Crypto doesn’t have to be just for the bros!
If you look at crypto communities online, be it on Twitter or Telegram or Reddit, you’ll find them to be largely made up of men. If asked to visualize the crypto community, everyone would picture a crypto bro (men who are singularly focused on cryptocurrency predictions) discussing which currency will go “to the moon” next. In fact, 94% of all cryptocurrency is owned by men, which means that women occupy only 6% of all crypto holdings.
This isn’t just the case with cryptocurrency investments. There has historically been a gender-based gap between men and women when it comes to investing in stocks, bonds, real estate and exchange-traded funds. But just because there are fewer women in the crypto space, doesn’t mean women are bad at handling crypto. Let’s take a look at the history of crypto’s bro culture, why more women are becoming interested in crypto and how they contribute to the space.
Why does crypto have a “bro” culture?
Back when crypto used to be a new and shiny toy, it was largely used for purchasing porn, guns and drugs, all of which are generally considered male interests. As the crypto trend exploded, crypto businesses and conferences began using tactics, like hosting parties in strip clubs and having models to attract men to their events. Take the DCentral Miami conference 2021 as an example—Vice News posted a video about the event where models were standing in front the entrance, and the journalist said, “You might be forgiven for thinking that this is actually a club line instead of a line for a crypto convention.” All of which would make these events simply too uncomfortable for women to attend.
Besides, if we look at the bro culture in a larger cultural context, men have traditionally been considered to be responsible for money in the family, and so their interest in the new forms of currency kind of makes sense. Another reason why experts think that crypto is so male-centric is that women are more security conscious and are acutely aware of the risks (hacks, scams and volatility) that come with crypto investments. Whereas, men allegedly enjoy the high-stakes, high-risk environment that this space brings.
But perhaps the biggest reason of all is that women in the crypto space are left unacknowledged, and if by any chance they are recognized, they are mocked and harassed with sexist comments. Female crypto influencers, like Rachel Siegel (better known as “CryptoFinally”), get comments saying that their appearance and their genuine interest in crypto is an attempt to bag a rich boyfriend. In such conditions, would women actually want to be involved with crypto at all?
So why do women want to be in the crypto space?
Despite the unsavory environment crypto has had so far, women actually want to be involved in the crypto space. They believe that crypto investments have the potential to reduce gender disparity and are thus taking a keen interest in learning more about it. More and more women are entering the space, so much so that in 2020, some crypto exchanges saw a 160% increase in their female user base. Most female crypto-investors come from developing countries or in financially unstable nations where investing in cryptocurrency is the only way to maintain a steady income.
Women also enjoy the anonymity of the crypto space, saying that it makes the space more inclusive than other areas of finance. As we already established, crypto events are flooded with men, and women often end up having to deal with uncomfortable, dangerous situations, like sexual harassment, if they attend such events. Being able to hide behind the veil of anonymity, women can be recognized for their accomplishments rather than being seen as women first and experts later.
How women are fighting to make the crypto space inclusive
Even though we may see the crypto bros boasting their crypto investment expertise across social media, in reality, women are better at investing. According to a research paper published in 2012, men are more likely to fall for the gambler’s fallacy (a streak of losings will be turned around in favor of the gambler’s luck) and the hot hand fallacy (a streak of winnings will increase the chances of more). Women, on the other hand, are more cautious with their investments. They make fewer investments (and less risky ones) but end up consistently generating more profits.
Although there are women who are good at investing, they aren’t featured anywhere on the list of crypto billionaires. To change that, the crypto industry needs to actively work towards inclusion. If young women kept seeing those who participate in crypto conferences are predominantly men, they wouldn’t have anyone to look up to or aspire to become.
Take H.E.R. DAO as an example. In March this year, the women-led decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) funded 25 women developers from the organization to attend the developer conference Avalanche Summit. Promoting representation and equality in the crypto world (and the tech world at large) is essential to empower women in the space and those who want to go in.
Another step towards representing female interests in the crypto space is the establishment of women-focused crypto organizations. These include the Black Women in Blockchain Council, Women in Blockchain and Komorebi Collective. All these organizations hope to provide women with educational resources and empower them to be involved in the crypto space in various capacities.
Educational access and role models can change the face of the crypto industry. Besides empowering women, inclusion is necessary for the growth of cryptocurrency, and without women, there would simply be fewer minds to come up with new and innovative ideas to expand the space. As the concern surrounding inclusion increases, hopefully, we will see more women enter the space. But for now, there is still a long way to go.
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