Hell hath no fury like the twittersphere in April, when Fusion’s Felix Salmon wrote an article entitled ‘Brocoin: Why Bitcoin’s male domination will be its downfall’. In his piece, Salmon cites demographics statistics from ZeroHedge which tell us that the ‘average Bitcoin user’ is male (96%), aged 32.7 and libertarian. Salmon also points to the latest in crypto-literature, Digital Gold, an overview of Bitcoin’s history so far by Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times:
Popper did talk to most of the important people in the cryptocurrency crowd, and he tells me that he put real effort into trying “to find a woman who was involved in some substantive way”. Popper’s book features no female principals at all: the sole role of women in the book is as wives and girlfriends.
For Salmon, this “lack of women” is a “fundamental weakness of the currency itself”.
…so long as it remains an overwhelmingly male domain, it’s going to continue to concentrate on the economic problems, while missing the big social problems. Which means that it’s going to continue going nowhere.
Naturally, the good folk of twitter pointed out that while there is still a way to go to encourage more diversity in Bitcoin, there are plenty of brilliant and important women in the cryptocurrency crowd.
So let’s take a look some of the female movers and shakers in Bitcoin at the moment.
1. Blythe Masters
Blythe Masters is famous for being one of the brains in the close-knit team at JP Morgan Chase who developed the modern Credit Default Swap, a financial instrument which played a massive role in the credit crunch. However, this year she became the CEO of cryptocurrency start-up Digital Asset Holdings, promising to bring blockchain technology to financial transactions on Wall Street. For more, see A cryptocurrency fan’s guide to Blythe Masters,
2. Susan Athey
Susan is a leading economics professor at Stanford University, with a specialism in the economics of technology. She works as an advisor to Ripple Labs (for more on Ripple, see our article on Altcoins) and is conducting research “analyzing the block chain and trying to describe the evolution of the block chain over time”. Oh, and she also has the time to be Microsoft’s Chief Economist.
3. Bitcoin Lady aka Alakanani Itireleng
Founder of the Bitcoin Botswana Community Group, Bitcoin Lady is on a one woman mission to bring Bitcoin to Botswana, a country where only around 11.5% of the population had internet in 2013.
4. Elizabeth Rossiello
Elizabeth is the CEO of Bitpesa, one of the up-and-coming players on the Bitcoin remittances scene. Bitpesa is revolutionising global payments, charging a 3 percent fee when accepting Bitcoin to send Kenyan Shillings, where providers such as Western Union often charge over 7 percent.
5. Perianne Boring
Perianne is the founder and President of the Washington-based Digital Chamber of Commerce, a trade association promoting “the acceptance and use of digital currencies and digital assets among government and the larger public”. She is also the CEO of digital asset consultancy Boring and Company, and author of regulatory update known as the Boring Bitcoin Report.
6. Connie Gallippi
Connie is the founder of BitGive Foundation, a nonprofit charitable foundation with the goal of improving public health and the environment through Bitcoin.
7. Lisa Cheng
Canadian Lisa Cheng is the founder of VANBEX, a “full service cryptofirm” which offers marketing, PR, research and consultancy services for all things digital currency and blockchain-related.
8. Victoria van Eyk
Victoria is the VP of Community Development of the so-called “love button for the internet” ChangeTip, a Bitcoin micropayment system. ChangeTip is allowing listeners to tip and donate to their favourite artists. Victoria is also a Partner at the Bitcoin Strategy Group, a Bitcoin communications consultancy.