How Sandbox’s First Virtual Pride Parade Highlights The Importance Of Metaverse Diversity

In June, virtual platform The Sandbox will be the location for the metaverse’s first indigenous LGBTQ pride parade. The event is the brainchild of the People of Crypto (POC) Lab, a new agency and innovation center focused on creating diversity in Web3 spaces.

Users of all shapes, sizes and identities are already spending their lives within metaverse platforms – but the companies that build these platforms and the virtual experiences they provide are not as different. , according to People of Crypto co-founder, Simone Berry.

Berry and his co -founder Akbar Hamid – a black woman and a gay Muslim, respectively – first met about five years ago at an NFT event, where they were joined by several not white attendees. “I was walking around saying,‘ I haven’t seen anyone, ’” Berry said. “He was there with a client, and I was like,‘ I need to talk to you; I just need to see someone. We met at a Starbucks, and on top of the cheese plate, we were bonding and decided to bring a change.

The POC Lab is a joint effort between Berry and Hamid, and its first project was to build the “Center of Belonging”, a hub of diversity and inclusivity at The Sandbox that would serve as the launching point for the first Metaverse Pride event.

The event, which began in June, aims to attract crypto-curious members of the LGBTQ community to the metaverse and make The Sandbox a welcoming place for users of all identities. The central part of the Pride space is rather a large rainbow-striped statue in the shape of a raised fist, which Hamid said will eventually be transformed into a cross-platform NFT. The POC Lab also makes interoperable NFT avatars with a variety of perspectives, including hijab and wheelchair avatars. The company also hopes to partner with LGBTQ advocacy organizations such as GLAAD and 15 Percent Pledge for the event. “Of course there’s a returning component,” Hamid said. “We will also enroll charities in all of our smart contracts.”

A giant raised fist will be the center of Sandbox’s pride activity. (Photo by people at Crypto Lab)

If companies like POC Lab and The Sandbox want the diversity of their virtual spaces to fit the demographics of the physical world, events like Metaverse Pride are a must. Currently, there is a considerable amount of skepticism about the metaverse of marginalized communities, especially within the LGBTQ community, whose members feel unprotected on Web2 spaces such as social media. The skepticism is fair: Berry and Hamid have both come up with a long list of Web3 projects ranging from erroneous to blatantly racist.

“There are Meta-slaves; with the part of Georges Floyd; There are projects where you can see the rare scale for darker skin tones is less marketable, ”Berry said. “There have been comments that the reason things can’t be sold is that there aren’t a lot of black people in space, which isn’t true. We’re a lot, just scattered.

Despite this fear, Web3 experts from marginalized groups believe that the decentralized web can elevate their communities through blockchain technologies. “These are communities that have been disfranchised from current banking systems,” Hamid said. “So if you look at who’s quick to adopt it, that’s communities, because they don’t need permission.”

“We have a financial system built by men, for men – a small group of wealthy white men – and that system continues to serve that group. And we’re in a very interesting turning point where there is unreliable, unreliable technology that has the potential to create a completely new financial system, ”said Lisa Wang, founder of Bad Bitch Empire, a collective investment. for Women on the Web3. “Now just because there is opportunity does not mean it is natural to be fair and democratic and transparent and in all things. For now, the same people are coming, the same people are taking advantage of this new system.

Wang, a former Hall of Fame gymnast and competitive tech founder and entrepreneur, started Bad Bitch Empire after being disappointed with the lack of women on the boards of major web2 companies like Uber and Amazon. . As Web3 is transitioning from a speculative vision to an industry in its own right, groups like its own and POC Lab are increasingly taking steps to ensure that different users have tell in the form of the metaverse from the beginning.

While the main goal of the Metaverse Pride event is to uplift individual users, social justice focused on virtual events also creates new opportunities for brands to engage with it. communities in ways to be more real and natural than their previous attempts at Web2 social networks. media.

“The last two years have been a great awakening; we had a lot of business before that, ”Hamid said. “On Web3, I think it’s going to happen on a basic level – and the response has been very good so far.”

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