Now, although there are a number of coding spaces that focus on women, Odeniran says women are still underrepresented. “I’ve been to places where I’m the only black person, or the only woman, or the only black woman,” she says. Odenran says women need these spaces for sharing, but also for solidarity. Places where women are outnumbered can feel exclusive, or worse: insecure.
After discovering Siegel That the conference organizer had dealt with the harassing tweets, she got a girlfriend to bring up the issue again with an acquaintance who worked at the conference. This time, I got a response. Justin Doochin, Head of Events at BTC Inc. “I apologize for this happening at our event, but without this person’s name or email address, we have no way of identifying them and preventing them from attending future events.” Siegel wrote again to say that @bitcoin_fuckboi had posted a number of selfies on his account, including with prominent Bitcoin personalities, during the event. I also remembered that he rode a mechanical bull at the conference, which would narrow it down to a few dozen potential attendees.
Meanwhile, David Bailey – CEO of Bitcoin Inc. , the organization that runs the Bitcoin conference – on the incident on Twitter. Chairforce wrote, he was “seriously reprimanded but everyone makes mistakes and I don’t fire them for that.” As for the conference itself, he wrote, “26,000 people attended, don’t let a few rotten apples color the community.” One woman responded that women might feel more secure if they had clarity about the conference’s code of conduct. “We already get that,” Bailey replied. (The Bitcoin conference organizers refused to answer my questions about how it handled harassment or violations of its harassment policy.)
For Siegel, there is no way to undo the damage caused by the harassment she has been exposed to on Twitter. But she still wants the organizers to take responsibility for what happened while she was there. “People underestimate how terrifying it is to hold a conference to tell you that if something happens, there is no course of action,” she says. “The kind of misogynistic humor you might see on Twitter take a completely different shape when you’re standing in the same room with that guy.”
After the conference ended, others started talking about the normalization of misogyny in Bitcoin circles. “In the name of 100 million bitcoins, I would like to formally apologize to the thousand or so loud bullies who think IRL harassment of women is commendable,” one person tweeted. “Those crawls don’t represent us and we don’t like them.” Some people responded in solidarity; Other responses were less encouraging. “Women are for fuckers, not bullying, bitcoinbros,” wrote one Twitter user @insiliconot. The tweet received 21 likes.
A blog post was also circulated on Twitter, calling for an end to the “glorification of rape, misogyny and sexual harassment” within the Bitcoin community. Author Tom Maxwell hosts a podcast about Bitcoin. He says he wrote the post after learning what happened to Siegel at the conference. He thought teasing her was unacceptable, but it wasn’t surprising either. “It was like, ‘This is another example of this kind of thing that happens,'” he told me. After he posted his blog, some people responded to him on Bitcoin Twitter calling it “experimental” or a “waste of space.” Someone told him to kill himself.
Maxwell and other Bitcoin proponents insist that the toxicity of certain groups is not representative of the entire community. But that could be enough to get some women completely out of space. The woman who found an AirTag in her bag during Bitcoin week has since decided to quit a job in the industry due to what she considers toxicity in society. Siegel, who entered the crypto space in 2017, says she has been looking forward to the community becoming more diverse in recent years. “But I’m afraid that if we continue to rely on this culture, we will intimidate those women who are participating,” she says. “We will back off.”