Michaela Juric is an Australian female Bitcoin enthusiast who most people know better as the “Bitcoin Babe.” She uses her beauty through photography to spread awareness about cryptocurrency. She has also been a Bitcoin trader since July 2014.
Cointelegraph spoke to Bitcoin Babe about her achievements, dreams and her views on women in the Bitcoin community.
Cointelegraph: Where does your story with Bitcoin begin?
Bitcoin Babe: I first heard about Bitcoin when a report came up on a mainstream news program here in Australia, talking about the Silk Road. I've always been a savvy technology girl ever since I was a kid, so I was curious as to how I missed a whole new world going on on the internet. I started doing some reading and research, and sure enough that is where I found Bitcoin. I became more fascinated with the concept of digital currency and so I bought my first four bitcoins for $50 each back in July 2013.
“It's all fine and well to call yourself the Bitcoin Babe, but anyone could hold that title. […] I could be a greased up fat man in his parents’ basement just pretending to be a girl.”
CT: How did you come up with the name Bitcoin Babe and why?
BB: I was checking out the competition and noticed the Australian trading market was very well established, so I really needed something to set me apart from the others, made me stand out, and of course made Bitcoin users want to utilize my services instead of their regular trader. So what better way to check all those boxes than to use "Bitcoin Babe". As for the name itself, “Bitcoin Babe” just has a good ring to it. Alliteration is catchy.
CT: When did it occur to you that you want Bitcoin Babe to be a brand and how has the journey been so far?
BB: I started trading as "Bitcoin Babe" in July 2014. However, it wasn't until September that I really started to step it up with brand awareness. It's all fine and well to call yourself the Bitcoin Babe, but anyone could hold that title. As a customer pointed out to me, I could be a greased up fat man in his parents’ basement just pretending to be a girl.
I don’t know about anyone else, but being accused of being a “greased up fat man” is a very confronting situation to be in. I had to check in the mirror a few times to make sure that I wasn’t. So in August, I took that accusation to my photographer/friend and told him to “make me Bitcoin Babe."
From that point, not only was a brand born, but it rippled throughout my business; it’s almost like a different persona. It’s a bubbly fun loving attitude with a cheeky demeanor and a “BB xoxo” at the end.
“[B]y being Bitcoin Babe, I am […] taking the cliché of what these people say, owning it and making it my own, and then throwing it back in their faces.”
CT: Many have said that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space, in general, is male dominated. What do you say to this narrative?
BB: A woman asks a man to get the butter out of the fridge. He opens the fridge door and has a look, yet cannot find the butter. He closes the door and tells the woman they have no butter left. The woman then goes to the fridge, opens the door, slides the carton of milk on the shelf to the left, and there sits the butter.
Moral of the story, Men just aren't generally aware of what is around because they can't be bothered to look. They take everything for face value. It has been widespread amongst internet culture in general, that if a woman comes into a chat room and announces herself as such, she would be deemed an "attention seeker" or told to provide naked photos or leave. Why should a female be subject to such brutish behavior? There are far more females in the community than what men are led to believe. They just choose not to expose themselves as such in order to be taken seriously in the community.
Obviously, by being Bitcoin Babe, I am really playing into that behavior so that it some could see it as "trolling" of sorts. Taking the cliché of what these people say, owning it and making it my own, and then throwing it back in their faces.
CT: Is it correct to say you are on a mission to give Bitcoin not only the female but also a sexy touch?
BB: Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, it's all about that "Bitcoin Babe" persona that is used to separate me from my competitors. And if my return customer rate is anything to go by, I would say it is working well!
CT: You are also a professional trader. What has your experience been in that?
BB: It's funny that it surprises people to know that I'm not just a pretty face! My expertise is more in the focus of arbitrage trading – which, of course, is a needed skill when it comes to trading on LocalBitcoins. I was even lucky enough to do a 2-month internship in America with Bitcoin ATM Company, CoinOutlet, which was an amazing experience. The CEO, Eric Grill, has been wonderful in taking me under his wing. He has been my mentor of sorts and has really helped me open my eyes to a lot of things.
“There is an extreme double standard when it comes to bitcoin here in Australia.”
CT: Taking the current regulation and anticipated changes, do you think Australia will be that country where cryptocurrency enterprises will feel at home?
BB: It's hard to say. There is an extreme double standard when it comes to bitcoin here in Australia. I read a lot of articles talking about how the banks are working to embrace cryptocurrency technologies, and yet as a bitcoin trader, who is trying to run a legitimate business, a lot of us struggle to keep a bank account open as we face being bullied, turned away and treated unfairly because of what we do by these banks.
We also have our unruly tax laws that tell us 10% of every sale made must go back to the government as part of the GST. The ruling was made in October, and was supposed to be reviewed (and potentially overturned) back in March. However things have been pushed out so far it’s hard to say what is going on at all. This has forced a lot of Australian based Bitcoin Businesses to either relocate overseas or shut their doors.
A local business struggles to compete with overseas based business especially when the local one has to work with 10% extra in their margin. There has been a lot of talk about "Support" for bitcoin here in Australia, but it would be great if someone could step up and actually start to show it.
CT: Would you say Bitcoin and cryptocurrency need more beautiful faces like yours to give it a balanced gender image?
BB: Haha! There are already a lot of beautiful faces like mine out there. They just need to stand up, speak out and show it. Get involved, and own who you are.
“A lot of people don't associate Bitcoin with ‘hot girl’ so it certainly swirls up a fair amount of curiosity.”
CT: You are a photo model and often have Bitcoin themed photos of you taken. How do you think this has helped in spreading the word about Bitcoin?
BB: I can say it certainly made people take notice. I get messages often from people who see the photos on social media and want to know more about bitcoin. A lot of people don't associate Bitcoin with "hot girl" so it certainly swirls up a fair amount of curiosity. I should clarify that’s curiosity about bitcoin, not sexuality!
CT: What do you prefer comes first in the minds of the members of the Bitcoin community when they hear the name "Bitcoin Babe"?
BB: Well I would like to hope it’s nice things! Bitcoin Babe is always going to be one of those things that push the barriers of social acceptance within the Bitcoin community. Some people will love what I do and find it sexy, smart and attractive. Others will find it derogatory, demeaning and dangerous.
Regardless of people's views on me and my business image, what I’m doing has certainly been a good ice breaker for the discussion of “women in bitcoin” and I’m glad I could have provided that.