“I‘m interested in mining. Any ladies here who are miners and can help me with it?” reads a post on Women Who Crypto, one of the many Facebook groups that have cropped up for women interested in cryptocurrency. Within minutes, women of different ages and ethnicities respond with tips and leads.
From Bitcoin to Ethereum to Dogecoin, the complicated and risky world of cryptocurrency and blockchain has been seeing a steady rise in the number of women investors over the past year. Reports from earlier this year suggest a jump of 1,400% in women investors in India alone. Globally, women make up for 15% of crypto traders — a number that may seem small, but is still a 10% increase from 2020.
So what is motivating women, who are usually seen as more cautious investors than men, to invest in an asset that has seen wild highs and lows and is considered a high-risk investment?
“In the last 18 months, cryptocurrency has been the best performing asset class on the planet. Crypto is outside of this system, and to my mind is a sensible hedge against inflation, in the same way gold has often been purchased during downturns,” explained Katharine Wooller, managing director of Dacxi, a crypto business based in the U.K. Speaking to Re:Set, Wooller pointed out that crypto is more accessible as it is a digital asset, and thus prioritizes an online experience, which affords women a safer space and better chances at financial independence than traditional assets like stocks or mutual funds.
A major driving force behind the rise of more women investors is financial independence, according to Sharan Nair, CBO of CoinSwitch Kuber, an Indian crypto trading platform. “Financial freedom is a key driver for many in the crypto world. It offers an easy entry point that only requires a smartphone and an internet connection. It can play an instrumental role in achieving financial inclusion,” he told Re:Set.
For Saira Lee, a 36-year-old crypto asset consultant based in Glasgow, Scotland, cryptocurrency was an unexpected saviour after she lost her job in the makeup and beauty industry when the pandemic hit. “When lockdown came into place, it forced me out of my comfort zone. I had to start again and find my feet with a new career in crypto. I worked alongside a company for some time, and sometimes during some difficult phone calls, my phone would just ping, showing me my increases in my wallet,” she told Re:Set, adding that she plans to spend part of her earnings on her wedding.
Lee’s story is not unique, as many women discover the advantages of investing in an asset with such high returns.
“Investing in crypto has helped me build a portfolio of blue-chip coins, given me financial freedom, security, and a safe haven to store my money,” Laurie Traquair, a transformational freedom coach from Essex, U.K., told Re:Set. The financial cushion has given her the leeway to expand on her spending habits including buying a Bentley convertible, her dream car, and helping and indulging friends and family.
While financial independence is a big advantage of investing in cryptocurrency, doing so comes with privileged access. Vrinda Khandelwal, a 23-year-old Master’s student from India, agrees with the ease of access to her investments in Ethereum, a type of cryptocurrency, but noted that it works for those with funds to invest and access to financial education. “When it comes to gaining financial independence, cryptocurrency may work as it gives high and quick returns, depending on how you invest, but it is also a privileged investment platform, as it depends on access to the internet, your funds, and information about the fintech world,” she told Re:Set.
Despite the high risk, however, women from across the board are hedging their bets on crypto. Wooller, who also works with Women Who Crypto, says she sees everyone from stay-at-home moms to women interested in a side hustle, joining the crypto pool. “I have noticed that women are more willing to ‘think outside the box.’ Their motivations for investing often vary from being a side hustle, pension planning, kids’ university costs to an insurance policy against their marriage,” she said.