Women and the Future of Cryptocurrency: A Case Study in Everyday Digital Asset Payments
Recently, significant attention has been given to the limited number of women involved in the crypto space. This limited number applies not only to investors and coin holders but also to innovators and developers in the area. As women comprise about half of the population, their shortage in the cryptosphere hints at what could be a significant factor in crypto’s holding pattern.
To Succeed, Crypto Needs Women
The impetus behind Bitcoin was to create a peer-to-peer method of exchanging value to allow people to operate freely outside of existing financial and governmental systems. According to blockchain and bitcoin expert, Andreas Antonopoulos, the success of cryptocurrency is not indicated by its price, but instead by how widely it’s used. From this perspective comes the question of why cryptocurrency isn’t being used in more spaces by more people.
Mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency would mean local, daily purchases could be transacted in crypto. A look at who does the bulk of consumer spending provides insight into how crypto could make its way more quickly into the mainstream.
According to Dhanusha Sivajee, currently chief marketing officer at XO Group Inc.:
“Whether women are working or even if they are at home, we see that women drive 70 to 80% of all consumer purchases. This has a lot to do with the multiplier effect. Even if women are not making the transaction they are still impacting the decisions because they are the primary caregiver of children and the elderly.”
For crypto to find a prominent place in retail, there must be a demand; that is, consumers have to indicate to retailers that they want to be able to pay with cryptocurrency.
With women behind up to 80% of purchases, even if they are not making every single transaction, they make a significant portion of them. If those transactions are to be shifted to include crypto options, women need to be informed about the utility of crypto and the basics of getting started with crypto, i.e., choosing a wallet, etc.
Getting women on board with cryptocurrency would likely boost sales in crypto for retailers already offering the payment option, many of which are online retailers. Women are ahead of the online shopping curve when compared with men.
In March 2018, CNBC reported on a First Insight study that revealed that while only 22 percent of men reported frequently using a phone to shop, 40 percent of women said the frequent use of a phone for shopping.
Interestingly, Forbes identified the rise in retailers using cryptocurrency as an influential factor in retail in 2018 and speculated that 2018 could be the year that people start to make local decisions based less on an actual product and more on the payment options available. Understanding what women look for when making transactions and what existing payment options don’t offer that crypto can are vital components to increase the use of crypto among women. The importance of making sure women are informed about crypto and comfortable using it is thus crucial to a quicker crypto takeoff in the mainstream.
Participation at all Levels
While undoubtedly, multiple factors have contributed to the limited number of women involved in cryptocurrency, lack of engagement is a critical component to address to see a change in participation. Involvement of women at several levels is essential to capturing the female market, according to Sivajee, who discussed the importance of having women “front and center of your content and product development,” rather than focusing solely on marketing or advertising.
To this end, the small number of women involved in the development of blockchain technology and crypto-related applications means a slower road to the type of widespread adoption that will allow crypto to take off. However, several women have already made a name for themselves in the crypto space like Tina Hui, Elvina Kamalova, Karyl Fowler, and others.
While they acknowledge the lopsided look of the area regarding gender representation, they also conveyed that the cryptosphere is not concerned with gender: it cares about results.
Successful women in crypto are essential to another point that Sivajee touched on, “90% of our female audience makes a point to pass along deals and information to other women.” Regarding crypto, this statistic indicates a potential for a snowball effect; as more women develop the interest in and use crypto, the more women they will inform.
It also shows potential value in offering incentives for crypto spending. According to the First Insight study, women commonly look for deals and compare prices before purchasing. If there’s a better price through the use of crypto or a related transaction, more women will gravitate toward using it.
If the cryptosphere is paying attention, it won’t be surprising to see more effort being made to include women at all levels. At the same time, women, as they comprise such a valuable part of the market, need to be wary of ICOs that may seek to take advantage.
For instance, Pink Taxi describes itself as a women-only taxi service utilizing crypto and blockchain technology. Despite claims that “Pink Taxi aims to empower women both economically and socially by providing a convenient and safe mode of transportation that benefits both its drivers and passengers,” several discrepancies have been identified that necessitate caution.
The Pink Taxi website was reported for plagiarism of a different taxi service site and misuse of media from other sources. Telegram messages promised investors they’d get rich, another warning sign to heed. While it’s likely that many legitimate crypto ventures for women are in the works, it will be important that proper education on the cryptosphere is accessible sooner rather than later.
The challenge of mass crypto adoption could be impacted drastically by the involvement of women on all levels, whether it’s as developers, innovators, investors, or as crypto users. It will be interesting to see what efforts are made to include the female half of the population in the exciting space of blockchain and cryptocurrency and the effect that increased female involvement will have on the future of these technologies. <