Perhaps you’ve heard of cryptocurrency. It’s been in the news a bit lately. You may have heard it hit $500 billion* in valuation earlier this year. Or that it could top $1 trillion by the end of 2018.
In the Bay Area, you could say we’ve heard of crypto. Or more accurately, you could say we’re obsessed.
Like Godwin’s law for online discussions, San Francisco now has a Satoshi Law — within 10 minutes of the start of any conversation, crypto will be brought up in some capacity. Stroll down Market Street on a weekday and you’ll overhear talk of Bitcoin’s current price. Nab a seat at happy hour and get a rundown on whether the SEC is regulating ICOs. Jog through Golden Gate Park at peak hours and receive a crash course in whether Monero is a better buy than Ripple.
Even the good parties have “Crypto” in the title. There are crypto meetups, happy hours, retreats, brunches, panels, meditation sessions — the list goes on.
Some Silicon Valley veterans roll their eyes at all the brouhaha. They sermonize about crypto’s similarities to the dot-com bubble, the spectacular rise of which was surpassed only by its supersonic fall.
Still, there’s something different about all these crypto events. OK maybe there are a lot of things different. But the difference I want to talk about is this:
They’re full of women.
Whether it’s classes or conferences or panels, women are showing up in droves to learn about how to invest in crypto. Every day of the week we’re filling our social calendars with crypto-related functions. Whether or not we have backgrounds in finance or coding, we’re making time to go out and gain knowledge. And men are noticing. “I like going to crypto events because they’re full of women!” one prominent venture capitalist told me recently.
Some of us are the ones building the empire. Whether it’s writing code, launching ICOs or running crypto funds, these power ladies are making sure to keep women in the game (and right now, that game is still pretty wild).
The rest of us aren’t accredited investors (yet). We don’t do programming, we don’t have finance backgrounds, and we may never even have bought stock or put together an investment portfolio. But we’re heading out to crypto events nonetheless.
Why, you ask? No, it’s not to pick up the crypto-bros dripping in money. (No offense! Y’all are lovely. Well, some of you are. But that’s not why we show up.)
The reason we’re racing from our busy days at the office to CryptoMondays and CryptoBrunches and Crypto Trivia Nights is simple:
We want to learn, we want to invest, and we want to get rich.
Crypto has been called many things, and most of them are true. But one thing we can agree on is that it’s a new source of wealth creation that’s making Wall Street look like small potatoes. Nobel-winning economists are fighting about it. World leaders are sweating over it. Billionaires are calling themselves the “Forrest Gump of Bitcoin.”
So why shouldn’t women be out to get a piece of the action?
Right now the number of women as a slice of total crypto investors may sound small — it’s less than 30 percent. But let’s flip the coin on that for a second: There is a major source of wealth generation that’s still in its early stages, and is spitting out millionaires like a rigged slot machine. And a double-digit percentage of the people investing in it are female.
It’s progress for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that women are painfully aware of our current financial situation, which is good (or at least better than it’s ever been), but not great. There’s that damn pay gap. And even worse, that damn wealth gap — women own 32 cents for every dollar held by men. Which, in a word, sucks.
Traditional institutions aren’t exactly helping. No amount of leaning in or pushing for parental leave has solved the whole “women bear the children” thing. We take breaks during crucial earning years for this reason, meaning we contribute less to social security, so we get less back. We negotiate less on salaries, we inherit less, we save less for retirement, we focus less on building portfolios, we put less away in 401(k)s, and all of a sudden I need a drink.
As far as growing and managing the money we do have, our options can seem a bit limited given that over 80 percent of financial planners are men and their average age is 55.
But, as Obama used to say, “Change is hard and it takes time.”
Unless it doesn’t.
Unless a new asset class waltzes in, taps women on the shoulder and offers us a chance to be part of what could be one of the greatest financial events in a generation. Unlike the rest of the investment world, crypto is still unchartered enough that men haven’t had time to nail a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door.
So we want in. We want to know what to buy, how much, when, and why. We show up at these events ready to strike, cold storage wallets, and Binance accounts at the ready. We are absorbing information and arming ourselves with knowledge so we can go home and invest.
When ICOs raise more than $6.5 billion in a year, we’re paying attention. When CEOs talk about how crypto could replace Wall Street and influential investors proclaim that Bitcoin is the new stock market indicator, we’re watching.
We’re learning how to weigh the naysayers, and how to do our homework on which coins have a mission and a viable strategy, and which ICOs are likely to be busts — or worse, scams.
Plus we know better than to invest with our…lower impulses. (I have no data to support this but I’m gonna say it anyway: not a single woman fell for that “have cute girls write your company name on their bodies as fake marketing” racket.)
We know that this is early days, and crypto is still finding its legs. And if we make bad bets, we’ll pick ourselves up and learn from it, and be smarter next time. Women have been coping with crushing disappointment for years — centuries, even. Losing a little cash on Ethereum isn’t going to scar us for life.
The importance of women learning about crypto isn’t just for crypto’s sake. Women getting rich is not a fad. It is an essential next step in moving society forward.
While #MeToo and #TimesUp were critical steps, the real power to enforce these movements comes with dollars. Money is power, and for women, it’s deeply tied to our self worth, our sense of security and our ability to use our voices in a society that’s only just starting to hear us.
As Melinda Gates said, “When money flows into the hands of women, everything changes.” And if women want real social change, we need the funds to make it happen.
We’ve already seen that women + money = good. Like this — check out how many female names you see on this roster (not to mention the ones you don’t see, like the late Susan Buffett who had singular influence in getting her husband to give his money away).
Just imagine if crypto gave us a few dozen more female billionaires. Or a few hundred. How different would the world look? How much more good could women be empowered to do? At the very least it’d take some of the pressure off of Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg.
So ladies, let’s do this. All of us, regardless of our pasts or our financial experience, can jump in the game and own their money future. Crypto is just one way. There are many more. When Katy Perry is posting Instagram pics of her nails painted with crypto logos and Cardi B is hitting #1 with a single about the joys of getting filthy rich the self-made way, I’d say it means we’re reaching critical mass on this.
On an individual level, women having more money will impact every woman’s life. The more we have, the more we’ll feel empowered to ask for. We can learn to treat every salary offer as a jumping-off point. We can have greater power in building the security and financial freedom that gives us options when faced with a terrible situation. And we can pack boards with women and watch their companies outperform on every metric.
After all, we already know that the next Warren Buffet will be a woman. And you can bet that she’ll be bullish on crypto.
This is our moment. It’s our time.
Let’s make some money moves.
A list of awesome women to follow on crypto:
- Lindsey Maule
- Linda Xie
- Liana Douillet Guzman
- Nikola Duke
- Tiffany Hayden
- Bad Crypto Chicks
- Preethi Kasireddy
- Ronak Pakzad
*YES I AM AWARE THAT THE CRYPTO MARKET FELL BELOW $300 BILLION A FEW WEEKS AGO — THAT MEANS IT’S ON SALE!!