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There’s no denying that crypto has a dude problem. Men make up more than 91 percent of the bitcoin community, according to Coin Dance (a hub for those interested in bitcoin), putting it on a par with the construction industry. Yet, some of the most influential people in Web3, are women.
Crypto Springs, which got underway Tuesday night in the former Hollywood playground of Palm Springs, California, isn't billed as a “women’s conference”—that’s too 2017. Instead, it’s the agenda, the predominantly female speaker roster and the retro-cool location that its organizers want to do the talking.
More than 70 percent of the Crypto Springs’ roster is female. Meltem Demirors of CoinShares, Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs and Amber Baldet of Clovyr are the conference’s flagship speakers, but a host of others—even including some men—help give the conference its heft.
Guilia Fanti of Carnegie Mellon will be talking about the Dandelion privacy project; Neha Narula of MIT DCI is asking and answering "What's missing? And what do we need to build?" and Chia Network’s Bram Cohen (a man) will look back at the times of yore in his talk, "From CypherPunk to Bitcoin." Then there’s Alakanani Itireleng, founder of the Satoshi Centre, talking about her mission to bring a bitcoin future to Botswana, Connie Yang of Coinbase and Tara Tan of IDEO, who will demonstrate how we can make the decentralized experience better with user-centered design magic.
Crypto Springs, it turns out, is intended to take the blockchain conference business back to its roots. Its founders are consciously avoiding the kind of recent-vintage crypto confabs that focus more on fast money than good ideas. They hope it will connect with the crypto community through an agenda that centers on the big-picture, economics and education.
“We miss the feel of the 2014/15 conferences that were all about building, and less about speculation and launching new ICOs, tokens, partnerships and announcements,” explains Demirors, who co-founded Crypto Springs with Lightning's Stark and Stacy Herbert, CEO of equity fund Heisenberg Capital. “We wanted to get back to that community feel, and capture some of that excitement around experimentation, discovery, and thoughtful discussion.”
Many other industry veterans appear to agree that, with their fly-by-night operations, $3,000 tickets, inflated data, comical initial coin offering pitches and retail investors salivating over the next coin to the moon, blockchain conferences have lost their way. It’s little wonder that Forbes recently asked “Have We Reached 'Peak Blockchain Conference' Yet?
It’s also an idea that seems to have resonated with the Crypto Springs sponsors, who include Blockfolio, Digital Currency Group, CoinShares, Fidelity Labs, BlockTower Capital, SamsungNEXT, Bittrex, Casa, Chia Network, Blockdaemon, and the Zcash Foundation. Their interest suggests that Mmes Demirors, Stark and Herbert have hit upon a winning formula.
Ticket sales are now closed. But watch this space: Though currently lounging in a cabana and sipping a Mai Tai, we are poised to spring into action with coverage of the decentralized, peer-to-peer future of web3, and whatever else we dig up. To bastardize Alexander Pope hope for crypto springs eternal. Sorry for that. Too many Mai Tais.