The Case of Female-Centric NFT Projects
Female pfp projects have become a trend (also referred to as ‘meta’) in the NFT world.
The first successful collection was World of Women, then came Crypto Chicks, then Boss Beauties, then Alpha Girl Club, then Crypto Coven, then Flower Girls, then Girlies…. well, you get the gist.
There are now a lot of female-centric projects and they all seem to be about the same things:
- female empowerment
- support of female artists
- support of female charities
- inclusion of female and non-binary people in web3
- a fantastic community
I have seen the exact same dynamic play out in the startup world between 2017 and 2020, when the term ‘female founder’ became popular and all of a sudden, there were female-centric networks, events, clubs, co-working spaces, accelerator programmes popping up everywhere.
All were marketed under the banner of ‘supporting female founders’, but not every player actually meant it or truly understood what they were doing. Some others did, of course, and it was amazing to have more real support in the ecosystem.
As the founder of the first platform and community serving female founders in London (which I started back in 2015, way before the term got trendy), this is what goes through my head when I look at female-centric NFT projects now:
1) Are they really supporting women?
The moment something becomes a trend, you can be sure that there will be a bunch of people jumping on the marketing bandwagon.
In web2, this was mostly done to look good as a company. In web3, it’s clearly done to make profits.
If you see that the only female person on the team of an NFT collection is the artist, then she is likely the token woman on the team (= red flag).
Then, follow what the team is saying about ‘women in NFTs/web3’. Does it sound like they understand how nuanced the conversation around gender, intersectionality, representation and privilege is? Or are they purely waving the ‘girlbossification’ flag because it’s trendy and it sounds empowering?
If the founders claim that they are female, but are not doxxed, then do some extra checks to see if this is actually true (remember, the web3 mantra is ‘Don’t trust, verify’).
FameLadySquad is a project that launched in July 2021 as the ‘first generative all-female avatar NFT collection’ and marketed as ‘created by women for women’.
However, just one month after, it was found that the creators of the project were not female at all, but, in fact, were a bunch of dudes who created the project purely to monetise the narrative of building female communities.
2) Am I willing to buy something, that may be piggybacking on a trend, for profits sake?
When it comes to female-centric NFTs, there are two parts to consider: one is the ‘female’ part and the other is the investment part.
In Blooming Founders’ past, it has happened a few times that our concepts and activities were copied by other people/entities. These people/entities would spent more marketing money and/or leverage a stronger network to market something successfully.
As a founder, I obviously didn’t love it, but there was also not much I could have done about it. It’s a free market after all and even in the ‘supporting women’ space, there is such a thing as competition.
Now looking at NFTs, I can see that some projects have a lot more backing than others. They are started by fairly famous (or very famous) women who have a strong rolodex of contacts and enough money to hire a great team to execute.
I have seen them building on code or ideas of others, and while I don’t love these ‘corporate vibes’, it falls in the realm of open source development or under the ‘same idea, different execution’ bracket.
So in these cases, I would still invest if I think that the project will do well (profit is profit after all), but I will be more looking to buy purely for investment purposes vs. becoming an active community member.
I also keep my mind open here as you never know, they might be launching more original things in the future.
3) Is there any evidence of odd behaviour, lack of integrity or even theft?
Apart from the ‘corporate vibes’, there are other things that are definite no-go’s. It pains me to say it, but #NotAllWomen is true and valid, also in the NFT space.
Not all women want to support other women. Some women also are very okay with taking advantage of other women and putting up a front, knowing it will benefit themselves first and foremost.
Just yesterday, it was discovered that one NFT from the Crypto Chicks 1/1 collection
(the initial collection that was launched in 2021 before the 10K pfp collection) had an artwork of a three-eyed woman that looks almost identical to another artwork created by an artist called Amanda Costa, back in 2018.
Here is a side-by-side comparison: