Women of the Metaverse: Mai Akiyoshi of Curious Addys’ Trading Club

Because the metaverse is still being defined, it is associated with many different sub-sectors, including blockchain, Web3, and cryptocurrency. It is a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, that specifically draws people into this space. That is what happened to Mai Akiyoshi, CEO and Co-founder of Curious Addys’ Trading Club, a company helping to educate individuals on the worlds of NFT and cryptocurrency. Akiyoshi found herself interested in bitcoin specifically when her husband recommended her to buy some in 2018. “I was very skeptical,” Akiyoshi explained, “but I bought $10,000 worth of bitcoin, and then I completely forgot about it for a while.” After seeing the price of the cryptocurrency going up, Akiyoshi found her own investment had gained capital. “I thought, ‘well this is interesting,'” she added. “So, I started looking into more about what blockchain is and other blockchains that exist.

With her background in software engineering, Akiyoshi found a rich blockchain ecosystem that included other software developers, but also other industries. “I was fascinated by how blockchain technology can bring together other innovation, like NFT, DAO or Defi using the power of smart contract. And I was also excited by the speed of innovations happening in the space,” she said. Driven by her excitement, Akiyoshi encouraged her friends to also look into cryptocurrency. Many of her friends were confused about the technology or didn’t know where to get started. According to Akiyoshi: “I tried to find good resources to share with them, but I couldn’t find any good resources or tutorials.” Sensing an opportunity, Akiyoshi and her husband decide to create the resources they couldn’t find, which would help others to learn how to properly invest in cryptocurrency.

Curious Addys’ Trading Company began in 2021 and has helped many people learn the basics of buying or trading cryptocurrency and NFTs. Using a fun game-like structure, Curious Addys’ Trading Company makes the learning process more engaging. Akiyoshi hoped to use this format to bring more people into the world of cryptocurrency. “The company started with a mission to make crypto go mainstream,” explained Akiyoshi. “So, we started as an educational NFT project. What we did is we launched this 5000 octopus NFT collection. And the people who bought the NFT could use the platform and courses we’ve built.” Once the user has Curious Addys NFT, they get access to educational courses on NFTs, crypto and Web3 development and other perks such as getting access to some tools. “One of the tools we’ve bult is an interactive tutorial, where you can mint your first NFTs completely for free,” Akiyoshi added. Currently, the company is in the process of building a Q&A platform, “Quora for Web3” (https://curious.xyz), so any question a user has can be answered by an expert and experts can earn Soulbound Token that dynamically displays their achievements on the platform. Akiyoshi believes this new Q&A platform will encourage people to ask for help when they get stuck. “We wanted to create a safe space where anyone can ask questions and get answers from trusted people,” stated Akiyoshi.

“Our other current main focus is to help the NFT creators. We’ve made a lot of friends here in this space, and we’ve seen so many creators, especially new creators, suffer because the market condition has been tough since the market crash.” Akiyoshi explained that many creators rely on software development resources to create NFTs. But these resources take a significant portion of the profits from these creators. Akiyoshi and her team at the Curious Addys’ Trading Club wanted to offer resources to creators that would be free for use. “We are now building a no-code smart contract builder,” she said. “Where anyone without coding experience and build a website with a mint button, along with smart contracts so that they can launch their own NFT collections without needing help.”

In offering resources like this, Akiyoshi hopes to do her part to bring more people into Web3 and make it more inclusive. “There are so many things to learn here, and women have less free time to learn these skills,” Akiyoshi said. “Other barriers are things like budgets. Women typically have less income that they can use for hobbies than men, so they are less likely to take financial risks, such as putting money into cryptocurrency.” And then there is the network effect, which, according to Akiyoshi, can deter women from joining the industry due to fewer women being in the space.

Thankfully, the NFT industry specifically seems to be attracting a lot of female creators. “There are a lot of female founders in NFTs,” said Akiyoshi. “And they can all help each other. It’s not a competition, it’s more like cooperation.” Akiyoshi believes that the more women can help encourage their friends to join the metaverse, the more diverse the industry will be. “It’s important for people in this space to really talk about it and bring their friends,” she stated. “Because women trust women. It is so important for women in this space to speak up and share their experiences, which helps make this space safer for other women to join.”

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Castleberry is the Science Communicator at JILA (formerly known as the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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