Crypto has an image problem

(And Nafter isn’t helping)

Crypto and NFTs (nonfungible tokens) have a bit of an image problem: The frothiness of the cryptocurrency markets, where fortunes are being made (and sometimes lost) on currencies created as a joke. The planet-melting energy used to create Bitcoin. The notion that art NFTs are only for the rich.

So those of us who are trying to bring blockchain into the mass marketplace should be particularly sensitive to the sector’s messaging. To our branding.

As someone who’s run a social media consultancy that’s worked with both Fortune 500 clients and small starups over the years, I can tell you that a company establishes its reputation in the marketplace fairly early on.

So it’s hugely disappointing to see an NFT startup with big aims start out so flat-footed with its branding, conveying its messaging as if all crypto enthusiasts were 12-year-old boys with a crush on their buxom summer school teacher.

The problem starts with the Nafter collectibles site’s home page, adorned with scantily clad women. A bikini-clad woman emerging from a swimming pool. A woman lying in bed in a scanty negligee. Another bikini-clad woman against a beachfront backdrop with the message, “Our bodies are living art.”

This could be the result of yet another tech startup with too few women on the product and marketing teams. But posts on Nafter’s social media accounts signal that old-school sexism is the startup’s core brand proposition.

Here is brand ambassador Anastasia … her face, of course, is not the important feature to highlight.

And here is the delightful Amber …

And here’s Julia and Sheena. Notice a pattern, anyone?

When Nafter was listed on Pancake Swap, the decentralized exchange built on the Binance blockchain, here’s how the messaging went out:

When Nafter passed its security audit, here’s how the boys at Nafter posted the announcement:

Really? Has the ghost of Hugh Hefner taken over Nafter’s programming?

I could go on …

And on …

And on.

As my wife would say, Ewwwwwwww!

To be certain, Nafter has taken to adding some beefcake images to its media mix. But its brand’s messaging is clear.

And it’s not a welcoming one for young women thinking of entering the Web 3.0 arena.

The blockchain space is big and gloriously messy, with hundreds of new entrants this year competing for attention and mindshare. But the last thing the crypto marketplace needs is to slip into a coma and wake up in the year 1963.

This article is republished from the Digital Culture Works blog.

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