Investment strategist Lynn Alden discusses her own bitcoin journey, skeptics, and the industry’s male skew.
A recent survey conducted by Onmessage Inc. in the state of Texas found that men are 30% more likely to own bitcoin than women. And anyone who has attended a bitcoin meetup will have noticed the overwhelmingly male attendance. In the bitcoin space we often say “Bitcoin is for everyone,” however, the statistics show one-sided participation.
but bitcoin Is For everyone, isn’t it? So, what can we do to make bitcoin culture more accessible to women?
There are many possible paths but the path I choose to take is to learn from and tell the stories of women in bitcoin. And where better to start than with Lynn Alden, founder and CEO of Lynn Alden Investment Strategies?
With a background in finance and engineering, Alden brings a unique and humble approach to the bitcoin space. His primary emphasis is on macroeconomics, investment research and monetary systems analysis. He has been interviewed on several podcasts including “What Bitcoin Did,” “The Pomp Podcast,” “Coin Stories” and others. His work has been featured or cited in The Wall Street Journal, Time Money Magazine, and the Huffington Post, among many other publications.
Below, find answers to some questions about Alden’s journey and the evolution of bitcoin culture.
How did you first learn about bitcoin and what specifically attracted you?
I first heard about it in 2010, when someone I knew was mining on his gaming computer. It seemed neat to me at the time and I planned to watch more of it, but life got busy and I never got around to it. Then, a few years later, I met it again, and while it still looked neat, the exchange seemed a bit gibberish. Once again, I planned to watch more of it but due to life’s complications I put it on the backburner.
During the bitcoin bull run of 2017, I was running an investment research firm and so I finally took the time to delve into it, writing a public article about it in November of that year. My article discussed the merits of the technology, but displayed skepticism about the price after a year of euphoric price increases, and I passed it off as an investment. This turned out to be a good idea, as bitcoin crashed and then remained on the sidelines for the next two and a half years. However, this time I didn’t repeat my previous mistake — I kept researching it during the bear market, and eventually bought it, and then kept learning and buying again.
How have your colleagues reacted to your belief in bitcoin? And how have you seen this change over time?
I don’t make a general habit of talking about it too much. A friend of mine took an interest in it partly because of me, but I know most people are relatively uninterested in it. However, I have a large audience for my public writing, and so I have used the platform I write about to share what I have researched about bitcoin.
Some of my viewers were (and still are) skeptical about it or dislike the fact that I’ve been writing about it for so many years, and they would prefer that I didn’t. Other parts of the audience were happy about it and learned a lot from it. Most people can’t afford to spend a thousand hours looking at something like bitcoin, and instead, I do it as part of my profession, and write about it so that knowledge-sharing is a little better. And by doing so, I also attracted readers from people who have been in bitcoin longer than me, who might be interested in my articles about other topics.
How do you usually respond to people who dismiss bitcoin?
People only have so much bandwidth. There are so many things I’m dismissive of that I shouldn’t be, but I can’t be hyper-focused on everything at once. As an analyst of macroeconomics and monetary systems, and someone with an engineering background, bitcoin falls within the purview of my research and focus, but to many it does not. It’s easy to dismiss this, especially for those in developed markets with reasonably well-functioning banking systems. To many of them, it seems like a solution in search of a problem. Many of them are focusing on important things that I have been dismissive of.
The only thing I don’t understand is people who dislike it so much and yet are clueless about it. It is usually an ideological problem, or an ego problem, or a misunderstanding about what energy is and the moral panic associated with it that is often fanned by the media.
Why is it important, in your opinion, to close the gender gap in bitcoin interest and adoption?
I see bitcoin as a very useful form of global money, and money that belongs to everyone. Its as simple as that. Therefore, it is only natural to include people who are underrepresented in the bitcoin space.
At the very least, for example, if a bitcoin meetup is 80% male or more, it is worth asking the question why this is so. This isn’t necessarily a negative or surprising thing; Interest in sound money economics and computer science are both fields that have statistically skewed men for some time. So, I am aware of that starting point when it comes to bitcoin. But still, we can ask why is it that men find this technology more relevant than women, and given that the majority of content creators are men.
Some women feel out of place in male-dominated spaces, similar to how some men feel out of place in female-dominated spaces. Somehow it’s not “for them”, even though they are not prohibited in any way. For the people (often men) who create educational content about bitcoin, are they intelligently creating those content for people like themselves, and therefore perhaps missing some of the ways of sharing information that women or other Can be more friendly to people who are not necessarily like themselves?
While I don’t think it’s a problem for any space, including bitcoin spaces, to be rather male dominated (or in other cases, female dominated), I think it’s worth thinking about underrepresented groups. And looking at what might need to be done to include more people in general. After all, most people who love bitcoin think it will continue to grow in importance and impact more people’s lives over time, and it is for everyone. The challenge and opportunity, then, is to find more ways to bring that idea to many different types of people.
When I first heard Alden speak at Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, I remembered that he was absolutely brilliant and communicated with a humility that is uncommon in any field. More impressive than his intellectual prowess is his commitment to financial literacy education, specifically as it relates to bitcoin. His writings have influenced countless people for the better, helping to drive the adoption of bitcoin.
A big shout out to Alden for taking the time to give his thoughts on this topic, and to anyone who is curious, bitcoin really is for everyone.
This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. The opinions expressed are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
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