The Future of Finance: Closing the Gender Gap and Getting More Women Involved in Crypto

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Cryptocurrency, aka the future of finance, spurs both optimism and skepticism from traditional investors. The opportunity to build on the blockchain is providing an open invite to anyone interested in the benefits of a decentralized finance model, including less barriers to entry. This type of investing can also contribute to closing the gender gap and generational wealth gap because it's easier for underrepresented groups to get in the game.

Despite these promises of financial equity, women are still wary of this space. A recent BlockFi survey found that while 94% of women have heard of cryptocurrency, only 9% feel they know a fair amount about it. Moreover, 46% of women say they are interested to learn more about cryptocurrency investing, but 77% thought it was "too late" to profit from it.

During the FQ Lounge at Davos, global business executives unpacked what needs to be done to get more women into this emerging market. Here are the strategies discussed:

Provide Resources and User Guides to Help Them Get Started

"Investing in crypto gives women a new financial freedom that they may not have been able to have before," said Bethany Davis, Chief of Staff to CEO at Celsius. "It means being able to have that sense of opportunity to build your own wealth … but it starts with education."

According to a recent BlockFi survey, only 23% of women know how to purchase cryptocurrency and nearly 40% of women find it confusing. Providing basic "how to" user guides and having diverse leaders in the space who act as role models are ways to ensure that entire groups and demographics of people don't get left behind. Start with providing women with tools for financial literacy.

Some great resources suggested for learning more about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are: SheFi, Advantage Evans Academy and Global Women in Blockchain.

Share Job Opportunities in the Crypto World

"I learned about Bitcoin in 2013 when I helped with a press release. I like Bitcoin, but it did not excite me," said Cleve Mesidor, who is head of The National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain. "It was not until the conversation opened up beyond currency that I went down the rabbit hole. Today, I work at the intersection of blockchain and public policy. I think where the opportunities lie is when we talk about how crypto will transform the future of work and the multiplicity of jobs it offers."

Those looking to take a leap into this field do not have to be finance, banking and accounting experts. There are a wide variety of roles available in crypto and blockchain companies, such as research analyst, journalist, marketing manager, engineer, event manager, web developer and more.

Dispel the Myth That it is Too Late to Invest in Cryptocurrency

It's never too late to invest. There will always be early adopters and those who are less risk-averse, but even when there's a dip (like now), there is an opportunity to get in the game. And this space is growing exponentially -- more than 80% of institutional investors plan to increase their cryptocurrency assets in the next two years.

"I use the analogy of this being like the early internet days. It is very early," said Mandy Campbell, head of content and brand at Okcoin. "We just had El Salvador make bitcoin a legal tender last year. We have made big steps, but this is just the beginning of the blockchain."

Encourage More Women to Buy

"My biggest advice for women is to learn about the blockchain and get the conviction to buy despite the price," Campbell said. "Start by taking a little bit of time each week to invest, buy a really low priced NFT (non-fungible token), educate yourself and get a little skin in the game."

A great way to learn about blockchain technology and crypto is to test it out. Suggest an app like Coinbase or Binance or a platform such as crypto.com. By investing a little money, they'll diversify their portfolio and grow more secure with the tools, gaining confidence with each transaction.

Remove Barriers for Female Entrepreneurs

Bitcoin, the original and most widely used cryptocurrency, was founded in 2008 at the onset of the financial crisis as an alternative to traditional banking and to encourage financial equity. Today this $2 trillion market is driven by men who make up 75% of cryptocurrency holders.

"There is a democratization of process that needs to happen outside of the systemic barriers that are already there," said Nisa Amoils, Managing Partner at A100x Ventures. "This pattern in venture capital is not going to change without legislation because it benefits certain people."

In order to diversify the space, it will require investing in, recruiting, hiring and giving visibility to the women who are already trailblazing in it. "With NFTs, it's reached a tipping point, and we have to invite more women into the conversation," Amoils added.

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