Fem3 Voices Volume 4: Katherine Liu

By Alli and Regan

​About Fem3 Voices

Earlier this year, Newstand published Alli's article, "Fem3." The piece outlined the importance of including women and nonbinary (NB) individuals in building the foundations of Web3. "Fem3'' argued that we all can, and should, commit to onboarding and retaining more diverse talent and voices into this space. That commitment includes uplifting successful women and NB-led projects, work, and perspectives. This series, "Fem3 Voices," aims to do just that.

This interview series highlights the voices of powerful women and NB players in the web3 ecosystem. Each interview will be recorded on Twitter Spaces and accompanied by a subsequent article on Alli and Regan's mirror pages.

Last week we sat down with Katherine Liu. Kat is a creator, and the founder of Formfunction: the most creator-focused NFT marketplace on Solana. 

The Backstory: Kat’s Journey into Web3 

Prior to her journey into crypto, Kat worked as a designer on anti-bullying and anti-harassment initiatives at Instagram. She became fascinated by web3 in early 2021 when NFTs started gaining widespread attention; her friends and her decided “NFTs would either be awesome for creatives or destroy the world.” In web2, she had seen and experienced the difficulty creators often faced juggling multiple income streams, spreading themselves thin across platforms to gain an audience, and facing hacks or shadowbans: “it just felt like a lot of the work of being a creative was stuff that you had to do but not the stuff that you wanted to do.” The idea that web3 technology could empower creators to have true ownership and optionality surrounding their work and audience was exciting to her, and she wanted to learn more.

Introducing: Formfunction 

Kat started her journey as a creator in web3 on Ethereum. Eventually, she decided to move all of her work to Solana because she wanted to use a more “eco-friendly” blockchain. As a designer, she quickly noticed that the UX on Solana “really needed a little bit of help.” She recalls telling her partner, “I wish there was a platform that was really easy to use for beginners on Solana.” 

All of a sudden, they were building that platform themselves. What originally began as a side-project quickly snowballed into much more. Kat and her partner saw a clear need for “a platform that’s focused on UX, and specifically designed around independent creators on Solana,” and thus, Formfunction was born.

Formfunction today is a marketplace hyper-focused on independent artists and their needs. Although some see Formfunction as the “SuperRare of Solana,” Kat admits that it isn’t their long-term goal. Instead, Kat hopes Formfunction will allow people to use NFT technology to “fund the work they’re really proud of creating.”

Kat also sees Formfunction as a tool to “expand opportunities in NFTs and NFT art to a broader set of people.”  While some short art-based NFTs on the belief that they have low utility, Kat believes art itself can be the utility: “There is more art-focused utility that we can add to NFTs that is not about staking, but rather about really connecting with the artist you’re collecting from…you can almost be an insider on their creative process.” 

The Challenges: Balancing life as a creator, builder, and woman in web3 

While Kat has been enjoying her time building Formfunction and practicing as a creative in web3, it has not come without challenges. Personally, Kat mentioned to us that although she identifies as an artist, she wonders if others still see her that way now. For example, she mentioned that “sometimes it's a little awkward talking with other artists [in her founder role] because I feel like maybe they don’t see me as another artist, like I have some ulterior motive.” She admits she sometimes wishes she could just “vibe with other artists” without them thinking she is talking to them because she wants them to use the Formfunction platform. At the same time, she is endlessly grateful for her role as a builder because it has allowed her “to meet so many awesome creative people.” 

Another big challenge for Kat has stemmed from her being one of few women founders or builders that she knows of in the space. While she has seen more diversity amongst artists in web3, she thinks there are not enough women CEOs and builders: “I do sometimes feel more excluded from certain spaces because I am a woman and most other founders that I am talking to are men.” While Kat isn’t quite sure how to get past this hurdle, she hopes Formfunction, her work, and her presence can be a start to helping more curious and diverse people enter and “find your people” in the space. 

Kat, and the whole team at Formfunction have lots of exciting work in store. If you want to hear more from Kat, you can find her here, and be sure to stay up to date on all things Formfunction by following their Twitter here

Alli is the Director of Education of Events at Variant Fund, a first-check crypto fund investing in the ownership economy.

Regan just graduated from USC and now is joining Opyn as an Associate of Community & Research

If you have suggestions for future interviewees, feedback, questions, etc. please DM us!

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