Blog | Commodities

The Women of Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies exhibit similar gender inequality issues as Silicon Valley, but women are slowly making an impact in this industry

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If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, then you’ve heard the recent raucous surrounding the rollercoaster that is cryptocurrencies. Are you confused by what you’re reading and hearing? Don’t worry, so are most people—even the ones who are investing in this digital currency. There’s so much buzz floating around about this phenomenon, it’s no wonder everyone is in a tizzy over its rising and falling prices.

Warren Buffett famously advised never to invest in anything you don’t understand—yet Bitcoin investors don’t really seem to be heeding that advice. Some people have hailed this virtual currency as the money of the future, while others have dubbed it the next Ponzi scheme. Only time will tell.

Of course, Bitcoin isn’t the only game in town. There are countless substitutes to Bitcoin, which are grouped as “altcoins,” or alternative cryptocurrencies that were launched after Bitcoin. And where there are options, there are opportunities.

Women Have Entered the Sandbox

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review revealed that only 9 percent of entrepreneurs in VC-financed tech startups are women. So it’s no surprise that the roughly $460 billion digital currency market is dominated by men. Sounds like Silicon Valley all over again. But I’m happy to report that women are now getting in on the action.

In fact, four out of 30 of the largest initial coin offerings this year (through October) had female co-founders, and two of their ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) were among the largest so far.

It’s a safe bet that women didn’t have a seat at the table when our current financial system was conceived hundreds of years ago, and now we have an opportunity to change the future with what could be a whole new system—one that rests on a decentralized model that offers added transactional privacy. While the longevity of digital currencies remains unknown and I don’t have a crystal ball to predict what might happen next, one thing is for certain: It’s a hot industry with room for a woman to rise to the top.

Let’s look at a few female trailblazers:

  • Maxine Ryan: This 25-year-old dropped out of college to launch Bitspark in Hong Kong. Its ICO, in November, raised $1.4 million.
  • Rhian Lewis: This organizer of a London-based Women in Bitcoin group provides a welcoming, friendly environment for nearly 400 women who want to learn more about Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
  • Tavonia Evans: This technology veteran launched the very first ICO for $Guap, a coin aimed at recycling wealth within the Black community. She has almost 20 years of technology experience and believes that cryptocurrency could be the game changer for Black economics.

Plenty of Room to Grow

Since only 5-7 percent of cryptocurrency users are women, we still have a long way to go in this industry, ladies.

CoinDesk, an influential cryptocurrency media company, recently compiled a list for a vote on the most influential people in blockchain, which includes outsiders who’ve made an impact—such as socialite Paris Hilton and JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon. If you’re looking for women’s names on this list, you’ll need to look hard. Only a fifth of the 153 identifiable candidates were women.

If you’re seeking new and exciting opportunities to achieve your financial dreams, then the world of cryptocurrencies might be a great platform for you to explore. Just know that the future of this marketplace is entirely unpredictable, prices are fluctuating daily and it’s a total gamble at this point. Some advisers are telling clients to stay away unless they can afford to lose 100 percent of what they put into a cryptocurrency investment.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” As with any investment, do your research and make sure you’re educated before you plunk down your hard-earned money.

Original publish date: January 04, 2018

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