Crypto app installs grew by over 400% year over year in 2021 – but the gender ratio between male and female users has barely moved from 80:20 since the beginning of 2020.
The one moment in time when one of these apps had an active female user base of more than 30% was July through November 2020, for Trust Wallet (owned by Binance).
Looking at the time period, two factors potentially worked together to generate the spike for Trust:
1. Acceptable prices and lower volatility. Generally, women have a lower risk tolerance for investments than men. While not near all-time lows, prices were a far cry from the late 2018 surge. Volatility had also come down. During this time, "staking," or holding the currency was talked about as a low risk investing strategy that could potentially earn a holder passive income.
I think this is key to why Trust appealed to females over the other most popular crypto apps. FTX, Crypto.com, Coinbase (Exchange) and Voyager* are either exclusively an exchange meant for trading cryptocurrency, or an exchange and a wallet. Each app includes "Buy" in its app title, and all except Crypto.com emphasize selling as well. Trust Wallet comes across as the most passive, fit for holding safely, without any functionality for trading. As a wallet, Trust can send and receive currency, as well as pay for items.
After November 2020, Bitcoin reached its first all-time high since 2018 and continued on a rally, which led to more men than women flocking to crypto apps. The ratio of users returned to about 80:20 where it has stayed.
2. Female crypto influencers. Cryptocurrency education to this day is not exactly mainstream, so low prices and a low-risk investment strategy alone would have fallen on deaf ears if it weren't for a rise in "finfluencers" of the crypto variety. Between Binance announcing its first-ever Binance Influencer Award in June 2020, and the transpiring controversy in which Instagram banned several crypto female influencers for critiquing the lack of female nominees, its clear that influencers were a phenomenon for the niche, and they were well-publicized.
The theory is interesting now because, while cryptocurrency is arguably coming out of a "crypto winter" (when prices froze after a fall), earning passive income by staking is making a “comeback”, according to Business Insider, none of the apps I looked at are attracting more women.
Last month, a survey released by BlockFi said 1 in 3 women plan to buy crypto this year and 60% intend to in the next month. It will be interesting to watch our data to see whether this comes to fruition, and whether one app attracts the majority. Will there be an Ellevest for cryptocurrency?
Ellevest, by the way, who bills itself as the Investing app for women and has a 70:30 female-to-male ratio, is educating its hundreds of thousands of female users that investing in cryptocurrency is high-maintenance, and compares it to gambling in Vegas.
Female crypto influencers, if there was a time to expand your platform by starting an app, it might be now.