Calling Out the Sexism in Bitcoin, Crypto

Crypto is for everyone.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 7:09 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:25 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 7:09 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 4:25 p.m. UTCLayer 2
AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 7:09 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 4:25 p.m. UTCLayer 2

It’s no secret that the cryptocurrency industry skews young, male and white. Although diversity is part of crypto’s MO – more forms of money, more voices, more worldviews – there’s nothing inherently wrong with a young industry attracting a particular socio-economic group at first.

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Decentralization is a process, after all. Even the commodity-money bitcoin, when launched, could have been deemed a security if regulators cared enough to look. But its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, stepped away from his amassed fortune and the hard-capped coin took root elsewhere.

Bitcoin is for everyone.

That’s why it’s particularly worthwhile to call out discrimination when it happens. On Wednesday, a pseudonymous figure on Crypto Twitter who goes by rand0 (@Rand0mGuest2) published a frankly galling blog, “That’s sexual harassment, bro.” The title precedes the content, filled as it is with stereotypes, casual sexism and a twisted view of who is on top and who is on bottom.

I don’t know the story behind the post outside of the context Rand0mGuest2 chooses to bring in. Apparently, his friend, who goes by a raunchy pseudonym that means a boy who sleeps around, wanted to make a statement about the crypto influencer Rachel “CryptoFinally” Siegel and apparently “exposed” her as a scammer by posting a “well timed creeper pic of this thot.”

The semipro class

Siegel is part of a class of semiprofessionals in the crypto industry who offer market insights on social platforms like Twitter and YouTube, but don’t call it “investment advice.” She’s sold NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and at times, she has promoted various coins.

To rand0, “CryptoFinally” represents the worst of the “crypto” industry. Because she’s not all-in on bitcoin, she’s just another person degraded by the “fiat mindset” – a hustler in it for the money, not for changing the world.

I’m not looking to “white knight” for Siegel, who is capable of defending herself. Nor do I want to dwell on rand0’s commentary, making it out to be representative of the industry at large or the culture around “the ‘corn.” It was a blog post, barely read, barely commented upon. (It should be said, Siegel once took offense to a profile written about her published on CoinDesk.)

But there are a few things worth delineating. First, it’s absolutely immature to objectify women. Rand0 spends some time reflecting on Siegel’s “flat ass” and asserts she’s not only in crypto to “dump [her] bags on unsuspecting noobs,” but to pick up a rich, caretaker boyfriend. He calls her tattoos “trashy” and lumps her in with other “dishonest courtesans.”

Putting aside the fact that human sexuality is complicated, that love is blind, that not everyone likes the things you do, this is just unnecessary bigotry. Call it “locker room talk” or “boys being boys,” there’s no reason in the 21st century to attempt jokes like this. They were never funny – and “butterface” is a dead pun. If you disagree with how CryptoFinally lives her life, address her ideas.

A life without principles

All of this is worth saying precisely because rand0 wants to be talking at a higher level. He has an ethical, if traditionalist, mandate. He seems to say modern life – with all of its conveniences and superficialities – allows people to live without principle. And those selling altcoins are the worst.

“[Rhymes-with-mitt-coin] influencers in 2022, where bitcoin maximalism is blatant and obvious, have no moral compass,” he writes, holding that small corner of crypto to account. Bitcoiners, an emergent identity formed around an immaterial object, are fighting not only for a world where money cannot be debased, but people and culture, too.

Again, rand0 doesn’t represent every bitcoiner’s perspective. But he is tapping into a fairly common eschatological view of the world of what happens after bitcoin wins. Hyperbitcoinization is a utopia: It’s the idea that all other assets will gradually depreciate against BTC, leaving early stackers in a privileged position.

Privileged might not be the word they choose – they have earned their coming success, they have stacked sats and delayed gratification. They have a low-time preference, necessary to smooth over bitcoin’s current volatility, while everyone else seeks cheap thrills.

“Bitcoin is about accepting your place in life, how you got there and why. Owning it, and doing something about it,” rand0 writes.

Success not guaranteed

The thing is, there is nothing guaranteeing the success of the bitcoin experiment. It, like all cryptocurrencies, has existed only in an age of cheap money, an age when the Federal Reserve experimented with low interest rates and quantitative easing to push people and companies into riskier and riskier assets.

Bitcoin, hailed as an inflation hedge, is at the far end of the risk curve. Bitcoiners may not like it, but bitcoin is treated as a tech stock. The mental contortions necessary to see bitcoin as rand0 wants it to be seen seemingly inflect his other views.

“Bitcoin appreciates, girls like CryptoFinally depreciate rapidly. The male to female ratio has to change eventually. The cards aren’t in her favor,” he writes.

I mean, I can only speak from my perspective of being a highly educated, sexually fulfilled white male, but I believe it when women say they are turned off by bitcoin, or when others in the industry say that sexism is rampant, and that might make it difficult to lessen the “male to female” ratio.

Rand0 tries to make it out that Siegel is using the “culture war” to her advantage and that she’s trying to cancel others for criticizing her. I’m also anticipating that he will think some s**tty writer from CoinDesk is trying to cancel him. That’s not my aim, although I agree with Rand0, that people should be held to account for what they do and say.

I hope Rand0 and his friend (whose name rhymes with bitcoin muck-toy) do settle down with loving partners, and that bitcoin also does well, but they are no more assured of achieving earthly bliss than bitcoin winning, especially if people like them keep acting like this. Have a little humility. And have a little decency, too.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2022 20:20 UTC): A previous version of this article stated Siegel responded to Rand0’s blogpost – she has not publicly acknowledged it. We regret the error.

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Daniel Kuhn

Daniel Kuhn is a deputy managing editor for Consensus Magazine. He owns minor amounts of BTC and ETH.