Cryptocurrencies Aren’t Just for Brothers: Meet the Market Moms

In October, Sarah Monson learned that Facebook was change its name changed to Meta and shifted focus to something called the metaverse, an immersive virtual world that doesn’t exist yet, but the company says will one day take over the internet. Monson, a 44-year-old trade writer and mother who recently moved to Hawaii, finds the news disturbing.

“I was like, oh my god, we’re all going to get dragged into this scary mischief by Mark Zuckerberg, whether we like it or not, and say nothing about it,” she said in an interview. last week at NFT LA, a cryptocurrency conference in downtown Los Angeles.

Monson thinks her 6-year-old daughter will encounter some version of the metaverse in the future and she wants to prepare herself. She decided the best thing to do was learn about the technologies that many metaverse advocates say would underpin it, including electronic money and NFTor non-edible tokens.

“My whole point was, I wanted to educate myself,” Monson said. She also doesn’t want to miss out on what’s looking for her like another big tech boom. “I lived in Seattle during the dot com bubble and I didn’t have the voice or the power to do anything,” she said.

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Sarah Monson, 44, commercial writer and mother.
Sarah Monson is now getting ready to launch her first NFT art collection, which she named The Latchkey Kids, referring to members of her generation born in the ’70s and 80.Jon Premosch for NBC News
A mask from Sarah Monson's first NFT art collection, which she named The Latchkey Kids.
A mask from Sarah Monson’s first NFT art collection, which she named The Latchkey Kids.Jon Premosch for NBC News

Monson first started investing in crypto a few years ago. But she’s spent the past five months diving into the market, listening to NFT podcasts, participating Discord serverand connect with other moms on Twitter. She is now getting ready to launch her first NFT art collection, which she named The Latchkey Kidsreferring to members of her generation born in the 70s and 80s. On day two of NFT LA, she wore a mask and T-shirt featuring the colorful cartoon goats she helped design for the project.

While younger, American men more likely To say they’ve heard a lot about crypto, a small but growing number of moms, like Monson, are getting into the industry. For them, the stakes of investing in cryptocurrencies can be higher. Most of the six mothers interviewed for this article said that they expect cryptocurrencies and NFTs to meaningfully change their family’s financial security in future generations. They said they feel their views are different from those of their “crypto brothers” often associated with the market.

Olayinka Odeniran, founder of the Blockchain Council for Black Women, an organization that supports black women pursuing careers in the blockchain and fintech industries, said: “With more and more parents getting involved, In this space, we have different thinking age daughters. “Our approach is different from single guys or girls who come here just to invest. We’re here really because we want to leave something for our family and we want them to be able to join our space.”

Odeniran and other moms like her represent a minority of the crypto industry. Only 13% of American women in their 30s and 40s say they’ve invested in, traded in, or used cryptocurrencies, compared with 43% of men in their late 20s, according to the Pew Research Center. learn published in November. Overall, twice as many men invest in crypto as women, CNBC survey Find.

On day two of NFT LA, Sarah Monson donned a mask and T-shirt featuring the colorful cartoon goats she helped design for the project.
On day two of NFT LA, Sarah Monson donned a mask and T-shirt featuring the colorful cartoon goats she helped design for the project.Jon Premosch for NBC News

The lack of women is so badly criticized that it is often the subject of jokes. During the conference Monson attended, comedian Kristin Key mused on stage that perhaps the NFT represented “today without women.” (The audience didn’t laugh.)

But now, in the midst of another bull market, a new wave women-themed organizations has emerged saying that they want to encourage more women to get involved in crypto.

Deana Burke, a mother of two under the age of 5 and co-founder of Boys Club, a cryptocurrency collective designed for women and non-musicals alike, says there’s a lot of interest. more women entering the industry than when she first joined a few years ago. .

“I couldn’t ask anyone to care,” Burke said. “But now there’s curiosity around this.”

Mother brand

One of the most famous “Crypto Moms” is Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Pierce. She has nickname by members of the crypto community, who often see her as an ally to their industry. Pierce said she hardly mind being called a mother, even though she doesn’t actually have any biological children. But she also thinks her role shouldn’t be seen as that of a parent.

“I think it’s a bit bad for a government official to be viewed from a parent’s point of view, because my philosophy on regulation is that this country is built on freedom and people are free,” she said. decided,” she said. “I’m definitely old enough to be the mother of a lot of these crypto people, so from that perspective, it’s not too crazy.”

Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Hester M. Peirce.
Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Hester M. Peirce.US Securities and Exchange Commission

Pierce is not the only one to be considered the mother of crypto. Brenda Gentry, a full-time crypto trader based in San Antonio, has self-branding online with the name “MsCryptoMom.” Her motto: “Mother is the one who understands best.”

Gentry, 46, grew up in Kenya and previously served as a mortgage guarantor for USAA, a financial services company for members and veterans of the US military. She quit her job in October, after she and her husband calculated that their retirement accounts would be worth about $400,000 or $500,000 if they continued working for the next 20 years, the same amount that Gentry says she earned through cryptocurrency trading. Gentry said she is excited about the financial opportunities cryptocurrencies offer, but is also aware of the risks involved.

“Sometimes, I see these kids on Twitter saying, ‘I’ve made a lot of this NFT and I’m leaving my job,’ and I’m like, so what?” Gentry said. we have bad markets. You know, you have to think about that too.”

Gentry said she protects herself by only investing in crypto projects that reveal the real names of the people behind them. She believes that investment opportunities in the space are more likely cheat if they are run by anonymous founders.

“I wouldn’t invest money if I didn’t know who the team was. If I don’t know, if they’re anonymous, I leave. The only one anonymous is Satoshi,” said Gentry, referring to the bitcoin creator, whose true identity remains unknown.

Find a opprtunity

Brenda Cataldo, a real estate broker and mother of five living in Palm Bay, Florida, said she sees crypto as a rare opportunity to build wealth for her family and larger community.

“If I can make money, I can help people around me. I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” she said. “If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of others?”

Cataldo has been investing in crypto for a few years. But she started learning about NFT on TikTok last fall. She is now ready to launch her own NFT collection called Classy lady, is modeled after her mother, who immigrated to the US from the Philippines. She said 20% of the proceeds will go to supporting the adopted children.

“I just think how lucky and blessed I am to have such a supportive mother,” she said. “I want to give a little back to the kids who don’t have it.”

Other mothers interviewed also said they see cryptocurrencies as a way to raise money for charities. Gentry said she and her husband have been running a non-profit supporting poor families in her native Kenya for many years, but the amount of money made from cryptocurrency trading has made a big difference.

“When my parents came back to Kenya in January, instead of helping 20 or 30 people like we usually do, they were able to help 200,” she said. “So it’s not just generational wealth for my grandchildren, my children that they don’t even have yet, but also for other families.”

But Shailee Adinolfi, a mom and director of strategic and account sales for blockchain software company Consensys, cautions that it’s not necessarily easy right now for people to transfer their earnings from crypto. to their families or other institutions.

“What if you want to transfer crypto to your kids? There are no shared accounts,” she said. “We need to think about all kinds of people and how they interact with systems, not just developing them for the same group of people who normally code.”

Monson said she wants to convince more moms like her to participate in the NFT’s art collections. But she said that many of them worry about environmental impact bitcoin and the amount of electricity it uses.

Burke notes that there are some newer blockchain technology was used designed to consume less resources. She said that there are a lot of people in the crypto space who want to deal with the harm that is being done to the environment, instead of contributing to it.

Sarah Monson attends NFT LA, a cryptocurrency conference in downtown Los Angeles.
Sarah Monson attends NFT LA, a cryptocurrency conference in downtown Los Angeles.Jon Premosch for NBC News

“The world in which I am part of web3 and crypto is very very very concerned about the climate and is actively working to improve the situation,” she said.

Monson said she hopes that the industry will continue to grow. For now, she plans to continue to explore what the world of cryptocurrency could mean for her and her family’s future.

“I love my job and I love what I do, but I’m more than just a mom, and I feel like so many other moms, we need more of that,” she says. “This is a thrilling new life change.”

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