Mainstream news coverage of web3 projects has largely been dominated by male-led projects — some with more, some with less overt Bro Vibes™ — such as the ubiquitous CryptoPunks, Doodles, and Bored Ape Yacht Club, the latter of which have done precious little to acknowledge Seneca, the primary artist behind the collection. 

While the NFT space has proven to be quite open and welcoming to diverse audiences, women-led projects have experienced headwinds that others have not. For example, the female-themed NFT project Fame Lady Squad claimed to be the “first-ever all-female generative avatar collection on the Ethereum blockchain” but was secretly run by three Russian men. Once uncovered, the outcry was sufficient to push FLS to replace its leadership with actual IRL women. 

The November 2021 NFT Art Market Report from analytics firm ArtTactic discovered that — over the course of 20 months of sales on Nifty Gateway — only 15% of artists on the marketplace were women and “male artists command[ed] 77% of total primary and secondary sales value at $258.3 million.”

Despite these troubling facts, women-led projects are developing quickly. This is the first in a series of articles highlighting the contributions of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ web3 artists, and today we’re spotlighting three pfp (profile pic) projects run by and for women. 

World of Women

women nft
World of Women

You can hardly mention women in the NFT space without bringing up World of Women, one of the earliest, buzziest pfp projects overall and by far the most visible of female-centered projects. 

WoW is a 10,000-piece NFT collection created to celebrate representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. With a current floor price of 8.2 ETH, a film and television deal, and a laundry list of celebrity hodlers that includes Reese Witherspoon, Dez Bryant, and Eva Longoria, WoW is indisputably a blue-chip project with staying power. 

Founded by Portugal-based artist Yam Karkai, described the genesis to Elle Magazine:

“I started selling my pieces as one-off NFTs at the beginning of last year.  Then I saw that these big 10,000-piece collections like the BAYC were booming. I appreciate those projects and I’ve learnt a lot from them, but I was disappointed that I didn’t see myself reflected, as they were clearly created for men. So, I decided to create my own collectible project, based on the art I was already doing.”

WOW reinvests 25% of its primary sales to buy the work of other crypto-artists and donates a percentage to charity, too.

Boss Beauties

women nft
Boss Beauties

Boss Beauties, another 10k pfp project, has roots in empowering women, specifically high school and college-age girls through Co-Founder Lisa Mayer’s My Social Canvas, which provides mentorship, networking opportunities, scholarships, and more to foster the next generation of women leaders. The Boss Beauties digital portraits aim to capture the empowered, inspirational, diverse women they want to see and be in the world. 

Speaking about Boss Beauties and its followup collection, Role Models, Mayer told Observer

“If you really look at what drives us, it’s really our passion for helping women be everything they want to be,” Mayer said. “They can break the glass ceilings, they can make history and do anything in their life, in their career.”

The project has managed display opportunities and partnerships with established organizations and brands like The New York Stock Exchange, The United Nations, Mattel, Hugo Boss, and Rolling Stone, among many others. Recently, Boss Beauties announced the close of a $4.4MM seed funding round, including funding from Randi Zuckerberg’s Offline Ventures, Brit Moran, Serena Williams’s Serena Ventures, and Anu Duggal’s Female Founders Fund, valuing the company at $30MM.

The beauty of PFPs and our online lives is their conduciveness to pushing on the edges of one’s identity. When a project makes its members feel more like themselves rather than more like a disembodied cartoon, that’s when these projects have the potential to change lives. And that’s exactly what Boss Beauties proposes to do:

“As women, sometimes we feel like we have to be one thing or we’re defined by just one thing, right? I’m an entrepreneur, but I’m so much more than that too. I’m a mom, I had my newborn when I founded Boss Beauties, he was only three months old.” — Lisa Mayer

 Twitter is a key part of Boss Beauties’ strategy in promoting its NFT collections. “We also use Instagram and other platforms, but Twitter in the web3 and NFT space is one of the main platforms that creators are using,” Mayer said.

Top Dog Beach Club

women nft
Top Dog Beach Club

There is no lack of female-dominated projects we could have featured here — though, to be sure, we shall surely profile more projects in the future like Crypto Coven and Sad Girls Bar. Instead, we want to mention Top Dog Beach Club and its derivative Top Cats, co-founded by Paul Price (the developer) and his sister-in-law Abby Mansfield (the artist). 

This project began with gamification elements based on six randomly assigned temperaments that determine to which “pack” a given pfp is assigned. Media and gaming plans aside — not to mention the obligatory beach parties to come — the team has committed to using its resources and expertise to do good in the world. Their efforts include:

  1. Partnering with Offsetra to offset carbon emission which includes all transactions that occur on-chain. 
  2. Donating proceeds to Dogs on the Street, a UK-based charity that helps homeless dogs. 
  3. Recently launched Girls Get Loud, a project to spotlight rising artists while donating proceeds to She’s the First, a global girls’ rights non-profit that fights for a world where every girl is educated, respected, and heard; they team up with community-based organizations, reaching 138,000 girls in 26+ countries every year.

As I mentioned before, these projects are far, far from even being representative of the amazing developments and communities led by women in the web3 space. We still didn’t get to 1989 Sisters, 8sian, 90s Babes, Sad Girls Bar, Angel Oasis, Crypto Chicks, Flower Girls, and oh so many more. 

MakersPlace is committed to celebrating diversity and innovation across the arts and web3. As such, we’ve expanded our marketplace to include Open Collections, verified projects that are significant in the NFT space with a 0.5% seller’s fee (compared to the typical 2.5% fee on platforms like Opensea or Nifty Gateway). 

MakersPlace is excited to include World of Women, Boss Beauties, and Top Dog Beach Club as projects it will support on its Open Marketplace.

All third-party NFTs are authenticated and verified by our curation team, so creators can trust that imitators of their work cannot ever sell on MakersPlace, and collectors can trust our assurance of authenticity. 

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