Females finding financial freedom

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.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


The tipping point | Adventures of a Unicorn

Katharine Wooller, Managing Director, UK and Eire, Dacxi

CryptocurrencyGetting crypto to be taken seriously sometimes feels like pushing a very large snowball up a hill; at some point it has to have the critical mass to gather its own momentum!

Over the last few weeks it feels as though, finally, the industry has come of age, hastened greatly of course by a global pandemic, and the implosion of all major economies.

It seems as in the David and Goliath fight that is crypto Vs banking, that the first-round bell has gone off, with surprising results.

The industry news of recent weeks is enlightening, affirming confidence from institutional investors.

The asset manager Stone Ridge Holdings Group has purchased 10,000 BTC (approx. £88m at the time of writing) as a “primary treasury reserve asset”.  Micro-strategy has purchase $425m worth of BTC, and Square has invested $50m.  Mode Global Holdings, a London Stock Exchange-listed company, has announced plans to make a substantial purchase, as it looks to convert 10% of its cash holdings as part of a strategy “protect investors’ assets from currency debasement.”

Grayscale Investments, whose clients are mainly institutional and professional investors, announced a record quarter, with over $1 billion raised in three months, more than four times the amount for same quarter last year.   Even the investment banks have had reason to pause on their usual scorn: JP Morgan issued a research note on bitcoin stressing the “vote of confidence” from Square’s recent treasury purchase of $50 million worth of BTC.  If the institutional interest is there, crypto is finally being taken seriously as an asset class.

To my mind, the industry is now a force to be reckoned with.  It is no longer only a niche interest for hipsters, millennials and PHD computer scientists.  This week a PWC report on investment in crypto related businesses suggests that the industry is all grown up, with $1.1bn being deployed via venture capital.  The value of these deals in the first half of 2020 has already eclipsed that of the whole of 2019.  The rate of progress is clearly ramping up.  Around $597m has been spent on 60 deals in 6 months, mostly focused on crypto exchanges (in my opinion a long overdue consolidation) and trading infrastructure – again a sign of a maturing industry.

These changes are best seen via the lens of a global shift to blockchain technology, which is now omnipresent across a large number of industries, not just banking and payments, but also supply chain logistics, gambling, gaming, healthcare and agriculture.  I would go so far as to say it is necessary progress for mankind.

PWC estimates that blockchain technology stands to boost the global economy by $1.7tr in the next 10 years –  at 1.4% of global GDP this is significant in our current predicament.  PWC’s economists are very specific about timescale, forecasting a tipping point of 2025 if blockchain technologies are adopted at scale across the world, suggesting that the UK stands to benefit by around $50bn over the decade.  They also identify that financial services stands to generate $224bn worth of value from blockchain, unsurprising therefore that the blockchain industry is “eating the lunch” of traditional banking businesses.

It is no surprise to me that Paypal, one of the world’s largest payment businesses, has finally confirmed, officially, in the last few days they will be offering crypto to their 300m+ users, nor that the prices reacted very positively to this news – at the time of writing the last 24 hours have seen Bitcoin rally 6%, Ethereum 9% and Litecoin 12%.

The rate of progress has noticeably ramped up in the last few weeks, and in my opinion, we are past the point of no return.  Great news for the industry, and early investors alike.  I’ll raise a glass to that!

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech start up in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.  

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.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


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Opportunity in chaos | Adventures of a Unicorn

Katharine Wooller, managing director, Dacxi UK and Eire

desk-with-laptopWe are in some strange times; I fully expect my children and grandchildren to ask me what it was like to live through the Coronavirus era.  It is the black swan event to dwarf all others.  

The Bank of England has forecasted a fall in GDP of 30% due to the pandemic – the worst in 300 years.   By way of comparison to previous recessions in living memory, the pre-recession peak to trough fall in GDP was around 5% for the mid-1970s and early-1980s recessions, whilst the early-1990s recession was relatively shallow at around 2%.

The major economies are drunk on printing money like there’s no hangover tomorrow.  Again, for some context on the size of the problems we are facing, America has printed more money in one month of this year than in the first two 200 years of existence.

This means that during 2020 the U.S. budget deficit — 3.3 trillion USD — was larger than the total debt incurred from 1776 through the end of 1979.  In the interest of perspective, with the first trillion dollars, the US managed to defeat British imperialists, bought Alaska and the Louisiana Purchase, defeat fascism, end the Great Depression, built an Interstate Highway System, and get mankind to walk on the moon.

Overall, economically, we are fairly well up poop creek with no paddle and a hole in the boat. In the UK, we currently have the lowest base rate on record, and there is much talk about negative interest rates forthcoming in the near future. The property market is forecasted by the CEBR to drop by 14% next year, the FTSE is down 22% for the year to date – frankly there aren’t many places for cash to lie low and wait it out. The politicians are quick to point out there is no “quick fix” – Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party conference speech last week was the first senior politician, that I am aware of, to point out there is no going back to our previous normal. As Prime Minister one assumes that he’s privy to information the average man on the street isn’t.  More worryingly, Sunak has already warned the British public to steel themselves for taxation increases due to the “once in a century” nature of the crisis.

The historian in me cannot help but notice that boom and bust are cyclical.  After every major event there have been enormous social and economic change, and that there is huge opportunity in the current scenario – the two world wars being an obvious example.  Whilst the devastation of coronavirus is particularly felt in the margins of society, in the most physically and economically vulnerable of our community, there is huge opportunity for evolution, particularly in our financial infrastructure.  Already, arguably, this is taking place.

At the top of the list is The Global Economic Reset initiative from the International Monetary Fund, with no small remit, in their own words to “build a world that is greener, smarter and fairer”.  The vast majority of central banks are looking to digitise their currencies, which gives crypto a starring role.  The EU has pledged a new set rules by 2024 with the aim of streamlining cross border payments and “enabling the uptake of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and crypto-assets in the financial sector”.  As the acceptance and use of crypto grows, particularly in the coins with a fixed supply (ie bitcoin), I would hazard an educated guess, will the prices.

For the savvy, there is huge opportunity in the current environment. I take no offense that the ever-growing number of retail and institutional investors would not be joining the crypto party if the economy was a bed of sweet-smelling roses. Fidelity estimates a third of institutional investors now own crypto; the FCA’s research shows that the uptake from retail investors has doubled over the last year.

The growth patterns in both gold and crypto shows a flight to safe haven assets as a hedge against inflation. Gold futures climbed past $1,900 per ounce over COVID to tally their highest settlement and intraday on record at the height of COVID, and the blue-chip crypto Bitcoin and Ethereum are up 54% and 202% respectively.

Interestingly, it was only over the COVID summer that industry titans came on record in praise of bitcoin as a hedge against inflation; for example, Hedge Fund superstar Paul Tudor-Jones pledging: “If I am forced to forecast, my bet is it will be Bitcoin”. Similarly, over COVID, investment guru Raoul Pal pivoted hard to bitcoin, grimly noting that coronavirus will be ‘the largest insolvency event in history”.

We are in for a rocky ride, the best defence for the average person appears to be: financial education, diversification, reasonable cash reserves, and emotional resilience.

See you on the other side, in what I hope will be an improved version of our previous systems.

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech start up in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.  

Katharine WoollerAbout 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.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


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Goal setting | Adventures of a Unicorn

FintechFor the uninitiated, for the start-up community “unicorn” status is the holy grail of growth, the sacred £1bn valuation. They are a source of much mystique, and many a bad half-idea is a creaking rocking horse masquerading as the mythical being.

Even worse, the Shoreditch scene has become, for some businesses, a parody of itself.  Too much skateboarding to work with a good idea in theory, not enough actual action or sustainable profitability.  Alas, a lot of horse manure often contained therein.

Dacxi is the 6th disruptive business I have worked with from an early stage, and my 3rd in the blockchain space.  Two tech start-ups I have recently assisted, have recently achieved pre-money valuations of £15m and £5m respectively.  My blog posts will attempt to cut some of the sound business advice from the zeitgeist wannabees’ soundbite sophism.  Certainly, you have to think differently to create a unicorn.

Fintech, and specifically the crypto industry, is a microcosm for a number of broader social phenomena of our times. It is a perfect venn diagram of a number of themes: big data, a sense that the current financial infrastructure is not fit for purpose, the decentralisation and democratisation of wealth, the need for a vastly improved (cheaper, faster & more efficient way) to move value.

It has been seemingly unstoppable in its rise.  Numerous entities have come out in favour of blockchain technologies: from Central Banks working on digital currencies, such as our very own Bank of England, leviathan payment firms (Mastercard, Visa, Paypal) to titans of banking including BlackRock, DTCC and the New York Stock Exchange. Some of the world’s largest retail firms, also, have pinned their colours to the flag of crypto, including eBay, Starbucks and Uber.   More interestingly, recent trends have suggested that bitcoin is “decoupling” from traditional financial markets, and a number of substantial hedge funds are taking it seriously as an asset class.  Indeed, industry stalwart Paul Tudor Jones has postulated that it can be used to hedge against inflation.

There are some industry commentators suggesting we are in the “iPhone moment”, in terms of adoption, as it becomes the dominant technology, past the point of no return. Certainly, much like dog years, a week in crypto is the same as a year in any other industry.

I’m not generally a massive fan of platitudes, but I’ve always liked the phrase: “if your dreams and aspirations don’t scare you, then they are not big enough”.  Interestingly google suggests a number of folk who claim all credit for this wholesome advice!

I joined Dacxi in late February 2020, a business with aggressive aspirations: to build a leading retail crypto exchange, which seeks to provide liquidity on its community coin, list on the London Stock Exchange in the next 12 months and create the world’s largest female crypto community.  No small remit, and whilst we regularly make press comment, it felt right to capture some of the joys and frustrations on a detailed basis.

Hopefully this blog will provide a lively account of the roller coaster ride that is an early stage fintech!

In next week’s blog: Starting a new job during COVID and the newly acceptable business behaviour!

Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech start-up in hypergrowth.  Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space. 

Katharine WoollerAbout 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.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here