There’s a new community emerging for the crypto-curious, and its founding members include Gwyneth Paltrow, Tyra Banks, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Hyman and other high-profile entrepreneurs, designers, investors and artists. Known as BFF, the group currently has nearly 50 women and non-binary people, some who are deep into crypto and some who have only dipped in a toe – but they all want to spread their knowledge.
“It doesn't mean you have to jump in, start buying a bunch of NFTs or investing in these cryptocurrencies,” Schmidt told us, “it's just being able to speak to it and understand the conversation.”
As the name might suggest, friendliness is part of BFF’s mission. BFF is geared towards women and non-binary people and its messaging is also free of “girlboss” vernacular, Razzlekhan rapper style narcissism, or get-rich-quick types. Instead, BFF resembles a team of benevolent older sisters, guiding others along. But these sisters are not the kind taking vows of poverty: the goal is to benefit financially from crypto. BFF’s website notes: “Web 3.0 will be a $10T+ industry by 2026,” “Men represent 81% of the current participants” and “Women are missing out on a multi-trillion dollar opportunity.”
“We've been saying, ‘Friends who learn together, earn together,’” said Schmidt, several weeks after BFF Minted, “Everything's more fun. You're held accountable when you have a friend along for the ride.”
“We've been saying, ‘Friends who learn together, earn together.'”
In its nascent state, it’s unclear where BFF is headed exactly. It could be a startup in the making, a buzzy marketplace, or even a potential DAO. So far the loose collective does not earn any money itself.
BFF held its inaugural event, BFF Minted, a snazzy, professionally produced streaming event, free of charge on Jan. 26. Over the course of two hours, a select group of BFF founding members explained aspects of blockchain, NFTs, cryptocurrency, digital wallets and the future possibilities of Web3.
BFF is striking a chord, judging by the numbers. The BFF Minted streamed event had an approximate 5,000 attendees, according to Schmidt, and the video has had 44,000 views since it was posted on youtube.
“There was validation that what we were doing was needed,” Schmidt said. “So now we're hustling, planning out our roadmap.”
Schmidt and BFF co-founder Brit Morin, of Brit + Co.. were professional acquaintances who decided to start the group after learning they had a mutual interest in crypto, and finding that they both thought more non-”crypto bros” needed to feel welcome in the space.
“We're not dissing this, kind of, ‘bro culture,’” Schmidt added.“We're doing our own thing.”
“We're not dissing this, kind of, ‘bro culture.’ We're doing our own thing.”
Sporting 70s style wire-rim eyeglasses, Morin hosted BFF Minted and Schmidt dropped in throughout, dramatic lighting highlighting her sparkly purple shirt. Founding BFF members spoke about their own crypto experiences, NFT projects and gave explanations geared for beginners in simple, forthright language. Indeed, there were no “tech bros” in the BFF house.
During the event, artist and social justice activist Maliha Abidi, originally from Pakistan, introduced her vibrant NFT series Women Rise, portraits of female activists, artists and those working in STEM. A portion of funds raised from her 10,000 NFT collection goes towards global education for girls, like the Malala Fund and SOLA Afghanistan, among others.
Abadi never saw herself in the crypto, NFT, tech, finance space, she explained, but now, she said NFTs are the gateway into “starting a revolution.” Abidi touched on her ambitious plans for her Women Rise NFT project: “Our ultimate goal is to build the first school in the Metaverse for the 258 million children who are currently out of school.”
In between NFT presentations, MCed by founding member Randi Zuckerberg (sister to Mark) other BFF’s explained crypto terminology and the basics of blockchain technology. Alexa Von Tobel, founder of Inspired Capital, took a moment to contextualize where we are in the Web 2.0 and 3.0 trajectory, reminding viewers of a time when Google and Facebook (now Meta) were budding startups.
“I can't tell you how many people have said, ‘My mom attended the event with me,’ or ‘My grandma just bought crypto for the first time.’ Literally, these stories are happening.”
Schmidt got involved in crypto after achieving massive success in the personal care industry. Her natural body product line Schmidt’s Naturals, which began with her whipping of batches of deodorant in her Portland, Oregon kitchen in 2010, was sold to Unilever in 2017 for nine figures.
During the pandemic, Schmidt and Cantino began sharing their business expertise in a Clubhouse group they called “Club CPG” (which has since moved to Telegram). As blockchain, NFTs and Web3, became more mainstream in 2021, the group also encompassed those topics.
“We realized that the intersection of Web3 and consumer was a really interesting opportunity,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt and Cantino launched Crypto Packaged Goods in September 2021, a cheeky NFT collection on OpenSea of 11 minimal, photorealist images of products typically found on supermarket shelves—a bottle of pills, a bag of potato chips, a bottle of juice—all with crypto slang taglines. The first NFT drop raised approximately $70,000, according to Schmidt, which went to Project Potluck, a mentorship program that helps POC founders of packaged goods companies.
Late in the BFF Minted livestream, Morin and Schmidt announced a big surprise for their viewers: their “Oprah moment,” as Morin put it. Each attendee got a free, air-dropped BFF NFT, a minimalistic image of a woven friendship bracelet, designed by graphic artist and founding member Jessica Hische. Schmidt also announced that BFF will be dropping a PFP (profile pictures) collection in March. People with the friendship bracelet NFTs will have early access.
In its short life, BFF has been masterful at creating authentic buzz. Despite a still unknown future for NFTs, blockchain technology and Web3 people are trying to get in on BFF’s ground floor. “I can't tell you how many people have said, ‘My mom attended the event with me,’ or ‘My grandma just bought crypto for the first time.’ Literally, these stories are happening,” Schmidt said.