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What to do if your date brings up Bitcoin: A guide for ladies

If your date mentions Bitcoin, puff up your shoulders to appear larger and more threatening.

By David Futrelle

A couple of days ago, ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman tweeted out some advice on a hitherto unacknowledged peril of dating for (at least mostly) straight women in our digital age: when the seemingly normal dude you’re having coffee with suddenly, and for seemingly no reason, brings up Bitcoin.

While there were many Tweeters who seconded this advice, some of them mentioning their own Bitcoin date nightmares, not everyone who replied to Huseman agreed with what seems to me to be her eminently sensible dating advice.

“Is [the] goal to screen out passionate men working on one of the most important technologies of the next generation,” asked one fellow.

Er, yes?

#Bitcoin bros deserve better, and by the time she realises this he’ll be unattainable for her,” warned another.

There were even some women standing up for the Bitbros — one of them going so far as to write an entire article about it for Bitcoinist, a website that seems to be devoted to constantly mentioning Bitcoin in any and all circumstances.

Christina Comben, whose articles for the site generally sport headlines like “TOP 5 CHEAPEST COUNTRIES TO MINE BITCOIN” and “3 REASONS WHY BITFINEX LEO TOKEN HAS FLOPPED” decided she needed to reassure the men in her audience that some ladies actually like cryptocurrency and the bros who talk about it on first dates.

After acknowledging that the Bitcoin community is pretty much a sausagefest — with only 5% of those in the business being female, according to one source — she plaintively assured the fellas that “NOT ALL WOMEN DISLIKE BITCOIN.”

“Don’t worry guys,” she wrote,

if bitcoin is your thing, it isn’t completely game over. Some women actually said they quite like it.

Her evidence? A handful of crypto-gals replying to Huseman on Twitter.

Comben then delved into the enigma that is Jessica Huseman: Woman Who Doesn’t Care to Hear About Bitcoin. “[A]lthough she seems to hate Bitcoin,” Combed wrote, seemingly baffled by Huseman’s existence, “she appears to be an extremely intelligent lady.”

Huseman, for her part, was considerably more delighted by Comban’s article than she is by cryptodudes on dates.

She now quotes the bit about being “an extremely intelligent lady” in her Twitter bio.

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Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

I’ve never been on a date with any bitcoin fans, but thanks for the warning. Is this a common date issue nowadays?

Alexis Filth
10 months ago

I’ve gotta say, I’ll give a bitcoin bro a second date if they bring it up as just one part of conversation. If it’s the only thing they talk about, yeah, probably a deal breaker, but if they’re a nerdy enthusiast and that’s one of the things they’re enthusiastic about? That’s fine.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
10 months ago

Jeebus. It’s probably bad enough that these guys will have entire political treatises on how to split a bill on a date without them then yanking out a computer and saying “Hang on; just a couple of hours of mining should do it!

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

It’s a no win situation. If women did go after Bitcoin bros, I can guarantee that instead these men would be complaining about hypergamy.

I still have no sympathy for bitcoincels. If you can’t talk about something other than bitcoin, you aren’t worth my time. Also, it’s a big red flag that they’re into other libertarian BS.

@Alexis Filth
I feel similar, in that I’m not sure it’s an instant dealbreaker. Though if it’s the main thing they’re interested in, I’d see it as a red flag for incompatibility, same as I would if they were into guns or any other libertarian favorite.

Robert Haynie
Robert Haynie
10 months ago

Okay. here’s a thing in which, I dare say, we have complete equality between the sexes.

Because were I on a first date with a hopefully compatible lady, and she decided that the proper way to establish the tone of the date was to start lauding BitCoin (or, to be fair, any pseudocurrency), I’d tend to think twice about asking for, or accepting another one myself. Not quite date discussion material to my mind any more than to Ms Huseman’s.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
10 months ago

When I was in high school it was the importance of returning to the gold standard. Some things never change.

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
10 months ago

If they casually mentioned it, I wouldn’t be alarmed. But if it’s an obsession, then yeah that’s a red flag. The only people who have mentioned bitcoin in my circle are my women friends who love to make investments. I’m too conservative to bite since crypto currencies strike me as shaky.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Hippodameia

When I was in high school it was the importance of returning to the gold standard.

I’ve heard that one a few times. Ironically, it’s the same kinds of people who want both cryptocurrencies and gold standard. You can’t have both, people!

There is nowhere near enough gold on the world to return the world economy to the gold standard, so I don’t even think it would be possible to return.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I’d say that a bitcoin bro is less undateable than an Ayn Rand fanboy, but there’s probably quite a lot of overlap there.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
10 months ago

Yeesh, this reminds me of trying to dodge a blockchain in distributed systems projected this term. Social nightmare to an introvert like me, and I ended up taking a “knowledgeable-person” reputation hit that I didn’t deserve (as if I would think Ad Hoc Networks was either a top tier conference or focused on distributed systems! Humph!). But I successfully dodged the blockchain projected. Blockchain is my kryptonite.

It’s just as important a rule for academic projects as dating: never get involved with the blockchain people.

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

I’d say that a bitcoin bro is less undateable than an Ayn Rand fanboy, but there’s probably quite a lot of overlap there.

“Overlap” is also my understanding. Fortunately, however, I don’t actually know any bitcoin bros and my exposure to Randians was limited to very passing experiences with a couple people in law school. (No law school is very big, so you can’t entirely escape them, but we didn’t have common interests so I spent hardly any time with them).

Moggie
Moggie
10 months ago

Beware, there are lots of sealions in the cryptocurrency/blockchain community.

Bina
10 months ago

Bitcoin is Shitcoin, and bitbros are shitbros. I’d as soon date a Scientologist or a Moonie as one of them.

And for about the same reasons, too.

Definitely not Steve
Definitely not Steve
10 months ago

I think the only contexts in which I’ve ever heard of bitcoin are:

1) as the punchline to a joke, or

2) as the reason video card prices spiked to ridiculous levels for a while.

And I think those might the only safe reasons to bring up bitcoin on a date.

(The fact that mining bitcoin incentivizes otherwise useless expenditure on electronics hardware means it isn’t an environmentally safe currency, and honestly that’s my biggest problem with it. Other than that… let libertarians libertariate, I guess.)

David Gerard
10 months ago

> I still have no sympathy for bitcoincels.

fincels

James Hutchings
10 months ago

It seems to me that all Huseman was saying was that no one likes the sort of person who wants to talk and not listen, and she’s noticed that that trait is correlated with enthusiasm for bitcoin.

The response “She hates bitcoin–yet she doesn’t seem dumb! How can this be?” does seem like the response that someone who doesn’t want to listen would make.

Moggie
Moggie
10 months ago

@Definitely not Steve:

(The fact that mining bitcoin incentivizes otherwise useless expenditure on electronics hardware means it isn’t an environmentally safe currency, and honestly that’s my biggest problem with it. Other than that… let libertarians libertariate, I guess.)

Steve, that’s not the biggest environmental problem with bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is literally designed to waste energy as “proof of work”, and, globally, the total energy consumption of bitcoin mining is comparable to the energy consumption of a mid-sized country.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
10 months ago

“#Bitcoin bros deserve better, and by the time she realises this he’ll be unattainable for her,” warned another.

Thanks for weighing in. I’ll try harder to think of Bitcoin bros as attractive.

Amtep
Amtep
10 months ago

I would guess that the overlap between people who talk about bitcoin on the first date and the people “working on” bitcoin is actually very small. As a rule of thumb, the noisemakers are not the ones that do the work.

yzek
yzek
10 months ago

As a guy who would casually mention stuff even more obscure than blockchain/bitcoin, I’m really not surprised. Jessica Huseman and Alyssa Bereznak[*] could probably be BFF’s

[*] https://gizmodo.com/my-brief-okcupid-affair-with-a-world-champion-magic-th-5833787

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

Well, at least I can be pretty sure that none of us are going on dates with the last bitcoin bro we looked at. I am talking, of course, about the fellow calling himself Lord Tulips de Medici.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
10 months ago

I can understand why someone would be interested in bitcoin/blockchain. I cannot understand why they think anyone else would want to hear about it.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

As a guy who would casually mention stuff even more obscure than blockchain/bitcoin, I’m really not surprised. Jessica Huseman and Alyssa Bereznak[*] could probably be BFF’s

If the way you act on a date is comparable to the way you act here, the issue is you being tedious and sexist, not your dates being too shallow to appreciate whatever obscure thing you like to bring up.

numerobis
numerobis
10 months ago

Blockchain is fascinating math, and studying how it works and what it can do is quite valuable.

Currencies based on blockchain solve the problem of what if you can’t trust *any* central authority anywhere.

If that becomes an issue to a substantial number of people, the question arises: who’s running the global network and the power grid anymore?

Zimbabwe is a good example what to do if your own currency collapses: you just use someone else’s. It needs to be a much bigger collapse before you stop trusting any governments or large institutions at all.

yzek
yzek
10 months ago

> not your dates being too shallow to appreciate whatever obscure thing you like to bring up

It’s hard to verify: too many obscure stuff, too little dates. I haven’t even tested Toxic Avenger movies as a talk subject on a date… bummer.

TruthBot
TruthBot
10 months ago

The other problem is that “Bitcoin Bros” are usually racist Nazi Trumphumpers.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

If I was on a date and they brought up bitcoin/blockchain, I’d probably treat it the same way I would if they brought up an MLM. Both are basically pyramid schemes, just aimed at different target audiences.
Then again, since I mostly date women, it seems unlikely that I’d date a bitcoin fan, since most bitcoin fans are men.

Cygnia
10 months ago

Flashbacks of toxic brother-in-law #3’s current obsession. He keeps shilling bitcoin to my husband.

Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
10 months ago

From everything I’ve heard about bitcoin – am I right in thinking it’s sort of like those unregulated “wildcat” banks in the 19th-century, except they don’t even print their own money, they make their customers do the work?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
10 months ago

@ moon custafer

It’s basically fiat currency that requires a global telecommunications infrastructure and people willing to do all the transactional work on a volunteer basis to function; but isn’t backed by the ability to raise taxes.

Difficult to see how it can go wrong really.

Moggie
Moggie
10 months ago

@moregeekthan:

I can understand why someone would be interested in bitcoin/blockchain. I cannot understand why they think anyone else would want to hear about it.

That’s kind of a weird position to take, I think. I mean, the first time I heard the question which blockchain is designed to answer (“how can you have a trustworthy distributed ledger in a decentralised trustless network?”), I was interested to learn the answer, from a computer science viewpoint! If your date spends ten minutes drawing Merkle trees on the back of a napkin, and talking about consensus algorithms, that’s not necessarily a problem, if you’re geeky in the same way. The problems are likely to be in the baggage which tends to come with someone being evangelical about this stuff: the ancap ideology, and the fact that the cryptocurrency world is full of scammers.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Moggie

The problems are likely to be in the baggage which tends to come with someone being evangelical about this stuff: the ancap ideology, and the fact that the cryptocurrency world is full of scammers.

And semen retention, and hateful conspiracy theories, and misogyny…

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

Oh great yutz is back. Something I didn’t need right now

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

Never have I been so glad to not be dating anymore. Everyday I find another perk to being in love and married. No accidental dates with bitcoin bros

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
10 months ago

To paraphrase Ultron: “The biggest advance in distributed computing in decades, and they use it to make a coin.”

The real value of blockchain is in making a more robust web, and one that isn’t vulnerable to politically motivated censorship as well as a fair fraction of the current malware vectors. (Think: no more Great Firewall of China.)

Consider how you reach this site. Not only does your machine need to be up and have a route to backbone, so does the WHTM server. And if something goes wrong with the latter you can’t fix it, leaving you stuck.

If this was just some static site with some text and images, say, it could be bundled up as a zipped folder with an html file, images, css and js files, and distributed by BitTorrent. Then it would be available as long as your machine was working and connected, with no other dependency. And China/whoever’s repressive government could not censor it, short of blocking BitTorrent entirely. No central point to apply pressure (particular company, hosting, DNS, etc.) and no specific domain or IP to spoof/block either.

But WHTM is interactive. It has commenting, it gets frequent updates, and so on. This requires more than just a static HTML page with static assets; it needs a backing database. How can you make a site like WHTM distributed, censor-proof, and still interactive? That would be where blockchain would be useful, as it can maintain a distributed ledger not of currency transactions but of database transactions. It could still be made impossible for random trolls to take over and impersonate David, etc., but it would no longer be susceptible to problems at wherever WHTM is hosted, or hypothetical censorship by future Trump-like figures who go further in attacking freedom of the press and women’s and LGBT rights.

The ancaps are completely missing the point. Blockchain can equally be used to circumvent the dangerous concentrations of private power, particularly the big tech monopolies. Think Facebook without the corporation, Uber without the corporation, etc., and therefore Facebook without the advertising or privacy or election-meddling scandals, Uber and Amazon without some suits and ties skimming 70% off the top while not really doing anything, and so forth.

In short, it might be used in the future to bring about a socialist revolution of sorts. That subset of the means of production that consists of giant web platforms would be owned by the people, instead of a tiny set of some of the richest people even among the rest of the überrich.

Moreover, a web built on decentralized hosting is a web where what identifies the thing you’re downloading is a file hash (for static things) or a cryptographically secure token of some sort. Not only is that instant HTTPS-for-everything, it eliminates a wide variety of watering-hole and man-in-the-middle attacks. Right now this site isn’t even using HTTPS. In theory anyone can MITM the traffic and, say, inject a 1×1 iframe pointing to an exploit kit when someone requests the HTML, either by manipulating network traffic or by DNS spoofing. Add HTTPS and the bar is raised a little: David can still do it (but won’t), but also whoever is running the hosting company can, and so can anyone else if they can hack the hosting company’s network. The “whoever is running the hosting company can” is a potentially large risk, since if that company becomes desperate for money it might be tempted to resort to underhanded methods to get more. It’s also still vulnerable to some forms of DNS spoofing, especially if the site’s own registrar decides to be evil. A hypothetical blockchain-hosted version would be immune to all of these: as long as David himself didn’t become evil, and random non-super users couldn’t embed scripts or Java/Flash in a new comment, the site would be 100% safe from ever being hacked and injected with malware.

Its hosting costs would also go to nearly zero (what portion goes to line the pockets of corporate suits would go to precisely zero) and the remainder would be borne in distributed fashion by its combined lurkers and users and their various internet providers. No more pledge drives, and no need for ads (and the associated malware risks) either.

Of course, a blockchain-based “web 4.0” would kill off a lot of very rich businesses, including the entire online advertising industry (bye-bye Google, among others) and the accompanying tracking and privacy invasion industry. Which is probably why it’s so slow happening. Between the rich people who’d become slightly less rich, and the three-letter agencies who find those huge concentrations of tracking data very useful in combination with the third-party doctrine, there’s a lot of powerful forces invested in maintaining the non-distributed status quo.

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

@surplus

Just out of curiosity and concern, how are you doing? Are things going better for you?

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
10 months ago

Things are … okay I guess. Still no easy way for me to meet people in meatspace. I don’t suppose there ever will be, absent a big jump in my income.

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

@surplus

…..do you like pokemon? Pokemon go is a free game that helps you to exercise and I’ve met so many strangers by playing the game. Plus it gives you an activity to do and talk about when you meet them. A lot of people still play it and the game has a lot of things to do in it. If you get it I can give you my code and we can become friends in it!

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
10 months ago

I’m not sure my phone is powerful enough for that one’s system requirements.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Surplus
Which phone do you have?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
10 months ago

It’s not the obscurity/nerdiness of bitcoin that’s the problem. It’s the Venn diagram overlap with speculation, scams, and conspiracy thinking.

Bitcoin is unregulated, so it’s a ripe target for hackers, scammers, grifters, and thieves (MtGox, anyone?). It’s entirely virtual, and dependent on a working electrical grid and internet. If there’s some sort of widespread apocalypse, bitcoin will likely be inaccessible and useless.

It’s also impractical as a currency. Transactions can take several hours to complete, so you can’t use it to buy a cup of coffee unless the vendor is willing to assume some risk (and isn’t the “trustless” feature of the network supposed to solve that?). It rewards people who sit on their bitcoins rather than spending them. It’s not so mich a currency as an investment asset (and a bad one at that, considering its volatility).

It’s not for nothing they call bitcoin Dunning-Krugerrands.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

It’s not for nothing they call bitcoin Dunning-Krugerrands.

I haven’t heard that one before, but that’s a fantastic way of putting it.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
10 months ago

@ Moggie

Good point. I should have added “while on a date with someone who doesn’t share your niche.” I am lucky enough to be coupled up, so it has been a while since I have been on a date with anyone who is geeky in the same way I am, so I was momemtarily forgeting that is a thing that can happen.

And I get the feeling the guys randomly bringing up bicoin on a date are more likely to be talking about it as an investment opportunity. But I don’t date guys, so this is only a guess.

yzek
yzek
10 months ago

@Surplus

I haven’t seen so much enthusiasm about a technology bringing a change to society since cypherpunk movement. Respect.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
10 months ago

Bitcoin mining is literally designed to waste energy as “proof of work”, and, globally, the total energy consumption of bitcoin mining is comparable to the energy consumption of a mid-sized country.

What if bitcoin, but instead of mining you’d have to hunt them like Pokémon?

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

@ surplus

Well just think about it and maybe see if it is. Its a fun activity. Good free way to meet people. Just an idea. You don’t have to if you don’t want to

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

@surplus

I just know how much is sucks to feel isolated and lonely and how much being broke sucks. I have an android and while it can be glitchy it works pretty well for pokemon go. And it had helped me make friends. Also gives me a little reward if I beat my record for jogging. I’m not sure how old you are and it might seem childish to you but a lot of people of all ages play it. I swear it’s not just college students and kids

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
10 months ago

Phone is a Moto G with I think 2GB RAM and 10 of flash “disk” space, of which about 3 are free. It’s somewhat unstable — very often I have apps crash while the phone’s left unattended, which seems to become more likely if it’s left on its charging cable, for some reason. When this happens I’ll come back to it and instead of the app I’d had open being as I’d left it, that app comes up blank and black and spontaneously restarts, or I’m simply back at the desktop like someone had woken the phone and then exited it while I wasn’t there. Crashes while it’s in use are, oddly, rarer than crashes on wake/sleep, which makes me think the problem is the OS and/or hardware and related to the wake/sleep mechanism. If it’s a RAM issue (either due to quantity or quality) it’s not a good sign for a game that is claimed to need “at least” 2GB …

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
10 months ago

And it looks like mentioning the names of phone models and manufacturers triggers a spam filter and gets you held for moderation. Lovely.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
10 months ago

I recommend Laurie Penny’s article on attending a bitcoin cruise. She fully admits to playing the wide-eyed ingénue in order to get these guys to spill… having a woman actually volunteer to have bitcoin ‘splained at her is about equivalent to emptying a bucket of chum into a tank of hungry sharks in crypto circles.

Since David Gerard is too polite to plug his book upthread I’ll do it for him 😉.

TL;DR: the whole premise of bitcoin is based on the cracked funhouse-mirror economics of the Austrian school, and its “decentralisation” was bought at the price of extreme energy inefficiency: a few years ago, the bitcoin network was burning through the same amount of energy annually as Ireland; I believe now it’s more like Denmark or Switzerland. All to support a network that maxes out at about 7 transactions/second! I put “decentralisation” in quotes because it’s not very decentralised anymore: the algorithm that generates (“mines”) new bitcoins ratchets up in difficulty every so often to keep up with hardware improvements, but it’s long past the point at which average home user can mine them. The mining is now controlled by big “mining pools” using custom hardware. Of course these pools can be trusted to keep the libertarian ethos of bitcoin alive and well 🙄 and would be shocked, shocked at the insinuation that they might use their power to double-spend coins or other shenanigans 🙄🙄

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