Investment strategist Lyn Alden discusses her own Bitcoin journey, encountering 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 most of those who have attended a Bitcoin meetup will have noticed a majority male attendance. In the Bitcoin space we often say “Bitcoin is for everyone,” however, the statistics show a lopsided 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 that I am choosing to pursue is to learn from and tell the stories of women in bitcoin. And where better to start than with Lyn Alden, the founder and CEO of Lyn Alden 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 analyzing macroeconomics, investment research and monetary systems. She has been interviewed on numerous podcasts, including “What Bitcoin Did,” “The Pomp Podcast,” “Coin Stories” and others. Her work has been featured or cited in The Wall Street Journal, Time’s Money Magazine and the Huffington Post, among many other publications.
Below, find Alden’s responses 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 back in 2010 or so, when someone I knew was mining it on her gaming computer. It seemed neat to me at the time and I planned to look into it more, but life was hectic and I never got around to it. Then, a few years later, I came across it again, and while it still seemed neat, the exchanges looked rather sketchy. Once again, I planned to look more into it but due to the complexities of life, I put it on the back burner.
During the 2017 bitcoin bull run, I was running an investment research firm and so 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 merits of the technology, but displayed skepticism regarding the price after the euphoric price surge of the year, and I passed on it as an investment. This ended up being a good idea, since bitcoin crashed and then chopped along sideways for the next two and a half years. However, this time I didn’t repeat my prior mistake — I kept researching it during the bear market, and ultimately bought it, and then kept learning and buying more.
What have been your colleagues’ reactions 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. One of my friends became interested in it partly due 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 used that platform to share what I’ve researched about bitcoin, among every other topic that I write about.
Some of my audience was (and still is) skeptical about it or outright dislikes the fact that I’ve been writing about it so much for years, and they would prefer that I not do so. Other parts of the audience were happy about 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 that as part of my profession, and write about it so that the knowledge-sharing scales a bit better. And by doing so, I also attracted a readership of people who have been into Bitcoin longer than me, who might be interested in my articles about other subjects.
How do you typically respond to those who are dismissive of Bitcoin?
People only have so much bandwidth. There are probably a lot of things I am dismissive about 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 who also has an engineering background, Bitcoin falls well within my scope of research and focus, but for many people it does not. It’s easy to dismiss, especially for people 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 focused on important things that I am dismissive about instead.
The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me is people who very much dislike it and yet are not knowledgeable about it. That’s usually an ideological problem, or an ego problem, or a misunderstanding about it related to energy and the associated moral panic that the media has often fanned the flames of.
In your opinion, why is it important to close the gender gap in Bitcoin interest and adoption?
I view bitcoin as a very useful form of global money, and money is for everyone. It’s as simple as that. Therefore, it’s natural to want to include people who are under-represented in Bitcoin spaces.
At the very least, if for example, a Bitcoin meetup is 80% male or more, it’s worth asking the questions of why that is. It’s not necessarily a negative or surprising thing; interest in sound money economics and computer science are both areas that have skewed male for a while, statistically. So, I’m aware of that starting point when it comes to Bitcoin. But still, we can ask why it’s the case that men seem to find this technology more relevant than women do, and observe that most content producers are male.
Some women feel kind of out of place in male-dominated spaces, just like how some men feel kind of out of place in female-dominated spaces. Like somehow this is not “for them” even though they’re not in any way prohibited. For people (often men) that make educational material regarding Bitcoin, are they understandably making those materials for people like themselves, and therefore perhaps missing some ways of sharing the information that might be more conducive to women or other people that are not necessarily like themselves?
While I don’t think it’s a problem for any given space, including Bitcoin spaces, to happen to be rather male dominated (or in other cases, female dominated), I do think it’s worth thinking about under-represented groups and seeing what can be done to include more people in general. After all, most people who like Bitcoin think it will continue to grow in importance and touch more peoples’ lives over time, and is for everyone. The challenge and opportunity, then, is to find more ways to communicate that idea to many different types of people.
When I first heard Alden speak at Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, I remember thinking that she is absolutely brilliant and communicates 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 as it relates to Bitcoin. Her writing has impacted countless people for the better, helping to grow the adoption of Bitcoin.
A huge shoutout to Alden for taking the time to give her thoughts on this topic, and for anyone who’s curious, Bitcoin is, in fact, for everyone.
This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
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