India’s cryptocurrency exchanges have been hit by taxes, a drop in trading volumes and falling prices, but they say a bright 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 several exchanges.
Nisha Mutneja is one of them. The 30-year-old runs her own educational metaverse for kids called talentedHippo and began investing small amounts in crypto in 2019. Today, up to 25% of his 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 use – meaning they’re more likely to be stable – they can go down at times – but because they have real use, people will tend to buy them,” Mutneja, based in Mumbai, said Forkast in a telephone interview.
CoinDCX, India first crypto unicorn with a valuation of US$2.15 billion, said women are on track to make up 20% of its users by August next year, up from about 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 Chairman of WazirX, India’s largest exchange in terms of transaction volume. Forkast in an e-mail response to questions.
Menon said WazirX has 10 million users and 15% of them are women, adding that the number has grown in 2021 and the exchange expects more growth this year as the Crypto education and awareness in India is growing.
Scholarships need all the help they can get. The government slapped a flat tax of 30% on all crypto income starting April 1. This was followed by a 1% withholding tax on all crypto transactions above 10,000 Indian rupees ($125) from July 1.
Macroeconomic factors have pushed cryptocurrency prices into a global crash this year. Factors include inflation and rising interest rates in the United States, while war in Ukraine and Covid-19 shutdowns in China have disrupted supply chains and economies around the world.
Menon said the female members of WazirX are not just investors but creators, builders and influencers, adding that most come from urban centers like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. They typically take a longer-term view and invest in established tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum, he said.
Many women who invest in crypto work in the industry or in internet-related jobs, although the message about crypto comes through these groups through family and friendship 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. Forkast in a phone interview, adding that she started investing in cryptocurrencies in October 2020.
“After researching bitcoin, I realized it was 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 execute breakthrough ideas, she said. “It’s good to diversify, but I think crypto has the potential to give the best returns in the future compared to any other asset class.”
Minal Thukral, executive vice president of growth and strategy at CoinDCX, said that many female crypto investors are professionally involved in the industry, but growth in personal finance is also fueling the trend.
“I would expect the share of the female user base to reach 20% by next year, up from around 14% in August 2022,” he said in a statement. Forkast interview with reference to CoinDCX numbers.
Ashish Singhal, co-founder and managing director of the CoinSwitch exchange, said those who are digital savvy, male or female, are ready to experiment with this new technology. He said the exchange had over 18 million registered users as of August 2022.
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 and mainly invests in stablecoins and altcoins like Tether USDT, Matic, Polkadot, among others.
“The cryptocurrency industry today is what the internet was in the 1990s,” Pandey said. Forkast in a telephone interview.
“People who believed in this industry created their startups and today we can’t imagine life without the internet. The same is with Web3 and crypto – it’s in the early stage now – and maybe after 10 or 15 years, mass adoption is possible for this asset class,” she said.
Mutneja who leads the talented Hippo agrees.
“I believe cryptocurrencies are here to stay. It has to go through its own cycles of accepts and rejections and ups and downs, but I really believe it’s going to stick.