After spending the last twenty years as a rising woman in fintech, Katharine Wooller, MD Dacxi UK explains what motivates her to live a life without limits and why crypto is a part of that mandate and journey.
Dacxi is a Crypto wealth platform. A single-stop platform designed to help everyday people prosper with crypto, supported by a dedicated team who’s with you all the way. This is our Living Without Limits blog in which we speak to members of the dacxi community whose choose to live a life without limits. If you want to build crypto wealth you can start here.
Revolutionary financial freedom with fintech
I am thrilled to be asked to write the first “Living without Limits” profile for Dacxi – no pressure! I want to reflect on how my life has changed, for the better, by technology and more specifically, fintech and crypto.
The last 40 years have been marked by the information revolution; just like the industrial revolution before it, there is no part of daily life, that the rise of the computer has not touched.
I clearly remember, in the late 1980s, that my primary school invested in an Amstrad computer, which was gleefully shared by the whole class. Purchased for a not so inconsiderable sum of £400, which at the time was two weeks’ wages for the average UK worker. Now, of course, schools proudly boast, at least one computer per child. Prices, too, are unrecognisable, you can buy a laptop of under £200 which is currently around half a week’s wages. Now, more than ever, there is a huge disparity in those who have access to, and understand, incoming technology, and those who do not. Knowledge is power!
By the time I went to Cambridge University in 2000, most people had a clunky desktop. The internet and ecommerce were starting to take off; the dotcom boom laid the foundation for some of the world’s most valuable companies, such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – today they have a combined value of USD 4.1 trillion. Not shortly after, the smartphone in your pocket had more computing power than NASA used, to deliver astronauts to the moon in 1969. This revolution now means we have more information and possibility at our fingertips than ever before. My view is that the next wave of adoption of crypto will make the dot com boom look like small potatoes.
I have spent the majority of my career in fintech. The industry is not new; banks have been focusing on technology, and digitization since the 1990s. In recent years the rate of change has been phenomenal. I am old enough to remember phone banking coming in, followed by internet banking. I cannot remember the last time I visited a high street bank. Coronavirus has killed the habit of spending cash, as most people now use touchless payments (I fondly look back at the machines that were in every shop and restaurant that took an imprint of your card details with two pieces of paper and a lovely sounding crunch!). Crypto is the next wave of technology to triumph, and we are currently on the knife edge of that “tipping point” of no return!
I have worked with some of the world’s biggest investment banks, asset managers, and hedge funds, where the rate of change is glacial, but we are now firmly in the crypto era. Most central banks are considering digitising their currencies, including the EU and the Bank of England. Gargantuan payment businesses are coming on board, including Mastercard, Paypal and Visa. The potential market for the last two are eye watering – Paypal has 320 million users, and Visa is used by 61 million merchants and a billion people. For people like me working in the crypto industry, we know money is being updated: faster, quicker, cheaper and fairer. Certainly it solves problems: cross border, decentralized so not susceptible to political interference, and inherently anti-inflationary as most of the world’s largest economies print money with wanton abandon. Everyone agrees we are in for a rocky ride in the next 2-5 years and understandably people are looking for improvements in our current financial systems.
More importantly, for many crypto holders it has been the saving grace over the coronavirus – so far this year bluechip crypto (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin) has outperformed all major assets, and stock markets, in 2020. Crypto has already proven it can create opportunity and financial freedom like nothing else can.
Technology, of course, has caused huge positive changes in daily life. Most importantly, particularly after COVID, lots more people work from home, which has enabled me and a significant proportion of the UK, to spend a lot more time with my family, and of course indulge in my hobbies! I’m passionate about property investing, competing my horses, and I enjoy long distance running. Having run the London Marathon for a children’s charity, I hope to complete an ultra-marathon in 2021.
It has probably made the workplace a bit more of a level playing field for the gender gap. I’ve spent the majority of my career working in companies with up to 98% males (sob), but now, that balance is starting to tip. I host a Women Who Crypto meetup, which we believe is the largest virtual meetup of its type. I feel strongly about giving women access to the crypto industry, and Dacxi has one of the highest proportions of female headcount and platform users in the crypto industry. For many of the inspirational women I work with daily they have defined what success and freedom looks like for them, and live their best lives as a result. I was thrilled to be recently included in a “power list” for a Women in Crypto award, and feel much work remains to be done.
I am the generation that was told they could “have it all” be it career, kids, cool hobbies, and an amazing social life. Exhausting but rewarding! I head up Dacxi in the UK where the amazing team are producing ground breaking work, whether it’s new routes to market, such as pension and ISA, or our intention to list on the London Stock Exchange, which we believe will make us the first exchange to do so in the UK.
As an industry we face a steep education curve for the wider population – according to the FCA 3.6% of the UK population own crypto, double from the year before. I am lucky enough to deliver some of Dacxi’s free education for retail users, and to write for the press in publications such as Fintech Magazine, CryptoCurrency Magazine, Global Banking and Finance Review, and We are Tech Women, as well as having a blog “Adventures of a Unicorn'' which documents scaling up of a business in hyper-growth. A road less travelled is always hard to walk. But the rewards of exploration and moving out of our comfort zone almost always proves to be highly rewarding.
Crypto, for me, is the bleeding edge of technology. It is a genuinely global market that creates freedom and opportunity. It’s potential is almost limitless. This is inspiring stuff, and that’s why I am so excited to be part of the industry and in Dacxi’s journey over the coming years.