There are few women in the NFT marketplace due to several factors, including that women tend to adopt new technology slower. Cryptocurrencies, particularly given their volatile nature, are no different. “This is just another example of it,” said Pamela Peterson Drake, a professor of finance at James Madison University. “And because of the risk involved in this particular market—and women are risk-averse—you’re not seeing as much participation.”
For women outside North America and Europe, the financial disparities are starker. The ArtTactic report found that the most financially successful artists, regardless of gender, lived in the US, Canada, or Europe. Yinkore, a Nigerian artist, started selling NFTs four months ago. Her work has gotten as much as 1 ETH (about $3,100). In her time in the marketplace, she has found “a vast disparity for people who buy from women of color.” She said that “many of us buying from Black women are Black women ourselves.” She said she couldn’t find five when she tried to track down other African women who have also sold an NFT for 1 ETH or more. That pushes her to invest back in other emerging artists. “I make a sale, and then I have to put back into my community,” Yinkore said.
It’s impossible to quantify the number of women involved in the NFT space or their sales. Neither OpenSea nor Nifty Gateway responded to inquiries from Morning Brew regarding the numbers of women and men selling on their platforms. But it’s a safe bet that men vastly outnumber women artists on both platforms.
Although the ratio of male to female NFT artists remains unclear, statistics show many fewer women than men are involved in the overall crypto industry. According to a recent survey by cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, only 26% of women own cryptocurrency. The report also noted that women were more likely than men to be willing to participate in crypto in the near future.
In addition, several women artists have created NFT projects to increase female participation in the crypto industry as well as to encourage more women to join.
As founder of the community “Women in Blockchain Talks,” Lavinia Osbourne told Cointelegraph that the NFT sector might be more appealing to women as it focuses on creativity:
It takes a lot of energy and time to learn new words like Defi, blockchain, and crypto-wallets, let alone understand them. But art is a lot more engaging. Many people may not understand what an NFT is or how it works, but they know art and how to be creative.”
The NFT movement initially drew Maliha Abidi to the NFT world because of her passion for digital media, an artist, author, and activist. Abidi explained that she has been advocating for women’s rights through her artwork since 2012, but after learning about NFTs, she developed the “Women Rise” project.
Female Empowerment drive female engagement in NFTs
Despite more women participating in the NFT space than in other crypto-related sectors, more educational awareness is required to drive participation.
Because NFTs are still relatively new, many technology-savvy women in Mayer’s network are unaware. Consequently, Mayer believes women must overcome a steep learning curve once they realize the financial opportunities associated with NFTs. “Here is the opportunity to transfer wealth,” she said.
Echoing Mayer, Athan Slotkin, an entrepreneur and investor commonly known as “The Shadow CEO,” told Cointelegraph that once more people are aware of the economics behind NFTs, they will want to leverage them. “Boss Beauties raised about 5 million dollars in 90 minutes. So people will see this as potential.”
In addition, Abidi recommended education as a means of preventing scams and gatekeepers from entering the crypto space.
“Fame Lady Squad,” Abidi said, was one of her first introductions to the NFT movement through three men pretending to be a female-led group. But, she added, “It was unfortunate that many people supported Fame Ladies, but it turned out to be a scam.” The challenge here is to have more education and fewer gatekeepers in crypto.”
The need for education in all aspects of cryptography has recently led to the establishment of women-led crypto groups that promote awareness in a non-intimidating environment.
The Women in Blockchain Talks initiative, for instance, plans to launch “Crypto Kweens,” a female-centric NFT Marketplace. According to Osbourne, the marketplace is built on the Rarible protocol. It will provide a platform for female artists, entrepreneurs, creatives, and founders to collaborate and support each other:
A place where all can support and be part of the movement to make the metaverse a more representative one for women and marginalized groups. Male artists will also be considered as long as their work is in line with the theme of ’empowering, honoring, and uplifting the female form.'”
Besides Osbourne’s initiative, a partner at law firm Anderson Kill, Hailey Lennon, recently initiated Crypto Connect, a networking group for those interested in and involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain. Lennon explained that all women lead the group’s board of directors, noting that a strong female presence will help bring more women and men into the crypto sector.
In regards to NFTs, Lennon mentioned that Crypto Connect’s Nashville lead is Evie Phillips, chief marketing officer of the NFT platform NFT Glee. Given Phillips’s expertise, Lennon commented that educational awareness around NFTs would be discussed at upcoming networking events, along with the idea that Crypto Connect memberships could be tied to NFTs shortly. In turn, both women and men who leverage NFTs for themselves will likely understand the space better.
Bring more women to the table
More women are coming to the table, and honestly, starting our tables and building around the boardroom is pretty lovely, and there are a lot of men who support women doing this. It’s done by courage in teaching, educating, and making women feel valued and loved in a space that has been underrepresented by women.
This is the year of the woman where many woman are taking the lead and finding independence to show other women how to get involved and participate to take control of thier own financial freedom and destiny.