The stereotype of the crypto enthusiast is that a white male finance professional suddenly becomes rich after investing an excessive amount of money. There are plenty of diverse characters in the crypto community, which is contrary to the stereotype that only features one type of person. It would be a fallacy to demobilize the issue of diversity in the industry.
A survey has estimated that men are more likely to own cryptocurrency than women. A recent report from BlockFi, a consumer financing service, noted that there had been a pickup in interest among women in cryptocurrencies. However, it also stated that men still dominated the ground floor when these assets were first launched.
In fact, the allocation of resources is often biased in favor of power. You can see the team page of most crypto projects for a quick overview. Every day, the programming team at CoinDesk, a news site focusing on bitcoin digital currencies, is reminded of the issue of racial and gender diversity in the speakers at the upcoming Consensus Festival. This week, Sheila Warren, one of the co-hosts, talked about the people who boarded her flight to the conference in the Bahamas. It is a fact that white men dominate crypto.
Critics of the crypto for good movement argue that the community’s appearance undermines the message of financial inclusion that is being promoted by this movement. The surface-level assessment of adoption trends does not capture some of the critical changes that are happening in the adoption space. As more marginalized groups turn to cryptocurrencies as a tool for their social and economic development, they are developing new innovative uses faster than before.
The experience of welcoming diverse people requires a careful approach. It should not be discarded like a baby thrown out with the bathwater.
The Progress Of Decentralization
The rapid emergence and growth of cryptocurrencies in Latin America and Africa is a major reason why the West is not yet catching up to these regions. The rise of cryptocurrencies has matched the innovation in developing countries, such as the Philippines. With the Axie Infinity (non-fungible token-based online video game) boom, gaming models became more accessible to the public.
Black Americans are starting to embrace the concept of Black Bitcoin, which was the title of an influential book by Isaiah Jackson. A year ago, a survey conducted by Harris and USA Today revealed that 17% of Hispanic Americans and 23% of Black Americans own cryptocurrencies.
The rise of the non-fungible token (NFT) market has raised the issue of how artists of color bypass traditional funding sources such as record labels and film studios. These new methods of circumventing intermediaries are helping to set the terms of their own success. As more minority-focused organizations emerge, they try to give people a voice. These organizations are known as Decentralized Autonomous Groups (DAOs) and aim to give people a voice in collective bargaining.
One example is the unicornDAO, which was founded by Nadya Tolokonnikova, a member of the Pussy Riot. It aims to create a feminist movement focused on tackling patriarchy in Web 3, an idea of the new reiteration of the World Wide Web that aligns with blockchain technology. Web 3 incorporates concepts such as token-based economics and decentralization.
The stories of innovation and growth that crypto has been experiencing result from its decentralized nature and its ability to operate without interference. No one is forced to follow a set of rules when it comes to building a community. Developers and business people can do whatever they want to do, and each story is unique. So, this is one of the reflections of decentralization in blockchain technology.
Some known experts such as Cleve Mesidor (executive director of the Blockchain Foundation) and Susan Joseph (former general counsel in blockchain and fintech) discussed the various innovations that have emerged from the blockchain industry. They agreed that efforts to diversify the sector should not be at the expense of supporting open innovation.
It would be a slip to conclude that the stories in these publications imply that we should do nothing to address diversity in the crypto space. Instead, it would be more likely that those who advocate for an absolutist laissez-faire approach would claim that we should do nothing at all.
While there are many factors that contribute to the growth and innovation of African companies, the base protocol layer is typically the most challenging area. This is because it involves developing and delivering solutions that are designed to address the needs of local users. The value of base tokens such as bitcoin and Ethereum (open-source blockchain), which are held in white male hands, remains concentrated.
Ownership is very important in the governance structure of a crypto ecosystem. It defines the rules that govern its various components. This power concentration is particularly problematic for proof-of-stake algorithms such as Solana and Algorand.
From the Bitcoin block-size debate in 2015 to the evolution of proof-of-work systems in the future, it is clear that the power of cryptocurrency owners has increased. It
is important because the algorithms that run these protocols do not have a neutral factor that makes users trust the math. The goal of this statement is not to represent the interests of the people who write the code but rather to reflect their biases.