If you were lucky enough to be one of the cryptocurrency investors who watched your assets soar last year, you probably started to say “I told you so” to one or two of your more sceptical friends. Digital currencies are still finding their level, so whether you cashed out – or cashed in – or not last December when Bitcoin hit its all-time high of nearly $20,000, you’re probably feeling confident about your investments.
However, some investors made a killing, giving rise to the newest of the super-rich, the cryptomillionaire. Usually with a background in tech (and particularly blockchain), they are usually comparatively young, and enjoying something of a TOWIE lifestyle compared to rather more “old money” investors.
In fact, some of them are teenagers. Not even legally allowed to drink the super-expensive bottles of premium vodka and champagne they order to display their disposable wealth.
They are also almost exclusively male.
The feeling of being at an all-boys school doesn’t end with chatrooms and message boards. In fact, the similarities between the newest millionaires and most financial centre trading floors are marked. At the 2018 North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami in January, the major influencers in the digital currency field came together to cover a wide range of topics, and to listen to a wide variety of industry speakers.
Out of those 84 speakers, just three were women. And the networking after-party decamped to a strip club.
However, that could be about to change. There are a few notable women working within the cryptocurrency field, and their numbers are increasing. Not only that, they’re gaining prominence in all sectors.
One of the most notable is Elizabeth Stark, the co-founder of Lightning Labs, a company which is developing ways of speeding up cryptocurrency transactions. A graduate of Harvard Law School, and a former professor at both Stanford and Yale, she is no stranger to male-dominated industries.
In the UK, UCL Economics graduate Rhian Lewis has a wide professional background in engineering and technology, and actively encourages and improves the chances of women becoming involved with cryptocurrency and blockchain. The London branch of ‘Women in Bitcoin’ now numbers over a hundred members, with many of those heading up tech companies in their own right.
In terms of putting the information out there, Forbes Senior Editor Laura Shin doesn’t just focus on cryptocurrencies, ICOs and Blockchain, but hosts the ‘Unchained Podcast’, where she talks to leaders in fields such as healthcare, farming and government, where blockchain technology is already having – or is likely to have – a significant impact.
Cryptocurrency might have a geeky image at present. It’s still frequently viewed as something that ‘those nerdy types’ do or are interested in, although 2017 and 2018 have most definitely been the years when it started to go mainstream. As the words associated with blockchain and cryptocurrency become commonplace, hopefully the perception that it’s the preserve of young men will vanish.