The use, utility, and acceptance of crypto-assets and their derivatives have resulted in many innovations using blockchain technology around the world.
NFTs, the latest digital trend fast gaining attention in Africa’s largest economy, are non-fungible tokens, which are unique and non-interchangeable units of data on a digital ledger called the blockchain, which is the underpinning technology of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
During the 2018 Ethereal blockchain summit, Jacon Osinachi Igwe was the first Nigerian to present his work, and he became a finalist for the Bridgeman Studio Award in 2019. Pre-pandemic knowledge of NFT minting enabled him to sell his artwork in the crypto-sphere amid COVID-19 where most physical galleries were closing their doors.
As a result of the success of his works in the crypto art market, he is regarded as the first African artist to exhibit a series of NFTs at Christie’s, a renowned auction house in London.
JPMorgan, the most valuable bank in the world, disclosed that the NFT market has grown at an explosive rate this year, with monthly sales hovering around $2 billion, with Nigeria already taking a bite.
The market valuation of the NFT universe has risen to about $7 billion, an increase from a monthly sales volume of $400 million at the start of the year.
Kathleen Obakpolor, Founder of QLIP, a Nigerian-based NFT Marketplace, delved into the value of NFTs and how African artists can take advantage of this new asset class and benefit immensely;
“Art is one of the uses of NFTs. Using this use case, African artists could sell their art while adding “UTILITY” to it.
Make it so that anyone who buys your NFTs can get the physical work. A photoshoot might be an option if it’s a photography piece,” she said.
As of right now, owners of NFTs might only be able to “flex” on their NFT marketplace pages, NFTs will become more valuable as they become social and influential.
Chief Executive Officer of AFEN Group, Deborah Ojengbede discussed how NFTs raise an interesting question about art ownership in Africa.
She said, “Millions of devices have copied and downloaded digital art in the past. There are even digital copies of art in museums. In this context, NFTs can serve as certificates of authenticity or ownership for digital artefacts.”
Deborah added that Nigerian art creators are using NFTs to leverage the shift of art to the digital world. Despite a government crackdown on cryptocurrencies, they are increasing their net worth while they’re at it.
Tunji Anjorin of Panaramic Comics stated that (Non-Fungible Tokens) are rapidly evolving as a medium for community engagement, causing disruption in multiple industries (art, gaming, social media, intellectual property).
As the digital ecosystem grows, Adebayo Juwon, Business Development Manager, FTX Africa, said in an exclusive with Nairametrics that as “‘digital identities’ become more important than ‘physical identities’, the demand for content creators, curators, will also grow.
NFTs are expected to continue attracting attention and to grow even more popular as the world fully embraces virtual currencies and digital assets. Furthermore, regulators will continue to think about how to regulate NFTs and other digital assets all over the world, and Nigerian regulators will continue to devise policies that will keep up with technological advances.
Thus, creators and potential buyers should consult with professionals to guide and protect their interests when dealing with NFTs.