- Spike Lee’s new advert for a Bitcoin company talks about inclusivity and diversity, but this is a hypocritical stance
- The Bitcoin and wider crypto world is still massively dominated by white men in their 30s
- Hopefully the advert can encourage minority groups to try crypto
There was much excitement over the news that veteran filmmaker Spike Lee was making a Bitcoin advert, but the end result is laced with hypocrisy over its diversity claims. The advert, which is actually for ATM provider Coin Cloud, is big on financial inequality, diversity, and inclusivity, but this belies the fact that the very industry behind the advert is overwhelmingly white and male, and has been since its inception.
NEW: First look at Spike Lee’s Bitcoin commercial
“Old money is not going to pick us up – it pushes us down, exploits, and systematically oppresses. The digital rebellion is here. Old money is OUT, new money is IN.” pic.twitter.com/eD1nCenXBX
— Yano (@JasonYanowitz) July 14, 2021
Crypto is Still White and Male
The very nature of Bitcoin has made it hard to accurately report the demographic of its user base over the years, but recently, thanks to greater information gathering from Bitcoin companies and regulators, we are getting a clearer picture of the type of people who are buying, using, and discussing Bitcoin; white men. As far back as 2018, Bitcoin statistics gatherer Coin Dance (through Google analytics) was reporting that men made up 91% of the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency community. This figure currently stands at 85.77%, so progress of a sort.
In the same year, Bitcoin was referred to by one website as a ‘young white male club’, which isn’t a surprise when you think of its founders – the cypherpunk movement of the 1990s right through to the group who helped create and develop Bitcoin was dominated by white males around 30 years old. This echoes a long standing issue within the technology sector as a whole.
The latest data on the subject, published in April this year from crypto exchange Gemini, states that 74% of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors are male and 71% are white. As we can see, while the balance is being redressed a little, white men still dominate the space.
This knowledge makes Lee’s Coin Cloud advert more than a touch hypocritical, especially when he, as narrator, says that “Old money, as rich as it looks, is flat out broke. They call it green, but it’s only white.”
Bitcoin Ad Could Encourage Diversity
The ad also features actor and activist Kendrick Sampson, Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant Shangela, musician and singer Teyana Talyor, and Pose star MJ Rodriquez. This is all well and good and paints a picture of Bitcoin and crypto being in touch with the modern, diverse world, but it ignores the fact that the faces pictured in the advert are still in the minority in the very industry the advert is promoting.
Hopefully the advert will work as an invitation to minority groups to try cryptocurrency and help redress the balance that has led, at times, to a toxic ecosystem.