The crypto industry is growing at an astronomical rate. A recent report from Crypto.com suggests that the number of users could reach an astonishing 1 billion by the end of 2022. But with any burgeoning industry, it can only grow so much with a gender imbalance.
Fintech has had a notoriously bad reputation for having a lopsided representation of men and women, and this is even more true for the crypto industry. If you asked someone to describe whom they believe to be a crypto user, they’d most likely still say young, male and tech-savvy. Perhaps this was true in the years following Satoshi Nakamoto’s release of the Bitcoin white paper, but does it still stand now?
Women now represent 48% of the entire global workforce, according to Teamstage, but figures suggest that between 2018 and 2021, just 30% of new crypto hires were women. Although the number of women using crypto is growing, it’s more important than ever that we foster a working environment with a more representative and equal gender balance in the crypto industry.
The crypto gender divide
As a woman working in the fintech industry for most of my professional career, I’ve certainly witnessed gender imbalances in the workplace, but I’ve been lucky enough to work for companies that prioritize changing that.
When you look at the issue more granularly, the number of female executives in crypto companies hovers at just above 20%. Nevertheless, having a female as a face of the business is a hugely important part of building a culture that welcomes women as employees of that company. In fact, we’re now seeing female founders and executives from all areas of the crypto landscape, from Genevieve Leveille, the CEO and founder of blockchain agricultural company AgriLedger, to Diane Dai, the CMO and cofounder of decentralized exchange DODO, as well as George Coxon, director of the Nano Foundation, the nonprofit supporting that digital currency.
And importantly, these women are some of the most vocal and passionate people in the world. Acting as influencers, they’re becoming spearheads to spread the message that women could and should work in the crypto space too by speaking at global conferences and attracting huge social media followings.
Communities of like-minded women
As a minority group within this sector, it’s hardly surprising that women are coming together in full force. There’s a large and growing number of female crypto groups thriving more than ever. Some of the most active include Women in Blockchain Talks, Women of Web3, and The Belle Block, and they not only serve to offer a forum for like-minded women to share ideas but also host podcasts and organize events. These networks have become a pivotal way for women interested in crypto to meet each other and understand their potential.
Knowledge is power
With crypto now routinely covered by mainstream media, it’s no surprise that 79% of women have heard the term crypto. Although this number might seem high, women’s likelihood to use or work in the sector is much lower, with much of this being down to a lack of understanding of the currency and technology behind it.
An increase in the availability of blockchain education is an important way to tackle this. Universities as well as crypto companies are taking steps — via such initiatives as Binance Academy and University of California at Berkeley’s free “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies” online course — to help those new to this sector learn more about this technology. Similarly, the growth of social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok has created fun and accessible bite-sized content to explain everything you need to know about crypto. We’re also seeing free educational courses such as the Global Blockchain Initiative run by crypto leaders to help those with all experience levels learn.
Celebrating women’s achievements
Female-focused awards have also become an important way to celebrate women in the crypto space. Not only do these recognitions honor individual achievements, but they also help showcase what incredible things women are doing across the crypto sector with the hope of inspiring more to get involved.
Earlier this week, the NEAR Foundation, in partnership with Forkast, announced 11 winners for this year’s “Women in Web3 Changemakers” competition. The winners, who were chosen by a public vote, will be featured in a special Forkast series that will air across Forkast’s distribution network.
This week, Wirex’s “Rising Women in Crypto Power List” — in partnership with the Cryptonomist — has also opened for nomination through Oct. 25. First launched in 2020, the contest has received over 600 nominations to date. A panel of judges will decide on the 13 finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 8. Throughout this period, Wirex will also offer a series of content educating women about opportunities in the crypto sector as well as a live event, “Women in Crypto: How will Web 3 and the Metaverse Affect you?”
The future for women in crypto
The opportunities for women in crypto, still a nascent industry, are huge. Whether you’re a newbie or already a hardcore user, there are always ways to learn more, get support from like-minded women, and immerse yourself in this burgeoning world. We’re already seeing positive changes in terms of diversity, and with programs and initiatives like those mentioned supporting women in their journey, women will hopefully play an increasingly significant role in the digital economy in the future.