If you’re in crypto, you’re an Allan

No, you’re not Kens. You’re not even Barbies. You’re very firmly Allans


Midjourney modified by Blockworks


Are you a Barbie or a Ken?

Even if you haven’t seen the Barbie movie yet, there’s absolutely no way you could have missed the Barbie fever that has enveloped the nation in the past few weeks. The news cycle has fed us Barbie (and don’t forget Oppenheimer, too, or Barbenheimer for short) to the extent that wearing a pink dress out in public will put you on the receiving end of many a “Hey, Barbie!”

Probably feeling left out, the crypto news cycle somehow this week got wind of a month-old interview with some of the Barbie movie cast and decided it was time to worm its own way into the Barbie marketing wave.

In the interview, Margot Robbie (who plays Stereotypical Barbie) tosses back her blonde hair in frustration as she tells the interviewer: “When David and Tom [producers] would start talking about Bitcoin, Greta [Gerwig] and I would say, ‘They’re being such Kens!’”

Is this an insult? Is being a Ken a bad thing? Does this mean, God forbid, that stereotypically pretty women like Robbie think that Bitcoin is bad?

I must note that the Barbie movie — as much as I enjoyed watching it, as an adult myself — is a movie for children. Nonetheless, this has not stopped both established and only-real-on-the-internet movie critics from having loud opinions about what Barbie is trying to tell us about feminism, patriarchy, gender, or capitalism — and why this is so good/fantastic/harmful/disastrous for society to watch.

Why shouldn’t crypto jump in too and try to subject Robbie’s innocuous Bitcoin comments to the same level of pseudo-university level analysis?

One of the biggest sticking points in all these grown-up analyses of a children’s movie is what it means to be Ken — because along with Stereotypical Ken played by Ryan Gosling, all other movie Kens are part of a larger pack of smiling, ready-to-please himbos (male bimbos). 

(Until they discover the patriarchy, but please, this isn’t a movie review column, go watch the movie yourself if you want to learn more than my pick-and-choose, flippant analysis of Barbie and Bitcoin.)

In a nutshell, Kens are beautiful, relatively empty-headed boy toys with no real unique personalities of their own, living just to please their Barbie counterparts.

Does this sound like a crypto bro to you? It certainly doesn’t to me. 

Close your eyes and picture a man talking about crypto. Is he wearing glasses? Maybe a nerdy graphic t-shirt? Is he constantly checking crypto prices on his phone? Does he obsessively tweet “gm”? Does he perhaps live in mother’s basement?

I’d like to put on my own pseudo-intellectual hat and offer a critique of Robbie’s classification of the crypto-obsessed as Kens. Because I do believe that Margot Robbie has gotten it all wrong — crypto enthusiasts are most certainly not Kens. They are Allans through and through.

In the Barbie universe, Allan is just Allan. Unlike the many interesting lives and professions of Barbie, and the slightly less interesting lives and professions for Ken, there has only ever been one Allan

In the movie, Allan stands alone, not quite fitting in. He’s dorky in a shy way. His shorts are too short, and not really in line with everyone else’s fashion. He’s trying to be the good guy, but his plans keep getting thwarted.

Sound familiar?

Could a crypto bro be described this way, even down to their desire to change the financial system for the better, if only all of these pesky bad actors, hacks, technological hiccups and regulations stopped getting in the way?

The Allan we meet in this movie (played by Michael Cera) is no villain. He doesn’t try to overthrow the Barbies at all, he gets the most intense fighting scenes, and his tiny, striped shorts are actually kind of cool. If you’re in crypto, you’d probably prefer to be Allan than Ken.

But I would now like to point out that my Ken-alysis cannot be taken too seriously. There are too similarities between Kens and crypto guys — if women have ever experienced a man playing a guitar at them, women have also experienced men explaining Bitcoin at them. I’m also purposefully avoiding trying to draw a line between Allan’s seemingly gay-coded personality and crypto bros, that would just be nonsensical. 

But all of this is nonsensical — both the over-the-top interpretations of the Barbie kids-movie-as-a-feminist-manifesto and the silly interpretations of what it means to be a Ken in the crypto world.

At the end of the day, maybe it’s best if we stopped labeling people as Barbies or Kens or Allans and let everyone choose how they want to see themselves. If a crypto Allan prefers to be seen as a Ken, that should be Kenough for you.

I rest my case. Next week, tune back in to this column for a scathing comparison of Bitcoin mining’s effect on the environment and Oppenheimer’s bomb’s effect on the world.

I don’t care much about tech, I don’t care a whole lot about finance, either. I care about writing stories and watching weird things unfold. And that’s why I’ve ended up in crypto.

But because I’m missing that passion for what crypto and blockchain are all about — finance, tech, privacy, yadda yadda — I’m going to write instead about what I am actually interested in. Everything about crypto that has very little to do with crypto.

That’s what this column will be about. All the tangential stories that come out of the blockchain and crypto space, what I think about them, and how I navigate it all as a skeptical former Russian literature major.

It’s precisely my perch as an outsider that lets me do what I do: Opine on all sides of any crypto issue, no strings attached, no skin in the game.

If you want to talk crypto with me, let’s go off topic.


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