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Pussy Riot Co-founder Launches DAO in Support of Women and LGBTQ+ Artists

Pussy Riot co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova today announced the launch of UnicornDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that calls itself “a feminist movement aiming to tackle patriarchy in Web3.” It plans to solely invest in female, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ artists in Web3.

Tolokonnikova, best known for her role in the conceptual protest art group Pussy Riot, has become increasingly active in the DAO space of late. A DAO is an online community that uses cryptocurrency to organize and incentivize its members and govern group decision-making. Tolokonnikova most recently co-founded UkraineDAO, which raised $6.75 million in Ethereum in five days with the sale of an NFT—a type of token used to demonstrate ownership of a digital item—depicting the Ukrainian flag.

While UkraineDAO aimed to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, UnicornDAO has an entirely different purpose. Co-founder Rebecca Lamis tells Decrypt that the DAO aims to provide financial tools and resources to groups it considers underrepresented in the crypto space—and to do so in a “decentralized and community-run manner.”

“I absolutely love the DAO model and how it creates kind of a new, cooperative, scalable model within Web3,” Lamis said.

According to Lamis, when UnicornDAO first began taking shape, its members planned to raise $1 million to invest in artists. But following greater-than-expected interest, the group now plans to raise more—and it already has an impressive list of initial supporters, including Hollywood agent Gary Oseary, entrepreneur and NFT enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk, and digital artists Trippy, Pplpleasr, and Beeple.

Lamis said UnicornDAO is looking to secure $5 to $10 million in its first fundraising round. Instead of selling tokens or NFTs to raise funds, as many DAOs do, UnicornDAO plans to sell “seats” to its supporters.

When it comes to voting and governance in UnicornDAO, Lamis says the DAO won’t have weighted votes based on governance tokens, saying it’s essential that every member has one vote. “Essentially, when you buy a seat, depending on how much you contribute to the DAO, you get your equity in return via rainbow tokens (the DAOs token).”

According to UnicornDAO co-founder Jenni Thompson, most initial supporters have already committed to buying seats, while cryptocurrency payments company MoonPay will be sponsoring seats for the public, and artists will be donating NFTs. Thompson believes a DAO is a perfect example of how an organized group with a united mission can redistribute power and capital; the burgeoning NFT market creates the opportunity to give artists, especially women-identifying and LGBTQ+ people, traditionally underrepresented, the credit they deserve.

Lamis counted “a community of about 20, female, non-binary creators” and said that UnicornDAO wants the art the DAO showcases to represent the global majority and not just a select few. Lamis added that while the DAO has long-term goals, its members are focusing on supporting digital artists and finding Web3 organizations to invest in: “We’re creating a platform that showcases…a collection of female, non-binary LGBTQ+ work, featuring people that are in the larger ecosystem that we think deserve to be featured.”

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