Diversity In The Bitcoin Community

There’s a sense that the bitcoin community is a fairly homogenous group, mainly white and mainly male.

And the MIT Media Lab and Coindesk are doing something to try to change that.

They are providing 50 “diversity scholarships” to Coindesk’s Consensus 2015 conference in NYC on September 10th. Details are here.

The target group for these scholarships are “people of colour and women between 18 and 25 years of age.”

If you fit this profile and want to attend Consenus 2015 for free, you can apply here.

#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    You say diversity. I say discrimination.#playBall.

    1. Amar

      There should be a before-after retrospective from MIT. I need clarity and better understanding of the women interested in and a good fit for the bitcoin community _but_ needing this extra diversity initiative to join the community.In other words I want a clear problem statement – something more than a research paper indicating a low p-value pointing to a systemic and structural bias. This is not to denigrate statistics but rather to ask for a simple and clear problem statement and benefits summary.I want to grasp the factors that were holding these women back prior to this initiative. I am not being snarky or condescending, i really want to know. I have two daughters and I am absolutely vested in better understanding this issue.Any time “equal opportunity/push for correcting past sins/forced diversity” initiatives start spanning a few decades, the message is muddled and the original motivations are not remembered well. Both sides of the line are now dissatisfied. You see this all over the world – South Africa – Afrikaner vs native South Africans, India – “Upper” caste vs “lower” caste, US – parity between opportunity and racial diversity . The (historically) oppressed feel like not much is being done and there is insufficient progress while the other side starts expressing feelings of reverse discrimination.To summarize: what are the specific issues holding back qualified, passionate, competent women from joining the bitcoin community? Is the scholarship proposal mainly a marketing scheme creating a safe place for these women to step up or is there more to it?/cc @twaintwain:disqus @liad:disqus @andyswan:disqus

      1. Chimpwithcans

        Yes quite. Some context and parameters do a lot to justify any such initiative.

      2. Twain Twain

        As you and @andyswan:disqus raise your daughters, it’s helpful to be aware of the overt and subtle signals they get which make them opt out of STEM, not achieve their potential and become disillusioned with “the system”.Some people on this thread question why women and minorities should get free/subsidized conference tickets.Here’s some research from Federal Reserve Bank of NY on executive pay and about how female executives get less, all round.Here’s some simple logic:(1.) Women get less salary => They can less afford to go to conferences.(2.) Women are offered less opportunities because managers (more likely to be male and in positions of power) don’t sign off budget to let them go to conferences to learn and network.(3.) Women get fewer incentives => They leave the tech sector (including Bitcoin).Now, for 18-25 year olds which the Consensus scholarship is aimed at, they likely earn less than the majority of people at AVC bar.Unfortunately, some people at AVC bar CAN’T & DON’T WALK IN THE SHOES OF OTHERS or see it from their perspectives because they and the people they care about haven’t experienced those overt and subtle signals themselves.One day, when your daughters share, “I really wanted to go to a Bitcoin conference but my male boss wouldn’t sign off the $1,500 / I couldn’t afford it because my salary’s got a 23% deficit compared with my male peer doing the same job”, you’ll understand WHY the Consensus scholarship tickets make logic and sense.In fact, you’ll be upset for your daughters that the barriers to their progression make no sense.* http://libertystreeteconomi…————–@MsPseudolus:disqus @ccrystle:disqus

        1. Amar

          Thanks for responding and continuing the education πŸ™‚ If nothing else i have started a “your manager should not stop you from going to the ed/tech/TED conf you want to attend” account for each of my girls ;-).

    2. Jess Bachman

      Yeah, this stuff used to bother me, but I’m cool with now. It can be hard to really appreciate your cis white male privilege, but it can be done, with practice.

      1. VoidWalker

        yeah because allowing ppl of ciolor to get in free isn’t a privilege at all . . . lol. the fact you can bring up privilege and not see that there is blatant discrimination against white ppl when you make them pay and POC don’t is laughable.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Not to worry –

  2. William Mougayar

    But there is no shortage of diversity in opinions on Bitcoin’s future among the homogeneous bunch!

    1. Twain Twain

      So last week you had a great post ‘Biggest Blindspot of Startup CEO is ignoring their brand’.* http://startupmanagement.or…And I wrote a fairly detailed comment about AirBnB’s logo and brand values.So today…. Fred tells us about Consensus conference. Now, Consensus (of and in itself) isn’t a conference for diversity and inclusion.It’s a conference on Bitcoin.They just happened to have branded the conference to maybe reflect what you’ve been saying may be a weakness with Blockchain-Bitcoin: consensus rather than leadership, hence the forking into Bitcoin XT and its various issues.Funnily enough…Guess how and what I branded my little system?Why did I choose this particular icon, wording and color scheme?Because the brand and logo has diversity and inclusion BAKED IN from the start.Plus because the hope is the machines will make better sense of us and our data in the future.Yes and there’s a wordplay on “census” too.The icon shows the spectrum of people as we move forward towards the future, led by our senses.

      1. Twain Twain

        On white background which is how it usually looks on browser.

        1. William Mougayar

          Great logo. It’s bold.

          1. Twain Twain

            Thanks. Notice how the icon has down votes and up votes as the limbs of the people?That also speaks to the actual functionality of what the system enables and does.I designed the logo with brand values and its functional purpose baked in before I drew any wireframes or wrote a line of code.It anchors everything.

          2. William Mougayar

            It does. Now, show us the product πŸ™‚

        2. Cam MacRae

          seriously sigmoidal senseus simulacrum

          1. JLM

            .The alliteration alone screams out for an “up” vote, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Cam MacRae

            *bows in polite deference*

          3. Twain Twain

            Indeedy!And, coincidentally, he’s in the right ballpark because there are some sigmoidal functions in the system and it does do simulations of our senses (of sorts).Plus a fulcrum to torque our perceptions of what’s possible with tech.Indie is right! Leap of faith times!* https://youtu.be/xFntFdEGgw

      2. Phil Chacko

        Interesting to me that Netflix is so often omitted from those lists (in the link). Would clock in at #3, $20m in market cap per employee. Also a company that focuses on Product, Brand, AND Culture.

    2. jason wright

      substitute ” Bitcoin” for “Venture Capital” in the post title and disqus.

    3. Twain Twain

      Twitter takes a lead on the diversity issue in Silicon Valley.

  3. Dylan Sojumd

    Fred, there’s an incredible book on Diversity I’d love for you to read. ‘Affirmative Action Around the World’ it’s packed with data and very useful summaries. Also only 200ish pages.

  4. JLM

    .It is difficult to get my head around why targeted recruiting of “diversity” isn’t just a repackaged form of discrimination.The legal issue is “equal opportunity” not “equal outcomes” though I am not suggesting that this is even remotely a legal issue.I am a proponent of affirmative action such as afforded to Pres Obama to enable him to attend Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard Law. While I don’t like his policies, the story of his capitalizing on the opportunities presented to him is a great American story. Same thing for Michelle Obama — Princeton and Harvard Law.I am opposed to “feel good” tokenism in which we pat ourselves on the back because we put “diverse” folks in visible positions as if we are checking off a box to make ourselves feel good.We seem to be spending a lot of time talking about things and not doing anything really substantive about them. I like to see pictures of the results — female faces, black faces, Hispanic faces — that prove the premise.Why, in a meritocracy, aren’t we helping folks become competitive rather than putting them at the finish line without having competed?Just thinking about it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…#whiteprivilege

    1. Dylan Sojumd

      Insightful post. Affirmative action has caused nothing but despair all around the world (Read ‘Affirmative Action Around the World’ by Thomas Sowell). All it has achieved is making people feel good about themselves, while those who need help are pushed further back.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      Why, in a meritocracy, aren’t we helping folks become competitive rather than putting them at the finish line without having competed?Because even with help, outcomes would be unequal, since different groups are, well, different. So, we can either 1) acknowledge those differences, and admit that each group isn’t equally good in everything, on average, and let the chips fall where they may (as we do in pro sports, for example); or, 2) we can pretend those differences in abilities don’t exist, blame differences in outcomes on discrimination, and use affirmative action to remedy it. We’ve been going with option 2), obviously.

      1. Dylan Sojumd

        The largest factors in inequality are biology and geography. Two factors which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to change.

        1. Jess Bachman

          Ummmmm… the factors are the PERCEPTIONS of biology and geography. Which can and do change.

          1. Dylan Sojumd

            I wish that were true, but it is not. IQ is a fairly strong predictor of future successes and it solidifies in a +- 10 range from age 7 till death. Geography is even more affluent, natural resources play a massive role in the development of advanced societies.

          2. Phil Chacko

            ” –Even nonverbal IQ scores are sensitive to environmental change. Scores on nonverbal IQ tests have risen dramatically throughout the world since the 1930s. The average white scored higher on the Stanford-Binet in 1978 than 82 percent of whites who took the test in 1932. Such findings reinforce the implications of adoption studies: large environmental changes can have a large impact on test performance.”https://www.nytimes.com/boo…

          3. Phil Chacko

            Another good one on IQ -http://www.theatlantic.com/…”A study of twins by psychologist Eric Turkheimer and colleagues that similarly tracked parents’ education, occupation, and income yielded especially striking results. Specifically, they found that the “heritability” of IQ – the degree to which IQ variations can be explained by genes – varies dramatically by socioeconomic class. Heritability among high-SES (socioeconomic status) kids was 0.72; in other words, genetic factors accounted for 72 percent of the variations in IQ, while shared environment accounted for only 15 percent. For low-SES kids, on the other hand, the relative influence of genes and environment was inverted: Estimated heritability was only 0.10, while shared environment explained 58 percent of IQ variations.”

        2. Phil Chacko

          Oh we’ve done plenty to shape geography.http://www.theatlantic.com/…Not that those factors were even the two right ones, but assuming they were…

      2. VoidWalker

        I don’t buy that type of rhetoric. You are simply assuming there is a racist aspect to these communities. All the white discriminating against white ppl that may also need the same helping hand you give to black or latino ppl simply because of their race . ..

    3. Chimpwithcans

      You ain’t seen nothing. Come to South Africa for the magical mystery tour. SA is a niche and extreme case, but it is proof in my eyes that reverse discrimination doesn’t work, or at least that it has a shelf-life which needs to be made explicit.

    4. kidmercury

      agreed. diversity quotas are just another form of racism. i might argue that it is a worse form of racism, because it is more overt and institutionalized, whereas conventional racism is still mostly below the radar. and i say this as a “person of color” ! not that that matters of course. although i’m indian by race, and i was told that “that doesn’t count as a minority in the US in technology” so maybe my opinion is not relevant here……if anyone has the latest version of the rule book please let me know.

      1. JLM

        .Haha, in Austin you would be considered very cool.I was at brunch the other day and there was a table of young, hip folk of Indian extraction — nerds — and one of my dining companions thought they were Mexican. I had to correct him.The women were quite exotic and beautiful.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          The women were quite exotic and beautiful.To be sure many Indian women are totally hot.

      2. Jess Bachman

        Diversity quotas are there to counter structural racism. You’re not suppose to like them. Just like you are not supposed to like speed limits, but bad things end up happening without them.

        1. kidmercury

          i understand the purpose, but they are countering structural racism with another form of structural racism. moreover, while the “bad” structural racism that is being countered is more often borne out of culture and is under the radar, the “good” structural racism is officially sanctioned and legislated, thus enabling this type of racism to be officially celebrated.

          1. Jess Bachman

            Right… not saying you have to like it. It’s like sports drafts. The worst team gets the first pick, so the league doesn’t get all lopsided because no one likes that, except the constant winners. Salary caps, same deal.

          2. VoidWalker

            but black ppl aren’t a team . . . ppl that benefit from this kind of affirmative action are not, “the worst team” they are simply a specific race. Whos to say I’m not less fortunate then they are? Why judge me based on my white skin? Why not make the policy about how much wealth someone has? Why make it about a superficial quality like race? Are you seriously suggesting there aren’t white ppl out there that need help in the same way some blacks need help?

          3. Jess Bachman

            Black people are a team. Especially in the eyes of people who harbor racial bias. And there is policies based on wealth, it’s called financial aid. Like I’ve been saying… you’re not supposed to like it. It’s just there to even things up a bit.

          4. VoidWalker

            No, black ppl are not a team. They are individuals with individual desires, qualities, and financial situations. Same thing with white ppl, Asians, or whatever race you want to include. Racial inequality doesn’t need to be evened up, only opportunity does. It seems to me, making some ppl pay while other get it for free is not equaling anything up. It’s giving a benefit to ppl who may not even need it and ignoring those that may. Simply based on race .. . it’s the definition of racism.

      3. LE

        At least where I am, and I can’t speak for any other place, Indians are a great benefit to the community. They are hard working, get good grades in school, hold educated responsible positions, don’t cause any trouble other than changing the grading curve for whites in the public schools. Plus they take care of their elders and all of that. What’s there not to like? [1] Ditto for Asians.[1] The smelly food I guess but that’s about it.

    5. LE

      aren’t we helping folks become competitive rather than putting them at the finish lineMy question is why aren’t those who have benefited from affirmative action (such as you describe) helping those of their same race that are mired in poverty? Is that happening at all? Are they? I can’t imagine that they are. And if they are they aren’t doing a particularly good job it seems.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Of course they are. And they are doing a good job. But there is a lot of work to be done.

        1. LE

          Not from what I can tell they aren’t. Not anywhere that I have ever lived.

    6. Richard

      You need to spend a few hours around a group of surgeons and medical students.

    7. Matt Zagaja

      Difficult to see how this is discrimination or affirmative action. As far as I’m aware attending bitcoin conferences is not a competitive endeavor. It’s not even clear that this sort of conference is fully sold. In fact it could be that the conference is underselling and they’re trying to find creative ways to fill it. They’re just providing some funding to encourage people to enter the mix.

      1. JLM

        .Hmmm, “…people of color and women…” doesn’t strike you in a certain way?I think you are trying to make “affirmative action” into a 4-letter word while I have clearly said I support the notion.Discrimination — in the purest sense of the word — is, also, not a bad word. It simply means that someone is trying to create a particular outcome by seeding the mine.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. PhilipSugar

        How do you feel that you need to come up with $1,200 to attend but if you were a different gender or color it would be free. Don’t know your financial situation and don’t care. Maybe $1,200 for you is pocket lint money, or maybe it is inconceivable. But if it is inconceivable, realize part of that money is paying for those that do not need to pay, including those that consider $1,200 pocket lint money.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          Typically (at least for the conferences that I’ve run) scholarships are not discounts on admission but rather actual funding that moves from one source to the conference admission cost for that individual. As the time for an event nears they’ll deploy “reduced admission” and “discounts” to different groups that are more price sensitive to sell the unsold inventory.

          1. PhilipSugar

            What conferences have you run??? I have worked on some very big ones like ASI and wearablerobotics

    8. Phil Chacko

      Affirmative action is a band-aid, but our society is not close to being a meritocracy.The most comprehensive argument to that effect, that I’ve read, is this one:http://www.theatlantic.com/…Happy to talk through a substantive argument on the topic.

      1. Phil Chacko

        Looking for something comparably comprehensive re: gender, so if someone would like to help with that, that would be great…

      2. JLM

        .There is nothing wrong with putting a band aid on a cut. Affirmative action — band aid or not — has had some good outcomes.It is difficult to argue that the President was not a beneficiary of affirmative action or to suggest that it did not have its desired outcome. One can disagree with his policies but the journey is real.Like a band aid, sometimes, it is also time to stop wearing band aids when the healing is apparent. That argument is also valid.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Phil Chacko

          I’m actually arguing the opposite. The band aid is not enough and the racial gap on achievement has been depressingly stable.http://blogs.edweek.org/edw

          1. JLM

            .While it is necessary to focus on race to measure the results, I don’t see it as a racial issue. We have a group that needs help, that is enough for me.I am trying to live my life color blind.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Matt Kruza

            Your thoughts / links on iq were interesting enough so i will engage here. What more do you think needs to be done? Specifically on the racial angle in terms of policies. The bigger gap is income related. Once you control for income of the parents, much / most of the racial gap goes away. In short, a minority from the wealthy enclave has it easier than the white male from a hard-scrabble lower income heavily white area. Agree/ disagree? And curious of top 3 policies you would change if you disagree.

          3. Phil Chacko

            @mattkruza:disqusWith respect to the opportunity gaps in tech, I’d advocate tackling it at three phases: Education, Network, Workplace.Education: Level the playing field by creating an environment where people of many groups feel safe, can feed their own curiosity, and learn. This can come through programs independent of schooling such as Black Girls Code, Women Who Code, GoldieBlox, etc, as well as improving in-school teaching of computer science. Some will argue childhood stability outside of school needs to also be tackled, but that can get pretty hairy (gets into crime, hunger, etc.).Network: People tend to interview and hire those they know. Your Facebook friends and LinkedIn network is likely composed of people who look like you. The Rooney Rule for professional football has been pretty successful at increasing the number of minority coaches, so I’d advocate a similar approach where companies actively sourced candidates outside of the default social networks. This sensible approach received unfortunate branding due to Mitt Romney’s awkward “binders full of women”.Workplace: Once you hire from diverse backgrounds, you need to also retain them. The environment at work should be inclusive to those of many backgrounds through action rather than lip-service. Maternity and *paternity* leave come in to heavy play, but also downplaying cultural attributes that inadvertently exclude others. Team building activities shouldn’t be biased towards beer pong, for example, but more subtly team lunches are more mother/father-friendly than team happy hours.A company’s ability to tackle these three categories depends heavily on what stage it’s in. A 4-person startup won’t donate funds to education initiatives, but it’s necessary to bear in mind as a small business grows into a larger company that can have an impact on these things. Books have been written about all of these, but happy to engage where I can. Judging from the comments, looks like a lot of progress can be made in this community itself. (It’s a thoughtful bunch.) I also have yet to run a company to put these ideas into practice, but I’m working on that.

          4. Matt Kruza

            Appreciate the detailed and well-reasoned response. The most tangible thing in that which I think you mention is the Rooney rule. I am well aware of that and that would have been one of my suggestions. In complete agreement on that. The other points i agree with, but are a little more nebulous (that is not meant as a criticism, just that they are more touchy feely and harder to implement.) Culture is very hard to implement, but definitely making an inclusive culture an intentional act from the CEO down is a good idea. On the eduation front there is something pretty interesting that IBM and a few others are doing.. http://www-03.ibm.com/press… you might be interested. Not really relevant for smaller startups at this time though. Good luck on your company!

  5. jason wright

    i don’t see a barrier to anyone becoming a member of the bitcion ‘community’, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or anything else. having an interest in it is all that’s required. if you haven’t got that go do something else. this ‘white male’ thing is so the stereotype that needs squashing. it’s intellectually lazy, and often politically too convenient.

    1. Erin

      Here’s something that helped me see barriers to entry to communities that charge 1200$ for a dinner: http://thewireless.co.nz/ar

    2. Phil Chacko

      Disagree strongly. Certain groups don’t get second chances. It would make you risk-averse too.Two years ago, pre-Ferguson, but still relevant -http://www.theatlantic.com/…

  6. Twain Twain

    This is a great initiative by Bitcoin because we live in an age where a majority of online payments ARE MADE BY WOMEN.And just as women were the fuel for Facebook’s adoption, so they could be for Bitcoin’s too.Useful data here:* http://she-conomy.com/facts…Now, the old financial system was created at a time when women didn’t have access to education, didn’t have the vote, didn’t earn the types of money they do today, could not be elected to Monetary Policy Committees of the central banks.In other words, the foundations of it were and are undemocratic.So it’s a wonderful opportunity to do things differently from that broken legacy system.Particularly since Bitcoin+Blockchain is supposed to represent distributed democracy.It’s in this spirit we can all participate in building our futures.

    1. andyswan

      Women spend money men make money.If Bitcoin becomes a popular currency with women it will be because men built the pipes, dug the trenches, and risked their livelihood to get rich off the business of Bitcoin.

      1. Twain Twain

        Thanks, women also earn and spend our own money.There are female Bitcoin miners and merchants too, by the way.* http://www.coinfilter.com/t

        1. andyswan

          There ya go…no need for this diversity scholarship. Women control the spending and are fantastic miners and merchants.What’s the problem we are solving again?

          1. Twain Twain

            It’s about proportionality and representation the same way it is in the tech sector generally.There are indeed female miners (developers) and merchants (sells software).However, proportionally, they’re currently at numbers less than representative of the entire number of miners and merchants.

        2. Chimpwithcans

          I feel that you both may be a little biased in this argument.

          1. Twain Twain

            Haha, quite.

  7. andyswan

    I’m trying to think of something that could be less structurally discriminating than Bitcoin. I can’t. You could tell me right now that Bitcoin is exclusively run by 82 Asian women and William and I’d have no reason to think otherwise.And you STILL have to nudge groups into participating by discriminating against the majority of participants?If anything, this serves as the ultimate reminder that PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. Women (in general) enjoy doing different things than men.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Indeed, smells like a PR circle jerk. The “scholarships” are nothing more than a free ticket to the conference and probably a group dinner with some of the speakers.The ticket price is $1,499 … and they wonder why mostly white males are signing up…

      1. Cam MacRae

        The price is outrageous, but perhaps the foie gras will be dusted in gold leaf and glazed with the tears of a central banker?You’re being rather uncharitable about the value of the scholarships; dinner is often life changing.

    2. Phil Chacko

      In unrelated news, libertarians over-index as high income white males under the age of 30.http://www.pewresearch.org/

    3. Twain Twain

      This is Boston Consulting Group’s ‘Leaking Pipeline’ report on how the value women and diverse minorities can bring to technology is being lost.* https://www.bcgperspectives…So, according to BCG, there is plenty structurally discriminating — including in Bitcoin.Also, these scholarships are aimed at people who are in an age band 18-25 when they may have student debts or aren’t yet earning enough to be able to afford the $500+ tickets.These tickets give them access to an education on Bitcoin and networking opportunities which they may not have because of the “leaking pipeline”.@amar:disqus — BCG analysis rather than personal anecdotes.

      1. andyswan

        I can’t believe that the inventor of bitcoin put a gender-check in the blockchain! Amazing.As for targeting young people that can’t afford the ticket— THAT I can totally get behind.I appreciate your points…. I’m just beyond exhausted with the whole “get women into tech” thing when the truth is much fewer of them are interested in it than men. There ARE biological differences.I have yet to see a campaign aimed at getting more women into the coal mines.

        1. Twain Twain

          Funnily enough, Andy, here’s one of the tips I wrote in my article on brogrammers and women working better together:(3.) Be mindful that men and women work differently and that that difference can be the grit that forms a pearl.So where there’s difference, there’s also potential treasure.

          1. andyswan

            Of course there is. Discriminating against someone based on gender/race isn’t just wrong– it’s stupid and short-sighted. I completely agree that women can and do bring enormous value to the workplaces that they choose to enter.I’m just saying enough with the “we NEED to get more women into XYZ” (it was lawyers when I was growing up LOL)… what if they don’t want to? That’s a REAL possibility!

          2. Rohan

            Agree. a lot of the discussion around diversity misses the point.

        2. Jess Bachman

          You must have missed these buses in Kentucky then.

      2. Amar

        thanks! will read πŸ™‚

  8. Twain Twain

    Women can also go to the Consenus Makeathon on 8-9 September. I just wrote a piece for Startup Grind on ‘How Hackathons are more Winnable with Women on Your Team’ which will be published today or tomorrow and shared on Hacker News.Bitcoin+Blockchain could do with women solving use cases differently.For the cynics and skeptics who may say, “Oh sure, we all know it’s the brogrammers who do all the hard work and win it…”Read my article.My hackathon record is 8 for 8 wins and I was the only common factor in the otherwise male teams.It’s not just the mining (engineering, coding) where women can add excess value and save the team time and resources.

    1. Twain Twain

      I would go to Consensus 2015 but I’m filing Chinese patent for my system. I’ve coded English and Chinese versions of it.It would cost $9,000 to $12,500 (translation companies charge $30-40 per 100 words) to translate PhD level technical English<=>Chinese in a patent but I’m saving this because I can do it myself!!!Yay for me!

  9. William Mougayar

    Coinfilter recently listed “The Top 40 Women of Bitcoin”, and there are more than 40 actually. Maybe some of them might be good candidates for the Coindesk initiative?http://www.coinfilter.com/t

    1. Cam MacRae

      Our hope is to expose more young people, from a diverse set of backgrounds to the powerful potential of digital currency. The Consensus Scholarships will allow young people to ask questions, gain unique insights and meet with leaders in the digital currency movement,” said Brian Forde, director of the Media Lab’s DCI.Seems kinda cross-purposes to award the scholarship to established players in the space.

      1. William Mougayar

        Good point, I didn’t realize that. Perhaps they could be mentors to them, then.

  10. Cath

    This is why I love Naomi’s (who’s young and savvy) rendition of “All About That Bitcoin”.. it introduces a different type of people (the non-tech folk really) to simply question/get curious about bitcoin. Not to mention, it’s pretty darn catchy!https://www.youtube.com/wat

    1. Twain Twain

      BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing!It’s a great version of Meghan Trainor!

  11. aminTorres

    If the point of this is to increase diversity, including the gender gap between males and females, the form should ask for the applicant’s gender πŸ™‚

    1. andyswan

      I’m sure you’re allowed to identify as female for the duration of the event and save $1500

      1. Richard

        Who was the first company to charge for attending its own conference?

      2. aminTorres

        … or as a republican and at least save on the tax fee.

  12. Sam

    “Bitcoin curious” welcome here.

  13. Ana Milicevic

    I applaud this and think it’s admirable especially for a technology with great potential yet relatively little mainstream awareness and understanding. I’d like to see more big-ticket conferences offer a certain number of entries for free and an application process that rewards a diversity of backgrounds and opinions in whatever physical form they may come (for the sake of event quality and innovation).

  14. Erin

    I know a brilliant young lady who should go to this and hopefully by the time she’s old enough to apply for a scholarship, the men who look at scholarship awardees with glowering eyes will all have passed through the system.

  15. Brandon Burns

    FWIW, I just spent some time consulting a bitcoin startup on some UX challenges. It was a positive experience all around.One big observation β€” everyone knows everyone. Bitcoin is a club, for sure. And it’s mostly defined by the folks who were in it from the beginning(ish).That said, I’m willing to guess that anyone who wants to join in on the nerding out over bitcoin, and has something of value to contribute, would be embraced. It’s too nascent and unstructured of a community to have it’s walls built too high.

  16. DJL

    I am waiting for the NBA/NFL Diversity Scholarship for my son. He likes football and basketball a lot. But alas, his demographic has a very low probability of making it unless he gets special treatment.

  17. Kevin Hill

    This is a very interesting topic. My initial reactions was ‘actually I thought they were all Chinese’. Indeed, it seems that mining and trade volume have a big China slant, however, when you look at node distribution, https://coinmap.org/#/world… it certainly slants heavily US/Europe. Very weird.I’d love someone to do analysis of this in more depth. Is it just that coinbase and other maps don’t normalize on available compute power? Or that nodes from China are much much more active on average? Does it really show that the Chinese government is in control of a large % of the bitcoin transactions inside china (I’m skeptical of this, but less so after looking at the maps)?

  18. pointsnfigures

    Good, the more people they can get involved the better. But, for me I value diversity of opinion more than I value diversity based on gender/skin color etc.

    1. PhilipSugar

      What a great way to put it

  19. VoidWalker

    lol .. . pathetic. I guess if I want to go I need to pay right? Because I guess being white means you need to pay. This mindset is really starting to piss me off. As if everything needs to be a perfect rainbow. Equally represented between all genders and races. Well I’m here to tell you it doesn’t . . . I’d love to be a rich rapper, chances are I never will be . . . do any of these hyper liberal, race obsessed, fuck asses even care? Nope . . .

  20. Science Student

    I had two male professors on my first day of school. The first professor referred to hygienic test tubes as “ska*ky” and people who complained are “b*t*hy”. The second professor told a joke about men running for alcohol and women running for chocolate. Just subtle reminders to women that they are “other” in the science classroom.

    1. oops


  21. jason wright

    if the qualities of being white and male are the keys to success i can see in the coming decades every prospective parent is going to want their child to be genetically engineered. or perhaps not. diversity requires diversity.better to attack institutional ECONOMIC inequalities (e.g. unpaid or very low paid internships) to force through change.

  22. Marshall Hayner

    I applaud supporting diversity in bitcoin but simultaneously this smacks of “we have free tickets to give away”. I understand ticket sales are low, but that doesn’t give you the right to call your give-away a ‘scholarship’. Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining πŸ˜‰

  23. ozlanthos

    Why does this crap mean anything to anyone? I mean seriously! IRC users are primarily white, and male. I don’t see anyone throwing a fit about IRC being “penis-centric”. There is no IRC-KKK flouting a “whites only” policy for users. It’s just a fact, most people who use IRC (and Bitcoin) are in fact male. And among those male users, the vast majority are white. It’s like making a big deal about the fact that most women are simply not interested in cryptocurrencies, economics, programming, the internet, or computers.-Oz

  24. Dylan Sojumd

    The comments here are because affirmative action has never worked, there’s decades upon decades of evidence to the contrary. MIT in particular has a great history of failure. For example due to affirmative action the African American students at MIT are in the bottom 10% in math at MIT, but in the top 10% in the general population. As a result 25% of the AA students at MIT have failed. They are artificially failing because they have been ‘placed’ instead of earning the position on merit. Artificial failure caused by affirmative action.

  25. JLM

    .One of my favorite exercises is to look at pictures of the companies run by folks who are vocal proponents of things like, oh say — diversity.I see a lot of pontificating and very little real action when I look at those pics.The third company I started topped out at slightly more than 500 employees. More than half were women. Some were killers.Here’s the rub — all of them were there by merit. I used to hire the top finance grad at UT because they couldn’t find jobs in their field. I also used to have an affinity for Aggies because female Aggies are killers.Somebody showed me a picture of the management of the company — early 1990s and I was struck by the number of “diverse” folks. I did nothing to make that happen, I just hired the best folks I could find.I did make it a point to make sure that women were interviewed but once I hired the first highly competent woman, it was much easier since she ran the hiring operation for her division.I think you take an unfair liberty suggesting that anyone who does not genuflect before the altar of diversity is somehow exercising some element of white privilege.You have no real way of knowing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  26. Chimpwithcans

    Every diversity initiative has context. Not all are by default the best option. Some don’t even come close.

  27. andyswan

    We held an emergency meeting of the #patriarchy and determined that this MIT program threatened the flow of free bitcoins to white males. The comments and upvotes are a result of this discussion.

  28. DJL

    How would you like to be one of the thousands of “white privilege” MIT applicants with perfect grades and SAT scores who are still rejected. My Alma-mater has discriminated against dumb people and under-achievers for 100 years. That’s their policy. Why not let some others farther down the bell curve in and truly diversify the student body?

  29. JLM

    .I went to VMI in the late sixties, early seventies when the first black cadets entered. My experience was different than what you describe.The first black cadets were, for the most part, quite extraordinary. Great cadets and fabulous careers after graduating. Made it hard to criticize the initiative.You have to understand that Stonewall Jackson taught at VMI and VMI provided a considerable amount of the Southern leadership in the Civil War, so it was very late to the party.Second such experience was when VMI began to admit women. It was a hard fought case and only lost when SC Justice Clarence Thomas had to recuse himself because his son was a cadet.I was on the board of the foundation at the time and it was quite admirable to see what a great job VMI did of assimilating women once the case was lost.The first wave of women were extraordinary — many the daughters of VMI grads.My experiences with affirmative action were quite positive and I remain an advocate of such actions based on that experience.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  30. LE

    instead of earning the position on merit.Not doubting your facts (I have no way of knowing if what you are presenting is true or not) however keep in mind that at any top school there is a much larger pool of people that can compete and do the work that get rejected than the school is ever able to accept. There simply and obviously isn’t enough space.Also assumes that the people accepted aren’t accepted for other reasons. Legacy, son or daughter of important person, person with some unique attributes or special in some way and so on. They are mixed in as well.I tested extremely poorly (SAT’s and high school as well actually) however I managed to get myself accept to Wharton because I was special in other ways. And once I was in I got all A’s and made a few special lists.

  31. Dylan Sojumd

    I’d recommend reading on Affirmative Action in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, USA etc. All covered in ‘Affirmative Action Around the World’ by Thomas Sowell. It is backed by a ton of data, and is very enlightening.

  32. PhilipSugar

    I struggle with this concept like I think you do. I put this at the bottom of the thread. On one hand we both have daughters, and we want to make sure they have the best. You describe yours as “perfect daughter” Not sure what your wife does but its tough, your son looks at what you do and your daughter looks at what your wife does. No different than any other human. If they are under-represented you have to do something to change that, because its hard to change.I was hired at Mitsubishi Corp, where I in fact was the token, I know what it feels like to be under-represented.But then I think about my friends Paul, Alex, and Mike. They were at Dupont. All PhD’s, all super practical, all loved computers. Dupont basically came out with an edict in 1992 that they were going to get more diversity at the management level. Sounds good but the result was their careers were stopped in their tracks.What did they do??? They quit. They started their own process control firm. They hired people just like themselves. Within three years they were at 150 people and making money hand over fist.They’d charge firms like Dupont twice the rate out of spite, and make them use the corporate jet to ferry them in when things had gone wrong and a plant was losing millions of dollars a day because the process engineering had gone wrong and nobody could fix it. They had talent that could not just be “mandated” in. When they left and hired people away it gutted the ability for huge companies like Dupont and Shell to control their processes which are very complex and need to be modeled, controlled, and optimized with computers that are understood and controlled by PhD Chemical Engineers that know process control programming better than most in the world.It had the opposite effect intended. The people that were left didn’t have any mentors that had more knowledge in their right pinky than they had in their entire body. This year Dupont spun off their chemical division as Chemours and is gutting it by selling of pieces and stripping it like an old car.

  33. LE

    What’s funny is that what you are saying is so true in small business at least from what I have found.Perhaps larger companies need to be more proactive in who they hire because of the way they are structured.However anyone who has ever run a traditional small business knows that it’s all about “stayin alive”. Absolutely positively hire the best person for the job that you can find. Because it’s hard enough to even get good people who want to work for your run of the mill shit small business. In no way can you even begin to limit the pool of applicants by race, color, religion and all of that. I guess that’s a hard concept for those who operate in the corporate world to understand.

  34. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Levity ftw .