How Activists are Using NFTs as Civil Disobedience

How Activists are Using NFTs as Civil Disobedience

How NFTs can be used for social good.

Global popularity and interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have reached an all-time high. Celebrities, from Jimmy Fallon to Reese Witherspoon, are jumping on the trend and clamoring  to acquire their own NFTs. 

What’s more? Activists have been transforming NFTs into a new form of protest lately. To them, NFTs are not a source of entertainment. Instead, they can be used for social good, where proceeds can help make a noteworthy social impact and benefit worthy causes. NFTs are harnessed as a positive social force, bringing art and activism together to drive concrete social change.

Here are a few NFT projects that are worth your attention and support. 

Women Rise

This collection was created by Maliha Abidi, an internationally-acclaimed activist and artist who aims to empower women and advocate for social justice. Born in Pakistan and now based in the United Kingdom, the artist has been advocating for gender equality and girls’ education for the past few years through her art, writing and activism. 

Using displays of women participating in various occupations, she hopes to inspire more women, especially women of color, to join the cryptocurrency movement and bridge the gender gap in the virtual space. “We are focused on advancing women’s rights and girls’ education through NFTs and Web 3.0. Our ultimate goal is to build the first school in the metaverse for the 258 million children around the world who have no access to education. 129 million of them are girls,” says the project on OpenSea.

Women Rise is a collection of 10,000 randomly generated and aesthetically pleasing NFT art pieces that represent women worldwide with a diverse range of skin colors, races and occupations. Most importantly, they have donated to organizations supporting gender equality, girls’ education and mental health in marginalized societies. As of December 2021, 4.375 ETH or approximately US$16,000 had been donated to the Malala Fund, a charity working for a world where every girl can learn and lead.


The ACAB collection was launched by Russian feminist punk rock and performance art group Pussy Riot in September 2021. Consisting of a 333-piece drop on NFT marketplace Open Sea and a 1/1 auction via digital art market platform SuperRare, the collection is inspired by the group’s love for rebellion and psychedelic art. The premier piece entitled “Virgin Mary, Please Become A Feminist” features hand-drawn artwork across a digital copy of founding member Nadya Tolokonnikova’s prison sentencing documents. 

In 2012, Tolokonnikova and two fellow Pussy Riot members were arrested after they staged a guerrilla performance protesting Church leaders’ support for Putin during his election campaign. They were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. 

Collectors of their NFT art pieces will receive additional perks, such as free tickets to Pussy Riot concerts, and the winner of the 1/1 will be invited to collaborate with the group on a future art project. Proceeds from the art collection will go to victims of domestic violence in Russia, political prisoners, and Pussy Riot’s ongoing activism and art. 

If I Don’t Steal Your Home, Someone Else Will Steal It

Palestinian political activist and artist Khaled Jarrar has been selling Palestinian soil as part of his new NFT project. The soil is being sold as a tangible asset, attached to a minted NFT artwork. 

It is a symbol of the land disputes between Palestine and Israel, where the human rights organizations have accused the Israeli government of committing apartheid and crimes against humanity against Palestinians. Jarrar launched his artwork on the same day that the Israel Defense Forces began airstrikes on the Gaza Strip—his work being an act of defiance and symbolic reclamation of Palestinian land.

“Gazing at the landscape that is shrinking daily by annexation, I chose to mark the hypocrisy of Israeli occupation and its unending spectrum of social, economic, and ecological apartheid by NFTing the soil,” says Jarrar.

Emphasizing women empowerment and equality, the projects mentioned above will infuse more meaning into the NFT industry. These projects are evidence that NFTs are not just for branding or entertainment. They can also be used for advocating ideologies and raising awareness towards social issues. 

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Header image courtesy of Women Rise


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