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Bitcoin: New Financial System or Same Old Boys’ Club?

By VALENTINA ZARYA

December 15, 2017

As the price of Bitcoin soared to record highs this week—$10,000, $15,000, then $17,000—the meteoric rise that turned early investors into paper billionaires fueled talk of how the cryptocurrency and its underlying technology, blockchain, could wholly remake the banking system. As MIT researchers argued in a Harvard Business Review article earlier this year: “Blockchain will do to the banking system what the Internet did to media.”

Among the many questions about the future of Bitcoin and its peers—Is it a bubble? Will it pop?—is whether the cryptocurrency industry, like its traditional predecessor, will be molded mainly by men.

Like so many other aspects of the relatively new and purposefully cryptic assets, an answer is difficult to pin down. There’s little data on the gender makeup of investors and entrepreneurs, but to women already in the field, it feels like cryptocurrency is following in banking’s loafer-shaped footsteps.

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