Traditional investing is dominated by men, but Web3 is a blank slate. As more women join the herd, we may break the exclusivity narrative.
There’s no denying the current opinion about Web3: it’s a boys’ club. And if we continue to reinforce this narrative, it will come true. The truth about crypto as a boys’ club will not only hurt women, it will hurt all the prospects and growth of Web3.
Web3 is not an exclusive club designed to keep people away. It’s a tide party that lifts all boats and gets better every time someone new joins. The more people involved, the better the results for everyone.
My exposure to crypto came early: it was 2013 and I was invited to a small meeting at SXSW in Austin to discuss technologies and trends – specifically Bitcoin (BTC). I was the only woman in this group. Many of us knew nothing about Bitcoin, but during the evening we were invited to educate ourselves. At that time, Bitcoin was worth $35. Some of us invested that night, others a few weeks later. I waited until the end of the year and invested in the move at $841 per coin. This decision to join had a significant impact on my life. Today, Bitcoin is trading at around $40,000 per coin.
I often thought back to being in that room in Austin, grateful to have been a part of those early conversations. But I also firmly believe that the conversation is just getting started. It is not too late to invest in this emerging industry.
Related: If the glass slipper doesn’t fit, smash it: debunking the myth of gender equality in crypto
“Web3 is becoming more attractive as speculation gives way to participation,” Julian Weisser, a core member of the DAO Constitution, told me recently. He added:
“When people feel like owners rather than speculators or pinball players, they have a deeper connection to the project. We need more Web3 initiatives that serve humanity’s infinitely varied interests.”
Web3 can (and should) turn years of economic inequality on its head
It is important to understand some of the reasons why cryptocurrency has earned its reputation as a “boys club” so that we can break it down. Basically, I believe that cryptocurrencies were originally considered a risky investment. Women who are naturally more risk-averse are protected from the first wave.
Today, the male-female divide in crypto is consistent with the legacy of traditional male-centric investment verticals. While 40% of men own individual stocks, only 24% of women own them, according to a CNBC and Acorns poll. Likewise, three-quarters of cryptocurrency holders are men, meaning many women are overlooking the total market valued at roughly $2 trillion, according to the U.S. State Cryptocurrency Report 2021 by cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.
But it’s not too late to get the ship back on track, and I think if we do that, there’s a huge opportunity for women to destroy some of the gender wealth and pay gap that is becoming the fabric of our society. While tackling the disparity in generational wealth accumulated through traditional investment opportunities can become increasingly difficult, Web3 is a clean slate. Why fall into old patterns while thinking about new frontiers? The big promise of digital currencies like bitcoin and ether (ETH) has been their ability to turn the tide on Wall Street. In doing so, let us also change the scenario for women’s financial future.
Related: Is Crypto a guys club? The future of finance does not depend on gender
Make Web3 a Club for Everyone
So, how do we get off the ground today to make Web3 a club for everyone?
Well, part of the obstacle is the entry barrier. Typically, people learn about Web3 in a fairly isolated fashion—a friend telling a friend about a Discord channel they should subscribe to to learn more, or tagging a friend on Twitter about a topic of interest. Since most of the early followers of the movement were men, they also enlisted their male friends to get involved. Simply getting deeper into your network is the most effective way to reach more women.
I was lucky that lawyer Gary Vaynerchuk invited me to this meeting in early 2013. We need more of this. For a movement to grow and gain legitimacy, we need everyone involved. I want to join Web3