The market for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, for digital artwork is attacking the traditional art industry. In the first six months of 2021, analytics firm DappRadar reported $ 2.5 billion in sales from NFT, which is a significant increase from the $ 13.7 million in sales during the same. period in 2020. Christie’s auction house reported $ 93.2 million in sales of NFT in the first half of 2021. In addition to impressive sales, the NFT OpenSea marketplace, which is believed to be home to 98% of the overall market transactions, recorded an NFT transaction volume of $ 4 billion in August this year.
While the rise of blockchain-based digital artwork is notable, many of the artists responsible for creating today’s most sought-after NFTs are male. For example, digital artist Mike Winkelmann – better known as “Beeple” – made NFT history after selling “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for over $ 69 million on Christies. Platinum record musician “Two Feet” and acclaimed 18-year-old visual artist FEWOCiOUS also made headlines after selling four NFT collaborative artworks for over $ 1 million. It was also important to see that Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger sold ten virtual pieces of furniture for almost $ 70,000 in an online NFT auction.
Women aim to change crypto bro culture through NFTs
While the ratio of male to female NFT artists remains uncertain, statistics show that there are significantly fewer women than men involved in the overall crypto industry. For example, a recent survey conducted by the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange found that only 26% of women own a crypto. While this is the case, the report also noted that more women than men have indicated a willingness to get involved in crypto in the near future.
As such, it’s important to point out that a number of female artists have started creating NFT projects to show increasing female participation, while also aiming to attract more women to the crypto industry.
Lavinia Osbourne, founder of the “Women in Blockchain Talks” community, told Cointelegraph that the NFT industry could be more attractive to different genres given that it focuses on creativity:
“Learning new words like DeFi, blockchain, and crypto wallets, let alone understanding these terms, takes a lot of energy and time. Art, on the other hand, is much more engaging. A lot of people may not understand what an NFT is and how it works, but they know the art and they know how to be creative.
On Osbourne, Maliha Abidi, a female artist, author and activist, told Cointelegrah that her passion for digital media initially drew her to the NFT world. Abidi explained that she has been campaigning for women’s rights through her artwork since 2012, but after hearing about NFTs, she created a project called “Women Rise”.
According to Abidi, Women Rise is a unique collection of 10,000 NFTs featuring activists, artists, scientists, coders and more. The project’s mission statement is to “watch women get on the blockchain”. Abidi added:
“I wanted to make sure I started my NFT journey by celebrating real-world women across the world. This project is not only about ethnic diversity, but also about cultural diversity, religious diversity and diversity in terms of areas where women are breaking the glass ceiling. It is also an extension of the work I have done over the past nine years.
Abidi plans to officially launch the Women Rise Project at the end of November this year, around the same time as the United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign slated for November 25. , but it’s also about activism and highlighting the role women play in real life, ”said Abidi.
Abidi further noted that she was very 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 24% of the proceeds would go to schools in Afghanistan to support women’s education.
According to Abidi: “Traditional artists are not limited to women, but also include men and non-binary people. We need to redefine the roles here. The NFT space is for all those who wish to express their creativity.
Unsurprisingly, many female artists feel encouraged to enter the crypto world due to their passion for women’s rights and digital media. Lisa Mayer, founder of the NFT Boss Beauties project, told Cointelegraph that the opportunities made possible by non-fungible tokens resonated with her goals of helping empower women:
“Before starting Boss Beauties, I started a business called My Social Canvas. We have created a number of products designed by women, the proceeds of which would go to women creators to finance their education. But, following the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to think about other business models for alternative sources of funding. That’s why NFTs and digital artwork connected with me and My Social Canvas.
Mayer explained that Boss Beauties launched three months ago, with a collection of 10,000 unique portraits of strong independent women representing different career paths. “There are female astronauts, women in STEM, doctors, race car drivers and more. The promise here is that all of these mixed traits show that a woman can be anything she wants.
After Boss Beauties launched, Mayer said the entire collection sold out in just 90 minutes, demonstrating the financial impact NFTs can have for small business owners. “I was blown away by this because during the pandemic I had worked hard for My Social Canvas to survive. As a small business owner, I was really moved to see the collection sell out so quickly.” , she said.
While the sale of the Boss Beauties collection was a milestone, Mayer also mentioned that of the 10,000 NFTs created, one has been registered for display as a physical work of art on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). to celebrate the “International Day of the Girl”, which took place on October 11th.
According to Mayer, this is the first known NFT to be displayed on the NYSE. “It will be on display outside the iconic Muriel Siebert boardroom, which honors the first woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Muriel joined the 1365 male members of the exchange on December 28, 1967, ”she said. The NFT is currently being auctioned off to fund scholarships and mentorship programs for women and girls in finance.
Efforts to Help Women Overcome a “Fear of Crypto”
Although the NFT space seems to resonate with more women compared to other crypto related industries, education awareness is still needed to boost participation.
For example, Mayer explained that many tech-savvy women in her network are still unfamiliar with NFTs, given the space is so new. As such, a steep learning curve must be overcome, which Mayer says will be overcome once women understand the financial opportunities associated with NFTs. “It is an opportunity for a transfer of wealth,” she remarked.
Echoing Mayer, Athan Slotkin, an entrepreneur and investor commonly referred to as “The Shadow CEO,” told Cointelegraph that once again people are aware of the economy behind NFTs that they will want to take advantage of. “Boss Beauties raised around $ 5 million in 90 minutes. People will see this as potential.
Additionally, Abidi mentioned that education is also needed to help prevent scams and gatekeepers from infiltrating the crypto space. Referring to the example of the “Fame Lady Squad,” Abidi explained that three men claiming to be a female-led NFT project was one of her first introductions to NFT, adding: “It was sad to see that a lot of people were supporting Fame Ladies, but it was really a scam. The challenge here is that we need to have more education and fewer crypto gatekeepers. “
While education is still required in all aspects of crypto, it’s important to point out that women-led groups have recently been established to help raise awareness in non-intimidating environments.
For example, Osbourne explained that Women in Blockchain Talks plans to launch a women-centric NFT market called “Crypto Kweens” soon. According to Osbourne, the market is built on Rarible Protocol and will serve as a place for women artists, entrepreneurs, designers and founders to come together to support each other:
“It will be a place where others can support them and be part of the movement to make the metaverse representative of women and marginalized groups. Male artists will also be welcome as long as their work falls within the theme of “empowerment, honor and uplifting of the female form”.
In addition to Osbourne’s initiative, Hailey Lennon, a partner at the law firm Anderson Kill, told Cointelegraph that she recently formed Crypto Connect, a networking group for those involved or interested in crypto and the blockchain. Lennon explained that the group’s board of directors is headed by all women, noting that a strong female presence will help attract more women and men to the crypto industry.
Regarding NFTs, Lennon mentioned that the head of Crypto Connect in Nashville is Evie Phillips, director of marketing for the NFT platform NFT Glee. Given Phillips’ expertise, Lennon said education awareness around NFTs will be discussed at upcoming networking events, as well as the idea that Crypto Connect memberships could be linked to NFTs in the near future. to come up. In turn, the women and men who operate DTVs for themselves are likely to understand the space better.