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Less than 1 in 10 Norwegian consumers are willing to invest in digital currency. Of these, more than twice as many are men compared to women.
Less than 1 in 10 Norwegian consumers are willing to invest in digital currency. Among these, the number of men is over double that of women.

Why don't women invest in crypto as much as men?

Even after 15 years, there is no more gender equality in the crypto field than in other financial areas. Researchers point to general psychological differences between men and women.

When Bitcoin was introduced as the first cryptocurrency in 2009, it was celebrated as a new global currency that also offered equal opportunities among genders for investment and usage.

However, after 15 years, it has become evident that this has not been the case. In Norway, where gender equality is generally advanced, the willingness among men to invest in cryptocurrencies remains more than twice as high as that among women.

This is shown in consumer research conducted at the University of Agder (UiA). 

Understanding crypto investments 

In a study recently published in the American journal Psychology & Marketing, researchers investigated the attitude towards investing in cryptocurrencies among the adult population in Norway, measured by gender, objective financial knowledge, and personality traits.

One main purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the significant differences found when asking who would consider investing in crypto.

“The numbers show that less than one in ten Norwegian consumers are willing to invest in digital currency. Of these, more than twice as many are men compared to women," Ellen Katrine Nyhus says. She is a professor at UiA's School of Business and Law.

12.5 per cent of men consider investing in digital currency, while only 5.6 per cent of women consider doing the same. 

Nyhus is part of the research team behind the new study.

“We have been interested in why this is the case in Norway - and how it can be explained,” she says.

Psychological mechanisms affect decisions 

The researchers focused on various psychological mechanisms that could make people more or less willing to invest in cryptocurrencies.

How different personality traits interact is central to the research:

  • On the one hand, financial self-efficacy and financial overconfidence.
  • On the other hand, personality traits: emotional stability, extroversion, curiosity for new things and experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Clear differences between men and women 

“The first thing that struck us when going through the data was two clear differences between genders regarding financial mastery and financial overconfidence,” Nyhus explains.

Men scored higher for financial mastery, indicating greater confidence in their ability to make financial decisions. Women exhibited higher levels of financial overconfidence, as they believed in their financial knowledge more than the answers to the study’s knowledge questions suggested.

“The second finding was distinct gender differences related to four out of the five personality traits we examined,” Nyhus says.

Men are less social, less agreeable, and less conscientious than women, but score higher on emotional stability.

In contrast, women are more social, more agreeable, and more conscientious than men, but score lower on emotional stability. This is also consistent with other research on personality traits. 

Some personality traits weigh more than others

When considering participants’ willingness to invest in cryptocurrencies, the findings show that individuals who score high on financial overconfidence - in other words, women - are more inclined to invest in cryptocurrencies compared to others.

However, at the same time, the research also indicates that individuals who score highest in terms of financial mastery and lowest in personality traits such as agreeableness and conscientiousness - men - are more positive towards investing in cryptocurrencies than others.

No shift in gender patterns 

From a gender perspective, the research thus indicates that crypto has not managed to influence or alter traditional gender patterns and stereotypes within the financial investment industry.

“Our findings also indicate that women may need further persuasion or education regarding the benefits and risks of crypto before considering investing in this type of currency,” Nyhus says.

She also points out that these are areas of action that companies and marketers in the crypto industry should factor in when devising future marketing initiatives.

“This knowledge can also be crucial for those tasked with regulating financial markets and protecting vulnerable consumers,” she adds.


Nyhus et al. Crypto cravings: Gender differences in crypto investment intentions and the mediating roles of financial overconfidence and personality, Psychology & Marketing, 2023. DOI: 10.1002/mar.21921

About the study

Nyhus conducted the research along with Postdoctoral Research Fellow Michał Krzysztof Król, Professor Anders Emil Tobias Otterbring, and Darius-Aurel Frank from Aarhus University, Denmark.

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