We are entering the era of crypto-simps.
In the last month, multiple “simp DAOs” have formed, pining after Twitch streamers, OnlyFans models, singers—and selling their images as NFTs.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, are essentially clubs for the crypto-set; most are functionally digital co-ops, where there isn’t one leader but a group that makes decisions about the future of the organization together. Some DAOs have membership caps that limit how many people can participate, or a limited number of membership tokens that they’ll mint to keep things exclusive. DAOs as a concept have been around for years, but they’ve recently exploded. ConstitutionDAO banded together to buy the Constitution (and failed), SpiceDAO bungled $3.8 million on a copy of Jodorowsky’s Dune, CityDAO is a bunch of people who bought land in Wyoming… you get the picture.
Simps are super-fans of someone—usually severely online men who idolize influencers (Twitch streamers, models, public figures, etc.) who are women—and who sometimes take their admiration to a parasocial level by becoming reply-guys or sending unsolicited DMs. Simping seems like the perfect product market fit for DAOs, where fans can gather with the singular purpose of talking about how great and hot their fav is. But not just talking; these crypto-simps are putting their money where their mouths are.
One of the first simp DAOs was IreneDAO, dedicated to 28-year-old Chinese crypto influencer Yuqing Irene Zhao. She has a fan community on Telegram, and Zhao told Cointelegraph that after creating a sticker pack of her images to use in Telegram, someone suggested she mint them as NFTs. She agreed, and the community of simps tokenized the stickers into 1,106 NFTs, which served as passes to join their DAO. They sold out in minutes.
Zhao told Cointelegraph that the money will be used by the DAO to “experiment the best ways of integrating Web3 into the creator economy.” The DAO’s motto is “Simplicity, Integrity, Meaning, Purpose.” Zhao has her own startup platform, Socol, an “all-in-one alternative to platforms like Discord and OnlyFans, powered by NFTs,” according to her.
There’s been a lot of drama around IreneDAO; people have been skeptical that she’s actually behind the DAO, claiming that a man is behind her public image and that her simps are being catfished. She’s debunked this a few times, appearing in live streams and video events in support of the DAO. Former hedge fund manager and current CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners Mike Novogratz bought in, and YouTuber Logan Paul bought 20 of her NFTs for $270,000. The current floor price is 0.69 ETH, or about $2,156 USD.
IreneDAO seemed to inspire a flood of simp DAOs. But while Zhao has embraced her simp DAO, it’s unlikely that others have as cozy a relationship with the public figure that inspired them.
DuaLipaDAO is selling images of the singer, claiming to be “a global organic movement aimed at disrupting the simp economy.” DuaLipaDao is “for the simps, by the simps. Our core values are: Dua Lipa, Simping, and Simping,” according to their Opensea. PokiDAO, set up to simp for Twitch streamer Pokimane, is “not officially affiliated with Pokimane,” their Twitter says, but is selling her images as NFTs at a 0.01 ETH floor price, or $32 per NFT. The description on their Opensea is similar to DuaLipaDAO’s: “a global grassroots movement aimed at disrupting the creator economy. PokiDAO is for the people, by the people.” AmouranthDAO, for Twitch streamer, model and cosplayer Kaitlyn Siragusa, who goes by Amouranth, has a Twitter account but hasn’t yet launched their collection publicly.
“The ‘Amouranth DAO’ was made without our knowledge/approval,” Siragusa told me in an email. “I just read about Irene DAO yesterday so the concept is quite new to me. They are interesting as a concept, not being gatekept by large platforms is very appealing to me!”
MiaKhalifaDAO is “coming soon;” Khalifa, now a social media personality and commentator, formerly appeared in porn and made just $12,000 despite her videos going viral, and now runs a safe-for-work OnlyFans. “This is the ONLY site where you can find content I consent to publicizing,” her OnlyFans says.
It’s not just women, however: ElonDAO is for, of course, simps for billionaire Elon Musk. This project, likewise, is not affiliated with Musk. Their core values are “S3XY, Intelligence, Mars, and Positivity.”
There are several DAOs in the name of Belle Delphine, an e-girl most famous for selling “gamer girl bathwater:” the BelleDAO NFT project is selling trading card style images of Delphine on Opensea. “BelleDAO is a global grassroots movement aimed at disrupting the creator economy. BelleDAO is for the people, by the people. A majority of proceeds will go toward Belle OF decentralization system,” the OpenSea description says.
BelleDAO says on its Twitter that it’s not officially affiliated with Delphine. BellDAOphine, another DAO dedicated to her, doesn’t explicitly say whether it’s running with her approval or not. Someone in their Discord asked if Delphine was involved; one of the original members replied, “I think nothing to do with Belle Delphine, just using her pics.”
“Damn,” replied the person who asked the question.
This is an interesting mindset for a community that’s historically bristled at “right-click mentality,” the idea that right-clicking and saving JPEG files of NFTs that other people own is a heinous sin. Despite this, art theft is rampant in the NFT space.
NFTs, and blockchain technology more broadly, has been lauded as a solution to content theft and a way to prove ownership of one’s art while giving the option to earn money on residuals and resales. For adult content creators especially, whose work is constantly stolen, devalued, and reposted for free on sites—and who often make filing copyright takedown notices for their work a second full-time job—the blockchain can help them take some control back to their images.
But with simps like these, who needs thieves?