Information is the best way to bring women closer to the bitcoin market and other cryptocurrencies. And who says that is one of the few women that work in the area, Transfero Swiss AG’s head of Business Development, Juliana Walenkamp. But for her it is also needed a change in the financial education of families. Juliana also tells how she ended up in this area’s company and the importance of bitcoin in the empowerment of people, not just women. Read the full interview.
You went through the commercial area of several companies until ending up in a cryptocurrency company; how did that happen ?
I worked in a DTVM – distributor and securities dealer – doing the commercial development of the exchange area and also supporting the creation of a trading company for the same partners in parallel. A personal friend had a customer who was struggling to perform a foreign currency remittance, and I said I could help developing a solution. This client was precisely Transfero, who was struggling to make the international transfer to purchase digital currencies in other jurisdictions. So I dived deep into this subject to try to understand the best way to implement the operation. I ended up having empathy for the market and continued to study further. I started to realize its value and potential in every new discovery. Finally I managed to make the exchange operation and a while later I received the proposal from Thiago Cesar, CEO of Transfero, to develop the commercial area.
And what led you to believe in the bitcoin as a new asset class at that time when the market was still unmature?
As I said, I studied a lot about the cryptocurrency area and wanted to understand well the blockchain potential. I realized that digital assets were an instrument of freedom, as well as a great innovation for the financial sector. As far as international transfers were concerned, I’ve always had problems with timing among some operations that I’d closed daily while working with trading. Sometimes we needed to make shipments of goods to very poor countries in Africa, such as Congo, and these operations depended on several intermediaries. The whole process to close the foreign exchange operation took four, five days. Considering that the products we used to export were of utmost need for that country, such as food and construction material, the timing was not proper. With the bitcoin, you solve this problem in a moment, boost the process much more and reduce costs dramatically. In addition to this solution, I also see the bitcoin as a protection instrument for the exchange operations and financial speculation. Those aspects have captivated me.
In other words, did you end up finding a motivation both in the business and social aspect?
For sure. I usually say that I only work with what gives me a greater purpose and in a way helps to bring a positive impact on people’s lives. And I have this very strong belief in me. Blockchain technology brings me this feeling that I will be able in the future to do something good for people and also for the companies. Digital asset is a very strong instrument of empowerment.
What are the main challenges you have to face in an everyday life of a predominantly masculine market?
Women face challenges in all areas of life, so in the professional area it is no different. There is still a lot of prejudice in this market, not only because I am a woman, but also because I appear to be younger than I am. But this is not exclusive felt in the cryptocurrencies area, as the financial market as a whole is just the same. And I fight this with a lot of knowledge, information and, mainly, understanding the needs of the customers. Putting myself in their shoes and analyzing the best solution I can offer. Women are more conservative in allocating the family’s financial resources. In addition to being more detailed, they seek to know all aspects of an investment product.
Increased interest of women in bitcoin
Have you noticed an interest of women in the financial market and cryptocurrencies?
Yes, I have noticed a growing interest of women in the financial market. Brazilians in general have a difficulty in the area of financial education. And women even more, not because they are less capable, but because in many family structures it is not delegated to them the decisions of allocating the family’s investment equity. But this scenario is changing. More and more women are taking on these roles within their families and getting more interest in the financial market.
And the same is being confirmed in the cryptocurrency area?
Yes, we’ve been getting more women than before. Women want to earn their financial freedom too and it doesn’t happen instantly. Specific behaviors and decisions are required to drive this. In this way, women of our century need to be aware of the market trends and this includes facing some challenges and taking risks. The more women participate in this movement today, the greater the chances of them playing an important role in building this new reality, whether as an investor or as an active professional in the market.
What is the main difference between men and women when it comes to investing their assets?
In general, women are more conservative in allocating the family’s financial resources. In addition to being more detailed, they seek to know all aspects of an investment product, with high degree of accuracy, before opting for it. I think this is because women value a lot family protection as a result of their maternal instinct. Still, that’s not widespread. I have women as clients with a very high risk appetite as well. It all depends on the person’s profile
And in the case of women, what is your approach strategy?
I try to understand the customer’s needs and show in detail why she should allocate a portion of her assets to cryptocurrencies. Showing the differentials of the market, the potential of the technology for the coming years, the increasing adoption curve, the anticyclical nature of the asset and the great innovation it represents. And the same applies to men.
Dedication and study are key to understand the market
Does it require much dedication and devotion to understand this market?
Yes, it takes considerable time per day of reading to learn and update on everything that happens. If I could give an advice about any reading, it would be some newsletters subscriptions such as Unbankd, Chainletter, Decrypt Daily Debrief, The Block’s Daily Brief, Off the Chain and Kapronasia and sites like Coindesk and Cointelegraph. And PanoramaCrypto too (laughs).
And even for those who are starting out, can they begin to understand this market through these readings?
Yes, it’s important to filter the information. For example, we are now seeing a strong moment of rise of the STO (offer of security tokens, securities assets with encrypted digital representation) and stablecoins (tokens pegged to some currency or commodity). And that’s been highly advertised in the specialized media. In the past, it was the ICOs (offering tokens for specific purposes) that dominated the news.
Does the gender pay gap drive women out of the cryptocurrency world?
I don’t see it that way. I still believe it’s more of a cultural issue. In some areas of the economy, such as technology, there are women earning more than men.
I really like the phrase: “a big swing is a big opportunity”. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are exactly this big change that open up great possibilities.
Bitcoin is an instrument of empowerment
How do you think it is possible to bring women closer to the financial market, considering a family’s investment decisions?
First it is necessary to include women in this discussion since their youth, especially regarding financial education. We need to change the Brazilian’s mentality in relation to variable income, as there is still skepticism this regard, and a preference for fixed income and private pension. The best way to approach would be through information
For women who want to invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies today, what is your best advice?
Study hard and get informed. I believe a lot in the blockchain, it opens up immense possibilities, even regarding work opportunities in this area. Although the technology has existed for ten years, there are still many applications to be developed. Today, there are already a large number of possibilities, from investments to the development of projects in this technology. And it will certainly be a great instrument of empowerment, not only of women, but of all citizens. I really like the phrase: “a big swing is a big opportunity”. The blockchain and cryptocurrencies are exactly this big change that open up great possibilities.