Readdressing the Balance: The Gender Pay-Gap in Virtual Currencies

New Research Suggests Cryptocurrency Is Democratising Investment

  • Latest research indicates that whilst men are still more likely to invest in cryptocurrency than women, women are vastly more likely to invest in the most profitable cryptocurrencies.
  • Students account for a higher proportion of investors than finance, real estate and engineering professionals respectively.
  • Millennials aged 24 – 35 are the most likely to make profitable investments.

Like the blockchain technology that underpins it, cryptocurrency has the power to democratise the investment world. This assertion is borne out by latest research undertaken by leading online crypto investment platform, eToro, who argue that cryptocurrency offers a diverse range of people new options for their finances.

This diversity is reflected across four key demographic traits: gender, profession, age and investment experience level.

Gender

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  • Men still are recorded to invest more: our data shows that 91.5% of all investments are made by men.
  • However, this doesn’t mean they’re getting the biggest payout – at least not on an individual level.
  • Although women therefore account for just 8.5% of investors, they disproportionately invested in the most profitable currencies, particularly Ripple, which offers an average return of 8.4%.

Age

  • Millennials (aged approximately 18 – 35) account for 52.5% of the total investments made across the platform.
  • The most profitably-invested group is aged 24-35, making an average of 3.08% profit.

Professions

  • Students, retirees and the unemployed each account for a significant proportion of investors.
  • 15.05% of computer and IT professionals are invested in cryptocurrency, making them the largest individual group.
  • At 14.49%, student investment comes in at a close second, and ranks higher than that of professionals from the finance, real estate and engineering sectors respectively.

Experience

  • Novices make up 81.96% of investors, dwarving the proportion of investors claiming themselves to be advanced, comprising just 7.38%.
  • This suggests that new technologies could be making investment more user-friendly, and backs up the evidence that cryptocurrency has a reputation for being an entry-level product for many.

Why Democratisation Matters

At its core, investment is about ensuring that the real value of a person’s earnings is maintained long-term. In an ideal world, this is also combined with growth.

To this end, when it is considered that investment can seem alien to many, its democratisation is imperative to the creation of a stronger economy and the financial enfranchisement of many more in society. Some of the key demographics who would be most impacted by this are highlighted in the research:

  • Gender: Even though women are likely to outlive men, as well as lose out on significant earnings over their lifetimes because of the gender pay gap, they are typically less likely to invest. With the research showing that women’s investments are more profitable, it has the power to encourage more women to invest. What’s more, as an international investment platform, there is potential for women around the globe to access investment opportunities they might not otherwise have.
  • Age: 80% of Millennials don’t invest, citing lack of disposable income as a fundamental reason. Given that more than half of investors on eToro are Millennials, this suggests that cryptocurrencies are seen as an accessible exception to the rule. Moreover, cryptocurrency popularity among the young hints at a potential future preparedness to see virtual currencies become a more prominent feature of a broad financial portfolio and even a means of exchange.
  • Profession: The ability for those not conventionally employed to access financial growth via cryptocurrency investment opens up financial agency to a broad cross-section of society. It is perhaps also interesting that the conventionally well-employed and traditionally financially literate (financial services professionals, engineers and real estate professionals) do not opt for cryptocurrency, suggesting a risk aversion that is not characteristic of their younger and more precariously-employed counterparts.
  • Experience: Most cryptocurrency investments are being made by novices. Given that these investments are, on average, actually profitable for every age group except the 18 – 23 year olds, this reflects both a change in attitude towards investing independent of traditional firms, and hints at a greater reliance on technology, robots and oneself to make sound judgements, suggesting that FinTech has the power to disrupt the investment world still further in future.

To view an infographic presenting the data, please click here.

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