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Cryptocurrencies are a nest of machismo and testosterone more harmful than Wall Street

“Here you hold with balls”. Wall Street Wolverine has 190,000 followers and is one of the best-known influencers in Spain within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. He is also the one who encourages his followers to hold “with balls”. If you don't have them, you already know where the door is. Or, as he says in his Twitter description of it, “this is the market, mate.” If I am a woman and I want to invest in cryptocurrencies, I do not feel particularly welcome. Hopefully it can be held at the same level with ovaries and with less testosterone.

Cryptocurrencies are in full expansion, as well as YouTube channels that give advice on how to invest. The concept of cryptobros , the code name for cryptocurrency investors, has become popular. Some influencers and communicators are recognized as “fume sellers” and as little experts on the subject. Also as dangerous because of the consequences that their advice can have for people without much knowledge. But it is a fact that very few of these cryptocurrency influencers and youtubers are women. Nor do they have a language that invites women to be part of their community.

Some use language like Wall Street Wolverine and appeal to masculinity and the concept of macho to invest with high risk. We could call them cryptomales. It is not a new phenomenon nor is it limited to the world of cryptocurrencies. In fact, the investment sector has left us similar chapters. We can remember, as an example, the movie The Wolf of Wall Street and those macho conversations. Those, in addition, had few scruples.

In cryptocurrency channels, 'it's all boys'

To Laura Lozano, some of the conversations she sees within the crypto world to this movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. She is co-founder and CEO of the startup and Chargy and she has been in this ecosystem long enough not to acknowledge the existence of cryptomales. Lozano began investing in crypto many years ago with her partner and she knows that the way to find out about how to do it is, in many cases, through YouTube channels .

“Surprisingly, they are all boys and those who ask them the questions are also boys. And they talk about friends, as if they were talking to their friends in a group,” he explains to Hipertextual.

In the end, continue, you get used to it because it is a very general practice; also because maybe you have no choice. Despite the fact that there are more and more interested in investing in cryptocurrencies, this interest is not reflected in an increase in YouTube channels run by women. There are, for example, the channels of Audrey Millán (Lobostrader) or Tech with Catalina.

However, Laura Lozano emphasizes that many of the men who are present on social networks to report on cryptocurrencies do not use a specific language with the aim of discriminating against women. “Since they are the majority, they give each other feedback and use the language that motivates them. And for the content creator, in the end, the more followers they have, the more money they will earn,” she says.

Female role models shine for their absence A 2021 study by eToro LTd found that women make up 15% of cryptocurrency investors. It is a percentage that is rising more and more but that still has a long way to go to begin to match that of men. An explanation for this phenomenon may be the financial education that women receive. In this regard, Lozano points out that the problem stems from the roots. “If the girl is told that she is a princess and the boy is a champion, we are in a bad way. It is also important that at school they begin to talk about cryptocurrencies. Give examples of women, whether they are scientists or investors in crypto. There are no female references.”

Laura Lozano has many friends who ask her about cryptocurrencies and when she explains what they consist of and how they work, they become interested. In the end, the fear of screwing up stops them from investing and the lack of education makes this problem even worse. Silvia Rivela, director of DOWE and co-founder of Female Startup Leaders, points to the stereotype that women are more afraid of investing and taking financial risks. “There will be women who don't want to take risks. That can also be transferred to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Women say that when they start a business, they make decisions in a safer and less risky way. I think they don't have to do with education but with the fact that we think things twice”, reflects Rivela.

In this context, the belief of some people that cryptocurrencies are a pyramid scheme may also have an influence. Many stories of people who have lost thousands of dollars don't help either. Probably due to following the advice of one of the hundreds of influencers or YouTubers “fumes sellers”, the maximum expression of a very invasive advertising strategy.

That does not mean that it is not easy to enter a world that seems, from the outside at least, dominated by men. To obtain knowledge it is necessary to find people who transmit it. “If what you find are Cro-Magnons, who speak disrespectfully, it does not invite anything to the conversation. It is a monologue instead of a dialogue,” he laments.

TikTok thrives on 'cryptobros'

There are some women with YouTube channels where they talk about cryptocurrencies. But they are a tiny number compared to male youtubers. The two cryptocurrency investors with whom Hipertextual has contacted are also present in Telegram channels focused on crypto. The dynamic is repeated. Also on TikTok. It is on this platform where videos of the so-called cryptobros are perhaps most abundant and also where many cryptomales coexist.

A TikTok video was precisely the center of the controversy on social networks for a topic related to cryptocurrencies. A user of the platform gave advice to girls (we have no record of any woman asking him) to make boys like her more. The key, it seems, is that if the man we like is talking about something he feels passionate about, we let him talk even if we also know about it. “So that he feels useful “. And he continues: “For example, if the guy is talking to you about cryptocurrencies and you also control, don't try to tell him that this or that is better, tell him 'tell me more about crypto', make him feel useful. He'll like you more, we don't like know-it-alls at all.”

Most answers are against this “advice”. Unfortunately, not all answers.

There is also no lack of comparisons in the style of “cryptocurrencies are just as complicated as women”. We can exchange cryptocurrencies for investments or for technology and we would not be so far away either. Because, in the end, the patterns are repeated. If years ago the investment sector was clearly dominated by men, the very new world of cryptocurrencies follows the same path. And even on the internet. Juan Carlos Cáceres, marketing director of Bit2Me, compared what is happening with the adoption of the Internet, which initially went through a long period of inequality in terms of users. “In the end, when something becomes massive it becomes more equal for everyone” , he points out in an interview with this medium.

Cryptocurrencies, the entrance to a new world

From the cryptocurrency management platform they witness the difference in the number of female and male investors. In his case, 80% of the clients are men, 20% women. In addition to the aspects that Laura Lozano and Silvia Rivela commented on, such as financial education and greater caution when investing, Bit2Me also refers to the salary gap. In the end, it is the whiting that bites its tail and puts many women in line to enter the crypto world.

The salary gap is also an important factor for investments in crypto

However, Juan Carlos Cáceres sees cryptocurrencies as a gateway to a new world and also new business models to discover. The cryptocurrency investor index is still very nascentand the hope is that more and more people will be interested in finding out. Also women, of course.

In this sense, the challenge adds to the one that has existed for years in the technological world: lack of women in management positions and also a search for talent in technical positions. From Bit2Me they ask for all possible incentives for women to study technical careers and all possible facilities to encourage the entry of women into technology companies.

Wall Street and 'dirty money' The spaces for women to train are essential to end this gap that continues to plague the technological community and, specifically, the world of cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, some women are already becoming benchmarks in this sector and can become a role model for those to come.

The ecosystem is not far from the situation of a financial sector, although cryptocurrencies are not regulated, in true Wall Street style. Documentaries such as Dirty Money (Inside Job) exposed a system of corruption whose maximum essence is on Wall Street; and whose macho behaviors leave a mark in a sector also dominated by men.

But in a way, that machismo you see on some TikTok channels can have even more of an impact. In the end, there are thousands of videos that circulate on this social network and that not only transmit an image full of testosterone, but also macho behavior. A content that is viewed by millions of people around the world and that has an immense influence.

The crypto system, for diversity?

The problem is not limited to Spain or Latin America, but also to the United States, one of the most active markets when it comes to cryptocurrencies. It is there that initiatives led by women are also being born to create spaces in which they can discuss or learn about this issue. The key may be to lose the fear of asking, to appear that you have no idea about a topic in a channel or community where everyone seems to be an expert. If on top of that it is a world surrounded by men, it does not seem easy. For this reason, projects such as Boys Club, which Vox magazine recently reported, is the ideal place to attract “cryptocurious“.

The cryptocurrency ecosystem also goes through parallel worlds such as blockchain and NFTs. The highly commented Web3. In the Vox article, the question is raised as to whether it would be necessary to create a Web4 with a system more committed to diversity, inclusion and equality. And that it does not have, by the way, a lower carbon footprint. “Or get to know finance cryptobros better and beat them at their own game,” the magazine posits. For now, it may be necessary to create spaces where everyone can feel welcome.

Cryptocurrencies can be something else Angela Ocando is very hopeful about it. She is the director of the Bitcoin and Blockchain School at Platzi, a Latin American online education platform. She, from Colombia, explains to Hipertextual that the enormous gap that exists in the technological world is undeniable, but that the blockchain world can be something different .

“Being global and decentralized, it is a safe place so that, in addition to being a diverse scenario, more and more women can be part of and participate in the coming changes.” Unlike traditional financial institutions or services, he continues, “Bitcoin does not measure gender, appearance or who you are”.

For now, studies still put women behind men when it comes to investing, though others point to interest only growing. In this context, educational efforts such as the Platzi course directed by Angela Ocando are key to informing sign and contribute “a grain of sand so that women bet on blockchain as a technology”.

“In fact, studies show how women have had better results or returns on investment over time than men. And although Blockchain is much more than money and speculation, it shows us how much interest there is in changing the rules , the course of history and begin to have more leading roles“.

Angela Ocando