Does crypto have a misogyny problem? #hearsay sushi, models, and Copper Technologies | Opinion

Imagine a dimly lit room adorned with red lacquer, located in an upscale hotel. A clandestine gathering of men takes place within, their attire varying from hoodies to business suits and sunglasses. Instead of the typical energy drinks or laptops found at such gatherings, these men surround a table laden with women, who unwillingly serve as platters for sushi.

Each week, publishes a gossip column, #hashtag Whispers, filled with rumors and news influencing the crypto community. Feel free to share any tips by contacting Dorian Batycka at [email address].

This isn’t a casting call from a Hollywood production company like Weinstein in the 1990s, but rather an installment of #hearsay, my weekly cryptocurrency gossip column that delves into the scandalous side of things.

In this week’s episode, we delve into the controversy surrounding Copper’s use of scantily clad models as sushi platters at their Digital Asset Summit afterparty. The digital asset manager was recently exposed by the Financial Times.

In this realm, let me share a tale that unfolded at the infamous Mandrake Hotel in London, a notoriously seedy establishment. This hotel was the domain of Rami Fustok, an entrepreneurial Lebanese figure known for his wild parties. Dive into the subculture of crypto enthusiasts, where sordid deals and misogynistic behavior flourish in the shadows. Cringe-worthy hotels like Mandrake provide the setting for this debased world.

Copper Technologies, the digital asset firm that organized the event, doesn’t have an activist social justice agenda. Instead, it has connections to controversial figures from Russia, including weapons dealers and bankers under international sanctions. In the years 2023 and 2024, transactions worth more than $18.9 million collectively were made with the company by two individuals: Jonatan Zimenkov and Mikhail Klyukin. Both of these individuals are subjected to financial restrictions by the US and UK authorities.

To put it bluntly, the world of crypto can feel like an exclusive boys’ club, filled with masculine energy and dominated by testosterone. Women are scarce in this community, almost as elusive as a Bitcoin during a market downturn. Regrettably, they are frequently subjected to disrespectful treatment as well.

In 2018, well-known cryptocurrency journalist and “Unchained” podcast host Laura Shin shared her encounters with harassment and threats from members of the crypto community. Over time, she has chronicled numerous instances of sexist remarks and insulting messages she received on social media sites like X and Reddit. On March 24, crypto influencer Jeremy Cahen, also known as Pauly0x, publicly labeled Shin a derogatory term in an X forum following her decision to cancel (later postpone) an interview with him regarding the cryptocurrency Porkcoin. Cahen has previously been involved in disputes, including being implicated in fraudulent activities and defamation against Yuga Labs, a notable crypto company.

Why is this man’s account still active, given his disturbing and abusive behavior towards @laurashin? She had cancelled an interview with him, yet he continues to attack her relentlessly.

— Camila Russo (@CamiRusso) March 21, 2024

Tron (TRX), a token introduced in 2018, encountered significant backlash due to its association with a pornographic platform built on blockchain technology during its launch. Throughout crypto’s history, women have often been relegated to secondary roles, serving as objects of desire instead of being given a voice or recognition.

Strolling at conferences spanning from Singapore to Miami, it’s unsurprising to find a predominantly male crowd. Corporations within this industry need to take action to avoid criticism for the scarcity of women in leadership positions and boardrooms. Transparent data on this issue can be easily accessed through public reports. This is the essence of decentralized governance—promoting equality and balance among market players.

Women aren’t completely barred from the crypto world. In contrast, over the weekend, I went to DeSci in London, where an all-female panel was present with members from AthenaDAO, AsteriskDAO, and HairDAO. London seems to have a significant number of women participating in web3 events, possibly because men prefer the Mandrake Hotel for sushi evenings with a female touch. One of my industry friends, Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, is an experienced crypto professional with a passion for digital art and holds a degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

At, my EU team supervisor Catherine Mychka frequently points out that the majority of writers during my shift are men. The data clearly supports this observation. Although women are present in the sector, they are underrepresented, possibly due to the prevalent male-dominated culture which seems to be deeply ingrained in our industry like a persistent odor.

In crypto, success often requires advantages such as consistent internet access, education in math and coding, and basic necessities like food and shelter. However, when prominent industry events are ruled by self-proclaimed gurus who appear to be privileged white men, the issue arises that these figures seem to have a pervasive influence on the industry, much like an unpleasant body odor. I understand your desire to be successful in crypto, but please, let’s all take it easy, crypto community!

When I first became involved in cryptocurrency, I believed I was joining a groundbreaking movement towards a decentralized world full of promise and potential. However, it now appears that this ideal has been overshadowed by an industry consumed by self-interest, greed, and toxicity. The effective altruists who dominate the scene, driven solely by a warped logic reminiscent of Silicon Valley 2.0 and often represented by white men, leave me feeling uninspired. Diversity, on the other hand, is essential as it fosters innovation. By including various voices, perspectives, and ideas, we can generate new possibilities at an accelerated rate.

After polishing off my sushi meal, I must issue a warning. It would be incorrect for me, as a man and a white individual, to criticize the controversial culture of crypto “bros.” As I dipped my sushi roll into the soy sauce and wasabi, I pondered: am I contributing to this problematic scene? Or could the future of cryptocurrency shift towards more inclusive discussions, such as those surrounding SushiSwap rather than sushi rolls?

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2024-03-30 15:16