees makes more well-rounded decisions and is more resilient in the long term.
Attracting women to work in FinTech is another issue, and if you would like to join us at Exodus, Andi Morrow, our Office Manager at Exodus has this to say about inclusivity:
“Exodus is an equal opportunity employer which doesn’t select for roles based on gender, race or age. As a transparent employee, all employees can see all other employees wages to prevent wage disparity and unfairness between genders as it guarantees that no one is underpaid.”
In terms of investing, women are also reported to be better investors because they are more patient, less impulsive and hold onto assets for longer. Women investors on a whole are more risk averse and conservative in their investing approach. According to IG, female traders are outperforming men in the space, with 76% of females succeeding at Bitcoin, compared to 71% of men.
While cryptocurrency is often seen as a highly volatile asset class, having more women investors will likely bring more stability, legitimacy and sustainability to the space.
Barriers to entry
It is plain to see that the cryptocurrency world, much like the financial and tech industry from which it is sired from, is still a man’s world.
A cursory look at Internet cryptocurrency forums and other discussion boards such as Reddit, Discord and 4Chan will show that these are still predominantly male community spaces with a ‘tech bro’ culture where no one bats an eyelid at shower room talk like “green dildoes” or “wife-changing gains” in the online conversations.
Right now, memes about chads, pepes and apes proliferate in the space but someday, those memes might start to change, appealing and speaking more to women instead. But just like how beer has never made a successful marketing campaign for women, does crypto really need to twist around its insides to appeal to another demographic, who may simply not be as interested?
The argument remains that when it comes down to being a financial consumer, such as opening a savings account or simply signing up for a credit card, the field should and must be equal. Opening a digital crypto wallet should be accessible to everyone regardless of gender. These financial products, and with it, financial literacy, should be non-exclusive and a basic right to all.
“As a woman you always face sexist situations, no matter in which industry you are in. We need more women as they have different perspectives and it empowers other women to join. We want the whole society to be present in our quest to change the world for the better.” -- Carolin Wend, Co-founder, Mintbase
Female leaders in crypto
Certainly, at the very top, more can be done to highlight the work that women do in crypto. Although macro researcher Lyn Alden and CEO of Bitcoin scaling solution Lightning Labs Elizabeth Stark took the stage at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, female speakers were still a small minority comprising just 25 of the 192 speakers.
Thankfully, this is an improvement from just four years ago when the ratio at the North American Bitcoin Conference was 3 female to 85 male speakers in 2018.
Whether they are providing high-level guidance and funding as venture capitalists such as Linda Xie, Dovey Wan or Meltem Demirors, are blockchain developers such as Amiti Uttarwar and Gloria Zhao of Bitcoin Core, NFT digital artists such as pplpleasr and Holly Herndon, or media journalists and personalities such as Leigh Cuen, Laura Shin and Exodus’ very own Layah Heilpern, the fact is, women are already present in all stripes and strata of crypto as leaders, decision-makers and investors.
Here’s a further list of crypto companies not already mentioned that were either founded or co-founded by women:
- Bancor (Galia Benartzi)
- Stellar (Joyce Kim)
- UMA (Allison Lu)
- Tezos (Kathleen Breitman)
- Optimism PBC (Jinglan Wang)
- Mycrypto.com (Taylor Monahan)
- OKcoin (Hong Fang)
- The Defiant (Camila Russo)
So, what can be done to nurture this growth in the right direction?
In an ideal scenario, initiatives to grow women crypto communities should be organically formed and women-led. Women need to be the ones talking to other women about crypto, providing mentorship and role modelling, and lifting each other up. Some ideas that have already been executed include girls-only hacking events, grants for aspiring women, NFT collectives and DAOS, and other safe and supportive women circles where learning and growth can happen, be it locally or globally.
Ultimately perhaps, with global adoption as the aim, the approach should not be strictly gender-specific, but rather gender-inclusive. Instead of specifically catering to women and failing by adopting its stereotypes, a better approach would be one that is more conscious and inclusive to all genders along the spectrum including cisgender males and females, and everyone in between. Simply not side-lining other genders is already a big step towards further adoption, and that is where visible improvement can be made.
But marketing can only go so far as a one-sided conversation. In the end, it is up to us women to take the leap for ourselves. We should not expect men to lead the way towards our financial freedom or to reassure us in our financial decisions. It is on us to take action and pave the way for us and our sisters. It could be as easy as downloading a mobile app, reading a whitepaper, starting a conversation and taking a stake in our individual and collective financial future.
For a further dive into this topic, take a look at these resources:
- Crypto’s Gender Disparity: What Can Be Done About It? 4 Women Weigh In, Unchained Podcast
- The Number of Women in Crypto and Blockchain is Skyrocketing in 2020, Coin Telegraph
- The Rise of the Female Crypto Trader, Decrypt
- Global Report on Women, Cryptocurrency and Financial Independence, The Defiant
- Women Are Finding Financial Freedom in Cryptocurrencies, BeInCrypto
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.