Why women don't use bitcoin

5 July, 2015

Bitcoin may be taking the world by storm, but one segment of the population that remains underrepresented when it comes to the digital currency is women.

According to a report published by the University College London, more than 95 percent of bitcoin users are male.

Why more men use bitcoin than women

Multiple reasons have contributed to a lack of bitcoin usage among much of the female population. Among those reasons is the fact that while bitcoin has gained more mainstream acceptance, it has maintained somewhat of a nerdy reputation. Adding to the problem is the perception that bitcoin is somewhat difficult to use and still only something popular amongst hackers and other geeks. That is certainly no longer the case, as an increasing number of mainstream retailers have now begun to accept the digital currency. Still, it has remained somewhat difficult to get the average woman interested in bitcoin and even see how it might be relevant and beneficial.

Bringing women into the bitcoin space

Steps are now being taken to encourage women to become more interested in and see the benefits offered by bitcoin. bitcoin Women's Day, launched earlier in the year, is just one of the ways in which bitcoin advocates are working to promote awareness of both the digital currency and women's issues. The goal of the event is to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the expanding bitcoin space while also raising awareness of barriers and challenges that remain in the world of bitcoin.

Bitcoin certainly does offer a number of advantages to women users, particularly those in developing countries. According to a report released by Western Union, women are currently responsible for half of the approximate $582 billion in global remittances. Furthermore, women send a larger percentage of their wages than their male counterparts do. When it comes to recipients of remittances, women comprise the largest share, receiving more than two-thirds of remittances.

For women who have no other methods available for earning a living, monetary flow can not only be vital but can also become a matter of life and death. According to the United Nations, women bring in only 10 percent of the income in the world. Among the most significant challenges facing women when it comes to the remittance market are high fees and a lack of transparency in terms of records.

Currently, the cost to send money via commercial banks is about 12 percent. Alternative methods for sending money can provide a much lower cost option. With the availability of bitcoin, women around the world are able to benefit from increased opportunities for economic empowerment. This is particularly true in many countries, where a large number of women remain unable to take advantage of traditional banking services.

Thanks to the availability of bitcoin and other digital currencies, the lack of traditional banking services is no longer a barrier for women who wish to take advantage of the opportunities offered by eCommerce.

While the number of women involved in bitcoin remains relatively small, that is not to say there are no women involved in the space. Among them is Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of BitPesa, whose firm provides fast, inexpensive money transfers in Africa. Xapo, currently one of the largest bitcoin wallet services, also has a woman at the helm, Cindy McAdam. Elizabeth Ploshay developed a reputation as a contributor for bitcoin Magazine before becoming an account manager at BitPay and a board member for the bitcoin Foundation.

Although the number of women involved in bitcoin remains small, steps are underway to change that, which could completely revolutionize the space in the future.