Men in suits with bank bags. Jargon for jargon. Ninety-eight percent of finance for people with a Y chromosome. When it comes to traditional finance, women have not only been left out of the conversation, but completely shut out and shut out. And Silicon Valley has historically and notoriously been a world of tech bugs—a shame, because the industry has been among the fastest-growing and most lucrative for decades, dating back to the dotcom boom of the 1990s. The end result: major obstacles for women to accumulate wealth and achieve leadership positions.
We hate to see history repeat itself, but unfortunately we have deja vu. Cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse are getting all the hype. And they’re all part of Web3, which is basically the next iteration of the Internet. Just as social media and e-commerce have changed the way we live, work and shop, Web3 will affect everything from your investment portfolio to your future job prospects, online security and more. McKinsey predicts that by 2030, the market value of the metaverse could shoot up to $5 trillion. However, according to Pew Research, about 43 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 29 have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrency, compared to 19 percent of their female peers. Of the world’s 121 leading crypto companies, only five included a female founder (opens in a new tab). Even NFT female artists have the upper hand in the space; research shows that 77 percent of NFT sales go to male creators, and women make up less than 20 percent of the market.
Yes, the industry is moving at a rapid – and it seems deliberately confusing – pace. But instead of sitting on this major shift in tech, finance and art, we’re here to help women learn the basics and understand the risks and rewards. Even if you never buy a bitcoin, knowing what it is (and the world that surrounds it) has benefits for investors, entrepreneurs, creators, and frankly, anyone with a bank account.
For many companies, the move to Web3 is in line with the golden rule of marketing to “meet your customers where they are.” Savvy millennials and even savvy Gen-Zers are open to it—so much so, in fact, that Facebook underwent a major rebrand last year. Now called Meta, the tech company has invested $10 billion in its metaverse division, betting on the rise of crypto-optimism.
But the early creators of Web3 were working on crypto, NFTs and the metaverse long before Mark Zuckerberg joined the party. Until recently, most experts expected that augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and virtual worlds would have to be commonplace before mainstream consumers were excited about the idea of the spatial web. But after two years of adapting to Zoom calls, the idea of living in parallel virtual reality doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
Given this cultural shift, software developers and engineers are creating the technology infrastructures that enable true digital ownership. If they pull it off, “buying” a digital item will mean we actually own it the way we do physical items like clothes, houses, and cars. And that equals a business opportunity.
All this is very innovative. But when you’re an entrepreneur or an employee tasked with making strategic decisions about your company’s budget allocation, it’s also stressful. “There is so much innovation happening all the time,” said Alexa Lombardo, founder and chief strategy officer at Atomic No. 8, a creative studio for Web3 storytelling. “A lot of companies don’t even know how to look inside and ask, ‘But what are they we what is he doing and why?’ because he’s so focused on what the guy next door is doing.’
No other designer has dived as fearlessly into metaversion as Rebecca Minkoff. The founder of her eponymous label and serial investor in women-owned brands often collaborates with NFT marketplace Mavion to drop a range of digital fashion and accessories. Here he offers meta-career mentoring.
- A Web3 strategy will require repeated and consistent communication and messaging – you won’t convince people with the first email or the first tweet.
- Strategic partnership is everything. We purposefully partnered with companies that already had a Web3 audience. That’s why we partnered with Mavion, because we know we’re talking to a whole new customer and they’re the ones who already get it and they’re excited about it.
- Take this as a chance to expand your existing customer base. Our brand has caught the eyeballs of a whole new, mostly European, audience since our first two drops.
Is now a bad time to invest in cryptocurrencies?
“Women see cryptocurrency and Web3 as this new mechanism. they think, Oh, I have to be a part of this change. Like, forget stocks, let me just focus on Web3says Kat Garcia, co-founder of Cheres, an investment app. But we are (as of press time) in a bear market. And just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s smart. “It’s important to know both. [traditional stocks and cyber opportunities] because we are still in this transitional space. You need both economies to thrive.” The cryptocurrency market has fell from the top from nearly $3 trillion in November 2021 to less than $1 trillion at several points this year. Bitcoin, essentially the Kleenex or Coca of crypto, has lost more than 70 percent of its value (opens in a new tab) in 10 months.
However, a bad market does not necessarily mean a bad time to invest – and this is true for the traditional stock market as well. Some liken it to a sale at your favorite store. One property advisor put it this way: “If LIVELY had a 20 percent sale on everything in the store right now, you’d be curious. Investing during a bear market is an opportunity to invest when stocks are “on sale,” especially if you believe in those companies or that technology will recover over the long term.” Others say it can also be an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. “I think back to when Amazon was $6 a share. Like, I don’t buy into this weird book company that sells books online, but man, I wish I did! Right?,” says Lively founder and Web3 enthusiast Michelle Cordeiro Grant. “It’s like our chance to not look back and say, ‘Wow, we missed it.’ This is our chance to say, ‘Let’s understand this and get on the roller coaster so that when it starts rolling, we have the tools and the information to do what to do next.
Regardless, don’t even think about investing (whether in NFTs or ETFs) if your basic finances are not in order. No emergency fund and not maxed out 401k? Forget putting money into Metaverse.
So you want to work in Web3
These careers will be in demand as the web continues to evolve.
Developers and designers. Companies planning to launch an activation metaverse will need either an in-house development team or talented external digital designers to code virtual spaces and wearable avatars.
Marketing professionals. No matter how technology driven, the Web3 initiative cannot exist in silos; it must be integrated into a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Community managers. Think of this “customer service” role as less about filing complaints and more about moderating a 24/7 conversation between users and stakeholders. Companies will need professionals to lead NFT drops, manage community benefits, track surveys, and keep a pulse on the “vibe.” Brush up on your Discord skills – this platform is by far the most common among NFT projects and crypto startups.
Social media strategists. Instead of posting shallow Facebook announcements and Instagram carousels to get likes, Web3 companies are obsessed with finding a smaller but more loyal group of followers.
Legal representative. Yes, companies will have to fight back to protect themselves from very real regulatory impacts. The SEC is cracking down on NFT projects and companies that list crypto tokens without disclosing that they could be considered, as many claim, unregistered securities. NFTs themselves raise numerous questions regarding works of art and intellectual property rights. And as the legal concept of “ownership” extends to video game items, we need the brightest legal minds to help us sort out exactly how this will work.