When she’s not assisting blockchain companies with their public relations needs, Transform Group Executive Vice President Margaux Avedisian is performing her cryptocurrency-themed standup comedy at industry conferences. We recently spoke to the New York–based Avedisian, aka the Queen of Bitcoin, about the inherent humor of the cryptocurrency scene and when it’s appropriate to make prison jokes.
What’s so funny about cryptocurrency?
There are a lot of funny things in this industry. There are no real rules, and people are so audacious. I’ve seen instances where I was like, “Are you serious? This is not how you run a company.” I never was the voice of reason—I was one of the “Hey, let’s do this crazy idea!” people—and now all of a sudden I’m kicking people under the table to not tell the investor Andreessen Horowitz something that he just specifically said he was worried about. Or, like, “Stop chewing chocolate while you’re talking to this person who could potentially give us $50,000. Swallow before you talk to him!”
You’re known as the Queen of Bitcoin. How does it feel to be royalty?
The name is just like this fun thing that the press started in 2013. I don’t have that much bitcoin. So please don’t kidnap me. It’s gotten to the point where now I don’t want to say I’m scared, but my phone’s been hacked. I’ve seen a lot more people with security traveling with them because, you know, when Forbes writes that you’re worth a billion dollars and your money’s not in a bank—it’s on a USB stick or wherever—it’s a lot easier to access. But I don’t have access to any of my crypto. So don’t kidnap me.
If you’re the Queen of Bitcoin, who would you say is the king?
I’m a sole ruler. There doesn’t have to be a king. I mean, there doesn’t have to be anything. There’s no traditional norms here, which is very apparent by what everyone wears to conferences—they’re dressed like they’re going to Burning Man every day.
Are there any jokes that are off limits?
I’m not going to call out someone who I know has lost $20 million and make fun of them. That’s pretty mean. So yeah, I wouldn’t do that.
What bit gets the biggest laugh in your act?
The first show I did, I opened it by saying, “I’m very honored to be here right now telling jokes. Because I know for some of you, this may be the last comedy show you ever see before you’re in prison.” Prison really resonates with them.
How often have you found out that someone in your audience has gone to prison?
I did one show in Vegas, at CoinAgenda. I made a lot of jokes about [ex-con bitcoin advocate] Charlie Shrem, who was in the audience. People thought it was hilarious. I don’t know if he did. I apologized to him a little bit afterward: “Hey, it was just jokes.” But maybe it was a little too soon. He did literally just get out of prison.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Photo courtesy Margaux Avedisian.