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With lots of talk about building inclusivity and equity into web3, and differing opinions on how exactly to do that, there’s one thing most of the women pioneering in the space agree on: creating equity in any industry cannot happen without education.
That’s where Ariana Pierce comes in. Through her classes, training courses and crypto trading clubs, she is on a mission to make sure people of every gender, race and socioeconomic background can have the opportunity to learn what the world of web3 might be able to offer.
Pierce has been passionate about educating underserved communities about wealth since she started as a day trader. I spoke to Pierce about her journey from day trading, how that evolved into crypto education, and why she’s so driven to share her expertise and experience with others.
Ariana Pierce
Amy Shoenthal: Tell me about your career journey and how you ended up in the world of crypto education.
Ariana Pierce: My journey started with blogging. From there I started my own travel business. Travel was my passion, but it was a hustle. People encouraged me to start investing. That’s how I was introduced to day trading, which led to crypto trading, which eventually expanded to include NFTs.
I have a virtual club where we do crypto trading together. It’s 90% women but men can join as well. It was something I started doing in order to show people how to make money outside of their jobs. We have about 500 people in the crypto trading club, from young women to more seasoned ladies. My mom joined, too. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we get together over Zoom, we look at currency trends, we look at crypto trends and we talk about what we should buy and sell.
During the pandemic, it really gave us something to do. We were stuck at home, not really traveling, and lots of people’s jobs were in jeopardy. If their industry was non essential, they didn’t know what was next. That’s when we became a family.
Shoenthal: Clearly you’ve always been passionate about helping people attain wealth. Right now you’re super focused on NFTs. Tell me how NFTs fit into that overall mission.
Pierce: Once I started posting about some of the NFTs I initially bought, I got a lot of questions from people in my audience, specifically women. They would say, ‘I’m still stuck at the crypto part but now you’re throwing NFTs on me? Come on.’
I figured since I was getting all these questions I should create a course on NFTs to simply introduce the basics. So much of what stops people from coming to this space is intimidation. They don’t know how to get a wallet, how to navigate Opensea, and then there’s all this new language that’s over their heads. What does WAGMI mean? You can’t throw all these terms at them. You have to speak their language.
I wanted to bring it down to a third grade level. There will always be people joining these info sessions who haven’t acquired a baseline knowledge yet. That’s why we don’t talk over your head. We make NFTs very plain and very simple. I’m just trying to let people know this is a place you can come and feel safe.
Now, hundreds of people are taking the course.
Shoenthal: What’s your long term vision for helping overlooked communities like women and people of color create NFT empires?
Pierce: Throughout history, women, and specifically women of color, have been left out of industries that create wealth, from the oil and gas industry to electricity to the internet. Now we have the opportunity to get involved and to set the rules.
When you don’t see others like you represented somewhere, you can feel like maybe there isn’t a place for you. I want to be the person that lets others know this is absolutely for us, too. My mission is to educate women and people of color to show them they belong here. We need to make this a welcoming space.
For example, the Latin community feels left out because everything is always in English. My fiancé’s family is from the Dominican Republic, so we’ve hosted some of our onboarding sessions in Spanish.
Another thing I want to break down is the assumption that this space is only for people with money. But if you look at the history of these ultra-successful projects, you have to ask, what was originally airdropped? What NFTs were given for free, or purchased for only a few hundred dollars when they minted, and are now selling for $1 Million?
This is about being early. That’s why I’m trying to get as many people on board as possible. Spend less upfront and seize the opportunity to build your wealth along the way. If you say you’re waiting to learn about NFTs until they become super mainstream, you might miss out. Especially for the youth, maybe instead of buying a pair of gym shoes, spend the same amount and build your wealth in smarter ways. That’s my motivation.
There was a young lady in the Boss Beauties community who bought one of their NFTs when it was under $300. A few months later, it sold for over $24,000. She was a woman of color who couldn’t get a bank loan, so she used those earnings to fund her business. We don’t hear about this much, but it’s happening. I remember starting my travel business and not being able to get a bank loan. If only NFTs existed then. This is the good that can come out of being early.
Shoenthal: There was this big push to get in early, but then there was a dip. Can you talk about the dip? When you talk about building generational wealth, how do you account for a bear market or Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam’s statement that 90% of NFTs won’t be valuable in a few years?
Pierce: I tell every single person that comes into our trading club this: Never invest more than what you’re willing to lose. Easier said than done, but it’s very important, because the market has ups and downs. But if we spread that chart all the way to the beginning, we’ll see that the market is actually still up, overall.
I tell people to invest in things that they are passionate about, not just what’s popular. You need something that has value to you beyond that ethereum price. What’s happening now isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. I don’t want to tell people what to do, but it could be a good time to even get in and buy while the market is on a discount. It’s like shopping. Buy your favorite bag on sale and wear it as if it was full price.
Shoenthal: As one of the leading women pioneering in this space, as one of the Queens of Crypto, how can we truly build accessibility and diversity into web3 in all the ways we failed to do so in web2?
Pierce: First and foremost, education. Speak the language of the people you’re talking to. Host a free workshop. Offer underserved communities ways to learn about the space.
Second, hold brands and web3 innovators accountable. When they say they’re inclusive, are they really? Are they really helping women or people of color in the ways they say they are? In web2, we heard a lot of that, but we didn’t really see it, and no one was held accountable.
At blogging events, I always felt like the honorary melanated person or Black individual. It was good to be included, but it always felt like an afterthought.
We have the opportunity to change that in web3. And we are. I have witnessed all different types of women posting amazing events and coming together. It’s great to see the relationships that have formed in this space.
Shoenthal: Speaking of the relationships formed in this space, you met your fiancé through crypto, and you are incorporating some crypto elements into your wedding, which is so fascinating. Can you talk about that?
Pierce: My husband and I met through a crypto event in New York. His team was hosting an event for traders, and we all went to dinner after the event, where I was the only woman. Honestly, I was single at the time so I wasn’t disappointed. My fiancé came up to me, introduced himself and we never stopped talking.
We have a traditional wedding registry as well as an NFT domain. You can create NFT domains for your events, your business, anything that you’re working on. So we created an NFT domain for our wedding. That way, if people wanted to gift us with crypto or NFTs, they can.
I just gave away a POAP (proof of attendance protocol) at my bridal shower to help onboard and educate more women in web3. It’s like a digital memory that will live in their wallets as proof they attended my event. They were able to claim the token (NFT) if they had given us their ETH ETH address before the event with their RSVP.
You can also make money off selling your domains. Because you actually own it, you don’t have to go to sites like GoDaddy GDDY . If you think about it, you were only technically borrowing those websites since you had to repurchase it every year or every two years.
Shoenthal: There was a recent Atlantic article that criticized the “women in crypto” movement for being the next #girlboss a.k.a. using feminism as a marketing ploy. Do you have any reaction to that?
Pierce: I think anything that is forward moving and has the potential to change lives will always be criticized. When you’re doing something good in life, or trying to change your life, you always have critics. But they’re just a distraction. Women truly feel like they have freedom in this space. This is not a feminism marketing ploy. We throw that criticism out the door and keep riding.
The dip right now is actually weeding out those who came in just to take advantage of the space. Those who are going to stay and flourish are those of us lifting up communities. We make the rules now. We’re going to run this thing.


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