Since the beginning of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two most popular cryptocurrencies, the decentralized currency market has been primarily owned by men. It’s impossible to know exact percentages, since one of the primary features of cryptocurrency is anonymity, but it’s generally agreed that at least 90% of cryptocurrency investors have been men.
This makes sense; after all, the tech sphere in general has long since been dominated by men, and women are only just beginning to make inroads to the highest levels of the technology industry. Within the tech industry, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are fairly new, and until recently, have been very niche. Their anonymity has made them an ideal vector for illegal use; ransomware, for example, often demands payment in cryptocurrency, making the cyber criminal virtually impossible to track.
But as the concept of a digital and decentralized currency becomes more familiar to the average person, it makes sense that more women are becoming interested in the possibilities around investing in this new sphere. Many women are working hard to equalize the gender gap in cryptocurrency. This is how they’re doing it.
There is a great deal of argument whether cryptocurrencies are actually currencies or are assets. The formation of digital wallets which allow people to spend their cryptocurrency certainly implies the former; since most people make money by investing in bitcoin, however, many investment experts argue that the digital coins are assets.
Whichever side of the divide a person falls on, the truth is that these coins can be great investments. While there have been significant bubbles in cryptocurrencies, digital currencies have generally increased in value since they were originally mined. Like any other investment, coins do not have stable values; their value can change significantly over the course of a day. The beginning of 2018 saw bitcoin take a nosedive from its high prices in late 2017, for example.
Many women are encouraging others to begin investing in cryptocurrency, however. Online forums and in person groups regularly work with women to break down their personal barriers around these investments; the online group CryptoMoms has more than 50,000 members.
Push Into Crypto Discussion Spaces
Women who have tried to discuss crypto online have faced significant trolling and harassment in communities devoted to the currency. At the edges of the investment industry, it’s easy to find articles discussing the sexist and anti-Semitic perspectives of those who are deeply involved in the communities.
This may be why so many women look for dedicated spaces, either in person or digitally, to speak about the investments. At least some men prefer that the crypto space remain dominated by men; women who are looking to engage in investments need to break into those spaces and fight back against these perspectives, in the same way that they do in other sexist tech industries. The industry itself can help make this happen; the Crypto Springs conference, for example, enlisted many female speakers to try and increase the visibility of women crypto investors.
Use Initial Coin Offerings In Startup
Business women often struggle to find the same kind of investment in their business ideas that men do. Traditional funding, whether through business loans or venture capital, is more difficult to access. This puts women at a significant disadvantage when it comes to starting and creating new businesses. Women do have more success in crowdsourcing fields, with more of their campaigns funded than those run by men.
Some companies have found success by using initial coin offerings, or ICOs to get the initial capital necessary to get their new business up and running. Women like Galia Benartzi (Bancor), Kathleen Breitman (Tezos), and Crystal Rose (Sensay) have been able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through ICOs. The strategy is compared to selling shares in a company early on; if the company does well, the coins will be worth more. Generally, the company’s CEO retains a significant portion of the coins offered.
Is this a good way to get your business off the ground? There’s still a lot of skepticism. Some investors caution that the coins may be a flashy way to attract attention to your business, but they may not leave a company with enough liquidity to survive the early ups and downs of business operation. Some 40% of companies seem to disappear within the first year after their funding. Given that it’s generally believed that 80% of businesses close within their first year, however, that statistic is less frightening.
Women have a long way to go before they can create a truly equal playing field in the area of cryptocurrency, but in many ways, they are ideally poised to enter that sphere. According to the London Block Exchange, the number of women growing interested in the investment opportunity has doubled. Since women are less likely to invest due to fear of missing out on an opportunity and more likely to consult with friends and family before investing, increases in female investors may increase exponentially. Whether the women already in the crypto space can make that change happen is what remains to be seen.