Cryptocurrency. NFTs. The Metaverse. The new frontier, basically. I hope you can hear the Star Trek theme tune in your head right now.
But the new frontier should be well, new. So why are we seeing old gender distinctions?
NFTs and cryptocurrencies can offer new opportunities to invest. With Blockchain technology, it is offering financial decentralisation, and therefore providing a sense of accessibility to people from different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles. NFTs can even offer creators the chance to make money away from a reliance on big brands.
Considering approximately 84% of all social media influencers are women compared to just 16% men, NFTs are bound to be a space where women can thrive.
So why is it still a boy's club?
In fact, a survey conducted for CNBC and Acorns showed that women invest less compared to men across the board, be it digital or traditional investments. Men invest twice as much as women, with 16% of men compared to 7% of women investing in cryptocurrencies.
According to Scalefast data, men are the demographic most likely to buy NFTs, at 61%.
Angela Walch, a research associate at UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies says that:
“The crypto world seems to mirror the tech and finance worlds in terms of gender; there are women, but the space is heavily male-dominated”.
As crypto becomes more mainstream, it is important to have diverse perspectives in creating and running the systems so that better decisions can be made,”
Men tend to reap the benefits at the supply end, as well. A survey has found that at least 77% of NFT art sales were going to male creators.
But we are seeing a change. In many ways NFTs could be a huge opportunity for female creators, influencers, and entrepreneurs, and there are movements to encourage this financial freedom and education.
Some high-profile names are even encouraging investment in the space, with Reese Witherspoon tweeting back in October 2021 that she'd bought her first NFT, and expressed a wish to connect with more women who were creating them.
Other iconic female celebrities such as Serena Williams and Paris Hilton have been promoting the NFT industry, as well as beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan encouraging an element of sisterhood within the space.
We're even seeing traditionally female dominated industries getting involved in NFTs, with the fashion and beauty industry leading the way in sales.
For example, Givenchy Parfums have partnered with artists from Rewind Collective and London gallery owner and LGBTQIA+ activist Amar Singh on an NFT Pride digital artwork. Plus, E.l.f. Cosmetics have created NFTs that allow customers to purchase their cult classic products in gold.
On top of this, many of the NFTs sold for, and by, women have an element of philanthropy or added extra utility. This is important for an NFTs growth; utility is becoming increasingly attractive for investors.
We've been seeing a rise in the popularity of NFTs with an extra added element i.e. a utility that takes them beyond a piece of digital artwork, and makes the purchase an experience. This might be through multiple types of media, or digital interaction, or even through a real-world event or add-on. A purchaser could receive a physical piece of art that matches their NFT, or a function in the gaming world. Basically, it's an NFT+.
So, let's have a look at some of the most interesting NFTs out there: run, created, promoted, and bought by women.
Number One: Alpha Girl Club
The now sold-out Alpha Girl Club is a collection of 10,000 hand-illustrated pieces, featuring a range of colours, traits and themes.
Alpha Girl Club focuses on the idea of NFT experiences being translated into the physical world, beyond just the metaverse and online.
The project also offers exclusive real life experiences, events, and airdrops for holders. Plus, there is a sense of community, and reward, with holders receiving goodies and collectables.
On top of this, the project is aiming to create custom extras, including wallpapers, shirts, merch, posters and more.
But the main utility of the project is, with the purchase of each NFT, the holder will gain access to an all-inclusive mental health app curated by the team.
The app features a daily check-in system, access to mental health experts, exclusive helpful content, and more.
Currently, the NFTs are selling for around 0.25 ETH, or $726.60.
Number Two: The Flower Girls
Number two on our list is The Flower Girls, a collection of 10,000 unique pieces generated from over 950 hand-drawn traits.
The project was created by Illustrator /Teacher Varvara Alay on the Ethereum blockchain.
This collection also has a charitable angle, with donations going to a couple of good causes. In fact,
- 20% of Primary and Secondary profits being donated to a range of children's charities
- 5% of Primary and Secondary profits being used to collect children's NFT art.
The works are currently selling for 0.6 ETH on OpenSea, or around $1,736 per piece.
Reese Witherspoon is also minting this project, and has her Flower Girls NFT as her profile picture on Twitter.
“As I got more educated about NFTs I realised there’s just so much opportunity for women to own their own work," she said to NFT Now.
"I think it’s really important as new worlds are being built that we bring consciousness to female creators and female entrepreneurs that is an opportunity to own your work in perpetuity.”
Number Three: Sad Girls Bar
This profile picture project has been created and run by Glam Beckett, a self-proclaimed 'sensitive dark artist'.
Sad Girls Bar has a couple of spin-off projects that have resulted from the collection, namely Skeletongue and The Sad Cats.
The NFTs stand out among other collections due to its monochrome, black-and-white artwork. The Sad Girls Bar contract was released on August 23rd last year, but it went relatively unnoticed until Pransky, a well-known collector, minted 200 and tweeted that it was included in his "NFT boxes".
Currently, they're on sale for as little as 0.06 ETH, or $280. The most expensive piece was sold for 25 ETH, or $64,768.60.
Number Four: World of Women
The World of Women collection was created by illustrator Yam Karkai. The aim behind the collection was to use the NFT space to create a global community that encourages diversity and equal opportunities for creators and contributors.
This collection includes 10,000 diverse female avatars created by Yam, with pieces being snapped up by a number of big names including (again) Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria, and Huda Kattan, all in order to join the women-centric virtual community.
The 2022 collection earned Yam $40M within two weeks of its release. Her OpenSea platform currently has 5,100 owners, and has traded $125Ms worth of Ethereum.
The cheapest piece in the collection is listed for sale on OpenSea for 1.6 ETH, or $7,400.
WoW's vision with their NFT collection is to use the art collection and NFT community as a way to:
- Increase diversity and inclusivity in the NFT and web3 space
- Build new and equal opportunities for anyone around the world to become an NFT owner or NFT creator
- Educate and onboard the next generation of creators, artists, and developers
Causes WoW (World of Women) has donated to and supported:
- Donated 17.15 ETH (44k USD) to Too Young to Wed: A foundation fighting to end child marriage.
- Donated 17.15 ETH (57k) to Strange Cintia: "She's been suffering from severe ME/CFS for 20 years, preventing her to live a normal life, let alone pursue her artistic path", says WoW.
- Donated 15.7717 ETH (49k) to Rockflower Fund: a charity auction won by Gary Vee was sent to the RockflowerFund which connects catalytic funding to local initiatives in emerging economies seeking to improve and elevate the lives of women and girls.
- Donated 15 ETH (48k USD) to Code To Inspire: WoW ran a charity auction for WoW #0 and all profits were sent to support Girls in Afghanistan.
- Donated 2.62 ETH (11,500 USD) for la Maison des femmes
- Donated 17.15 ETH (40k USD) to She's the first: An organisation that funds and supports local solutions to educate and empower girls across 26 countries.
Number Five: Encryptas
These faceless avatars have a dual purpose. Created by CypherCHK, the avatars are meant to both draw attention to women as an emerging power in tech and science, and to bring awareness to the importance of privacy, and the use of data online. In fact, Cypher is anonymous herself.
The piece is described on the site in this way:
"Each faceless coder chick is inspired by the fashions of Millennial & Gen Z women. ENCRYPTAS pays tribute to the new emerging power of girls blowing up the system through the Blockchain. Here's to this artistic renaissance and digital revolution!"
The second collection Cypher has released is her 101 Babes collection, which is the first NFT project under the CypherCHK brand.
"A faceless Babe symbolizes the power of anonymity possible through the Blockchain in an increasingly data sensitive and data invasive society. The Babe serves as a beacon of solidarity to all women as a future emerging power in the crypto space," she says.
Each 1/1 is illustrated by hand, and represents her long-term commitment to the NFT space.
So, Cypher is just as interesting as her collection. She's also a writer and storyteller, having been published in magazines exploring the nature of identity and home.
Her visual art centres the stories of women, and invites the viewer to take on their own interpretation of her art in the hope of engaging powerful conversation about Blockchain.