By Dunca Stewart, Director of Research at Deloitte Canada
“Where The Boys Are” isn’t just a great Connie Francis song. It’s also a breathtakingly accurate description of who invests in cryptocurrencies. The chart above shows that as of this week, more than 24 out every 25 people engaging in Bitcoin is male. That 3.4% is actually down from the 4.8% of Bitcoin investors who were female in a 2014 survey. I have been to multiple Bitcoin and cryptocurrency conferences, and they have all been around 95% male.
Why does this matter? Because I was a technology fund manager from 1993-2004, and lived through the dot com bubble. In fact, I won the Morningstar Canada award for best science and technology fund manager in its inaugural year.
I remember how male money managers put up better numbers than women in 1998…because they owned more tech stocks. Then in 1999, that was an even bigger tailwind, and male out-performance was huge. Heck, even for the first few months of 2000 the female money managers I knew were failing to keep up. That all reversed over the following 24 months, of course, and women starting putting up better numbers than men.
As Cambridge research fellow John Coates put it:
Market bubbles may be a male phenomenon.
It isn’t “proof” that Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are bubbles, of course. But I will be really serious here. The fact that Bitcoin is up 400% this year and thousands of percent from a few years ago doesn’t tell me it is a bubble: all kinds of securities go up that much or more, and retain their value over the long term.
But the fact that 95% of the investors in BTC and other cryptocurrencies are men is a really big red flag for me. I cannot think of any security, currency or asset class in history that shows that extreme a gender divide and has been sustainable.
First published on LinkedIn.