Women and investors of color seem to prefer cryptocurrency over traditional stocks—here's why

Women and investors of color seem to prefer cryptocurrency over traditional stocks—here's why

July 23, 2021

Women and investors of color seem to be drawn to cryptocurrencies over traditional stocks, a new survey from NORC at the University of Chicago finds.

The survey, which was conducted in late June and comprised of a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults nationwide, finds that 41% of women and 44% of investors of color say they bought and sold crypto over the last year, compared to 38% of women and 35% of investors of color saying the same about stocks.

The gap is a result of the perceived barriers to getting involved in both, with crypto appealing to underrepresented groups because it is viewed as the more accessible of the two, NORC's team believes.

"Because crypto and digital assets are essentially new for everyone, there's not these complex terms… the way that traditional stock investing has," Angela Fontes, a vice president in the economics, justice and society department at NORC, tells CNBC Make It.

"There's this whole world of information around the stock market and how to trade [and] what stocks to trade that's full of terminology that first you need to learn and understand," Fontes explains. "Whereas in crypto, there's a lot more information at the basic level because it's not at the same maturity as traditional stock investing is."

Fontes says that the same logic applies for lower income investors. NORC's study found that of the people it surveyed with incomes lower than $60,000, 35% have traded cryptocurrency while only 27% have traded stocks.

"I may not think I have the ability to enter the stock market and purchase stocks if I'm a single mom and make $40,000 a year," Fontes said. "But I may think I can get some cryptocurrency. I don't need a broker to do it and I don't need a 401(k) account."

The University of Chicago survey also found that overall, 13% of Americans bought or traded crypto over the past year, compared to 24% who invested in stocks.

Cryptocurrencies have had a wild year, with bitcoin hitting an all-time high above $63,000 in April and meme-inspired dogecoin soaring as much as 13,000% earlier in 2021.

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