Money Mondays is your go-to guide for all the information you need to manage your finances. For this week’s column, stylist.co.uk investigates why there has been a sudden surge of interest in cryptocurrencies amongst women.
It’s been almost a decade since cryptocurrencies burst into existence, with developer Satoshi Nakamoto creating the first Bitcoin back in 2009. Since then, over 4,000 cryptocurrencies have been generated, and their values have both risen and plummeted sharply.
For example, a Bitcoin was worth around £14.80 five years ago, but in December it hit a staggering value of around £14,061. Since then, however, the market has crashed, leaving the current value of a Bitcoin lingering at around £4,665 (at the time of writing). Whether it subsequently becomes worth much, much more or much, much less, seems to be anybody’s guess.
One thing we do know about cryptocurrencies is that more and more women are choosing to invest in them. In fact, the number of women considering crypto investment has doubled in the last six months, according to new market research from London Block Exchange (LBX), the UK’s only dedicated multi-cryptocurrency exchange. Now, 13% of women are considering investing in crypto, compared to just 6% at the beginning of the year.
And it seems that millennial women in particular are keen to invest in crypto currencies, with 20% women showing an interest in these digital currencies. In comparison, the interest from men has levelled out, and shows little change from the beginning of the year.
But why does cryptocurrency appeal so much to women in particular? Agnes De Royere, a senior business analyst at LBX, believes it’s because cryptocurrency is an entirely new financial model – one without such a male-dominated history.
“The traditional finance system has always typically been male dominated, especially when it comes to investing,” De Royere tells stylist.co.uk. “Cryptocurrency on the other hand, has entered the market to challenge the notion of professional expertise – it has always at its heart, been about transparency, decentralised economy and democratising finance and making it accessible for everyone.
“Being a new financial model has its advantages – it means that more people have been able to easily follow and engage with crypto, and watch it develop, as opposed to letting it become another financial instrument for professional traders. We also can’t deny the role that technology has, and will continue to play, in all of this – which will ultimately lead to greater financial empowerment and inclusion.”
So what is it like investing in cryptocurrencies? Stylist.co.uk asked filmmaker and producer Shayda Frost to explain why she decided to do invest, and the advice she would offer to anyone considering doing the same…
When did you first hear about crypto?
“I’ve been aware of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin for a while. I remember hearing about it a few years after the financial crisis in 2008. One of my friends told me the future of traditional currency is going to change dramatically in the next few years, and she was basically saying that the future was crypto. I thought that was a bit extreme, but it did make me think about its potential.”
Why did you decide to invest? Did you seek any advice before doing so?
“In the last few years, I’ve started to really question what I’m doing with my money. Interest rates have been low for many years, so returns through traditional savings haven’t been that attractive and traditional investments can be complex or lock you in for long periods.
“I was interested in crypto because some of my close friends (who are women) were investing in it early last year. Having people you know and trust made it easier to get involved in the market. It was nice to share information on cryptocurrency prices and talk about investment strategies. Ultimately, without the support of my friends, I don’t think I would have been comfortable investing in the digital currency.”
Can you give us an outline of how much you invested, how you did it, and the returns you’ve had?
“My investment strategy was quite simple. Although I didn’t invest that much money, around a thousand pounds, I diversified the investment across three different coins. I used a digital currency exchange based in the US to buy the crypto. I managed to triple my returns because I sold most of my investment in early 2018. But I’ve kept hold of some coins as I think they have potential in the next 12 months.”
What advice would you have for other women thinking of investing?
“I think it’s really important to know your risk tolerance before investing in cryptocurrency. It’s definitely not for everyone – especially if you are risk-averse. Make sure you have plenty of cash savings and are paying into your pension etc. before you look into crypto as a higher risk part of your portfolio.
“For women looking to invest, I’d advise doing your research beforehand. Not only on what coins to invest in (there are tons), but also to look at historic price movements of the currency. Like many financial assets, the price is volatile. Think about how long you want to invest for. Are you planning on a quick turnaround if the price spikes a little, or a longer term strategy?”
What do you think the future of crypto is?
“It’s hard to pick up a newspaper and not see a story about cryptocurrency today. It’s quite a heated topic between those in mainstream finance that are quick to write-off its potential and those in the crypto-sphere that believe it’s going to save the world. I’m someone that’s more in the middle of that line.
“I think its potential, particularly the technology underpinning it (blockchain), is very interesting. However, it seems that its long-term future relies on whether it can be regulated, which some say is the very thing that makes it unique – either way I think it’s here to stay.”
Do you want to find out more about cryptocurrencies? Head here for everything you need to know, as explained by financial expert Sarah Pennells.
Images: Anthony Tran, Rawpixel, Thoughtcatalog, Unsplash