Startup Opinion

Bitcoin isn’t a boy’s club, women just aren’t getting involved

Chantelle de la Rey /

Bitcoin

Amber co-founder, product owner and lead designer Chantelle de la Rey. Source: Supplied.

A common question I get asked is ‘why is Bitcoin a boys’ club’? And ‘how do you cope with being a female in three male-dominated spaces?’

Well, let me ask you some questions.

  • Why do you think it is a boy’ club?
  • Why haven’t you as a female entered the Bitcoin or digital-currency space?
  • Why haven’t you bought Bitcoin?

Please comment below or send me a message via social media telling me your why. Here are some common responses.

  • ‘I don’t know enough about the space.’
  • ‘It doesn’t interest me.’
  • ‘Way too volatile.’
  • ‘OMG the news says Bitcoin is for drug dealers.’
  • ‘I heard it was a scam?’
  • ‘What are digital currencies? Isn’t that the same as my $$ money in the bank?’
  • ‘What’s this Bitcoin you speak of? I haven’t heard of it.’
  • ‘It’s too late, I have missed the boat. The hype is over.’

All of these answers aren’t wrong by any means — they’re expected due to a lack of knowledge about the digital-currency space. Learning about Bitcoin is really hard as we aren’t all developers, libertarians, or people in tech and finance with a (generally) high intellect. And that is perfectly fine. It takes time to learn something new. But please do not use the excuse of not doing something because it is male-dominated — that to me is a cop out.

There is no real reason why women aren’t entering the digital-currency space. The creator of Bitcoin ‘Satoshi’ never said ‘no girls allowed’. That line of thinking reminds me of a quote from Mean Girls: “You can’t sit with us.” But we’re not in high school anymore. You don’t need permission from anyone to do, say, or be who you want to be in this century, particularly with something like Bitcoin which is designed to be permissionless (meaning anyone can use it and participate). 

Let’s have a look at the stats.

Quite honestly, they don’t surprise me.

Bitcoin is still risky, fringe and nerdy — and the same way boys have their toys and girls value their relationships more (in general), males have tended to get their hands dirty with it first. 

Furthermore, unless you have a specific interest in finance and economics, why would you care about Bitcoin? Again, generally speaking, more guys are interested in money, finance, tech and economics. And that’s fine. More guys are interested in bricklaying, too.

I don’t think any of this is a problem. If anything, it’s an opportunity.

I’m happy for someone to run ahead and figure out the complex math stuff so I can then work on the UX in the space — because that’s my jam — and I don’t care if it’s a guy or a girl. I’m more impressed that someone is willing to make a bet and gamble on something before it’s proven, while giving the rest of us the time to figure out where we best fit and how we can best add value.

So, moving along, I think women haven’t been interested or cared to be involved in this space for many reasons.

Risk

Females are biologically more risk-averse than males. In fact, we tend to learn from their mistakes. 

Complexity

Unlike most things in the world today which are easy to use, simple and dumbed down, this space is complicated.

It’s impossible to keep up with everything, and most people are busy with their own career or are looking for a more convenient way to learn and enter a new space.

This is a gender-neutral problem, and the fact that there are more guys in it now has nothing to with anything except the fact that they’re more interested and willing to trudge through all the complexity.

Also, there are more men in this space that have lost ridiculous amounts of money due to this complexity, and that’s because they’re more willing to jump into it. In contrast, I personally take my time and try to understand it (which is similar to most women).

Interest

If more females were interested they would be in the space already, I don’t see why we would hold back due to it being ‘male-dominated’.

I mean, look at what Liz Stark, Taylor Monahan and Soona Ahmaz are doing. There has to be something which connects with someone to drive interest. You can’t just force upon someone or expect them to move into a space because it’s imbalanced by the measure of ‘gender’. 

Exposed

Most people have heard about it, but have not participated — for all the reasons described above.

And related back to risk, complexity and interest, at this stage, more guys are in it.

Will this change? Yes. But it’s going to take time.

Trying to un-naturally ‘balance the genders out’ is crazy because it’s going to push people who aren’t interested in it, and make it tougher for those involved.

I honestly believe if you have an interest in something you would somehow get involved, and to date, the data says women haven’t been interested or cared to be involved in this space as much as ‘dudes’. So what?

NOW READ: Happy birthday Bitcoin: What we can learn from its formative 10 years

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Chantelle de la Rey

Chantelle is the co-founder, product owner and lead designer at Amber.

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