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Is this a boy’s crypto club? The future of finance is not about gender

7 min reading

The future of crypto lies beyond gender and everyone should be included and be a part of this.

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“I used to be the only woman in the room,” Joni Pirovic said. Her tone was dispassionate, as if she was admitting being unfair. It is a fact reconciled with the truth. Pirovic is a lawyer who specializes in blockchain and digital assets and has worked in the crypto industry for many years. She is also the mother of two children.

"In some ways, getting my voice heard is a real struggle, to be seen as a legitimate person at the table with views worthy of hearing - let alone respecting or following them." What he said is not surprising because gender inequality is not a completely new topic of conversation in the industry. Back in August, CNBC published a study that found that women are still less than half as likely to invest in cryptocurrencies as men, with 16% of men investing versus 7% of women.

These results mirror what the Crypto Finder report claimed months earlier in June. It states that 22% of men own at least one type of cryptocurrency, while only 15% of women own it. The crypto industry is at the crossroads of finance and technology, two sectors traditionally plagued by gender inequality. A 2021 report by Accenture and Girls Who Code found that the gender gap among women working in technology has widened from 35% to 32% since 1984. He also notes that half of young women who are into technology drop out of school by the age of 35. years, justifying Pirovic's bad experience in the industry.

An October 2020 research report by Women in VC found that only 4.9% of US-based VC partners were women. The data gets even more serious when you look at the number of women in minority groups – only 0.2% of the VC partners are Hispanic and 0.2% are black. Susan Banhegi, author of Women in Crypto and founder of Crypto Women Global, agrees that the problems women face in cryptocurrency are the same problems plaguing women in a male-dominated industry. “Some of the crypto community may not be as welcoming,” he said, citing abuse and lack of inclusion as some of the problems. Emily Wright is the founder of PULSE, a women-led charity NFT project. He says that in his experience, men in the industry tend to naturally give way to other men.

"My experience as a woman is that these places are harder to pick up and when you insist you will be asked time and time again how much you made or how credible you are," she said. "If I were a man, I would probably feel more accepted, less indecisive, and less deceptive in space.

The adoption Gap

The gender barrier comes not only for women who want to work in the crypto industry, but also for those who want to invest in it. The previous discourse of crypto sex tends to blame risk aversion. Crypto makes variable investments, which is an attractive factor for many profitable investors. Women are stereotypically more conservative and risk-averse investors. But maybe this is a simple answer to a complex question. Wright suggests that female investors' aversion to risk is simply because it is "more socially acceptable" for men to gamble and take risks.

"Perhaps the main pressure as women is for us to be safe and stick to what we know. For me, this risk is more recognized in the cryptocurrency area and I see fewer women trading in cryptocurrencies." He added that when he started investing in cryptocurrencies, he practiced in the industry for hours after doing his usual job from nine to five. She said, “I wonder if this, as a woman with a family, responsibilities, and busy life, makes it harder to actually get into the room.

Amy-Rose Goody, Operations and Membership Manager at Blockchain Australia, has an alternative explanation. She said women tend to avoid investing because they are unsure about how cryptocurrencies work and don't want help for fear of being ridiculed, saying: “The claim that 'women are not at risk' remains the main reason women don't invest in cryptocurrencies. In my experience this is not the case. Women love investing, but they don't feel confident going through the buying process.”

"[Women] are more worried about not knowing how to buy Bitcoin than losing their initial investment," she said. "It seems to be a matter of trust rather than risk aversion. Their theory is supported by research showing that a person's self-confidence is the most common predictor of financial risk aversion, regardless of the person's actual financial literacy. Goody also said that the crypto industry is already starting to take steps towards gender equality as it moves towards mass adoption:

“From where I am, more and more women are getting into crypto and investing in general. I don't see any recent slowdown in the increasing appetite for this asset class. That's right, the number of women jumping into the crypto space has skyrocketed this year as we approach mass adoption. In a UK poll conducted in January this year, Gemini found that women made up 41.6% of the 2,000 respondents who were current or former crypto investors. He also found that 40% of respondents who said they invested in cryptocurrencies were women.

In July, Robinhood chief operating officer Gretchen Howard said the number of women using trading apps had increased 369 percent year-on-year. Examining historical data on gender inequality in crypto reveals a rather low growth rate. In 2013, a survey of online crypto forums found that 95.2% of Bitcoin users out of 1,000 men surveyed were male. A broker survey by eToro in February this year found that 15% of users were women, 10% more than last year.

Way of representation

On the path to equal representation, Pirovic said men should be part of the decision. She said, “The bottom line is for men to support women to see that you are in a body made up entirely of men. Simply choose not to participate until at least one other woman has spoken and there is no longer any equal or diverse representation on the body."

Wright agreed, saying, "There are some amazing men out there who are supporting and empowering women in the right way, but there's still a lot to be done." Talking about the importance of gender equality in the workforce, Banhegyi said, "The more women work in this industry, the better because community is the foundation of every platform."  Crypto has the potential to empower women and give them more control over their finances. And for many women, mass adoption has begun to remove some of the barriers to access that once stood between them and the potential benefits.

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