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Women and Investors of Color Seem to Prefer Cryptocurrency Over Traditional Stocks—Here's Why

@andreonegin via Twenty20

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 cryptocurrency traders are women, while women make up only 38% of stock traders. Similarly, 44% of cryptocurrency traders are investors of color, compared with only 35% stock investors.

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 35% of cryptocurrency traders had incomes lower than $60,000, while only 27% of stock traders had similar incomes.

"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.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that 41% of cryptocurrency traders are women and that women make up 38% of stock traders. It also corrected that  44% of cryptocurrency traders are investors of color, compared with only 35% stock investors.

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