Are women and people of color being excluded from cryptocurrency? An examination of the needlessly complex process of obtaining cryptocurrency, and how the space is perfectly designed to keep out women and people of color.

You've heard of Bitcoin's atmospheric rise from pennies to thousands of dollars. TV, radio, internet – it's everywhere. And maybe you've had the thought that you might very well want to become one of these Bitcoin millionaires.

Easy, right? Even the old folks are doing it. Just head on down to the corner shop, buy a few Bitcoins, stash them away and leave your descendants something grander than holiday trinkets and quaint cutlery.

Not so. The process of obtaining Bitcoins is so labyrinthine and headache-inducing that what was proclaimed to be a democratizing system is actually one of the unfairest systems ever devised. As of 2018 it is still the exclusive domain of pasty creatures from dark recesses of the internet, and, recently we learned, even right-wing lunatics.

I overstate the monopolization just a little bit for effect. Some women and non-white folks have fought and elbowed and dimed and hustled their way into the game and they're making a killing. But spend two seconds finding out who owns Bitcoins and who does not and it becomes painfully obvious that entire groups of people have in fact been excluded from the party and it was all rigged from the get-go. Most affected are women and people of color.

Related: Why Are So Few Black People Using Bitcoin? – The Atlantic

Bitcoins launched in 2009 and women and PoC have been proud netizens since at least the smartphone revolution (2007). Hell, Grace Hopper basically invented that damn internet thing, or rather the code running the machinery.

So how is it that Bitcoins have come to be so overwhelmingly owned by straight white males? Why is it that a group of society that already owns everything got to exclusively benefit from the greatest wealth transfer of this century?

Example of a Literacy Test used to suppress PoC participation.

It's a complex issue that requires nuance. But let's start to explore it by looking at just a taster of the kinds of exotic terms a Bitcoin hopeful is required to understand before operating in any kind of cryptocurrency space.

Blockchain.
Satoshis.
51% Attack.
PoW.
PoS.
Nodes.
Forking.
Ledgers.
Hashrate.
Public/Private Keys.

Is your head spinning yet?

And the problematic themes don't stop with what's effectively a racist voter Literacy Test from the Jim Crow era.

Fact sheet about voter IDs from ACLU.

Because participation in CoinBase, the only source of cryptocurrency for people who don't feel like sending their credit card info to dodgy websites run by dudes named Igor, requires a valid driver’s license. You heard that right. You're not getting a single satoshi's worth of Bitcoin without it.

Related: Bitcoin: By The Privileged, For The Privileged – ThinkProgress

ID requirements have time and again been proven to be a bar on entry for people of color, and voter ID laws have repeatedly been stomped into the ground by decent courts from sea to shining sea. So severe is that bar that we, rightly, call it racist suppression, and we, rightly, don't require IDs for democratic participation.

It's a Literacy Test and voter ID double whammy and basically, we are all fucked. Well, most of us.

I think you are starting to form a pretty good picture of what is going on, but remember I also said it's a complex issue.

People at the top of the power hierarchy in any given society – in our case, straight white males – have always been paranoid of new guys or guyettes knocking them down, especially if they come in a different shade and get jiggy with the dope street vernacular. And what better way to strangle competition than excluding it from participating to begin with?

Related: Everyone deserves a seat at the cryptocurrency table

It's not purely malice, it’s also simple economics. If fewer people own Bitcoins then the Bitcoins become more valuable. If everyone were able to have a Bitcoin and become rich then Bitcoin's pale cartel wouldn’t make out like crooks.

So tell me if you are a person of color or happen to bleed once a month and I will tell you if you have Bitcoin.

Because numbers don't lie. But Satoshi Nakamoto did.

Join the conversation 💬

104 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">Are women and people of color being excluded from cryptocurrency?</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">An examination of the needlessly complex process of obtaining cryptocurrency, and how the space is perfectly designed to keep out women and people of color.</span>”

  1. This article has the stamp of a racist democrat. Go do a search on Screwtube and see the amount of non white people talking about crypto. You need an ID to get a job, you also need an ID to travel on a plane are you telling me the government is racist because they don't issue IDs to minorities?

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    • I love how its implied that millions of white and black men can buy crypto super easy every month, you just go on binance or kucoin..and BUY crypto with your debit card.
      but somehow women are too stupid to even click a buy button, no different than shopping on amazon. and were to blame. that women just dont want to invest in crypto.

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      • That's equality, not equity. Historically BIPOC do not have the same access to the financial system due to years of systemic racism, so a better policy would be ensuring that they have a boost.

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  2. TLDR: The author asserts her argument that people of colour and women are too stupid to follow a registration process or use a computer. Very vile in my opinion.

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    • Does anyone else realize black people and women are too scrotebrained to get a driver's license? Thank god the author of this article is finally pointing out these absolute facts.

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  3. What the actual F! What is wrong with you? Writing something to get noticed, to get publicity and to cause chatter? Just looking for attention? Seriously. Bitcoin can be purchased by anyone who actually chooses to do their research. Keep crying about inequality instead of doing research to further yourself.

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  4. "Why is it that a group of society that already owns everything got to exclusively benefit from the greatest wealth transfer of this century?"

    Because that is always the case anytime new economic opportunity comes along, every single time, and it's got nothing to do with Bitcoin. You're blaming cryptocurrency's design for its resulting inequality when it's the structural inequalities that have skewed the distribution of crypto. It's not like we were all on a level playing field and then some racist came along and designed bitcoin to keep people out...they've been kept out BECAUSE of the playing field. Quit pissing and moaning about the symptom and go deal with the disease.

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    • Lol there was literally nothing stopping anyone from making accounts on coinbase, studying the market and buying promising projects. Crypto is literally less manipulated than the stock market.

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  5. this is so freaking scrotebrained. whoever is the author has room temp IQ.

    you can't figure out crypto therefor it is racist and sexist. fuck off stupid whore.

    your articles are a cope for being legitimately scrotebrained and missing the bitcoin train. get the fuck over it and invest in altcoins. crypto isn't racist, you don't know shit about what you're talking about so shut the fuck up dumb whore. how the fuck are you gonna ask for doge when you just said crypto is racist.

    fuck off you scum of the planet, you are the worst kind of person to exist. won't even author title your work because you know what you said is wrong and you're a big pussy. freaking pussy. fuck you pussy.

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  6. Aside from the racist and sexist implications, you are ignorant of economics as well. More people owning bitcoin would increase the value. The more demand there is for something the more valuable it is. There's no incentive for anyone to try and keep bitcoin from spreading to more hands because the value goes up when people buy it. This is basic demand/supply economics. I would recommend you read more.

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  7. This is BEYOND idiotic! I’m a woman and figured out how to buy crypto without any issues whatsoever. I, even as a knuckle dragging woman, did a ton of research and educated myself on how blockchain works, WHY some crypto’s are better than others and why utility is of utmost importance as the space moves forward. I am completely offended by this article and to be honest, I think it is sexist and racist. It’s 2021. All people including, according to you, stupid women and helpless PoC, have access to the internet and have the ability to do their own research. It’s clear you’re in the camp that loves to keep people divided, but I, for one, am sick of it. ALL PEOPLE are equal and we are ALL humans. Once we stop seeing one another the way you see us, the closer we’ll be to working together as a cohesive unit instead of segregated groups pitted against one another.

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  8. Worst garbage I've ever read. "It's complex and confusing" ... Are you saying women and people of color are stupid and can't figure it out? "They require id" go get identification then! Those are literally, the only two points made. You obviously just hate straight white males because we work to the top and then set our children up to be at the top. Not my fault single mothers and colors don't know how to raise kids let alone themselves.

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  9. I seriously doubt that Bitcoin is used for any purposes other than nefarious or outright criminal ones. Also, it's volatile, which one naturally does not want in a currency. Also, anonymous financial transactions need to be stopped whereever they rear their ugly heads because a functioning democracy requires institutional oversight and accountability, both of which cannot be fulfilled when bad actors exchange shady demicurrencies in dark alleys.

    I hope Bitcoin gets swiftly and globally banned, and I would welcome draconian punishments for people who choose to deal in this currency after a moratorium period.

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  10. YES! I have been thinking this for years!! those stupid Nigge- uhhh i mean nice guys surely would never understand how to buy cryptocurrency, Its a WHITE MANS GAME and it should stay that way! Also, the holocaust didnt happen!!!!!!!!

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  11. Wow you just called your own gender dumb? Every female reading this: she wants you to think that you're dumb and can never learn how to do something as simple as buying cryptocurrency. I think this just a ploy to feed off of the, OH THAT'S SEXIST crowd that you attract so you can get tips in Dogecoin. Very shallow of you, brainwashing people to think they are too dumb to learn.

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  12. yes! Woman and people of colour ARE too stupid to buy bitcion! ban it!

    holy fuck like how can you write this article, this whole site MUST be a troll.

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  13. freaking hell, have a nice day, you absolute mong. Imagine being so "anti-racist" that you loop around and turn full racist. EVERYONE in crypto had to research those terms. Fuck off.

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  14. Hey even white males had to learn about all this stuff, you can do it ! plus don't buy bitcoin on Coinbase, exchange it for goods and services, start small, but stack satoshis

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  15. This is literally the dumbest thing I have ever read in my life. Bitcoin is perhaps the most fair and equal system in the world. Anyone can participate regardless of age, gender, financial status, social status etc. You are making yourself look dumb by writing this article saying how you don’t get it. If you had just spent the amount of time on writing this article researching bitcoin and buying you’d probably be up 100pct already.

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  16. Stupid feminist loosers who write these articles... Just cause your too simple to wrap your head around the concept doesn't mean that every one else is down in your level. Checked the website here, its pathetic, who the bloody hell pays for this rubbish ???? ....

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  17. This is by far the most disingenuous and misinformed article about crypto ive ever read. Your comparisons to Jim Crow era oppression is...simply ignorant.

    Not to mention that if you had taken 15 min to figure out what those “labyrinthine” things were that sent your head spinning, you might have seen how easy and simple it actually is.

    Your editors should fire you for dumbass shit like this lol

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  18. If women of colour aren't buying cryptocurrency, that's pretty much proof that women of colour are more intelligent and responsible than white men and we should put them in charge

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  19. I am daily visitor of this site and this article is basically harrassing women and PoC...? So are you telling me women and PoC are too stupid or lazy to buy Bitcoin? Isn't this article a little bit racist? I....

    I have owned Bitcoin for years and I have told everyone I know about bitcoin. Some people have bought and some have not. I personally got involved with crypto becouse I'm interested in investing. I have my main portfolio which is basically filled with more safe traditional investments. But then I wanted to do some extremely risky long-term investments and Bitcoin was ovvious choise for me. Yes, I wish I had bought my first bitcoins before 2016 but I'm not blaiming white men for that I didn't ffs.

    Youtube is filled with very good instructions for anyone wanting to buy bitcoin. Mostly it seems to be lazyness what keeps people out. It gave me a headache for the first time and will give a headache FOR EVERYONE. But just fight through it if you really want it. It's equally hard for everyone to figure out how to buy bitcoin.

    And sincere question for the author: Which would have been more benefical for women who are interested in crypto:

    A. To write and article and share a link to a youtube video that shows you how to invest in crypto
    B. Blaim white men for everything and complain about stuff that can easily be googled.

    Here is some good stuff for anyone interested. I do not understand the tech at all, I don't understand 100% how blockchain works like I dont understand the tech behind my Mastercard. You don't have to. Anyone can buy Bitcoin, even if it is just a fraction of a bitcoin.

    This is very simple and trusted exchange but there are MANY others too. I like this being the most friendly UI:
    https://www.coinbase.com/buy-bitcoin

    Good video explaining blockchain:
    https://youtu.be/6WG7D47tGb0

    Good video explaining bitcoin:
    https://youtu.be/41JCpzvnn_0

    Good video explaining smart contracts:
    https://youtu.be/ZE2HxTmxfrI

    Merry christmast for all, don't let the nerdy stuff discourage you! There is a _plenty_ of very talented women, PoC and trans people working in this scene. Bitcoin is for everyone

    xoxo

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  20. NOOO YOU ARE GETTING RICH FROM BITCOIN AND I AM NOT REEE!!!!! DAMN WHITE MALES FOR MAKING IT SO DARN HARD FOR ME TO BUY BUTTCORN. WHY ISN'T THERE JUST A SIMPLE BUY BUTTON?

    THIS MUST BE RACIST AND MISOGYNIG IN SOMEWAY! IT HAS TO BE!!!!!!!

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  21. I agree on this artical on the premise that when we get more people using bitcoin the bitcoin neurals network becomes smarter from more nodes. And who knows. Maybe a Black woman joining one day from reading an artical like this is why bitcoin became artificially intelligent and can help us as mankind. And Black women saved bitcoin like we save elections.

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  22. When BTC go high again we learn that still minority and women are excluded from cryptocurrency with only small 0.056% participation by demographics who aren't asian male or white male. What can we do to increase participation instead of doing excluding? Needless to say, such conditions produce lower price and you are more poorer as a result. It is all of our interest to improve more participation in cryptocurrency.

    Hope to see ideas and results in future. Greetings from Singapore investor.

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  23. I'm pretty sure the articles on this site aren't sincere and they're written to inflame readers to get the articles to be shared and spread, thus farming clicks.

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  24. You gotta be freaking kidding me. I might not bleed once a month anymore (thanks, birth control), but as an Asian-American woman, I am outright offended. Seriously, fuck you.

    Blockchain. Satoshis. 51% Attack. PoW. PoS. Nodes. Forking. Ledgers. Hashrate. Public/Private Keys.

    It takes just ten, maybe twenty minutes of reading to learn what those terms mean. Plug those words into a search engine, click something, and you're set. Regardless, this is all beside the point! While I highly recommend researching new technologies before trying to use them, you don't need to know any of this to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. There are a crazy amount of services available that makes using them even easier than opening a bank account.

    Actually, that brings me to my next point. For all your whining about ID requirements, have you done even a few seconds of research before spraying your ignorant vitriol all over this lovely site? Coinbase, like any other bank in the United States, is required by law to request ID due to a set of laws known as KYC (for those of you who find search engines overly complicated, that's short for "Know Your Customer"). If you don't like KYC laws, call the IRS, call your representatives, and vote! Don't mindlessly shit on tangentially related emerging technologies.

    Even still, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized. You can buy them with cash on the street. You can buy them from ATMs at convenience stores. You can buy them using online DEXs (again, for the lazy and incapable, "decentralized exchanges"). There are so many options outside of the centralized banking system.

    This isn't some grand racist or sexist conspiracy. The demographics of cryptocurrency line up with the demographics of the tech industry, and both are becoming more and more diverse by the day. I've managed to get many of my friends into playing with cryptocurrencies, many of whom are PoCs like me, many of whom are women like me, many of whom would also be offended by your myopic nonsense.

    None of these lovely people were held back by their race or their gender, and I sure as hell wasn't either.

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    • You're Asian you have an average IQ of 105. A purebred Black as an average IQ of 72. Blacks are mentally scrotebrained by White standards. It's really too much for them to figure out. We need to just give them free shit so they can be equal.

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  25. You can't open a bank account or credit card without an ID anyway, so you wouldn't be able to buy bitcoin anyway, at least through typical sites like coinbase.

    There are ATMs with 5-10% fees, but that's probably a good thing for people incapable of getting an ID... they have higher priorities to tackle than lack of bitcoin.

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    • Technically speaking, a bank account or credit card isn't even required to obtain Bitcoin. It would be a pain in the ass, but possible.

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  26. I agree about the drivers license issue. Requiring a drivers license is going to exclude those too poor to own a car, which will disproportionately exclude non-whites. However, saying that the terminology excludes women is ridiculous. Women are already better educated than men.http://time.com/4064665/women-college-degree/ Are we really supposed to believe that women can earn more academic degrees than men, but not master the same technical terms as men?

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    • Actually, Coinbase and sites like it also accept state issued IDs that are not drivers' licenses. I don't drive because of medical reasons, but I have a Coinbase account. And I managed to figure out how cryptocurrencies work despite my obvious handicap of being a woman.

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      • Bless your heart, it's so hard for Women and brown people to figure things out for themselves without an omnipotent White man just giving them everything. You have made an incredible achievement despite not having a penis.

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    • Women are only more educated because they are better at regurgitating information and the standards for them are much lower than men. They also tend to go after much easier degrees like communications over something harder and more useful like chemistry. I'm graduating university this year and pretty much all serious STEM classes are mostly male and in my non-STEM classes all the top performers were male.

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  27. This is a shill article, but it does point towards Bitcoin's biggest failure. The working man would never be capable of using Bitcoin properly: he has a tough time using an eight letter password properly as is. This also applied to women, and perhaps more so, as women are more likely to be technologically illiterate. Perhaps this is why we need fiat.

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  28. I agree that it would be better if Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies were more intuitive. However, saying that the counter-intuitive terminology is exclusionary towards women and people of color only makes sense if you think that those groups are less capable of grasping esoteric subjects than white males. In other words, It seems like you are admitting that the white supremacists are right.

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  29. they are dumb af, spending unnecessary money in stupid shit
    >it's whites fault, minorities and women don't invest for their future
    please explain how? Because unless you're brain dead, getting bitcoins is the easiest thing to do, if you have a job. So stay mad nocoiner idiots, this article is nothing but envy of the ignorant

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  30. Womyn and beople of color are not being excluded from cryptocurrency at all.

    Dumb people however will be excluded from cryptocurrency by their own idiocy 🙂

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    • Equality of opportunity is just not working out for the blacks and browns, we need equality of outcome. We really just gotta start giving them free everything.

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  31. I can see some larger issues that could keep black people out of crypto, namely poverty/bonked up family means you have less access to wealth, difficulty in acquiring ID, and are less likely to have experience with tech stuff meaning you probably heard about crypto later than most people and have a larger hill to climb in learning about it.

    The latter two are larger issues for which tougher access to crypto is a symptom of not a cause of and could be described as poverty and intergenerational dysfunction being passed along. Also tech stuff not being "cool" until recently means that people tend to self select out of bothering to learn it. Their loss, can't blame everyone but yourself for this part.

    The former though fuck that, I put in crypto money by saving from my shitty job and living below my means and not spending money on things I can't afford, like a kid.

    Getting money off crypto requires some starting resources but these are not outside the means of someone who even has a more difficult time getting them to acquire. They are understandable, basic parts of participation in society and if you can't deal with that you are going to have a bad time in other areas of life too. We technically could engineer society in a way to make them less of an issue, but at that point we would be getting rid of a lot of free market and innovation incentivizing parts which are its strength in exchange for a more structured society, which do not have great track records in recent history.

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  32. I watched a documentary called "debugging the gendergap", about why girls have a hard time getting into the field. During the doc they addressed why there needs to be diversity in tech fields with an example involving airbags. The people that were designing standardized airbags were all white males at average height and while designing and testing they would use dummies with similar dimensions as the people on their team. Because of this airbags were killing people because they were not designed for more petite women. This is just an example but it caused me to reflect and reconsider my previously held beliefs regarding inclusion. So, thanks for this. Keep in mind if we get women and PoC into crypto everyone will be better off, even the cis white males.

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  33. This is the dumbest article I have ever read. Anyone can buy bitcoin. If you are to stupid to get involved that is on you. Maybe if you were less focused on makeup or the newest Jordan’s you would have caught the crypto currency rush.

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  34. Everyone in the cryptocurrency sphere dislikes ID requirements. The government financial regulations forces exchanges to require an ID. It is the government's racist policy of requiring IDs, decentralized monetary systems (bitcoin) actually want ID-free money, separated from racist institutions. Bitcoin wants freedom, democracy. It is a natural ally of PoC and women.

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