On “diversity” in crypto 🧚‍♂️

4 min readJan 18, 2022


A tongue-in-cheek take on a day in the life of a woman in crypto, with blunt takes for people who care about gender diversity.

Fundraising call:

Engineering call:

NFT artists call:

DeFi team call:

Enterprise crypto call:

Crypto foundation call:

Crypto community call:

I think you get the picture.

I’ve worked in male-dominated environments all my life, so this gender mix is as normal to me as coffee in the morning (finance > crypto, in frontline roles rather than marketing/HR/admin).

But I’m curious how it affects other women. Is this 🍆🍆🍆 parade intimidating? Have you made career decisions influenced by this?

That being said, on the topic of diversity, to the men in charge:

Whatever you do, do not, DO NOT (do not!) bring a woman who is obviously underqualified into the ranks, no matter how desperate you are to check the diversity box.

It makes all women look bad.

It damages the respect that qualified women worked hard to build.

And men who were passed over for an unqualified woman have more reason to resent and eventually hold other women back.

e.g. South Korean men protesting to the tune of “anti-feminism” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/01/world/asia/south-korea-men-anti-feminists.html

Man on Solidarity, an anti-feminist group: “Feminists are a social evil”

Here is a better strategy:

a) Groom

Pick high potential women and groom them. Push them and show them opportunities to go outside their comfort zone. They can make small mistakes, look a bit stupid — until they don’t. Boys clubs do this all the time.

Don’t put them on a big stage before they are ready only to fall on their face, or be the object of (warranted) resentment. This hurts all women, not just them.

b) Feedback

Do not (do not!) hold back the feedback. That’s how anyone improves, female or male.

Sheryl Sandberg told Kim Scott she sounded stupid when nobody else would.

I saw this up close when an old boss was quick to slap the boys around, but would wait until he got really mad before he gave me feedback — this was detrimental to my growth and promotion.

c) Try harder

You’re going to have aggressive idealists who will point to the numbers and demand that you change the composition of your team/board immediately.

Don’t give in! Work harder with a recruiter (yes, it’s going to take more of your time). Set up a 12-month plan to groom a few women.

d) Step up

If you see an otherwise reasonable guy make a decision that might be sexist, pull him aside and have a non-threatening conversation about it.

Sexist assumptions are so deeply embedded in people’s minds that to uproot them will take a community effort.

I once asked a boss to consider me for future promotion, after seeing consistent signs from clients & team they hold me in high regard. His response? “That’s ridiculous.” I don’t think he meant to be sexist (or racist), but I can’t think of good reasons for that strong of a reaction.

Gender is complex. So is getting to gender balance in fields that are traditionally male-dominated.

It’s no one’s fault that money, technology and philosophy (= crypto) have have attracted men far more than women in history. For that matter, so have idiotic bar fights and bloody wars.

But now that we are gaining collective consciousness about this being a suboptimal state, we have to come up with intelligent ways of iterating on gender participation.

The stupid/lazy way to achieve gender balance is to give someone a seat at the table just because she has ovaries. The smart way is to light a previously dark path, so that women can step out of the shadows and into their own.




I do business things and nerd things. Also crypto things. Twitter: @michlai007