Updated: Oct 17
*Image by MidJourney
Over the past few months, I've been intrigued by why my evident enthusiasm for Bitcoin, a groundbreaking innovation, isn't shared by many of my female peers. This curiosity led to an insightful discussion at "Thank God for Bitcoin," a Christian conference held before "Bitcoin Miami," about the relative scarcity of women in this field. From personal observation, it seems that women's inherent risk aversion might deter them from an unpredictable area like Bitcoin. However, a conversation with Luke Broyles, a Twitter acquaintance, offered a new viewpoint.
Agreeable vs Disagreeable
Broyles suggested that men's higher propensity for disagreeableness might lead them into unexplored areas like Bitcoin. On the other hand, women, who often score higher in agreeableness, lean towards careers emphasising politeness and compassion. This theory resonated with me, having taken Jordan Peterson's "Discovering Personality" course last year, which utilises "The Big Five Aspects Scale" to examine personality traits. In this scale, agreeableness, which women usually score higher on, encompasses compassion and politeness.
Interestingly, despite scoring high on compassion (72/100), my politeness score was “exceptionally” low (1/100). The interpretation suggests that this trait indicates a readiness to challenge authority and a comfort with confrontation. Therefore, I find myself aligning with Broyles' theory. The Bitcoin industry, being unconventional and challenging, seems to favour disagreeable traits more common in men.
However, it's crucial to remember that these are general tendencies and not definitive rules. There are highly agreeable women who actively engage with Bitcoin as well. It's also worth delving deeper into Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's perspectives on gender differences to enhance our understanding.
Peterson explains in his lectures how subtle gender differences could result in vastly different outcomes, particularly in career choices. His observations are especially enlightening considering that only 14.23% of Bitcoiners are women. He articulates that while gender differences at the population mean levels are often minimal, they become more pronounced at the distribution tails. These divergences could affect fields of interest, career choices, and perhaps engagement with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin requires specific interests, knowledge, and a tolerance for risk, traits historically more common in men. Additionally, while not to suggest that men and women significantly differ in aggression on average, men tend to show aggressive behaviour more at extremes. These extremes mean that they are more likely to tolerate aggressive debate in the public square that is “Bitcoin Twitter”.
A crucial point Peterson emphasises is the difference in interests between men and women, which are often directed towards “things” or “people” respectively. These differences appear more significant than variations in intelligence or temperament. As societies become more egalitarian and wealthy, these differences intensify, leading to a more significant divergence in occupational choices.
Peterson also uses the example of engineers and nurses to demonstrate how career choices can reflect personality traits and interests. While engineers tend to score highly on intelligence, the have an interest in “things”, nursing also requires intelligence, but necessitates a high degree of conscientiousness, and agreeableness, traits that are more often found in women.
Women in the Bitcoin Space
Despite the broad scope of the Bitcoin space, prominent women in this field often exhibit typically female traits as they relate to "The Big Five Behaviours". For instance:
Margot Paez, a prominent Bitcoin advocate and environmentalist, champions environmental care.
Natalie Smolenski, founder of several Bitcoin policy organisations, has a background in business development and anthropology, reflecting a strong interest in people.
Kristine Cranley, Head of Business Development at the Texas Blockchain Council, shows interest in advocating on behalf of Texan citizens and businesses reflecting “compassion”.
Anita Posch, a Bitcoin educator and humanitarian, has a strong interest in supporting Bitcoin adoption in developing countries and likely scores high on “compassion” as well.
Despite their “female” traits, my guess is that these individuals score low on agreeable traits. They are unafraid to engage in contentious discussions relating to Bitcoin and their respective areas of expertise. For instance, Margot actively engages in debates on Bitcoin and climate issues. Natalie consistently and publicly critiques regulators, politicians, and governing bodies and invites them to debate her stance on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) and other Bitcoin related policy matters. Kristine regularly advocates for sensible Bitcoin regulation which requires her to speak often to male-dominated audiences in very public forums, while Anita is known to actively debate Bitcoiners on Twitter, voicing her concerns about practices she perceives as harmful to users in developing nations, such as increased fees on the Bitcoin blockchain due to an explosion in “Ordinals” transactions.
The Evolution of Bitcoin
New technologies, such as the Lightning Network, a layer 2 technology that allows the Bitcoin network to scale, are changing the face of Bitcoin. Their adoption is opening up the space to creators who can now be directly compensated for their content. This evolution is likely to attract a wave of content creators to the space, individuals who typically score high on “openness”, a trait commonly associated with women.
Bitcoin-adjacent technologies like Nostr are enabling the creation of communities and direct engagement between content creators and their audiences. Furthermore, Bitcoin art has become increasingly popular, with artists like Lena (@justlenasart) and Sal Strom (@Sal_Strom_Art) exhibiting at the recent Bitcoin Conference in Miami. This space, primarily dominated by women, is growing due to “Ordinals”, a new way of attributing ownership of digital inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain. This technology has made Bitcoin a more appealing chain for assigning digital rights than the NFT space.
Fashion brands like "Panties for Bitcoin", founded by Silvia and her husband and modelled by Bitcoiner Jessica Vaugn, are introducing fashion to Bitcoin. As the number of women engaging with Bitcoin increases, the demand for "cute" Bitcoin gear is likely to rise significantly. In general, women are the leading influencers in the fashion field.
Bitcoin is a nascent technology that has been primarily dominated by technology, volatility, and risk. However, as the environmental and societal benefits of Bitcoin become more apparent, an increasing number of women are attracted to this humanitarian technology. Its potential to support environmental objectives and bring financial inclusion, wealth, and hope to the global population is becoming increasingly apparent.
Bitcoin is for everyone, and soon, everyone will be a bitcoiner, whether they are “disagreeable” or not.