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Tech-related industries have long been known as male-dominated fields. In fact, women only account for a little over 34% of the workforce. But with the rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain, the question arises: Does the gender gap apply to Crypto as well? A recent survey from the multinational financial service provider, eToro showed that women make up only 15% of the global cryptocurrency trading population. Like the financial sector, it seems like crypto has become an “all boys club”.
In general, cryptocurrency has been presented as a means to democratize a historically closed market, encouraging new and diverse individuals to invest. Despite the fact that crypto has broken down many barriers to investing based on race with an equal percentage of ethnic investors, it seems it has yet to do so based on gender.
One of the most apparent causes for this is the fact that on average women still earn less than their male counterparts. Even in the most progressive countries, there is still a significant income gap between men and women. This has further widened the investment gap between both genders. And because men are more inclined to invest than women, the disparity in wealth between the two genders is only likely to grow over time. In order to close this disparity, women should be encouraged to take up investing, no matter their income.
Another reason for the lack of female interest in cryptocurrencies is because the crypto market is sometimes portrayed as a high-octane, risky environment that is better suited to those who thrive on that sort of thrill. Everyone knows how volatile the crypto market can be. However, while the high risks that accompany crypto trading are undeniable, the rewards can equally be as high. There are countless individuals who are making a lot of money with cryptocurrencies simply because they are willing to take on the risks that come with it.
Finally, the fact that women often undervalue their own strengths regardless of academic achievement or career accomplishments is another challenge. Women's financial confidence has been influenced by history and society, and these findings may be based on the popular belief that you need to be a financial genius to be a successful investor. As a matter of fact, by making tools and resources more accessible, technology has removed many of the old barriers to investment.
Despite the apparent hindrances, there are still reasons to be hopeful. According to a Gemini survey, 40 percent of individuals seeking to invest in cryptocurrency are women. Even better, a growing number of women are occupying high-profile positions in the digital assets market — and this representation will be critical for driving change at all levels of the industry.
- Kristin Smith:
Kristin Smith is the executive director of the Blockchain Association, which is dedicated to supporting the crypto sector in developing "a strategic roadmap for public policy." The association's mission is to enable entrepreneurs to overcome some of the regulatory barriers that prevent them from innovating, as well as to support politicians who must consider security concerns and consumer safety.
- Hester Peirce:
Hester Peirce is a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who is helping to create a regulatory framework for digital currencies. Many in the crypto community refer to her as "Crypto Mom." Peirce has received praise for her commitment to providing clarity to the crypto industry, which she believes is critical for supporting innovation.
- Elizabeth Stark:
She is the founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, a layer 2 bitcoin solution that seeks to function as a Visa-style network for the cryptocurrency. Although the technology is still being refined, it could be critical in ensuring that Bitcoin can be extensively utilized as a payment method without experiencing the same kinds of congestion as Ethereum's blockchain.
- Sheila Warren:
With public perceptions of crypto and blockchain changing and the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos vital for swaying public opinion, Sheila Warren's role as the WEF's head of blockchain and data policy is crucial. “It is likely that financial institutions and service providers will expand their own experimentation with, and usage of, cryptocurrencies this year, whether via investment or real deployment,” she said in a recent post.
Warren also predicts that significant progress will be made in unlocking the potential of non-fungible tokens, as well as a lot of research into the benefits of decentralization.
- Ria Bhutoria:
Ria Bhutoria, a research director at Fidelity Digital Assets, provides razor-sharp analysis of what's going on in the crypto markets and why, all while working to answer some of Bitcoin's long-standing complaints.
One of her most innovative ideas has been the “FUD Fort,” a carefully curated collection of articles that addresses some of the most common sources of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the crypto space, including the environment, manipulation, limited throughput, illicit activity, volatility, and everything in between.
Cardano has always been a pro-woman cryptocurrency. In fact, ADA, the native token of Cardano was named after the brilliant mathematician and thinker - Ada Lovelace. She detailed how the computer would work, speculated on its capabilities, and developed what is widely regarded as the world's first computer program. It’s no wonder her name was used as an inspiration for the cryptocurrency token.
Furthermore, in 2019, an all-female class of extremely motivated individuals became the first African class to be trained to develop and build on the Cardano blockchain network. The effort was sparked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in May 2018 between IOHK, the corporation in charge of Cardano's technical development, and the Ethiopian government.
After a three-month course supervised by Lars Brünjes, Ph.D., Director of Education at IOHK, the class of nineteen Ethiopian and four Ugandan women graduated on March 22. The training was created to provide these women with the skills and resources they need to develop on Cardano. Understanding and knowing how to use Haskell, the programming language powering Cardano, was one of the skills taught to the students. They also studied Plutus, a programming language that will eventually allow them to develop smart contracts on Cardano.
Despite the many challenges and adversities within the industry itself, women are rising to the occasion. While the end goal should be to have a completely even playing field, Institutions like Cardano are working to lower the barrier of entry and bring more diversity to cryptocurrency and blockchain in general.