Male and white – this was the start of the cryptocurrency world. Since the early days of cryptocurrencies, miners, and blockchain developers have been comprised of men – and today’s token projects are reflective of that gender disparity. There is a gender imbalance in the crypto community, but the actions can be taken by the both genders to receive equal representation and credit for the breakthroughs they bring about.
Problem: Why aren’t there more women in the crypto industry?
According to an analytics startup Coin.dance, as of July 2018, as little as 8.78 percent of crypto enthusiasts and people working in crypto are women, including developers, investors, and founders. That leaves us with 91.22 percent of men that are engaged in the crypto community. If we look at the tech giants like Apple, Facebook, or Google (where women make up between 30% and 40% of the workforce), the diversity in the crypto space pales in comparison.
Such statistics bring to mind the North American Bitcoin Conference that took place this past January, which infamously landed in the headlines after a raucous official after-party was held at a strip club. That conference had a gender imbalance too, with only 3 female speakers out of a field of 88 panelists.
In this male-dominated industry the stereotype is that the cryptocurrency leaders are men.
This year’s Forbes list of “The Richest People in Cryptocurrency” had 19 men and 0 women – but this doesn’t have to be the case. With online tools like crowdfunding and token sales readily available, there are now more opportunities than ever for women to get more involved in this promising industry.
Source of the problem: a blockchain developer or a crypto investor, a purely male profession?
According to recent research, women are more inclined to avoid risk, while men are perceived as more risky and speculative when investing in the financial markets. Nonetheless, the crypto space is becoming increasingly attractive to females due to potentially lucrative investment opportunities, as well as a high potential for career growth within a nascent and growing industry.
Cryptocurrency operates at the intersection of computer science and finance – two industries that women have historically been excluded from. The worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency are predominantly driven by the development community, a demographic where most professionals are male. This is partly due to the fact that men tend to pursue finance in higher education at a markedly higher rate than females. In fact, a recent study by Glassdoor showed that men accounted for more than 61% of new degrees obtained in finance.
In addition, women continue to not be recognized as actively as men for their achievements in the blockchain space. Owing primarily to the current demographics of the industry, far more attention is often dedicated to male crypto investors and founders than their female counterparts.
The opportunity for female founders to drive massive innovation in the space is bigger than ever – and by pursuing leadership roles, females can ensure they get equal recognition with their male counterparts as well. A number of recent high-profile appointments in the crypto space (such as a16z’s appointment of Katie Haun as the head of its crypto investment fund) have many believing that true change isn’t just possible – but inevitable.
The solution: crypto is open to all, but the success of the community depends on encouraging and maintaining a diverse workforce.
The great thing about cryptocurrencies is that they’re gender-agnostic. No matter who you are – male, female, trans, someone with bad credit, or someone with no credit at all – you can still open your laptop, create a wallet, buy crypto and transfer Bitcoin around the world. Even better, participation in the crypto industry is anonymous and no form of identification is needed.
That said, it’s worth considering how the crypto community can promote female inclusiveness and get more women interested in taking part in the Blockchain revolution.
[clickToTweet tweet=”it’s worth considering how the crypto community can promote female inclusiveness and get more women interested in taking part in the #Blockchain revolution” quote=”it’s worth considering how the crypto community can promote female inclusiveness and get more women interested in taking part in the #Blockchain revolution”]
Education resources related to blockchain and cryptocurrency should be fully democratized and readily available to the general public. Just as organizations like Code.org aim to teach Computer Science to high school students, cryptocurrencies should eventually be an integral part of every school’s curriculum. Communities like Girls Who Code and CodingFTW (which offers scholarships for EOS hackathons) can bring more awareness into this space – ultimately making it an industry that doesn’t just have more females, but is also female-friendly. The Draper University is an excellent example of one such institution that’s proposing a rollout of blockchain courses for males and females alike. Other universities should also consider integrating courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency into their programs, and perhaps even consider creating a Master’s degree focused solely on cryptography and blockchain.
Leverage ICOs and Crowdfunding to even the playing field
The VC industry (particularly in Silicon Valley) places an inordinately higher amount of its investment bets on the teams, and particularly on male founders. For instance, female founders received just 4.4% of all venture funding allocated during 2017. As a result, female founders have historically struggled to raise funding in and outside of the Valley.
However, ICOs and crowdfunding are two excellent ways that female founders can conduct fundraising on a global scale, thus removing any inherent gender biases. In today’s ICOs, most of the focus is placed on white-papers and the product itself.
Moving forward, female-led teams may do well to leverage ICOs for fundraising instead of opting for a more traditional VC round. Crowdfunding is another funding option that’s rapidly gained popularity in recent years, due to its ease of use and egalitarian approach to fundraising. By leveraging both of these options, female founders can increase their chances of successfully funding their token project, while also raising their profile in the crypto community more generally.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Moving forward, female-led teams may do well to leverage #ICOs for fundraising instead of opting for a more traditional VC round” quote=”Moving forward, female-led teams may do well to leverage #ICOs for fundraising instead of opting for a more traditional VC round”]
Recognition of Women In Crypto.
The successes of crypto’s leading women are more than worthy of celebration. As a cohesive unit, the crypto community should continue working to raise awareness about the achievements of female founders. From television interviews to printed editorials to becoming a startup mentor, there are numerous opportunities for the crypto community to give female founders more exposure, and create a more inclusive environment for all. A sustained growth in exposure will create a flywheel effect that’ll motivate more women to explore blockchain technology, work in the industry, and get recognized for their achievements – all the while perpetuating more of the same great results in the years to come.
The crypto community has more potential than ever, but an equal balance of both female and male founders is needed to truly move the blockchain revolution forward. By leveraging diverse methods of fundraising, ramping up education, and increasing its recognition of female founders, the crypto industry will take some significant strides towards creating a more equitable and inclusive community for all.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The crypto community has more potential than ever, but an equal balance of both female and male founders is needed to truly move the blockchain revolution forward #Blockchain #Cryptocurrency” quote=”The crypto community has more potential than ever, but an equal balance of both female and male founders is needed to truly move the blockchain revolution forward #Blockchain #Cryptocurrency”]