MP The cryptocurrency community has
gotten some discouraging press
in recent months—portraits of an
entitled boys’ club. Do we have a
gender problem on our hands?
AB If you draw a Venn diagram of
Just because cryptocurrency may
finance and technology, and spe-
cifically information security and
cryptography, these are all fields
that struggle with a lack of women
and minority representation in
leadership positions. Cryptocur-
rency sits in the center, where
they all overlap. When you have
an intellectual diaspora into a
new area of study, the new group
tends to inherit its demographic
profile from its source groups.
be a philosophically and techni-
cally new thing, it’s not magically a
That said, my anecdotal experience is that representation at
most developer-focused blockchain events is neither better nor
worse than at most other tech conferences. There’s usually about
15 percent of people who don’t fit
the “standard developer” stereotype, give or take a few percentage
points, and that number has gotten better over time. At events that
have more business-development
“I don’t have time for anyone
who underestimates me
because of my gender.”
Q+A WITH AMBER BALDET
Anyone can use cryptocurrency. Man, woman, pony, or toaster—we all look
alike on a blockchain. // But the cryptocurrency scene has gotten a bad
reputation for being much less open and inclusive than the technology itself.
In January, one of the longest-running Bitcoin events, the North American
Bitcoin Conference, put dozens of men on its agenda but only one woman.
When it came time to schmooze, attendees were invited to a local strip club.
// Yet there are many incredible women now leading the cryptocurrency
industry. One is Amber Baldet. She’s been called the “crypto queen” and
the “Madonna of blockchain.” Since 2015, she’s run JPMorgan Chase’s
department devoted to finding ways to use blockchain. During her time there
she has overseen the creation of Quorum, a business version of Ethereum.
In May she leaves to start her own blockchain venture. // In her work,
Baldet makes a habit of smashing assumptions. She smashed a few more
when MIT Technology Review asked her about the state of diversity in the
By Morgen Peck
Is the crypto world sexist?
That’s the wrong question.