An investigation into the internet’s most annoying archetype
Last month, influencer Rachel Siegel – aka CryptoFinally – attended the 2022 Bitcoin conference in Miami. On the final day of the conference, Siegel was queueing up to have a go on a mechanical bull when a man approached her to chat. They struck up a conversation, had a brief chat, then went their separate ways.
Later when Siegel checked Twitter, she saw an account named @bitcoin_fukboi – which she identified as belonging to the man she’d spoken to in the queue – had uploaded a photo he’d surreptitiously taken of Siegel as well as reposted a bunch of Siegel’s selfies, captioning the post ‘Lol’. The tweet quickly gained traction, with countless other crypto bros demeaning Siegel in the replies.
But is any of this surprising when crypto is very much a boys club? Around 94 per cent of the Bitcoin community are men, and it’s likely you’ve encountered one of these crypto bros yourself. The trappings can differ: maybe he’s the type to unironically listen to Joe Rogan and argue that eating raw meat is good, actually (although he will have refused the COVID-19 vaccine because he’s not putting “that shit” in his body). Or maybe he’s more of a gremlin, festering in his parents’ basement in an unwashed, crunchy hoodie while obsessively checking the price of Bitcoin and watching crypto manifestation videos on YouTube. Or maybe he’s a Carhartt-wearing softboi who listens to Steven Bartlett and minimal tech house, and thinks he’s some sort of finance wizard just because he owns 0.01 Ethereum.
Not all men in crypto are crypto bros, because crypto bros embody a very specific strain of toxic masculinity. They all tweet “to the moon 🚀” daily, think Elon Musk is a genius, and passionately argue against taxing billionaires as though they aren’t on 25k a year themselves. They have weird schedules, like getting up at 4:30AM Kris Jenner-style before microdosing psychedelics to “boost their productivity”. They’re on Reddit saying things like “HODL” and “FUD” and “wen lambo”. They follow inspirational accounts on Instagram led by self-styled ‘disruptors’ who post inane quotations like “you have to risk failure to succeed”. They drink Huel because they simply don’t have time to ingest solid food.
They often enjoy making others feel small or uncomfortable, too. Maybe you’ll be in the pub when a bro sipping on a craft IPA starts talking about his “portfolio”, “minting a JPEG”, and mansplaining the stock market. They’ll try to make you feel like you’re missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime and that you’re dumb for not investing – or worse, make you feel like you’ve already missed out. Chances are they don’t fully know what they’re talking about, but it’s important to them that they seem very knowledgeable. They probably learnt the word ‘fugazi’ from The Wolf of Wall Street and now find a way to shoehorn it into almost every conversation.
The Bitcoin conference – a mecca for crypto bros – has its own code of conduct that includes a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, but it’s also clear misogyny is a problem within the crypto community more generally. Like Siegel, women in crypto have reported being harassed at conferences or underestimated – a recent report from TrustRadius found that 78 per cent of women in tech feel they have to work harder than their co-workers to prove their worth.
It’s arguably unsurprising that such a culture of misogyny ripples underneath this hyper-masculine veneer and evidently, the realm of crypto is far from a utopian, egalitarian paradise (as much as they love to pretend it is). But it’s worth noting that it has offered a lifeline to many – sex workers, for example – and there are an increasing number of femme-led crypto communities. There’s a long way to go before the industry is a less toxic and more inclusive space, but at least there’s still hope it’ll get there.