The cryptoverse is becoming more of a reality in which each and everyone of us lives. Men, women, young and, increasingly, older communities are playing a part in the mass adoption of Web3. The downside to this is that, in the mainstream adoption, there is a clear inequality in the voice dominating the scene. Despite crypto’s inherent democratic qualities, it didn’t spare the industry from gender inequalities. Women are still a minority in this burgeoning finance sector.
While crypto has incredible potential to increase equity and accessibility to financial markets and investments, to date, the number of women in the industry as entrepreneurs, leaders, investors and participants is hugely underwhelming. By numbers specifically, men are in fact dominant in the crypto and blockchain space. The crypto gender gap exceeds the existing gap within traditional investments including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and real estate. According to a CNBC Poll conducted in August 2021, twice the amount of men invest in cryptocurrencies than women. Women are lagging behind men in their rates of cryptocurrency investing, just as they have historically struggled to keep pace with men in more traditional investment verticals. In Nigeria for instance, all start-ups, crypto firms and companies are all founded and dominated by men. There is barely a known female figure or voice in the Nigerian crypto space. This reality is a stark contrast to the popular saying – “What a man can do, a woman can do better”.
Cryptocurrencies, have the power to transform the global financial system into one that is more equitable and accessible. To achieve its full potential and improve the lives of women around the world, it is highly consequential that we have as many women as possible helping to shape the direction of crypto and prevent it from being too ‘male-dominated’. There is a need to encourage, inspire and educate more women to become active in senior leadership positions – on boards and as developers, investors and entrepreneurs – in the industry to help mold the future of finance.
Digital assets provide a way for women to store value for themselves. Just like education is a way to store value that cannot be taken away, crypto provides another means to store value without the need to hide money under the mattress. Storing value in the crypto world does not necessarily have to entail buying Bitcoin or Ethereum. Though these continue to be the ‘go to’ assets, especially for those just learning about crypto, it is cognizant to note that both BTC and ETH have significant volatility.
But there is a solution to that, crypto-assets created to address concerns related to volatility are stablecoins. A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency that is pegged to a specific asset. Two of the largest stablecoins are USDC and USDT, which are both pegged to the US dollar. Stablecoins can also be lent out or staked to earn a return, which varies based on the associated risk. At the moment, the annual yields on USDC and USDT range from approximately 5% to 20% and it could even be much higher for Nigerians due to how the Naira crumbles against the dollar and other major world currencies day by day. As the crypto markets continue to become more sophisticated, there are also more market-neutral strategies for investors that provide yield and lower volatility. These new offerings will serve to attract a larger pool of investors, especially women.
While the number of women is slowly increasing, we hope and expect that more market-neutral strategies and lower-risk crypto investment options will come online and attract more female investors and traders. The time is now for more women in crypto.
Happy International Women’s Day!