Empowering the Rise of the Female Investor With eToro

No doubt you’ve been seeing all the scary headlines about how the stock market is plummeting and crypto is doing, let’s just say, not great. (To put it lightly.)

Research says that women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, which, in the long run, puts us at a disadvantage, given that compound interest grows over time. We work hard for our money, our money should work hard for us! But volatility is a real thing (clearly), and I too get nervous.

So we reached out to our friends at eToro, a social investing platform, to give us insight, especially into crypto as part of our overall portfolio. At last month’s conference, we hosted a panel with eToro’s US CEO Lule Demmissie, Investment Analyst Callie Cox, and Head of Impact & Global NFTs Anna Stone, where they discussed the following:

  • Shifting demographics in the investment landscape
  • How to handle crypto’s volatility
  • Why it’s crucial for women to invest and build in the crypto space
  • Whether to invest if the market is down
  • The future of crypto as an asset and a technology
  • How to prevent biases in crypto
  • How to get started 🙂

We edited the panel recording into a blog post (below) which, given how many smart/valuable things were said, was NOT easy (lol) so go here to watch the entire conversation.

Click here to watch the entire conversation


Callie: Traditional markets have existed for decades and decades and decades. They haven’t always been accessible decades ago, even in the 1960s and 1970s, investing was largely unacceptable. It was almost like a privilege for the wealthy because you had to call up your broker, you had to pay a steep fee, and transacting or manually trading was a super slow process. It just wasn’t something that many people did.

Luckily, this thing called the internet came along, the government rolled out tax advantage retirement accounts, and society started learning about money, about the power of investing, and about how, and just, in general, investing became easy, easier for just the general population and cheaper as well. The internet came along, personal trading exploded in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Then it pulled back a little after the dot-com crisis understandably. We all got a little jaded about the system, but here we are again. COVID really started the conversation around money again for years and years of distrust. Ages 18 to 34 investors, according to a survey that we ran about three months ago, about 40% of them are in domestic stocks or US-based stocks. The kind of thing you think about when you think about an investor.

Unfortunately, the reason why we talk about money a lot these days is that we have money worries. COVID was really tough on our psyche.

I remember back when I was actually working with Lule and Ally before this, that’s when COVID kicked in March 2020. I remember thinking, “Oh, the market is selling off and I don’t know if I’m going to have a job in a month,” because things were just changing so quickly. There was just a lot of change back then and a lot of angst around money. It seemed like we all coped by talking about it and that really helped us in a weird way find the confidence to step out there and take charge of our money, feel empowered to open that brokerage account, and start investing for our futures.

It didn’t hurt that the market rebounded super quickly. It was actually the second quickest bear market rebound we’ve seen in history. After that, I got really passionate. It seemed like all my friends were asking me about how to invest, and what this investing thing really means to people. It really supercharged me in thinking about how I talk about money with myself and with others.

Anna: Crypto is more accessible than it’s ever been. It’s never been easier for an individual, whether you’re sitting in the US or whether you’re in Venezuela, to begin to access crypto and begin to use crypto, whether it’s as an investment asset or whether it’s as you’re really using cryptocurrency for peer to peer payments or using some of the decentralized finance tools that are available out there.

I think on the aggregate, even though billions of dollars of wealth over the past month have disappeared from the market. On the whole, we’re around 12 years into this asset class, and more and more people all around the world, all different sorts of people hold crypto and are beginning to learn about crypto and beginning to use crypto every single day. I think that the figures are hard to get a hold of, but it’s quoted that even in the United States, over 40 million Americans, around 10% of Americans hold crypto assets. This is not a small number, particularly when you consider the number of people that are actually investors in capital markets, which I think is estimated at around 50%. 

We know that Gen Z is the most likely to invest in the asset class followed by millennials and everyone else trickling off from there. I think when I look at the industry now versus even two years ago, one of the most important things that happened is that Ladies Get Paid and other organizations like it, have actually created the space that’s designed to encourage the conversation to pierce through the veil of fear, and are designed to create the supportive communities that enable women to talk about doing something scary, to talk about doing something risky, to talk about doing something that you don’t feel comfortable with, to talk about doing something that quite frankly where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m the first to admit that I felt that way a million times.

I’m super encouraged by the creation of all of the different communities in the space that are focused on basically crossing this chasm between fear, getting started, and becoming empowered.


Anna: In my own experience, the only way to begin to really learn about crypto is to get skin in the game. It’s actually to cross that chasm of let’s say, buying your first piece of Bitcoin or buying your first piece of Ethereum. That’s the moment when you really go from being a passive observer, if you will, to actually being an active participant and actually lights that spark within you, which is like, “I heard about Bitcoin. I didn’t know what Bitcoin was, I bought some because my friend told me to, but now I’m actually going to start to read about it.”

Lule: Psychologists will tell you the scarier something is, the more important that learning by doing is a part of your muscle. One of the things that is so exciting to me about eToro is you can actually learn by doing without putting $1 in first because we have the ability to practice on our platform to track and then put that skin in the game that Anna was talking about. Learning by doing is so essential because what it does is every time you do, you pierce through the veil of that fear that usually investing creates in people. 

I’m always reminded of that Teddy Roosevelt’s quote about the Man in the Arena, it’s essential to have that mentality when it comes to investing. Again, that endurance is what makes you braver and smarter. There’s nothing wrong with hearing your inner fear. It’s just more about making sure that it’s context with knowledge.


Lule: 80% of household monies are governed by women in the US. 80%, and yet, we still for the most part remain the CFOs of the household instead of the chief investment officers of the household.

The chief investment officer held a different power structure than the CFO. One of the things that are really going to be important is to know the strength from which we start, which is that in most households we are already in the money game when you’re a woman, but at the same time to change that mental framework and that endurance around investing is one of those, to become more and more the chief investment household, whether it’s your single home, double home, however many types of homes that you have, it’s really important.

The second thing I wanted to give you as a factoid is this, 1974, full disclosure the year of my birth, 1974 was the year that women were allowed to apply for a credit card. 1974 people, I’m a young woman. That’s crazy, to know that just such a short time ago, we couldn’t get fundamental access in the US, and that’s just in the US, you can imagine where places where they’re still not able to do it. Fundamental access to the thing that is possible for the accumulation of wealth, which is capital, and the other is access to credit.

“We really need to celebrate knowing full well that so many people made this possible for us, and we are standing on their shoulders and no room for being weary.”

We got to do our part to make from 1974, what are we going to do in 2022, to change the chapter on CFO to CIO, and that’s going to be the conversations that we’re going to want to have more with you.


Callie: Context is so so important when you’re looking at the markets because we all know that we’re in a sell-off right now, stock market sell-off, crypto sell-off, and it doesn’t feel great at the moment. This is both totally unique and totally normal.

What do I mean by that? Sell-offs happen both in the stock and crypto markets. Stock markets have a little bit more history so we have a little bit more precedent to lean on here, but a fun fact here, since 1950, we’ve seen 32 sell-offs of 10% or more in the S&P 500. 32, that’s about once every two years. I like to say that markets go up and down and that’s the natural rhythm of investing. It’s true, knowing that is empowerment in itself to know that it isn’t going to be an easy journey if you’re a long-term investor. If you’re thinking of investing over decades and decades, you’re probably going to run into these bumps every once in a while.

That being said, it’s still a really tough time to invest, I even feel it. What we’re going through feels very unprecedented. I know you’ve heard that word a lot over the past few years, but I also want to add, that this has been two years of mental angst that we’ve gone through and we just want it to be over. The sell-off is definitely unique in that it feels worse than before, we’re dealing with a lot of change more than before and it can feel scary, but I just want to encourage you to really think about where you are and your “why” when you’re investing.

“Knowing why you’re investing, knowing when you need the money that you’re investing, knowing how many swings, or how much risk you can take while you’re investing, and understanding why you invest in what you do is just so important when you frame and contextualize these sell-offs, it really defines what you’re going to do next.”

Why? Because these sell-offs don’t last forever, at least in the stock market, you got to think about the stock market fundamentally, its equity in a bunch of US companies. US companies as an aggregate tend to rise and fall with society with profits too, but back out a little bit further and its society’s resilience through crises and through economic cycles. If you view the stock market that way, sometimes as a society we go through crises, companies have to deal with them, they have to pare back a little bit, but then we make it through innovation reigns and we get through that cycle stronger and better than ever. 

Then you can look at this current sell-off and say, “This is probably temporary. It’s been temporary up until now, so what can I do to capitalize on this right now so that I’m living my best moment in my investing journey?”

I know that sounds really heady, but that story, the story of the stock market being a reflection of society, is what gets me ahead and what keeps me optimistic in tough times like these.


Anna: Markets are cyclical by nature, there are periods where everything goes up, and there are periods where everything goes down. This happens to be a moment where things are going down, but that is a market, and there is something empowering in just acknowledging that, taking that perspective.

Now, crypto is the function of a market but on steroids in terms of the level of volatility. I think in terms of just the level of the volatility and how dramatic, therefore, that makes the gains and the losses. To give you guys a little bit of perspective, between 2011 to 2014, Bitcoin crashed every single year in a way where it lost 90% of its value.

Since its very inception, Bitcoin has been, let’s say, characterized by its volatility. This is exactly why people say, particularly with crypto, “Never invest more than you’re prepared to lose.” It’s not an adage that comes from nowhere. It’s an adage that actually comes based on the past market cycles.

Let’s also look at some of the big bear bull runs, I think the main one was 2017 was the first big mass crypto bull run, where prices all went up, Bitcoin crashed 20, 000 or crossed 20,000 and the Ethereum crossed 1,000 only for the market to crash out, lose 90% of its value again in 2018. This is a known phenomenon that actually has been documented as key to actually advancing innovation and progress and adoption within the crypto space.

It’s not just me who’s saying that bear markets are for builders. It’s people who are paid more and smarter than me like Andreessen Horowitz who just came out with a report that said crypto boom and busts are actually key to advancing the space. It’s called a cycle of innovation. It’s what provides the opportunity for basically builders to stress test their product-market-fit, introduce them to new markets, and be ready to go by the next time the market charges up again.

“With that in mind, I actually think what we’re living through today in 2022, it’s distinctly different and more optimistic than past market crashes as recent as 2018, or even as recent as what happened during the COVID 2020 collapse.” 

Why? Because there are all of the signs in place that show that crypto, Web 3.0, blockchain, whatever the buzzword of the market category is today has a tremendous amount of capital, and they are attracting a tremendous amount of talent.

This is actually the fundamentals of what’s required to build great products for users. I think that, on the whole, once we get out of this context of, “Oh, my God, I lost the wealth of my portfolio,” but rather to recognize that this is actually part and parcel of building a new category and part and parcel of driving adoption of the asset class. It becomes a little bit less scary, if you will, in terms of the context. Just one other thought is DeFi came out of the bear market.

The billions and billions of dollars in capital that are now in money market protocols or in lending protocols and DeFi, these are companies that were founded, invented, built in 2018 so that by 2020, 2021, 2022, there were products and services that actually resulted in millions of users using decentralized finance, opening a MetaMask, doing things like buying ETH, being in a position where all of the rails finally existed for people to buy ETH on a credit card and buying NFT on OpenSea and all of this.

In 2018, none of that existed. I think as soon as we cross that chasm, it makes everything a little less scary if you will. There are lots of signals, I think, corporate signals that show we have reasons to be optimistic about the technology, which we can get into.

Lule: The one thing I would just encourage everybody to do is don’t think in binary terms when it comes to investing. Think nuance. Do what we just talked about here, context, bite-size, learn by doing, et cetera, all these things that get you into being an investing as a habit for life rather than being jerked around by what volatility does for you.

Callie: Something that somebody very wise said to me, one of my behavioral psychologists expert friends. He’s way more big brain than I am. He said, “Speculation, you know you’re speculating when you have bravado instead of confidence.” That hit me in the chest. Think about it. It’s like if you’re stepping out there and saying, “I can do this. Watch me do this,” in an almost cocky way, like, “Watch me make this money,” then, to a certain extent, confidence is good, but when you cross that chasm, and when you forget your “why”, that’s when you flip into speculation. 

“It’s thought of as a binary thing, but that shouldn’t shut you off from exploring it, because it really is a wealth-building tool. Investing is a wealth-building tool as long as you approach it the correct way.”


Callie: Just think back at the stock market over the past two years. We saw the meme stock revolution. We’re seeing big tech companies endure, endure is not the right word, but look at splitting their stock, which stock splits are not normal, People. That’s something we saw back in the 1990s. We’re getting back to stock splits. We’re getting back to direct access IPOs.

IPOs are when companies go public. That used to be something exclusively for Wall Street, exclusively for bankers to get in before the shares hit the market, and then we all, individual investors, can buy them. We really are seeing a shift in ownership in traditional investing as well. I think that that’s a reflection of retail or Wall Street really focusing on retail, understanding the power that we have in the market right now.

Social media plays into this as well. Network effects play into that as well. It’s so much easier to get engaged in the markets and stay abreast of what’s happening, just because news is everywhere. Information disseminates quicker than ever. I’m a federal reserve nerd, so maybe this is nerdy of me, but you can even watch Fed Chair J Powell, and his press conferences on YouTube. We’re all meshing together, and Wall Street is quickly realizing that now because they know that they’ll fall behind if they don’t.

It really is an encouraging story, even if it’s not the high-growth emerging market story that you hear in crypto. It’s an opportunity for us, too. It’s an opportunity for us to say, “We are going to invest on these terms, and you will follow them.” 

“It all goes back to ownership. It’s you as an investor realizing that that means that you have a say in where your companies and where your funds go, and you’re having an increasingly greater say because Wall Street is recognizing the retail crowd even more.”

I think it’s really exciting, especially because I sit in the middle of a historical market that has had all these ebbs and flows and transformations, and we can see even more down the road and then the integration of crypto as well.


Anna: Where I think things get really interesting is when we think of blockchain technology as a transformative technology, if you will, where we actually are going to build new applications that enable us to do new things based on the blockchain infrastructure.

This is something that’s happening today. Again, it’s already happening today in the form of, let’s say, decentralized finance, as an example, of where now credit is key to building wealth. Now, for the first time, through DeFi standards and DeFi applications, someone doesn’t have to go to a bank. They don’t have to go through the process of being personally evaluated to see if they are a good candidate for a loan, but rather, you just depose collateral in a smart contract.

I have the money to take this loan, I’m executing the loan automatically, and I’m going to repay it automatically through a smart contract. That’s something that exists today, which we know is a superior, more accessible system for people to be evaluated based on credit and their creditworthiness than the process of banks today, which we know is flawed with manual error and bias.

Now, the challenge is how do we make it so that those products are really easy to use so that my grandmother can use them so that my dad can use and that I don’t have to be a computer scientist or a financial engineer to feel comfortable taking the loan, but that will happen. When we expand outside of financial use cases, this is where blockchain becomes even more interesting, I think because this is where we get to understand really the benefits of a Web 3.0 world versus a Web 2.0 world.

“People always talk about Web 2.0 as being this iteration of the internet, the social media rise, whereas users, we were able to read and write on the internet in order to communicate and share information. Web 3.0 is being categorized as the ability to read, write, and own.” 

What we see now is that blockchain actually provides infrastructure, where we can iterate on that model and provide better solutions, better applications for people using social media, where you actually could say, own all of your own tweets or protocols, where developers then cannot just develop one Twitter with one algorithm but actually can develop a flexible Twitter that can generate multiple sorts of algorithms.

Whether I’m in the mood to see content that’s about women empowerment, that could be a dropdown that I would select, or if I’m in the mood to see content about outrage content, which I think is the default algorithm on Twitter today, anyway, I could select that.

I think when we start to look at the applications DeFi and what this means in terms of additional services, not just decentralized social media, there’s a lot of efforts out there in terms of decentralized media using decentralization in networks of trust to validate disinformation, lots of examples of blockchain validating personal data, such as health records, identity, land ownership, verified asset ownership, et cetera, this is where it’s hard not to be bullish on the technology because as individuals, we all understand that we want these things.

We want our medical records owned by us and in a unified place. We want a verified voting system. We want decentralized ID. We want these things because they will make our lives better, safer, and easier. I think this is the area where it’s hard to fight that. Every other big company in the world sees that potential and is making moves in this direction as well.


Lule: One of the examples you used was the ability to go to a bank, and it’s your personal information that governs it, rather than some random bureaucratic process that makes the decision if you will, the algorithmic decision on something.

As a woman who’s also been in creating equity side of the equation in your career, how do you think about this industry ensuring that it’s not bringing the baggage of all the biases that are already baked into all the algorithms that exist around how credit can keep people out, how bad credit is, as we know, part of the systemic racism aspect of things? How do you think that this technology can be weary but also be proactive in engineering it in a way that doesn’t exacerbate further inequalities in our society?

Anna: I think a lot of it relies on who’s building what products and how are they being built. 

“I’m more optimistic today than I ever was several years ago because I know there are more women, people of color, and gender diversity, of all sorts, who are working and building in the space.”

I will tell you that when I started working in crypto work, it’s in 2017, that was not the case. It was pretty much all developers. It was all engineers, all White dudes get a bad rep, but that is what there were. That’s who was there. In addition to that, not just White dudes but the most technologically savvy people who have money to burn in order to make more money and invest and reap all the rewards.

However, I think that, first and foremost, that’s changing. It’s changing every day. I don’t think it’s an accident as to why it’s changing. It’s changing because the way crypto is built is inherently decentralized. It’s because it’s, first and foremost, it’s fully and totally global. The vast majority of these companies’ protocols Dows are global from day one. You can work there. You can find a way to contribute, no matter where in the world you are.

Second of all, the idea of community building and bottom-up actually creates a situation, where individuals realize that they can add value in places where they otherwise wouldn’t get jobs.

This is a really critical thing to understand here, which is that there are ways because of the way decentralized autonomous organizations are structured, that there are ways that people who like the community can contribute to the community and add value and potentially make money, even though this is a company that they might never work with or never work as a formal employee.

I’m really encouraged by all of the young people that I see from around the world from markets, let’s say, that, in the past, it’s been very hard to hire let’s say, Nigerian teenagers or hire Venezuelan cab drivers or all of these things. Through a Dow structure, there are ways for Dows to create opportunities immediately, transparently, et cetera, for people who actually bring those solutions to their communities. I think this is a fundamental difference from how we used to build businesses, which was based on Silicon Valley VCs.

Lule: If the more representations there are in the builder, the more whatever is made is going to be more reflective of that equity that we want. The second thing that I heard, which is really important is this, too, which is that, ultimately, if we do not continue to break normal, which is what this space does, it breaks normal constantly, it breaks the status quo, there’s no way for people on the outside to get on the inside. We have to be savvy navigators of the information of, yes, the scary stuff but to not abandon ship, to be a part of this game, so there is representation and engagement from everywhere under the sun. 

Anna: One thing that I want to add is that builders don’t have to be software engineers. We’re all builders. We all have the capability to help build in this space.

“I think this is a really, really important thing for everyone to understand, which is that in order to contribute and add value in a crypto community or to participate in a Dow or to go work at one of these companies, you do not need to be a developer or a sophomore engineer to add value.” 

Lule: Yes, I would also say that it is as essential to be a builder as it is to be an investor because to be an investor is a psychological shift. Anything you end up owning, you have a different psychological aspect to it. It’s a yin and yang that we’re talking to you about today, both investing and being a part of this technology as a builder and a community member.


Callie: Make sure you know how your money works for you, open a spreadsheet, write down each of the accounts you have, either debt or investment accounts, and understand what your investing account makes for you, what your checking account makes for you, what your savings account makes for you, and what your debt takes from you.

What I mean from that is if your interest rate on debt is 5% annually, then think of that as a negative 5% return. Don’t ignore the small opportunities here, like Lule mentioned, company matching in your 401(k). That’s a 100% return, Folks. If you put $50 into your 401(k), and your company matches all of it, that’s a hundred percent right there. 

One thing that really helped me was to understand my relationship with money, understand my emotional attachments to money because I grew up in a lower-middle-class household, and as I became an adult, as I understood how I viewed money, I figured out that I operated from a scarcity mindset. Just knowing that was really empowering. It took a lot of therapy visits.

It took a lot of soul searching, and I’m not there yet, but knowing that really helped me shine a light on just how exactly I was viewing money and how I could really optimize my budget for my life and for my emotions and my habits. It made me feel better about letting go of a little bit of money and putting it out into the ether and taking a little bit of risk with it.

Anna: It’s really easy to feel like everyone else is making more money than you and therefore, be really discouraged, and, “Everyone got rich already. Why haven’t I done it? Is a reflection of my own weaknesses, my own insecurities. Why not me? Why not me?” I think to Lule’s earlier point about you got to be in the arena, there’s no winning if you’re not in the arena. 

“I think one of the reflections that I can leave you guys with is that even though that insecurity, that feeling of not having done enough, or if only I had invested two years ago, three years ago, more money, whatever, let your haters be your motivators if you will.”

 Rather than just eating you up, use that as your motivation for trying to learn in terms of like, “Well, I was afraid back then, but the way I’m going to deal with that fear is to take $30,” or, “The way I’m going to deal with that fear is open up a practice account,” or, “The way that I’m going to deal with that fear and that anxiety is to commit an hour of my weekend to learn about NFTs, so I don’t feel like I’m getting left behind.”

I think that it’s all too easy to feel, “It’s too late. We didn’t start. Everyone already made their money. All the boys are getting rich without me.” We all feel it. It’s totally natural, it’s totally normal, but don’t let that keep you from getting started.


Lule: The time to invest is always now. It just depends on what amount, but the time to invest is always now. The reason is that time is your friend when it comes to investing. The second thing that’s your friend is tax-deferred instruments like your 401(k) and your IRAs, and your 529s if you have a kid or a future kid. Fun fact, you could actually establish a 529 for anticipation of a future kid, or for that matter, if you don’t want to have a kid, I don’t know, maybe you can use it in your retirement to do that cooking visit to Italy for education. I have no idea.

Ultimately, there’s time, and then there are tax-deferred instruments. Every time you forfeit on time, it means you’re forfeiting on tax-deferred instruments. What I would say to you is what changes if you have debt is how much you put aside, but the first no-brainer move is to establish your 401(k), make sure if you can afford to put in the match, and put in up to your company match. The second is establishing an IRA. Again, I don’t care how much you put a dollar or whatever the case is, just the habit of establishing it.

The third is plus a savings account and an investment account that you can play money, your play money with. Again, even if no money is established in these places, the most important thing is you’ve rooted, you’ve seeded the infrastructure to become a lifetime investor. 

I will tell you this, the minute I realized that, and I started investing because I didn’t pay off my student loans way off into my 40s, the minute I realized that investing was key, it changed my psychological approach to what debt did to me.

I suddenly didn’t feel like I was always under it, that it was just another equation of my other elements of financial future. Now, I’m not trivializing the fact that student debt is a crushing thing in the US for so many people. I’m not trivializing that. I am proposing a different perspective, though. 

“Knowing full well that debt is a reality, what if we became drivers of our financial destiny by adding a piece of investing in our world and what it benefits from, we benefit from versus only being under debt.”


Anna: Fortunately, I think there are a number of places to get started in crypto that are known brands with trusted track records. For most people, what makes the most sense is to start buying crypto and holding it at a decentralized exchange. If you’re here in the US, there are a range of trusted options for you to get started with. One of the things that I liked about eToro is that actually, because of the copy trader approach, you can actually buy your own crypto but then develop a portfolio that enables you to build a fake portfolio of risk your assets and begin to watch and track those.

I can speak for myself in that own portfolio I’ve made and lost a lot of money many times, if you will, in my fake portfolio of things that I don’t actually own, but it’s fun for me to follow along. It allows for me to learn about crypto and tokens that I otherwise don’t have the risk tolerance myself personally to actually buy into, but those are my tips for getting started.

The other tip that I would say is, to talk to who you know who has crypto. Talk to the people that you know that have crypto, whether it’s your friends, your community, et cetera. Get their opinion on what’s trusted. Get their opinion on what they’ve done. Participate in the discourse of communities like this and ask other people what they’ve done to get started. There are a number of best practices now so that you’re not just forging it alone and a bunch of solutions that will support that.


eToro is a social investing platform that offers both the ability to invest in stocks with fractional shares and zero commission. It also has a social feed that you can learn from, other investors like yourselves. The ability to practice without putting a dime into our platform when it comes to investing as well as a variety of crypto coins that an investor could learn about, track and invest in as well. eToro is offering a $10 credit for the first $100 you deposit so if you’ve been on the fence about investing, no excuses now – your money is waiting for you 🙂 

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