The men's-only pipeline for UK prime ministers, royalty and now crypto enthusiasts

The men’s-only pipeline for UK prime ministers, royalty and now crypto enthusiasts

Meet the Old Etonian Blockchain Association: a nearly four-year-old all-male club that emerged from one of the most elite private schools in the UK.

The expensive boarding school, which is over 500 years old, is probably best known for producing a seemingly endless pipeline of future prime ministers and top politicians. He also trained writers such as George Orwell and Aldous Huxley; actors like Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Laurie; and the future King of England. The list continues.

More recently, however, his alumni have turned to creating something less familiar: soulbound tokens.

Sam Chamberlain, chairman of the OEBA and UK managing director of exchange group OKX, is spearheading the effort. He wants the crypto tokens to represent membership in the now 150-strong club that emerged from the shuttered institution.

“We were working on an Eton NFT – the only problem is that it was openly tradable,” Chamberlain said.

Membership tokens for a group of elite men come as men already dominate technology in general, and cryptography in particular. A 2021 CNBC/Acorn survey found that twice as many men as women invest in crypto and, in general, black and Hispanic women have lower investment rates than white women.

Chamberlain hopes the club will have a positive influence with its elite members. The mandate to entertain the club with information about crypto comes with a directive to ensure digital currency has a “real positive impact on society.”

To that end, despite being all-male, the leaders hope to give a platform to women in space. Time in each quarterly meeting is dedicated to showcasing businesses run by people from diverse backgrounds who need support or investment.

“It’s not just a bunch of old white men swapping around,” he said. “We seek to move in a direction where we look outward and not inward.”

Age is a kind of diversity

Despite the slightly homogeneous nature of the UK’s most expensive private education, Chamberlain says the membership is diverse – at least in terms of age – with 18-year-old recent graduates rubbing shoulders with octogenarians in meetings. “High profile” politicians, people who once owned mines (the old-fashioned kind) and reality TV stars are in the mix, Chamberlain said, but declined to comment on specifics.

One can only speculate which bigwigs might be involved; not to mention, of course, the former Prime Minister by Boris Johnson speech touting the possibilities of crypto at a blockchain conference in Singapore, or David Cameron’s appearance at the opening of a bitcoin wallet, as noted by the FT back in 2017.

Future pupils of the £46,200 ($55,800) a year school can also expect to benefit from the expertise within the club as it works to implement an education programme. Year 6 students at Eton – usually aged 16 to 18 – will now have the option of taking a blockchain module as part of their studies, with former students as consultants.

The emergence of the club comes at a time when governments around the world are tightening the screws on crypto regulation. From recent UK CBDC guideline to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s crackdown on exchanges and stablecoinsthe world and its leaders are watching.

Raised eyebrows

Despite his growth, bedding at the club has not been easy for Chamberlain.

“There were a few raised eyebrows at school where people were asking ‘What is this’? People were worried about crime and underground activities,” he said.

Despite this, about four years ago it has come a long way from five guys being led by a lone bitcoin bull that Chamberlain took the reins of. The former club leader now lives off the spoils of his crypto recipes in a monastery somewhere in the south of France, Chamberlain said.

It’s no wonder the halls of power are paying a bit more attention to blockchain: the British elite certainly are.

© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended for use as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice.

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