Crypto Bros Created Influencer Rachel Siegel Butt of the Joke at Miami Bitcoin Conference
Crypto is not known to be the most inclusive space of its kind. But even crypto influencer Rachel Siegel never imagined that a recent industry event would end with a surreptitious photo of her butt going viral on Twitter — and a conference employee pushing the whole thing.
Siegel, 30, is a former substitute teacher who claims to have made millions from crypto by investing small amounts starting in 2017. She now runs a Twitter account with over 194,000 followers under the handle @CryptoFinally, where she tweets about the market, industry news and his own life.
On April 9, Siegel was among 25,000 crypto fanatics at the 2022 Bitcoin Convention, a four-day extravaganza for fans of the original cryptocurrency. Siegel told The Daily Beast she was queuing for the mechanical bull — one of the conference’s many sponsored entertainments — when another conference attendee struck up a friendly conversation. Siegel said she didn’t think about it at the time and was having fun the rest of the day.
When she got home and clicked on Twitter, however, she was greeted with a photo of her own rear end. The man at the conference had apparently taken a picture of her when she wasn’t looking and posted it on Twitter with one word: “lol.”
The man had posted the photo as a retweet of one of Siegel’s photos: a selfie she had put up earlier that day. Her photo was decidedly less flattering – a close-up of her back taken from behind, her behind looking noticeably less voluptuous. The tweet was obviously meant to point out the difference.
Commenters quickly jumped into replies to mock Siegel. (“How do we serve them pancakes?” wrote one.) Others made memes from the image. By the time she saw it, Siegel said, the photo had been shared by several high profile crypto accounts.
For Siegel and others, the incident was just another example of the harassment some women face in the crypto sphere. Just like in traditional finance, women vastly outnumber the crypto space, accounting for less than 5% of top crypto entrepreneurs and just 15% of all bitcoin traders. This imbalance, according to many women, leads to a boys’ club atmosphere that is uncomfortable and sometimes threatening.
Women have previously reported non-consensual touching, inappropriate questions and unsolicited appearances at industry events. In one infamous example, an after-party for the 2018 North American Bitcoin Conference was held at a strip club in Miami. “We’re a bunch of big money guys in our twenties,” one participant told Bloomberg. “We love naked girls.”
As a crypto influencer, Siegel was familiar with online harassment. But the photo was the result of a real-world encounter at a conference who claimed she was “dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for all attendees.” She tweeted about the incident, calling the man’s behavior and subsequent engagement with her post “fucking disgusting”, and sent a direct message to conference organizers asking what was their harassment policy. (At the time, she believed the photographer had won the bull contest and asked if he would still receive the prize: one bitcoin, or about $40,000. Conference organizers later confirmed that he n didn’t win.)
Hours passed with no response, until one of Siegel’s supporters offered to start a chain mail with her and some of the conference organizers. Organizers responded quickly to that thread, according to screenshots Siegel provided to The Daily Beast, and appeared to be trying to track down the budding paparazzo. Siegel said she felt like they were making progress.
The next day, Siegel received a response to a direct message she had sent to the official Bitcoin Conference Twitter account, from an employee who identified himself by his personal Twitter handle. Siegel searched Twitter for the handle and found a user who identified himself as a conference employee. He had tagged both the conference and its sponsor, Bitcoin Magazine, in his bio.
He had also, Siegel saw, “liked” a number of tweets mocking her and the surreptitious butt shot. She was amazed.
“Oh, you made a mistake,” she wrote on the conference’s official account, attaching screenshots of tweets the employee liked. “Totally unacceptable behavior on the part of the conference organizers. Please identify yourself.
The official account responded using the laughing emoji reaction to his posts.
“Crypto ma’am,” the employee replied. “My personal account has nothing to do with this account. Do not hesitate to express your concerts[sic] to our support team.
The Daily Beast attempted to contact the conference through multiple channels, including calling the company’s events director at the number listed on his email signature. When this reporter identified herself, the man who answered said it was the wrong number and hung up abruptly. The conference’s public relations officer also did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment.
The photo incident continued to spiral in the days that followed. Siegel responded to the thread with conference organizers, alerting them to the posts from the Twitter account. Around the same time, the employee removed the official conference tags from his Twitter bio, leading some online to speculate that Siegel had him fired. More than one person called her “Karen”.
Meanwhile, crypto enthusiasts were hotly debating whether to post a secret photo of someone’s backside. really constituted sexual harassment, and whether Siegel could honestly cry foul, given that she had already posted selfies of her own ass.
“Anyone who posts pictures of themselves on the internet deserves all the criticism they get,” one user wrote. “Still milking this?” another scoffed.
“My mother, my sisters, my aunts, my wife, my daughters all attend the conference and the moment any of them feel uncomfortable, I will kill a motherfucker.”
— Bitcoin Conference CEO David Bailey
Conference CEO David Bailey eventually spoke out with a Twitter thread, writing that he despised “woke bullshit” but wanted to build a “dope community” where people “don’t get harassed for bullshit they can’t change.”
“Someone on our team engaged with a dumb tweet from our official account. Extremely immature and I’m pissed about it,” he wrote. mistakes and I don’t fire them for that.”
Bailey, 31, also urged anyone harassing women at the conference to “stop being a fucking loser”, adding: “Bitcoin is for women [sic] also.”
“My mother, my sisters, my aunts, my wife, my daughters are all attending the conference and as soon as any of them feel uncomfortable, I will kill a motherfucker,” he wrote. .
Siegel was unimpressed. “The CEO’s official response to the conference admin harassing me is ‘everyone makes mistakes’ and I should have had a man at the conference ‘kill a mf’ for me,” he said. she tweeted.
Emails between Siegel and the conference organizers grew increasingly strained, with Siegel’s attorney saying he had hired a litigation attorney and demanding to be put in touch with BTC Media’s attorneys. . The company’s personnel manager, Nick Beaird, responded by saying he didn’t see a legal problem.
Beaird also informed Siegel that he had been unable to identify the photographer and would not be able to release his identity even if he had. As for the employee who liked the mocking tweets, he said the company will “investigate the entire situation” and “take action…consistent with our policies and practices.” He did not specify what those policies and practices were.
In his final email to the company, to which Beaird did not respond, Siegel wrote, “Your behavior and that of everyone involved has been despicable. If you can take a moment to step out of the power game you’re playing right now and look at the situation, maybe you can realize how appalling and honestly traumatic this has been for me.
Throughout the case, Siegel said, she heard from other women with similar experiences at crypto events. Kelsey Cole, co-founder and cryptocurrency investor, responded to one of Siegel’s tweets saying she had received rape threats, death threats and bomb threats since entering the industry. Another woman, Amanda Goetz, tweeted that she had recently heard from several women in the Bitcoin space talking about sexual assault. “I don’t go to crypto events anymore for this reason (unless they’re hosted by women),” she tweeted.
Siegel said she was nervous about speaking to the media about the incident for fear it would further alienate her in the industry. But the messages she received from other women also convinced her that it was necessary to speak out.
“The internet zeitgeist is that it’s just me, but it’s also these dozens of women who are too scared to come forward because of what happened to me,” he said. she declared.
She added, “I don’t think it’s a story that lives and dies on my ass.”