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How women are shaping the growth of crypto in India

Cryptocurrency may be a 21st century financial innovation. However, it has a very 20th century problem – not enough women. A phenomenon that’s been observed not just in India, but across the world – and hopefully not for too long more.

Leading crypto exchanges in India have reported an overall percentage of women investors of up to 20 percent; however, in terms of new investors, women are giving men a run for their crypto.

1,355 percent rise in women investors

Over the last one year, leading Indian crypto platform WazirX has clocked a phenomenal 1,355 percent rise in women investors. At WazirX, overall 15 percent users are women investors, and of these, 63 percent of women traders were less than 34 years and 82 percent were less than 44 years. In terms of geographies, urban centres continue to have a dominant position with most women investors coming in from states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Delhi. These findings were part of a recent survey by WazirX to gauge the interest in digital assets among its users.

Interestingly, the report revealed that women investors prefer Bitcoin, whereas men traded more in Shiba Inu on the platform.

From an outright ban on cryptocurrencies in 2016 to an upcoming Bill for regulation, the government’s stance on digital assets has changed considerably over the past few years.

Although India is yet to have a legal framework to govern cryptocurrency, it is among the fastest growing crypto markets in the world. Estimates say that up to 15-20 million Indians have invested in cryptocurrencies. Experts also predict that the asset class may gain further owing to the heightened inflation environment worldwide.

2021 was also the year when there were more searches for how to buy bitcoin on Google than searches for how to buy stocks worldwide. As more people began to read about crypto and invest in this emerging alternative asset class, WazirX witnessed a massive surge in user signups crossing 10 million users. The platform also clocked trade volumes of over $43 billion in 2021 – a figure that’s 1,735 percent higher than that of 2020.

Looking at roles beyond investing

Beyond investing, women are coming on board the platform as creators, builders, and influencers. The gender gap in the blockchain and crypto industry is changing for good as more women are taking up new professions like investors, traders, analysts, developers, journalists, CXOs, and even crypto entrepreneurship.

“Having a career in crypto feels great, because there’s so much to learn. Cryptocurrency is something which is absolutely nascent, and therefore fascinating. It is an industry which was created during my own lifetime. I can see the industry growing right in front of my eyes, and there’s so much potential.” says Disha Duggal, Engineering Manager, WazirX.

Narrating an interesting experience with people’s reactions on learning that she works in the crypto space, Disha narrates, “There was this club membership form that I was filling out, and once they got to know that I worked with WazirX, there were so many people who wanted to know more: How does it work? How do we make our money? Can you tell us what to do? Where do we invest? How do we do everything?”

Talking about WazirX’s always remote, work from anywhere with flexible working hours approach, Sameer Mhatre, Co-founder and CTO, WazirX said, Given our workforce’s nascency, and the fact that nearly 80 percent of our employees haven’t met physically, making remote working work for us requires a creative and strategic rethink of culture and management to help keep employees engaged, productive and motivated. This starts with hiring people with a high sense of ownership, a robust virtual induction, clear goal setting, broadcasting a shared vision, decentralised and distributed accountability, and creative flexibility to accommodate asynchronous working styles.“

“Commutes often translate to dead time for employees which contributes to unscheduled absences, poor punctuality, less availability, higher staff attrition, recruitment challenges, and negative environmental impacts. Going remote-first also made us location-agnostic and opened up a diverse talent pool that wouldn’t have been possible with an on-premise dynamic. In fact, we’ve had over 15,000 applicants for the 160-odd positions we’ve put out so far, and that’s huge,” adds Sricharan C, Head HR, WazirX.

As WazirX begins to script the post-pandemic diversity playbook, it realises that the key to making remote working work is to also make it sustainable and empathetic to its employee’s needs. This also includes accounting for the fact that remote working may not necessarily work for everyone. Being inclusive in this scenario would be to explore a blended or hybrid approach to be sensitive to the needs of the workforce.

“Employees who know they are heard are more engaged and productive. Every effort must be tempered with an effective feedback and listening strategy, says Nischal.

“Even as a crypto organisation, employees are our true assets,” he adds.

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