Investment strategist Lynn Alden discusses her own Bitcoin journey, meeting the naysayers and the male bias in the industry.
A recent study conducted by OnMessage Inc. in the state of Texas, found that men are 30% more likely to own bitcoins than women. And most of those who have attended a Bitcoin meetup will have noticed a predominantly male presence. In the Bitcoin space, we often say “Bitcoin is for everyone,” but statistics show one-sided participation.
But bitcoin is for everyone, right? So what can we do to make bitcoin culture more accessible to women?
There are many potential paths, but the one I choose to follow is to learn from and tell the stories of women in Bitcoin. And where better to start than Lynn Alden, the founder and CEO of Lynn Alden’s Investment Strategy?
With a background in finance and engineering, Alden brings a unique and humble perspective to the Bitcoin space. Her primary emphasis is on macroeconomic analysis, investment research, and monetary systems. She has been interviewed on numerous podcasts including “What did Bitcoin do?,” “The Pomp Podcast,” “Coin Stories” and others. Her work has been featured or quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Time’s Money Magazine, and the Huffington Post, among many other publications.
Below, find Alden’s answers to some questions about her journey and the evolution of Bitcoin culture.
How did you first learn about Bitcoin and what specifically drew you to it?
I first heard about it in 2010 or so when an acquaintance of mine was mining it on his gaming PC. It seemed neat at the time and I planned to look into it more, but life got busy and I never got around to it. Then, a few years later, I came across it again, and while it still looked neat, the exchange seemed pretty sketchy. Once again, I planned to look into it more, but due to the complexity of life, I put it on the back burner.
During the rise of Bitcoin in 2017, I was running an investment research firm and I finally took the time to dig deeper into it and wrote a public article about it in November of that year. My article discussed the advantages of the technology, but showed skepticism about the price after the euphoric spike in prices during the year, and I passed on it as an investment. This ended up being a good idea as Bitcoin crashed and then sliced sideways for the next two and a half years. This time, though, I didn’t repeat my previous mistake—I kept researching it during the bear market and eventually bought it, then kept learning and buying more.
What were your colleagues’ reactions to your belief in Bitcoin? And how do you see this changing over time?
I’m not in the general habit of talking about it too much. One of my friends got interested in it partly thanks to me, but most people I know are relatively uninterested in it. However, I have a large audience for my public writings, and so I’ve used this platform to share what I’ve researched about Bitcoin, among every other topic I write about.
Some of my audience was (and still is) skeptical of it, or flat out dislikes the fact that I’ve been writing so much about it for years, and would rather I didn’t. Other sections of the audience were happy with it and learned a lot from it. Most people can’t spend a thousand hours looking into something like Bitcoin, and so instead I can do this as part of my profession and write about it so that knowledge sharing can scale a little better. And in this way, I attracted readers from people who have been involved with Bitcoin longer than me, who may be interested in my articles on other topics.
How do you usually respond to those who ignore Bitcoin?
Humans have only so much bandwidth. There are probably a lot of things I’m oblivious to, but I can’t be hyper-focused on everything at once. As a macroeconomics and monetary systems analyst and someone who also has an engineering background, Bitcoin falls well within my scope of research and focus, but for many people it doesn’t. It’s easy to dismiss, especially for people in developed markets with relatively well-functioning banking systems. For many of them, it seems like a solution in search of a problem. Many of them are focused on important things that I am dismissive of.
The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me is people who dislike it a lot and yet are not familiar with it. This is usually an ideological problem, or an ego problem, or a misunderstanding about energy and the associated moral panic that the media often incites.
In your opinion, why is it important to close the gender gap in interest and adoption of Bitcoin?
I see Bitcoin as a very useful form of global money, and money is for everyone. It’s so simple. So it’s natural to want to include people who are underrepresented in the Bitcoin spaces.
At the very least, if, for example, Bitcoin Dating is 80% male or more, it’s worth asking why that is. This is not necessarily a negative or surprising thing; Interest in the stable money economy and computer science are fields that have skewed men for a while, statistically. So, I am aware of this starting point when it comes to Bitcoin. But we can still ask why men seem to find this technology more relevant than women, and note that most content producers are men.
Some women feel somewhat out of place in male-dominated spaces, just as some men feel somewhat out of place in female-dominated spaces. It’s like it’s somehow not “for them”, even though they’re not banned by any means. For the people (often men) who make educational materials about Bitcoin, are they understandably making those materials for people like themselves and therefore perhaps missing some ways of sharing information that might be more favorable to women or other people, which are not necessarily like them?
While I don’t think it’s a problem that any given space, including bitcoin spaces, happens to be rather male-dominated (or in other cases, female-dominated), I think it’s worth thinking about underrepresented groups and to see what can be done to involve more people in general. After all, most people who like Bitcoin believe that it will continue to grow in importance and touch more people’s lives over time and is for everyone. So the challenge and the opportunity is to find more ways to communicate this idea to many different types of people.
When I first heard Alden speaking at Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, I remember thinking she was absolutely brilliant and communicated with a humility that is uncommon in any sector. What is more impressive than her intellectual prowess is her commitment to financial literacy education, especially when it comes to Bitcoin. Her writing has influenced countless people for the better, helping to grow Bitcoin adoption.
A huge thanks to Alden for taking the time to share his thoughts on this topic, and for anyone who is curious, Bitcoin is actually for everyone.
This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
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