Tehran, Iran – As Iran’s crypto community grows, so does the number of women making their mark on it. Mostly young, self-taught and multi-disciplined, they are swelling the ranks of active traders looking to shield hard-earned savings against local currency inflation and economic uncertainty.
Some of these women are sharing their insights with aspiring crypto investors and even taking advantage of a self-employed flex schedule to achieve a healthier work-life balance.
Like other crypto investors, many of these innovators have been burned by the famously volatile, sometimes shady crypto market. But they are all crushing it in their own way.
The thrill of the trade
Full-time crypto trader and investment adviser Narges Moradabadi first embarked on her crypto journey in 2018, when she took a job heading the digital marketing department at a Tehran-based, crypto-focused firm.
Then last year, with COVID-19 ravaging Iran’s already sanctions-strapped economy, she made the leap to full-time trading; starting small, then scaling up as she taught herself more about a market in which price swings can be so sudden and steep, it birthed the acronym HODL – hold on for dear life.
But for Moradabadi, who studied technology engineering and earned an MBA, the volatility is the best part of it.
“What attracted me the most to trading was how challenging and diverse it is, and how much excitement it brings,” she told Al Jazeera. “You lose track of time at the charts.”
The 34-year-old also likes the flexibility that comes with trading since it allows her to adapt her schedule to spend more time with her four-year-old daughter and her husband.
Moradabadi is also “sharing the wealth” so to speak, publishing her analysis charts on social media where she boasts tens of thousands of followers.
That social media presence has invited some trolling, with some posting comments that her success stems solely from her being a minority gender in a field dominated by men.
But Moradabadi isn’t letting the haters get to her.
“I don’t agree with that,” she said. “I focus on offering my content in a way that would benefit a wide variety of people, and would also introduce them to different aspects of my personality.”
Like all traders, she has profited and lost money on her crypto positions. But she views the losing bets as learning experiences and has leveraged that knowledge to trade in foreign exchange markets as well.
“It can also teach you skills that can help you with different aspects of your life,” she said. “For example, I’ve always been hasty, but I learned the skill of exhibiting patience and having more mental control over positive and negative emotions.”
Crypto roller coaster
Negar Akhavan’s crypto learning curve has been a steep one.
The 30-year-old finance graduate first heard about Bitcoin from a friend in 2017.
She was sceptical at first that someone could make money simply by setting up banks of computers to mine a digital currency. But by 2019 she had changed her perspective.
By then, Akhavan had familiarised herself with crypto mining – in which powerful computers race to verify Bitcoin transactions in exchange for new Bitcoins – and taken market analysis courses. So she started importing mining rigs from China via Dubai and selling them to aspiring miners.
Watching them cash in tempted her to try her hand at mining. To get her start, she borrowed three and a half Bitcoins from her father – worth about $20,000 at the time – and promised him she would double his money in no time.
But she lost it all after an unscrupulous computer vendor in France…