Activists at the just concluded Consensus 2018, the world’s largest blockchain conference have called for gender diversity and minority participation in the emerging cryptocurrency industry.
The three-day conference saw thousands of cryptocurrency enthusiasts gather in midtown New York, even as a group of female activists wore T-shirts with the inscription “Satoshi is Female” inscribed across.
Satoshi Nakamoto, is widely credited as the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin and the founding father of cryptocurrency and blockchain, a public system for recording transactions. According to The Guardian, both innovations are hailed by tech insiders as potentially game-changing financial and social tools.
Nyla Rodgers, the creator of the Satoshi is Female group said the women wanted an all-inclusive blockchain industry that did not retain the white, male, tech-nerd stereotype of Silicon Valley.
“We think cryptocurrencies should be built with a different system and values in mind. Silicon Valley is completely run by men. Women only receive 2% of venture capital funding so their ideas never rise to the top. We’ve been living with a very one-sided view of the world.”
According to her, the novelty of the blockchain industry offered women a chance to influence and shape it.
“The blockchain sector has only been around for 18 months so we, as women, can help define what the culture looks like at the beginning, the urgency is there for women and minorities to create a system that actually values them.”
The gender imbalance in the crypto-industry is already evident in the images of Lamborghinis and Moon Landings that have come to represent the industry and a testosterone fueled culture that saw a recent “networking party” of the North American Bitcoin Conference with over 5,000 attendees, hold in a strip club.
Perhaps even more worrying is a recent study that found that although there have been recent improvements in women participation in the tech industry, racial minorities have suffered further exclusion.
Also speaking at Consensus 2018, African-American investor George Ewang said blockchain was an opportunity for minorities to participate and shape an emerging technology. He however maintained that there was still a hangover from the lack of diversity through the first wave of the tech revolution in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“Technology has historically been unreceptive to people from other backgrounds and pushed them away. It’s been hard for those people to now come into crypto-land,” Ewang said.