India’s cryptocurrency exchanges have been hit by taxes, a drop in trading volume and a price slump, but they say a shining sign is the number of women seeking financial independence and turning to digital assets.
While the number of women in India investing in cryptocurrencies remains low, the percentages are increasing, according to figures from multiple exchanges.
Nisha Mutneja is one of them. The 30-year-old runs her own educational metaverse for kids called talentedHippo and first started investing small amounts in crypto in 2019. Today, up to 25% of their investments are in crypto, with most of the rest in mutual funds and stocks.
“I do my own research and then invest in cryptos that seem to have real usage – which means they are rather stable – they can go under at times – but because they have real usage, people will tend to buy them. ‘ Mutneja from Mumbai said forcast in a phone interview.
CoinDCX, India’s first crypto unicorn valued at $2.15 billion, said women are on track to make up 20% of its users by August next year from around 14% currently. The company claims to have 13 million users on its platform.
“Crypto is a democratized asset class and promotes financial inclusion, and the increasing participation of women is a positive and encouraging development,” said Rajagopal Menon, vice president of WazirX, India’s largest exchange by trading volume forcast in an email response to questions.
Menon said WazirX has 10 million users and 15% of them are women, adding that the number has increased in 2021 and the exchange expects further growth this year as crypto education and awareness increases in India .
The exchanges need all the help they can get. The government imposed a flat 30% tax on all crypto earnings starting April 1. This was followed by a 1% withholding tax on all crypto transactions over 10,000 Indian rupees ($125) starting July 1.
Macroeconomic factors have pushed cryptocurrency prices into a global slump this year. Factors include inflation and higher interest rates in the US, while the war in Ukraine and China’s Covid-19 lockdowns have disrupted supply chains and economies around the world.
Menon said female members of WazirX are not just investors but creators, builders and influencers, adding that most are from urban centers such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. They typically take a longer-term perspective and invest in established tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum, he said.
Many of the women investing in crypto work in industry or internet-related jobs, although it is from these groups that the message about crypto is spread through family and friend connections, according to several women interviewed for this story.
“Bitcoin is revolutionizing the entire financial system and I want to be a part of it,” said Chahal Verma, 20, a crypto researcher and consultant forcast in a phone interview, adding that she started investing in cryptocurrencies in October 2020.
“After researching bitcoin, I understood that this is a whole new monetary system,” she said. About 20% of Verma’s investments in 2020 were in bitcoin and 80% in stocks, but those ratios have now reversed, she said.
A bear market is not the time to make money, but it is the time to implement revolutionary ideas, she said. “It’s good to diversify, but I think crypto has the potential to deliver the best returns compared to any other asset class going forward.”
Minal Thukral, Executive Vice President of Growth and Strategy at CoinDCX, said that while many women investing in crypto work in the industry, growth in personal finance is also fueling the trend.
“I would expect the female user base to increase up to 20% by next year, up from around 14% in August 2022,” he said in a forcast Interview regarding CoinDCX figures.
CoinSwitch exchange co-founder and chief executive officer Ashish Singhal said those who are digitally savvy, whether male or female, are ready to experiment with this new technology. He said that as of August 2022, the exchange had more than 18 million registered users.
He said Bitcoin is the most popular coin among female investors on CoinSwitch.
Ishita Pandey, 20, handles social media management and marketing for crypto and Web3.0 projects, investing primarily in stablecoins and altcoins such as Tether USDT, Matic, Polkadot, and others.
“The cryptocurrency industry today is what the internet was in the 1990s,” Pandey said forcast in a phone interview.
“People who believed in this industry founded their startups and today we can’t imagine life without the internet. The same is true for Web3 and crypto – it’s in its infancy now – and maybe after 10 or 15 years mass adoption is possible for this asset class,” she said.
Mutneja, who directs talentedHippo, agrees.
“I believe cryptocurrencies are here to stay. It has to go through its own cycles of accepts and rejects and ups and downs, but I truly believe it’s going to stay that way.”