Camila Russo Refuses to Be Crypto’s Diversity Checkbox
I first met Camila Russo during New York City’s three-day Mainnet conference in September, tickets for which cost nearly $1,500. Rumors that the SEC had served subpoenas earlier that day swirled around the Times Square Marriott where the conference was held (those rumors have since been confirmed) as some of the spaces’s biggest investors hopped in black cars to escape the chaos, seeking refuge at an after-party for The Graph.
Despite an air of residual panic, party guests seemed relieved to be able to tow their backpacks to the long VIP line, slink into a crowd of costumed crypto unicorns and throw back tequila sodas under a blue haze of nightclub fog. As I stood with a group of friends, a young woman quickly said hello, shook hands with each of us and then disappeared into the night to mingle with the rest of the distinguished guests in attendance. As soon as she was out of earshot, a friend whispered, “That’s Camila Russo. She essentially wrote the bible on Ethereum. She’s a celebrity in the crypto world.”
But Russo didn’t act like a “celebrity.” She was more of a tide that swelled around the room, quietly drawing eyes and whispers as partygoers gravitated closer. She was nothing like the unsavory Bored Ape fanatics swinging their metaversal dicks all over the room depicted in this postmortem from New York Magazine. The crowd, while eccentric, was much more than the “blockchain bros” and “crypto socialite” caricatures they’re often reduced to. Not everyone was just here to party — least of all Russo.