Brotopia: Gender Bias Is Blockchain’s Favorite Meme, but is the Wrong Metric
On December 11, 2018, LongHash reported details on the lopsided gender stats in the blockchain space. The analysis iterates one of the most common injustices in the space, but what’s more important is the fact that these figures haven’t changed much since initial reports on the same subject.
Hashing out Gender Data
In tracking the 100 blockchain startups with impending ICOs, LongHash corralled a series of interesting data points. The media group based their results on three categories: “the overall gender balance of the team, the number of women at the executive level (which we defined as listed as C-suite or founder), and the number of women on advisory boards.”
From this, the team parsed out expected results regarding the number of women in blockchain startups (14.5 percent), executives (seven percent), and advisors (eight percent). Of the total number of startups under inspection, “37 didn’t have a single female employee on the team at any level.” Admittedly, the information is incomplete as information on crypto websites are notoriously incorrect, as well as titles. But casting these disclaimers aside, the gender divide in the field resembles the large Silicon Valley tech companies that web 3.0 is trying to overtake.
A point less often discussed, outside of the toxic dogpile that was the Elizabeth Holmes scandal, is the fact that more male figures in both blockchain and tech at large tend to be scammers than problem solvers. The LongHash data, while helpful, misses the quality-over-quantity trope by a vast margin. Consider the gender identity of this year’s most discussed frauds.
The SEC recently penalized the founder of EtherDelta, Floyd Mayweather, and DJ Khaled for either trading or sponsoring unregistered securities. Though none of these individuals admitted wrong-doing, the penalties were fulfilled in all cases. After that, the infamous Carlos Matos and Trevon James of Bitconnect, a cut and dry pyramid scheme, are facing similar legal problems. Finally, Brock Pierce, one of the wealthiest members of the crypto community, is another figure who has been tied up with more than one sex scandal before being booted by EOS-backers, Block.one.
Meritocracy and other Success Stories
Of course, the anecdotal evidence that men conduct most crypto scams has yet to be formalized. Though impressive, that sort of data might also miss the mark. The industry is replete with shady projects, vapor-ware, disappearing CEOs, and exit scams. These stories make for clickable-content and seem like a bi-weekly event.
The more critical metric has little to do with gender and is likely less interesting (depending on who you ask) than the swift hand of crypto justice. But, as John Oliver explained in his parody of BitConnect, responsibility and the slow building of great companies is less sensational over the short-term.
In the case that observers stick around for the bricklaying of the next iteration of the Internet, then sponsoring high-quality projects, regardless of the employees’ gender, should be the new trend on Twitter.