Women are being side-lined in the NFT movement – and that needs to change.
NFTs, or to give them their full title, Non-Fungible Tokens, are currently the hot topic of conversation in the tech world. In a nutshell, an NFT serves as a form of proof that you have ownership over a piece of digital “property” – like a software, a set of data or an artwork.
It’s the equivalent of owning a piece of fine art – and having the documentation to go with it (although the latter becomes much more important in the digital sphere – because online products “exist” within the internet, whereas with artwork you have a physical, tangible object). Fungible, in this context, simply means not replaceable – so if you own the NFT, you are the sole owner.
NFT technology is supported by blockchain (another minefield, but for these purposes, it’s defined as an un-hackable way of storing information). It serves as a digitally-verified form of ownership which cannot be interfered with.
The reason it’s hard for you (or indeed anyone) to get your head around is because, frankly, it’s at odds with how we’ve used the internet in the past. In the past, there’s been a predominant sharing culture on the internet where everything from Instagram grid posts to pieces of complex software have been copied and distributed on the internet – with sometimes questionable legality. So the fact that NFTs are now a thing is pretty impactful, as online developments go.
Having said that, they’re currently the preserve a select few: in a survey from digital commerce solution provider Scalefast, only 8% of consumers said they’d purchased NFTs in the last year.
It has also become one of those areas of business and finance – like investing and cryptocurrency – where women have been markedly left out of the conversation.
According to the Scalefast data, the demographic most likely to buy NFTs are male (61%).
And men are reaping the benefits at the supply end, too: another survey, conducted in November 2021, found at least 77% of NFT art sales were going to male creators. Which makes it, unequivocally, a boys’ club. And in a world, as women, we still struggle for equal pay, and experience everyday sexism, this is problematic.
Women entering into the NFTs world
Thankfully, there are some high-profile counterexamples. Reese Witherspoon, for instance, tweeted back in October 2021 that she’d just bought her first NFT – and expressed a desire to connect with more women who were creating them.
More recently, she shared a piece of art she had purchased from World Of Women – a female-focused digital art collection which featured 10,000 artworks of women created by artist Yam Karkai. And yet, you guessed it – they’re all made as NFTs.