Mar 30, 2022 - Parker Timlin
Even though cryptocurrencies aspire to democratize investing and traditional financial services by attracting new and diverse investors, it perpetuates the legacy of “bro culture” that is frequently found in finance. With the rise of crypto becoming more mainstream the Invest in You: Next Gen Investor survey from CNBC and Acorn identified that men (16%) are twice as likely as women (7%) to invest in crypto. This survey also identified that crypto investing has a larger gender divide than other traditional investments including ETFs, mutual funds, and equities. Similarly, the 2021The State of U.S. Crypto Report from Gemini found that of cryptocurrency investors in the U.S 74% of them are male and only 26% are female.
Beyond the investment of crypto, the industry itself continues to maintain a less than hospitable environment for women and gender disparities. I'm not just referring to moments such as the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami in 2018 where only 3 of the 88 speakers were women — and the after-party was held at a strip club. From 2012-to 2018 women founded or co-founded firms only made up 8.5% of 378 venture-backed cryptocurrency firms. It is important to show the representation of women in an industry that has so much potential and helps to involve more women in the crypto economy.
Women account for 53% of those interested in entering crypto and soon, indicating a significant shift. While the investing sector is beset by structural exclusion, crypto has an opportunity to turn things around. This transformation cannot be expected to occur "naturally" as a result of technological advancement. Instead, we must actively tackle gender bias in crypto, by providing the required education and making it a more welcoming community.
These are some organizations & women changing the crypto environment and helping women to educate themselves and talk openly with a community.
"Boys Club" was founded by Natasha Hoskins and Deana Burke for those who want to learn but do not want to be roasted for not knowing the basics. They know the systems of the past that benefited only a select few are being replaced with new ones that have the potential to be more inclusive and equitable. This can only happen if there is more diversity of experiences and opinions. They offer free lessons, Discord group chats, a dinner series, and a podcast. They have cultivated a space for women & non-binary individuals (but they accept anyone looking to learn) who are curious about the crypto space and need somewhere to ask questions without judgment.
Founded by Manasi Vora in 2017 to help break down barriers to entry in crypto by providing educational resources to a larger diverse community. Together WiB partnered with She256, a nonprofit founded by Sara Reynolds, Medha Kothari, & Alexis Gauba that also aims to increase diversity in crypto to develop a beginner's guide. Additionally, the WIB, She256, and Kinjal Shah from VC Blockchain Capital developed the Komorebi Collective as an investment DAO to invest in women & nonbinary founders. These two organizations support women's education as well as funding diverse founders in crypto to ensure the future of cryptocurrency represents the vast audience this technology aims to serve.
Olayinka Odeniran founded the BWBC in 2018 after she had enough following the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami (mentioned earlier). She created this council so she could identify with the crypto community and have it become more welcoming for Black women. BWBC provides Black women around the world with educational resources to understand blockchain and build wealth. The BWBC created the International Women of Blockchain event for Women's History Month, a conference consisting of engaging and inclusive virtual events that highlight a global network of women in blockchain. Additionally, later this year the BWBC partnership with ConsenSys is rolling out an online program to train half a million Black women globally to become blockchain developers by 2030.
Maggie Love founded SheFi as a decentralized finance (DeFi) educational initiative and global community of women who want to go from crypto curious to crypto confident. They offer a program aimed at women who want to learn about decentralized finance as a community. In the new financial and technological paradigm that is backed by blockchain technology, the organization combines education, experimentation, and community to empower all women from various backgrounds and experiences.
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