Even in the Metaverse, Not All Identities Are Created Equal

An anonymous reader shares a report: The complexities of the real world are starting to bleed into the Metaverse -- the virtual arena where identity functions as both a reflection on and determinant of social capital. Differences in prices for digital avatars based on race, gender and skin color are emerging among a popular collection of NFTs known as CryptoPunks, belying the utopian and egalitarian ideals touted by the closely connected world of crypto, decentralized finance, blockchain and non-fungible tokens. According to both participants in and observers of the space, these price discrepancies are partly explained by the lack of diversity among the investors who favor these status assets. It's a demographic that skews mostly male and White. Female CryptoPunks, and those with darker skin colorings, tend to sell for less than avatars with male traits or fair skin. CryptoPunk investors say the price disparity is not a function of individual prejudice or racism, but of the fact that the people currently willing and able to pay top dollar for digital goods aren't bidding on avatars that don't look like them. "If you look at the blockchain space, it largely tends to be white, it largely tends to be male," said Tony Herrera, an immigrant activist in California who owns 60 CryptoPunks. "One Punk could be dark and one could be light, and the lighter one is going to be the more desirable."

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