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Does crypto have a misogyny problem? #hearsay sushi, copper models and technologies | Notice

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Imagine a dimly lit red lacquered room in a chic hotel. A group of men in hoodies, some in business suits, others in sunglasses, stand grimly around a table not with energy drinks or laptops, but with used women as serving trays for sushi.

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed herein belong solely to the author and do not represent the views and opinions of crypto.news editorial.

Every week, crypto.news brings you #hashtag hearsay, a gossip column of scoops and stories shaping the crypto world. If you have a tip, email Dorian Batycka at (email protected)

No, this isn’t a casting call from the 1990s Hollywood Weinstein era, but another episode of #hearsay, my weekly gossip column examining the sensual underbelly of crypto.

In this week’s episode, we take you behind the story of Copper’s sushi model boondoggle after the digital asset manager was shut down by Financial Times using scantily clad models as serving platters for sushi at the company’s Digital Asset Summit afterparty.

The backstory? Of course, this happened at the Mandrake Hotel, one of London’s seediest, owned by the eponymous Lebanese party boy turned hotel entrepreneur Rami Fustok. Welcome to the world of underground crypto bro culture, where creaky hotels serve as the backdrop for degen deals and misogyny run amok.

Copper Technologies, the digital assets company hosting the party, is also not a social justice activist company. The company has reputed ties to sanctioned arms dealers and bankers in Russia. In 2023 and 2024, Jonatan Zimenkov and Mikhail Klyukin made transactions with the company exceeding $4.8 million and £15 million (approximately $18.9 million), respectively, both of which were sanctioned by UK and US authorities . .

Let’s be honest, though: crypto is a complete sausage fest, a testosterone-fueled echo chamber where women are as rare as a Bitcoin in a bear market. Worse still, they are often targets of outright abuse.

In 2018, popular cryptocurrency journalist and “Unchained” podcast host Laura Shin wrote about her experiences with online harassment and threats from individuals within the crypto community. Over the years, she has documented specific instances of misogynistic comments and derogatory messages against her on social media platforms such as X and Reddit. On March 24, crypto influencer Jeremy Cahen (Pauly0x) called Shin a “whore” in an X-rated space after she canceled (later postponed) an interview she had planned with the Porkcoin sibling. Cahen himself is no stranger to controversy, having been convicted alongside Ryder Ripps of fraudulently profiting from and defaming Yuga Labs, known as one of the biggest crypto brethren in the game.

Tron (TRX), a token launched in 2018, faced waves of criticism after its launch featured a significant partnership with a blockchain-based porn platform. Since the inception of cryptography, it seems that women have behaved as mere sideshows, cloaks to be objectified rather than listened to.

Walk through any conference, from Singapore to Miami, and it’s no surprise that it’s predominantly made up of men. Companies in the sector should do more or risk being criticized for lacking gender diversity on management teams and boards, with names and statistics readily available in public reporting. Everything is open; This is what decentralized governance can and should be: greater equality and more balance in markets and participants.

This is not to say that women are completely excluded from crypto. In fact, this past weekend I attended DeSci in London, which featured an all-female panel including representatives from AthenaDAO, AsteriskDAO, and HairDAO. In London there are women at Web3 focused events, probably because men in London only want to meet at the Mandrake Hotel for sushi served by women. One of my best friends in the industry, Aleksandra Artamonovskaja, is a crypto industry veteran with a penchant for digital art who studied at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

My boss at Crypto.news, Catherine Mychka reminds me at least once a week that my European team is dominated by male writers. The proof, dear men, is before us. Even though there are women in the industry, they remain a minority, thanks – I think – to the toxic male culture that tends to permeate our industry like a stinking fart.

Additionally, it is difficult to succeed in crypto because at birth many structural conditions are not met: regular internet access, not to mention food and housing, math and coding schools, etc. feel dominated by self-appointed industry evangelists full of Christ-like white boys, the problem is that these Lamo-husbanding industry figures permeate the industry like a foul-smelling body odor. I understand. You want to look like a baseball player, but please, crypto brothers, relax!

Back when I got into crypto, I felt like I was participating in a new utopian vision and hoping for a world strengthened by decentralization. Instead, that promise seems abandoned, replaced by a Kafkaesque caricature of an industry cannibalizing itself through greed and toxicity. Effective altruists whose only quest seems to be twisted Silicon Valley 2.0 logic personified by white men seems a bit boring to me. The problem with diversity is that it breeds innovation. Having more voices, more perspectives, and more ideas breeds these same forms exponentially.

As I finish my regularly served sushi, a word of caution. If anyone condemns the crypto “brother” culture, I am ashamed and, apart from that, it would be wrong due to the fact that I myself am both a man and a white person. As I dipped my sushi roll in its bath of soy and wasabi, I asked myself: Am I part of the problem? Or could the future of crypto, a world where greed and misogyny seem to go hand in hand, be replaced by a world where we talk about SushiSwaps instead of sushi rolls?

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