While bitcoin continued to soar last year with an increase of almost 200%, according to Bitstamp, a significant added value is looming for its holders… who are mostly men. The latter represented, in fact, 63.5% of French cryptocurrency holders compared to 36.5% for women in 2022, according to the latest Ipsos barometer for the Association for the Development of Digital Assets (Adan), a benchmark in the sector. .

However, in 2023, “the gap has widened further. There are even fewer women who hold these digital assets (exchanged on a decentralized network called blockchain, editor's note) in proportion to men. advances Faustine Fleuret, president and general director of Adan, who will publish new figures in its 2023 barometer at the end of March.

A discrepancy which is, however, nothing new and which is found in investment in general. According to the latest Savings and Investment Barometer from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), in 2022 women represented only 42% of stock market investors compared to 58% for men. Likewise, they find out less often about the stock market than men (44% compared to 60%).

“Women feel less justified in finding out for themselves”

“In France, we receive little financial education, but this penalizes women more, because they feel less legitimate in finding out for themselves”notes Titiou Lecoq, author of The couple and money – Why men are richer than womenpublished in October 2022. A phenomenon which nevertheless tends to evolve “ for two or three years among the younger generation “.

“French women have only had the right to have a personal bank account since 1965, so our culture still very little encourages women to form a financial culture and even less when it is associated with a technological culture which is very masculine »also explains Canelle de Balasy, director of communications at the crypto services company Coinhouse. “We see that men do more research than women on these assets”agrees Faustine Fleuret.

Savings, investments, investments: what is the relationship of women to money?

Less risky investments

Especially since women, still victims of significant salary inequalities, receive on average a salary 23.5% lower than that of men, according to the latest figures from INSEE. They therefore have less financial capacity available to invest in cryptocurrencies.

And, when they do, investors “are less likely to (do so) in risky investments”, analyzes the president of Adan. A finding shared by the AMF barometer, which shows that 48% of women surveyed refused investment risk, compared to 36% of men in 2022. “We often put forward, in fact, fear of risk as an explanation”, analyzes Titiou Lecoq. But according to her, “this does not explain everything and tends to reduce the subject to a character trait specific to women”, she nuances. The author recalls that “the economic discourse addressed to women for years, even centuries, consisted of teaching them how to spend their money wisely, while that given to men was to earn money. But investing means making money”.

“And these are stereotypes that women have integrated very well, thus explaining the fear of risk that they may experience”she concludes, nevertheless specifying that, here again, the situation tends to evolve in a positive manner.

This fear of favoring riskier investments can further distance them from cryptocurrencies as the latter have gone through – in 2022 particularly – and, more broadly, in recent years, a period of turbulence marked by a series of scandals and a collapse of price (-63% for bitcoin over the year 2022).

A lack of female representation

Finally, the crypto industry is especially facing a glaring lack of female representation in the media space. According to the white paper Crypto and web women 3 published by Coinhouse in January, only 13% of founders of crypto projects and companies are women. “The survisibility of men in this world means that women identify less with this universe and therefore invest less in it”regrets Faustine Fleuret who insists: investment in crypto “will remain inaccessible to women as long as we do not highlight female entrepreneurs”.

“We need to change the image of the industry among young girls” (Frédérique Le Grevès, STMicroelectronics)

An objective set by the Gxrls Revolution collective founded in March 2022 by JessyJeanne and Annelise Stern with the aim of highlighting female artists who wish to sell their works in NFT format (cryptographic token stored on a blockchain) and, therefore, in fact, encourage investors to buy them. “We started with online workshops, videos on YouTube and podcasts and, now, we are starting to organize face-to-face events”details Annelise Stern who explains: “the objective is to bring as many women as possible into these spaces and encourage them to participate in these types of events (on cryptocurrencies, editor’s note)”.

And “What is very important and which works very well is to have models with whom they can identify. Even if the events are open to all, we try to favor 99% of the speakers on stage”insists the one who herself plunged into this universe thanks to the content posted by “a young entrepreneur and artist who started making and buying NFTs. Seeing someone who looked like me doing it, I decided to give it a go”she says.

Transmission and structuring of the environment

A transmission that journalist Léa Lejeune puts to work through her financial education platform Plan Cash. Created two and a half years ago, it “talks about money and investing to women aged approximately 28 to 45” and offers paid training (39.90 euros). The objective is “to show women that it is important to know why we invest or not, to understand the speculative mechanisms which can be taken to the extreme, particularly with small cryptos”, explains Léa Lejeune. Because, “If we leave women at the door of this ecosystem and these technologies develop even further, they will find themselves excluded from these areas of power”, she alerts.

Cryptocurrencies: adopted by Europe, the MiCA regulation must put an “end to the Wild West”

Furthermore, the world of cryptocurrencies is becoming more and more structured, particularly since the vote on April 20, 2023 by the European Parliament for the MiCa regulation (Market in crypto assets). This text provides, for the end of the year, the creation of compulsory authorization for crypto platforms wishing to provide their services throughout the European Union, in exchange for a certain number of obligations. In addition, MEPs also adopted the TFR (transfer of funds regulation) text intended to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. “ There regulation of the sector which is gradually being structured will give more credibility to this world and a less risky image », predicts the president of Adan who therefore sees a more favorable terrain for the arrival of investors.