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What is Web3? A few definitions are floating out there, and they all have one common denominator: a new chapter of the world wide web is based on blockchain technology. It has become common knowledge that there’s so much more to blockchain technology than Bitcoin. The blockchain umbrella also includes decentralization and token-based economics including NFTs.
One of the more fascinating aspects of Web3 is that it is playing a huge role in changing the status quo of how people worldwide conduct their daily lives. This can be credited to many things, such as changing times, trends, and user preferences. There is also the fact that Web3 is far more inclusive than its predecessors, and the innovators behind it are making their mark on a more human-centered Internet on a grand scale.
Inclusivity is sparking interest and innovations in Web3
According to a recent study by The Harris Poll, “While just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.” Additionally, about 44% of those who own crypto are people of color. In 2021, North America’s first Black-owned DigitalWallet and financial-capacity building technology, The Black Wall Street, was launched by actor Hill Harper to help cater to the needs of Black America. Since the onset of the pandemic, Black and Hispanic blockchain leaders, educators, marketers, and market makers have worked to outpace other groups with the adoption of blockchain technology.
Interestingly enough, age is not a factor in succeeding in Web3. This is seen in the case of seven-year-old Rebekah and Esther Obi, known as the O’twins. They created a 20-piece NFT collection made up of shapes and colors and sold out their genesis NFT collection, called Colours and Shapes, in just one hour. They are only part of a movement of mothers onboarding their kids onto NFTs.
Non-profits have become creative amidst war and the Covid pandemic to raise money in new ways, like when Make A Wish Foundation sold NFTs following the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade as a way for the charity to accept donations in cryptocurrency or Save The Children’s Ukrainian response accepting digital asset donations.
Gender isn’t a barrier either when it comes to NFTs. Emmy-winning producer Cindy Cowan is known for her work in Hollywood and being the Chief Strategy Officer of Mogul Productions, a decentralized film financing platform that believes women should support other women in the crypto business. In a recent appearance on The Badass CEO Podcast, Cowan elaborated on her work on revolutionizing NFTs in the music and film industry, an industry known for sexism. In one of her highly publicized NFT drops, her friend, world-renowned Marvel and DC Comics artist Rob Prior, set his painting on fire during a live stream, only for it to reemerge as an NFT on the Mogul platform as part of a 24-hour auction. The NFT ended up selling for $200K.
Overcoming obstacles as women in Web3
The innovators behind Web3 are far from being an exclusive club of “blockchain bros.” Women are making an impact across the board in Web3 as creators, builders, and leaders within the realm. I recently hosted a radio show on Twitter Spaces to talk about women and inclusion in Web3. The episode featured Rebecca Minkoff, the iconic fashion designer and bestselling author, and Alison Wyatt of Refinery 29, Goop, and Girlboss, a startup advisor and angel investor. The women came together to launch The Female Founder Collective (FFC) to encourage female founders to educate and assist one another to prosper in Web3.
In the discussion, it became clear that the number one pain point for FFC female founders is getting venture funding. When less than two percent of funded founders are women in Web2, there’s a big opportunity to find alternative funding sources for women in Web3. Comparing the two percent of funded women to the opportunities for women founders in Web3 and NFTs, it’s less about venture capital than public financing.
Many women founders will make the mistake that they all have to launch an NFT collection on OpenSea, but Rebecca Minkoff’s vision for FCC is to educate women and what works for different companies and where an NFT will be valuable and focuses on utility. “Are NFTs unlockable to an experience? Is it, you know, a portable NFT or a virtual trial and service? I think there are many different aspects founders must consider,” Minkoff told me. Web3 is going to change the statistics and she wants to make sure that women know what the tools are and how they can best evolve for their business.
NFT photographer Lori Grace Bailey added to the discussion by speaking on the potential of Web3 by encouraging other women to show up and participate because she believes that all women have an opportunity to widen the beam of their influence on the space. Dawn Newton, the COO of Netki, likes the promise of Web3 because women can go and democratize these platforms and create equal access by onboarding other women into NFTs. On unconscious bias, Lisa Fridman thinks that unconscious biases exist. We must learn how to catch it in ourselves, our teams, and our behaviors. We must learn how to give people of different backgrounds opportunities to define what they can do and show it. And then, based on the results, rather than on unconscious biases, to make decisions on who should be at the table and in what capacity.
While Web3 is certainly more inclusive than its predecessors, there is still far more work to be done. We as a cohort are still at the cusp of the building phase of Web3, as the groundwork for it is being laid out for it to become globally prevalent within the decade.