He went on to write that if his own relatives were in this position he’d have a different reaction. “My mom, sisters, aunts, wife, daughters all attend the conference and the moment one of them is made to feel uncomfortable I’ll kill a mother fucker,” he wrote. “I’ve said what I’m going to say about this publicly, and am now moving on with my life.”
For many marginalized people, including sex workers locked out of traditional finance avenues, crypto has been a literal lifesaver. People working in the adult industry, especially, have helped popularize the systems involved in accepting and paying online in crypto. But even with these radical, decentralized dreams, the industry is falling short—in Bitcoin, especially, those in the industry say.
“The problem with the sexism in the industry is that it is played out in every level”
“However, from the outside, this industry doesn't hold the reputation I just described. It looks cultish, alt-rightist, sexist, and unethical,” she said. “I want to work towards changing both the perception of this industry as well as the way it currently operates at a social level, since unfortunately, based on mine and many others' experiences, there's some truth to that description.” An artist who goes by Oona and who makes non-fungible tokens and frequently attends in-person events to display her performance art, told me that within the crypto industry, and the NFT industry as well, sexism is “displayed front and center,” but people are reluctant to actually address it. “The problem with the sexism in the industry is that it is played out in every level—men don’t make eye contact with womxn the same rate in these spaces, it’s almost as if they are talking to each other exclusively to each other or interested in womxn only for their sex appeal,” Oona said. “Womxn in this industry are constantly reduced to their body—it takes so much for them to be seen. Men constantly infantilize womxn in the space on stages and get away with it. IRL most of it is ‘benevolent’ sexism. But there is no hiding the sexism online. The online trolling is vicious and it's incredibly backwards.” The idea that people are entitled to women’s bodies—and that they shouldn’t complain if other people take advantage of them—is a pervasive one. The industry professionals I spoke with who support Siegel and denounce the harassment happening to her online each said that the sexism that happens in crypto needs to be called out before it can improve. It’s incredibly difficult for them to speak up, though, because the kind of thing that happened to Siegel can happen to anyone. “We need more people to address this and get louder and louder,” Oona said. “I think as more womxn come into the space it will get worse for a little bit—until we start to get louder than the problem.”“I do think it's something that’s important, that should be acknowledged in our industry,” Siegel said. “When we look at crypto, and we look at the accessibility it offers... it's just unbelievable that the power is being weighted and distributed to the abusers and people who are just not with it.”
Have you experienced sexism or harassment at cryptocurrency events or in the industry overall. We’d love to hear from you. Contact Samantha Cole at email@example.com or on the secure messaging app Signal at +1 646 926 1726.