The market for non-fungible tokens, or NFT, digital works of art, is taking on the traditional art industry. In the first six months of 2021, analytics firm DappRadar recorded NFT sales of $ 2.5 billion, a significant increase from the $ 13.7 million in the same period in 2020, alongside impressive sales The NFT marketplace OpenSea, which reportedly hosts 98% of all market transactions, recorded NFT trading volume of $ 4 billion this August.
While the rise of blockchain-based digital artwork is remarkable, many of the artists responsible for creating today’s most sought-after NFTs are men. For example, digital artist Mike Winkelmann – better known as “Beeple” – made NFT history after selling “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for over $ 69 million at Christies. Platinum-honored musician “Two Feet” and acclaimed 18-year-old visual artist FEWOCiOUS also made headlines after selling four NFT collaborative artworks for more than $ 1 million. It was also significant that the Argentine designer Andrés Reisinger sold ten pieces of virtual furniture for almost $ 70,000 in an NFT online auction.
Women want to change the “crypto-bro” culture through NFTs
While the ratio of male to female NFT artists remains unclear, statistics show that significantly fewer women than men are involved in the entire crypto sector. For example, a recent survey by the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange found that only 26% of women own crypto. While it does, the report also found that more women than men were willing to get involved in crypto in the near future.
So it’s important to note that a number of women artists have started developing NFT projects to show growing female participation while bringing more women into the crypto sector.
Lavinia Osbourne, founder of the Women in Blockchain Talks community, told Cointelegraph that the NFT sector could be more attractive to different genders because it focuses on creativity:
“Learning new words like DeFi, blockchain and crypto wallets, let alone understanding these terms, costs a lot of energy and time. Art, on the other hand, is much more exciting. Many people may not understand what an NFT is and how it works, but they know art and know how to be creative. ”
To match Osbourne’s point, Maliha Abidi, a female artist, writer, and activist, told Cointelegrah that her passion for digital media originally drew her to the NFT world. Abidi stated that she has been advocating women’s rights with her artwork since 2012, but after learning about NFTs, she started a project called Women Rise.
According to Abidi, Women Rise is a unique collection of 10,000 NFTs featuring female activists, artists, scientists, programmers, and more. The guiding principle of the project is to “watch women rise to the blockchain”. Abidi added:
“I wanted to make sure I start my journey in NFTs by celebrating real women all over the world. This project is not just about ethnic diversity, but also about cultural diversity, religious diversity and diversity in the areas where women break through the glass ceiling. It’s also an extension of the work I’ve done over the past nine years. “
Abidi plans to officially launch the Women Rise project in late November this year, around the same time as the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence on November 25th. “Art is a big part of this project, but it’s also about activism and looking at the role women play in real life,” Abidi said.
Abidi further noted that she is most excited about the project’s plan to give back to a number of organizations she has worked with over the years. For example, she said that 24% of the proceeds will be donated to schools in Afghanistan to support women’s education.
According to Abidi, “Traditional artists are not just limited to women, they also include men and non-binary people. Here we have to redefine the roles. The NFT room is for everyone who wants to show their creativity.
Unsurprisingly, there are many female artists out there who feel encouraged to step into the world of cryptocurrency because of their passion for women’s rights and digital media. Lisa Mayer, founder of the NFT Boss Beauties project, told Cointelegraph that the opportunities presented by non-fungible tokens are in line with her goals of empowering women:
“Before starting Boss Beauties, I started a company called My Social Canvas. We have developed a range of products designed by women with proceeds going back to female creators to help fund their education. But after the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to think about other business models for alternative sources of funding. For this reason, NFTs and digital art have connected to me and My Social Canvas. ”
Mayer explained that Boss Beauties launched three months ago and features a collection of 10,000 unique portraits of strong independent women representing diverse career paths. “There are female astronauts, STEM women, doctors, racing drivers and more. The promise here is that all of these qualities taken together show that a woman can be anything she wants. “
After launching Boss Beauties, Mayer shared that the entire collection sold out in just 90 minutes, demonstrating the financial impact NFTs can have on small business owners. “I was blown away by it because I worked hard during the pandemic to make My Social Canvas survive. As a small business owner, I was very emotional when I saw the collection sold out so quickly, ”she said.
While the sale of the Boss Beauties collection marked a milestone, Mayer also mentioned that of the 10,000 NFTs created, one was saved to be displayed as a physical work of art on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to mark “International Day of the . to celebrate Girl, ”which took place on October 11th.
According to Mayer, this will be the first known NFT to be shown on the NYSE. “It will be displayed in front of the iconic Muriel Siebert Boardroom, which honors the first woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Muriel joined the stock exchange’s 1,365 male members on December 28, 1967, ”she said. The NFT is currently being auctioned to fund scholarships and mentoring programs for women and girls in finance.
Efforts to help women overcome the “fear of crypto”
Although the NFT space appears to be resonating with more women compared to other crypto-related sectors, education is still needed to encourage participation.
For example, Mayer explained that many of the tech-savvy women on their network still don’t know about NFTs because the field is so new. Hence, there is a steep learning curve to be overcome that Mayer believes will be overcome once women understand the financial opportunities associated with NFTs. “This is a wealth transfer opportunity,” she noted.
To borrow from Mayer, Athan Slotkin, an entrepreneur and investor commonly known as “The Shadow CEO,” told Cointelegraph that people are back to realizing the economics behind NFTs and wanting to use them. “Boss Beauties raised about $ 5 million in 90 minutes. People will see this as potential. ”
Abidi also mentioned that education is also needed to prevent scams and gatekeepers from breaking into the crypto space. Using the Fame Lady Squad as an example, Abidi explained that three men who pretended to be a women-led NFT project were one of her first acquaintances with NFTs, adding, “It was sad to see so many people Fame ladies supported, but that was really a scam. The challenge here is that we need to have more education and fewer gatekeepers in crypto. “
While education is still required in all aspects of crypto, it is important to note that women-led groups have recently been formed to raise awareness in non-intimidating environments.
For example, Osbourne stated that Women in Blockchain Talks plans to launch a women-centric NFT marketplace called “Crypto Kweens” soon. According to Osbourne, the marketplace will be built on the Rarible Protocol and will serve as a place where artists, entrepreneurs, creatives and founders come together to support one another:
“It will be a place where others can support them and be part of the movement to make the Metaverse the representative of women and marginalized groups. Male artists are also welcomed as long as their work corresponds to the theme of ’empowerment, honor and appreciation of the female form’. “
In addition to Osbourne’s initiative, Hailey Lennon, partner at law firm Anderson Kill, told Cointelegraph that she recently founded Crypto Connect, a networking group for those involved or interested in crypto and blockchain. Lennon stated that the group’s board of directors will be led by all women, noting that a strong female presence will help bring more women and men into the crypto sector.
Regarding NFTs, Lennon mentioned that the Nashville leadership of Crypto Connect is Evie Phillips, chief marketing officer of NFT platform NFT Glee. Given Phillips’ expertise, Lennon commented that educational awareness of NFTs will be discussed at upcoming networking events, along with the idea that Crypto Connect memberships could be tied to NFTs in the near future. In turn, both women and men who use NFTs for themselves will likely understand the space better.