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The Darker Side effect of CryptoPunks?

Tami Butler

Is racism having an effect in the marketplace of Cryptopunks? Recent sales have indicated that there may be.

NFT’s in general and Cryptopunks specifically have taken the world by storm. Since their launch in 2017 the prices have reached extreme highs. The cheapest punk available today is for $150,000, with the most expensive one recently sold in a Sotheby’s auction for over $11 million. However, taking a closer look at recent sales, something disturbing seems to be taking place. Even though the value of cryptopunks is based on uniqueness of features, colored skin punks seem to be for sale cheaper than Caucasian punks. With color of skin not being a unique feature, it is difficult to understand why out of the 36 cheapest punks for sale, only 3 of them are white.

Racism – a Difficult Topic

Racism around the world has raised its ugly head in recent years. The George Floyd murder made the subject of institutional racism a hot topic for discussion. The police officers actions have raised polarizing opinions globally. However we all agree that racism exists in many institutions. Many attempt are being done to change voting laws in the United States. The changes seem to be massively disadvantaging the colored community, at least in the opinion of the many opposing Democrats. The US President Joe Biden himself, has recently labeled the new laws ‘Jim Crow of the 21st century.’

There’s one question that comes to mind, does subconscious racism exist? and how much effect does it have?

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Unconscious Bias

Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford University Professor has long claimed that subconscious racism exists in our daily life. Over decades Ebenhardt and her staff have studied the causes and ramifications of unconscious bias & subconscious racism.

Findings have proven that in some instances, people act and make bias decisions subconsciously. Their subconscious thoughts affect their daily decision making. Meaning that they are not even aware of their “racist” actions. Over 25 years ago Anthony Greenwald from the University of Washington, developed a complex test that exposed the fact that the human mind has deep seated biases of which they are completely unaware of.

Is Sexism Unconscious

Another field which is up for debate is sexism. There are clear cases of conscious and deliberate sexism in all walks of life. However, there is room for debate that some of it is unconscious. The definition of Unconscious gender bias is unintentional and automatic mental associations based on gender, stemming from traditions, norms, values, culture and/or experience. Staff are nowadays being encouraged to recognize subconscious bias thoughts in work surroundings. Recognizing how you think subconsciously, makes you realize that you aren’t always acting in the company’s best interests, even if you don’t realize it. Recognizing your unconscious bias, can eventually lead to making more fruitful and clever decisions. A classic example of this, is when in the 1970’s major symphony orchestras in the United States started using blind auditions. Once the blind auditions started, women hired increased from 10 to 20 percent to about 40 percent.

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Positivity for the NFT Future

There is no doubt that a person’s choice of cryptopunks is detailed and well chosen. The color of the skin however, is likely to be more subconscious than conscious. A closer study at the most expensive cryptopunks, we discovered a more positive trend. The most expensive human cryptopunk sold on Larva Labs is black. in the most expensive 36 punks, only 2 of the humans are white.

A recent report done by Pew Research Center exploring racial bias found: Most favored people of their own race subconsciously. Whichever way you look at it, its disappointing. How is it that in 2021 we are still trying to find the root cause of our daily racism acts?

Cryptopunks will continue to break records in the coming 12 months. We can only hope that they will lead the way in how we should act. I can only hope that the next time I look at the bottom 36 cryptopunks the coloring will be more diverse.

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