Katharine Wooller, managing director UK & Eire, Dacxi

CryptocurrencyThis is dedicated to a topic, for obvious reasons, very close to my heart: financial freedom and empowerment for anyone of the female persuasion. 

I find it very odd that next to none of the dialogue around finance is tailored to a group that makes up exactly half the population. That which is out there, tends to be rather patronising: the colour pink features heavily, as does pictures of pre-school children, which I am not sure is appealing to a very wide audience.

I am beyond proud to host a group called “Women Who Crypto”, which we believe to be the largest online group of women with an interest in wealth creation and crypto.  Our attendees come from many countries, backgrounds, ages, and relationship statuses.  There are those, like me, who work full time in crypto, and those who have a passing interest as a ‘side hustle’.  Attending is, of course, free, and the sessions are every few months, in the evening, and the invite is clear that a glass of wine is encouraged, if you are partial to that sort of thing.

Frankly the crypto industry is missing a trick.  A poll of our members showed that that primary factor limited their interaction with crypto was lack of knowledge, with 43% saying this was a barrier to entry.  Despite this, 97% of them saw crypto as a feature of their long-term wealth planning.  This is a huge potential market.  Certainly, women feel under served by the industry – the FCA’s summer research note suggests that 79% of the current owners of crypto are male.  Interestingly, a lot of the major exchanges found a strong uptick in female users over the year, with Cointelegraph reporting numbers growing between 22% and 160% over 2020.  Hopefully, the erroneously held belief that crypto is male-dominated, and just for super-hip millennials bros, will soon be put firmly to bed.

There is some really interesting data about female investing.  Let us start with the battle of the sexes – the girls come out on top!  Warwick Business School conducted a study of 2,800 UK men and women investing tracking their performance over three years. Not only did the women outperform the FTSE 100 over the time period, they also achieved better returns than their male counterparts, beating men by 1.8%.   When you add some compounding over, say, 10 years, the difference in performance will be eyewatering.  One of my favourite quotes, seems relevant:  Charlotte Winton, who was a feminist trailblazer in her own right as first woman mayor of a major city in Canada claimed, “whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good”. Conveniently, she goes on to say: “luckily, this is not difficult’.

The way that women invest is also fascinating. Other academic findings have suggested that women have a more long-term investment perspective than men, and that female investors investors tend to be less likely to make risky financial decisions than men. The global BlackRock Investor Pulse survey shows that 72 per cent of women rejected investments in “riskier” categories, as opposed to 59 per cent of men.  I can’t help but think some of this is coloured by the fact that in an economic downturn, those most effected are at the bottom of the financial pile, which, regrettably, often includes women.

The psychologists suggest that women seem to favour a more rounded style of decision making.  Research shows that men and women differ dramatically in their strategies for information processing and decision-making.  Women tend to be more comprehensive and take both subjective (customer reviews) and objective information into consideration, while men tend to favour objective information (facts and figures).  Overall women consult a broad source of information, and are more community focused in sourcing this infromation.  For this reason, we bring together a broad range of female experience on our sessions; we hear from women who are single, married, divorced, had kids, or have chosen not to.  They all have their own reasons for investing, whether its financial security, a marriage insurance policy, or for their childrens’ futures. We rarely have professional speakers, rather we prefer “normal ladies” to talk about their personal crypto experience, be it the good, the bad, or the very ugly.  Interestingly, most industry research, across both sexes, show that crypto is predominately purchased on the basis of recommendation.

I also want to give a nod to the women that invest on “gut feel”, and prioritise an intuitive decision making process.  Lots of crypto fans, myself included, feel that the world’s financial system leaves a lot to be desired, and that crypto is about a fairer system and the democratisation of wealth.  In my opinion, to be involved in crypto now, is not about waiting for the mainstream, it is about helping to make something mainstream. Tokenisation, via crypto, across every asset class, is the obvious next step of this evolution of our financial infrastructure.

Katharine Wooller About the author

Katharine Wooller is managing director, UK and Eire, Dacxi – a digital crypto fintech platform specialising in bringing cryptocurrency to the ‘crowd’.

Katharine Wooller has had a long UK fintech career, as Investment Director at industry leading peer-to-peer lender, and in senior roles at a specialist investment banking SAAS supporting tier one banks, asset managers and hedge funds.  More recently she has held advisory roles for blockchain businesses and is currently MD for a retail crypto exchange. She leads the Women Who Crypto initiative.

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