Crypto’s next top model doesn’t exist
It seems like no one working in crypto can decide what on earth you should actually wear to work
Midjourney modified by Blockworks
A few months ago, I came across a fashion spread in New York Magazine. This would normally be nothing unusual except for the fact that it was a crypto fashion spread.
I was horrified, I was intrigued. But ultimately, I was bored.
I didn’t expect a high fashion editorial photoshoot — this was, after all, a “man on the street” lookbook. But all that this snapshot into NYC crypto conference fashion showed was company logo t-shirts, company logo sweatshirts, a few ill-fitted pant suits (on both men and women), and knee-high boots (and not in an ironic way).
Just like no one can really define what it means to work in crypto, it seems like no one working in crypto can define what on earth you should actually wear to work each day.
It doesn’t help that many crypto jobs are remote, and it helps even less that the major crypto conferences keep taking place in Texas where it’s 100 degrees outside and an air-conditioned 50 degrees inside. Finding a professional outfit to suit this weather, especially after working in your pajamas from home for the other 11 months of the year, is not an easy task.
But unfortunately, if you close your eyes right now and imagine the typical crypto employee uniform, you’d probably imagine a t-shirt with a unicorn spitting rainbows. This isn’t because crypto companies are staffed by toddlers, but rather because Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin debuted his own unicorn rainbow llama shirt a few years ago and the trend just…caught on.
Because crypto is incredibly weird, and crypto is also incredibly technical. And to build products in crypto, using blockchain, using AI, using all sorts of cryptographic technology, you have to be pretty darn smart — which usually comes with being pretty darn nerdy.
It follows that a whole generation of people working in crypto would think that a unicorn shirt is the height of fashion, a trend to be copied ad nauseam for years to come.
Then, there are the other sides to the crypto fashion realm. Reformed finance bros who need to be weaned out of wearing a suit, Patagonia vest and backpack everywhere. Marketers who think it’s necessary to wear a blazer over a company t-shirt and the aforementioned knee-high boots to every meeting. Overly eager crypto enthusiasts who dress up as a literal bitcoin (because who can forget the infamously ironic ugly Bitcoin and Ethereum sweaters?)
Plus, even if it’s a bear market now, previous bull markets have given a whole sector of the crypto market “adult money” for the first time — resulting in fashion choices like luxury matching pantsuits emblazoned with logos that just scream “I sold at the top.”
And don’t even get me started on metaverse fashion. It’s not the answer to crypto’s blah fashion taste, because it simply doesn’t work yet. Plus, you can’t wear your new metaverse dress to crypto happy hour, can you?
I’m definitely not saying that crypto needs to be more trendy. It would be pretty nonsensical to argue that crypto people should study up on the latest fashion trends and make sure that each conference outfit is a standout worthy of New York Magazine.
But crypto has been around for more than a decade now, and while the technology has changed and grown exponentially as people experiment with the wildest possible use cases, the fashion has stagnated. We’re out here building products that used to belong only to science fiction, and yet we’re dressing like we work at Walmart.
Go to any crypto conference or meet-up to hear creators and founders talking about quite literally changing the way that people have interacted with finance for decades — and then look down and make eye contact with the unicorn on their t-shirt winking at you.
Crypto is one of the weirdest industries that I’ve ever worked in, and yet people dress in the most boring, predictable ways possible (with the exception of this guy).
It’s no longer original to wear a rainbow unicorn shirt.
If you can invent a new financial system, you can surely think of something new to wear.
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.