The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to a standstill and put millions of people under financial stress. Understandably, people from all walks of life started looking for alternative income streams. In honour of Women’s Month this August, a global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, Paxful, is shining a spotlight on women who have started successful side hustles powered by bitcoin.
Not only are these side jobs providing women with additional income, they are also giving individuals an opportunity to develop new skills in the bitcoin and blockchain space. Blockchain skills are in high demand internationally and may unlock new career opportunities or set the ground for running a successful business in the future.
Beyond speculative activities, bitcoin already drives a whole range of entrepreneurial ventures including arbitrage, remittance, e-commerce and educational projects, to name a few. Paxful is committed to encouraging more women to consider pursuing opportunities in bitcoin and blockchain; the company has rolled out a number of educational programs globally to educate more people about the crypto industry.
Realising entrepreneurial potential
A report released by CoinMarketCap in April revealed that the number of women in the cryptocurrency industry increased by 43.24% in the first quarter of 2020. In addition, a study published in December 2019 by Bitcoin (BTC) fund operator, Grayscale, showed that 43% of investors interested in Bitcoin are women (13% up from 2018), with the number actively growing. “Our sector can still do better to attract more female blockchain professionals and entrepreneurs. At Paxful, nearly 40% of our global workforce is female and we continuously keep our eyes out for more female collaborators, community builders and problem solvers,” says Tugba Abadan, Paxful’s newly appointed Head of Middle East and Africa.
Usage of the Paxful platform is soaring, and the company also witnessed a steady increase in the number of women participating in its entrepreneurship program, the Paxful Peer Program. The program helps crypto enthusiasts become their own bosses, and women have been topping the list of best performers since its launch in November 2019.
Yvonne Kagondu, Paxful’s Community Coordinator in Kenya, says: “It's not easy to be a young African at the moment. Unfortunately, many of us suffer the consequences of unemployment and poverty. It’s very important to be on the lookout for as many opportunities as possible and find one that suits you best. I found blockchain technology intriguing and decided to focus on bitcoin, which eventually led me to mentoring other young female professionals and fellow small business owners. I feel so fortunate to be able to help and inspire fellow Africans to take control of their finances through bitcoin.”
Paxful’s Peer Program participant Nkhensani Nyalungu is a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Johannesburg. She shares her experience with the program: “I had never considered setting up a tech-related business until I learnt more about the opportunities in the blockchain industry. Once I became familiar with the technology, it was quite easy to dive into the crypto world. I am extremely passionate about educating my peers about the crypto-economy, as I feel I’m carving the path towards economic freedom for our communities.”
Victoria Chauke, a student at Johannesburg’s Wits University, used to work as a part-time promoter before she started her bitcoin side-hustle to earn some extra cash, “Trading bitcoin was a better option for me as I could learn on the go; it’s much more flexible as I can make money while at home, in-between classes or while busy with other commitments.”
She adds: “I believe we need a lot more women in the bitcoin community. From my experience, I think we can operate as effectively as men, if not better, in the blockchain ecosystem”.
Entrepreneurial aspirations in a time of crisis
According to a study, an estimated one in three working South Africans have a side job to bring in extra income. The COVID-19 lockdown has put millions of people under challenging circumstances as they faced losses of jobs and income opportunities. The pandemic pushed people to look for alternative income sources, so the interest in crypto and bitcoin entrepreneurship grew rapidly, which Paxful confirms as the number of platform users skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020. As contactless payments are encouraged, people are opting for non-cash in-person trades using bitcoin.
Abadan concludes: “We’re very excited to see how the number of trades on Paxful from South African users have grown by more than 36% in Q2 of this year. Blockchain technology has created a new frontier for the global economy, and I believe that the industry offers plenty of opportunities to achieve greater economic independence”.