“I’ve been in crypto since 2017, and it was really white male bro culture. Being in the Metaverse has been way better in terms of diversity, and I think it’s improving all the time; there are still a lot of things we can do to improve it, but that’s one of the values I hold close to my heart.”, says Tangpoko, Decentraland citizen I just met online.
Tangpoko and her team, the Babydolls, are the largest and most-respected group of metaverse influencers in Decentraland (DCL). Their mission is to introduce and launch artists, brands, and content creators into the DCL ecosystem, building meaningful connections with the community.
The crazy thing about our meeting online is that we have the worst time difference; we haven’t seen each other IRL, and I don’t even know Tang’s first name, so I keep calling her Tang (I was not either sure I should call Tang she). Yet, despite all this unknowingness, we find so many similarities between us while talking.
How did you get in into the Metaverse space?
I got into crypto in 2017, I fell in love with bitcoin, and I fell in love with the idea of P2P transactions. Overall, I loved having better control of my finances as an independent woman. I know that I always felt uncomfortable finding out information about investments and talking to corporations and bankers about what I wanted to do with my money. So bitcoin gave me real freedom as a female to make my own decisions financially.
Of course, I bought just during the bull run in 2017, and I HODL’ed all the way for a couple of years, so I learned some lessons. (laughing)
Then in 2021, when everyone was talking about the NFTs, I saw an artist called Krista Kim, she made an architectural NFT called Mars House, and I really loved the idea of making a 3-dimensional immersive space as an NFT. Until that point, all the NFTs I have seen were like PFP and 2D projects. So this was the first one I saw as a 3D immersive space that touched me. And that was something I wanted to get involved with.
I’ve been lucky in my life to have been surrounded by incredible 3D artists and 3D coders, so it was pretty easy to get a team together and let them understand my vision, and we started thinking about immersive environments that we could make into an NFT. I realized, though, that I couldn’t visit Mars house. I couldn’t visit any of the immersive environments I was talking about. I could only see them on Opensea.
I wanted to find a world where I could put this NFT, so I could visit and truly immerse myself in it. Then, be able to invite my friends to come and immerse themselves too. And that’s when I started discovering different Metaverses.
How did you end up in Decentraland?
Decentraland was one of the first worlds I went to, and I remember hearing about it in 2018 or 2019. I remember thinking, like – what? People are paying this much for digital land? That’s crazy! So I was intrigued, but also, I was kind of timid. And then, a few years later, here I am, deep into it.
I got a little bit into wearables design, and I noticed there were not a lot of females in the space, and because of that, there were not a lot of female wearables, so I focused on trying to make things really just what I would like to wear. I made a cute little pink outfit that people really loved, and it was the first ultra-feminine dolly sort of look in Decentraland. It caught on like a craze, and a few other girls decided to buy the suit. And we ended up hanging out together, and we ended up forming a group called DCL Babydolls.
So this is how DCL Babydolls were born?
Yeah, we were just a bunch of friends who loved hanging out at parties and promoting our friends, promoting artists we like, and just really focusing on spreading love and creativity. For me, it was a way to meet new people and make them feel like they belonged to a party. Sometimes I think it could be a lot of OG culture when I first came to Decentraland, and it was difficult to feel like you were included in something. One thing that Babydolls are always known really well is to make people feel like they belong to a party. So welcome, keep coming to Decentraland because there’s a place for you!
Have you ever met any of those people in real life?
For me, it has been completely virtual.
Would you like to meet someone, though?
Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I think it’s got a few different answers. And if you’d asked me a few months ago, I would say no way. I really prefer my anonymity, just because there’s some kind of magic involved in having just a completely alternative life and alter ego. But, still, there’s also, realistically, most of us are heavily into crypto, and you don’t necessarily want your real-life identity to be attached to your digital identity. And also some questions of security as well.
However, the community is getting so close now, and I have seen people meet up in real life at NFT NYC, and they look like they’re having so much fun, and there’s just a connection when you meet somebody in real life that maybe it can’t be reproduced virtually. So I think maybe, maybe, I will meet someone in real life one day.
There’s a purity to it when you don’t worry about someone’s race or gender or age or ability, or social/economic status. It’s just my intellectual mind meeting your intellectual mind. There’s honesty there, I’d like to think, and purity.
Did you have any graphic design background?
I did. I went to design school and was a photographer for a couple of years. I have always been good with computer design, and I have always had an artistic background. When I came into the Metaverse, I was looking to enter with the eyes of an artist. But I would say that the job that helped me the most in what I’m doing now is actually the job I had right before college, I was a bartender for a couple of years, and I think that running a Doll House is a lot like managing a bar. You have your regular customers, trying to make sure that everybody’s needs are met, and you’re trying to community build and, you know, introduce this guy to that guy because you know they have something in common, and you trying to make friendships and even relationships between people. That was the stuff I did at the bar. I think of all the jobs I had drawn most of that experience to try to do good at the Doll House.
How did the Doll House become a reality?
I don’t think I went into it with the idea of having a party house. We were a group of friends hanging around the Metaverse. It was really a way for us to have a home base. I have a company called House of Tang, that was already doing a lot of building around Decentraland, so I really wanted Babydolls to have a place to call their own, so instead of just going to other people’s parties, we could throw parties for the people we want to support and promote.
It was really popular from the very first grand opening night. Some of the events I worked on that I’m really proud of is our collaboration with Mixcloud. We had a month-long partnership, where every Monday, we brought in like three real-life female DJs. We did it in collaboration with another girl group from the real world in Chicago called Babes Only. So Babes Only and I worked together to bring two or three DJs once a week that had never been in the Metaverse and kind of launched them and introduced them to a new crowd of fans. So Mixcloud sponsored the event. It was a really great event, which gave us a new mission – to be a launchpad for DJs in the Metaverse. That was something we’ve done consistently for the last few months. I really like to focus on female DJs whenever I can, and certainly DJs that come from underrepresented groups and just trying to bring them into the web3, get them to understand what kind of connection you can make with fans during this, really immersive experience. I think I onboarded over 20 DJs so far in 5 or 6 months.
So the question that keeps bothering me is, are you doing this full-time?
I do have a company in real life that I am neglecting (laughing), but luckily it’s a good company, it’s a good business, so I can do a little bit of work in real life and a lot of work in the Metaverse and still manage to put bread on the table.
Do you feel like you would ever like to go fully into Metaverse?
100 percent absolutely. I’d love to go full-time Metaverse. I’ve been super lucky to work with some incredible brands, which has been a huge amount of inspiration and education on how women can be at the forefront of the next digital era. It’s been really inspiring to me to meet these incredible women who have been making changes whenever they go.
What’s the thing that is missing right now in Decentraland?
I think daily users need to increase on Dcentraland, but how do we do that? First, we need to get some of the technical issues that Decentraland has under control.
When we talk about onboarding thousands of new users daily, I think we need to ensure that our system can handle it. It’s just that you can’t get attraction from people if they come into Decentraland and can’t log in properly because of a glitchy system, or they can’t meet up with their friends because somehow we’re not going on the same realm on the same island. So you will never get them to come back, no matter how good your event is or how great a party at Doll House is. If they can’t get there, they will not come back.
What is so special about Decentraland?
There are a lot of Metaverses right now, and I think we need to tell them how much innovation there is for the average person in Decentraland and how easy it is to find people to create with and it’s such a great and diverse community, I don’t know any other Metaverse that has the strength of the community that we have. It’s small right now, but it’s strong! And a lot of that has to do with the ecosystem of digital ownership, of self-governance. There are ideals that Decentraland has that other Metaverses don’t have, and I think we don’t push that message enough to people. I think people just think, well, it’s either the Sandbox or is it Decentraland or Monoverse, and we need to push WHY Decentraland is the best, and that’s because it’s fully owned by its users. And this is very important that you don’t have a middleman. And the money you put in Decentraland, you can still take out and trade your NFTs on Opensea. It’s just not a corporate money pit.
I think you’ll see a very different Decentraland for the next year because the citizens themselves are mobilizing to make it a better place.
How will wearables change in time? What do you think about buzzword utility?
Most of the time, creators need to make utility, whether in fashion getting a phi-digital item, along with your digital item, or gaining access to certain perks, or real-life events or events in Decentraland. So having the ability to add utility to that stuff is a really cool thing, I think. Is it necessary? Nah, not, but it does add to it. And then, in that sense, you should charge more for it.
Also, it’s hard to self-promote, you know, especially as a female, you were told to not show off and not talk about yourself too much, so it’s been difficult for people, I think to sell-promote. Men are very good at self-promoting, but women struggle with it a lot.
What the future holds for Tangpoko?
I was just invited to join women in the web3 advisory council for the Elite World Group. So Elite World Group is a model and talent agency, one of the biggest in the world. They are really jumping into the web3 space. They’re starting to look out for influencers inside the Metaverse and looking at talented media in the next digital era. We will focus a lot on fashion, particularly women’s innovation and diversity in fashion.
Together we will work on uplifting women in Decentraland.
Follow Tang here!