Blog | Personal Finance

Losing the Crypto-Fraternity Mentality

Women deserve a seat at the digital currency table, alongside the men who dominate it

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It’s hard to believe the foothold on the “old boys’ club” is still so strong in the 21st century, but it is. Women never got a proper seat at the table during the tech boom and now men are attempting to shove us aside for the latest tech craze: cryptocurrency. Google analytics showing Bitcoin engagement by gender reveals that only 5.27% are women.

Apparently the North American Bitcoin Conference, which was held in January, featured 84 male speakers and only three women. Ok, that’s disappointing. But here’s the kicker: the official conference party was held at a Miami strip club. Seems like the men in charge are trying to send a strong message that we aren’t welcome in this space. And the year before, the conference’s kickoff party featured models in their underwear, who were painted gold and covered in Bitcoin logos. There’s even a new crop of wealthy crypto speculators known as “blockchain bros.” It’s like a cryto-fraternity has joined Wall Street and strip clubs are their hazing ritual.

Well, good luck keeping this gold mine all to yourselves, boys. Because make no mistake: Women are involved in cryptocurrency. And we are becoming more involved every day.

Various crypto trailblazers are busy organizing clubs, conferences and events solely for the purpose of attracting women to this exciting industry. Let’s look at the steps three of these women are taking to pave the way:

Jalak Jobanputra, founder of the start-up investment firm Future Perfect Ventures, gathered alongside other blockchain developers earlier this year to discuss the great gender divide. Later, they announced that they would form Collective Future, a blockchain diversity advocacy group with a diversity pledge for crypto companies to sign as a show of their commitment to lessen said divide.

Brit Morin, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, recently hosted a blockchain gathering for women. Guess what? It sold out in an hour. She then reserved a larger venue. All 500 seats sold out. Realizing the demand, she set up a livestream for the event and 16,000 viewers joined to watch.

Jane Zhang, marketing partner at Delphy—a blockchain-powered predictive market—is one of the leading women in the blockchain space. In honor of International Women’s Day, which was on March 8, she penned a powerful statement—I’ve included a few sentences: “Sadly, for all its talk on innovation and disruption, the world of cryptocurrencies trails behind in diversity. The wider technology industry has faced many issues with gender equality, but strides are being made in the right direction. Yet why do we see and read about cryptocurrency events being held at gentlemen’s clubs? Why are there so many stories from women who have attended cryptocurrency events only to be subjected to sexist and condescending remarks? An innovative and exciting new world is stuck in the dark ages. We need to ensure that women’s voices are being heard, that women are being brought into the industry whether that be from a business, investment or development perspective.”

I commend these women on the front lines for being pioneers in this industry and not shying away from uncomfortable and unfair gender bias. Clearly, there’s still plenty of ground for us to gain, not to mention the need for more female role models in this industry to encourage others along. It’s too soon to say where this crypto-craze will take us, but that’s what people have said all throughout history when new inventions began to become mainstream. If you’re seeking new and exciting opportunities to achieve your financial dreams, then the world of cryptocurrencies might be worth exploring.

Original publish date: May 10, 2018

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