NFTs are the most recent internet craze, but what are they all about? And how are African artists and creators making use of it?
NFTs can be almost any type of online material, ranging from digital art and published articles to sports highlights, viral photos, and even memes, and their popularity has skyrocketed.
A non-fungible token, to put it simply, is an online, one-of-a-kind asset that is managed in a digital ledger.
These digitally unique assets are assigned a monetary value and come with a certificate of authenticity, ensuring that the object cannot be easily and indefinitely replicated, even if it is available online. Each NFT occurs on decentralized digital platforms since it is built on blockchain technology. Transactions are recorded in a digital ledger on a blockchain network. Every NFT transaction is publically recorded in that ledger, proving ownership of the item.
Blockchain allows for the replication of tokens such as Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, which were long regarded as unstable and perplexing but have witnessed a spectacular rise in popularity among those willing to embrace digital alternatives to traditional currency.
The three-letter acronym is officially defined by Merriam-Webster as “a unique digital identification that cannot be copied, swapped, or subdivided, stored in a blockchain, and used to authenticate the authenticity and ownership of a certain digital asset (such as the original version of an online photo or video).
“When a new word enters the world’s vocabulary, our ears perk up at Merriam-Webster,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-editor-at-large, Webster’s when the new word was released. “NFT has exploded into popular culture in recent months, and Merriam-staff Webster’s devised a term to give this new technology some context.”
NFTs have created a whole new buying and selling market for the art world, from graphic designers to street artists-turned-digital makers.
Collectors, investors, celebrities, and even chefs have shown interest in NFT marketplaces (also known as exchanges). And, as the crypto-collecting area has grown in popularity and attention, artists have taken advantage of possibilities to sell their work for large sums of money, with some investors spending tens of millions of dollars on a single NFT.
Jetstream, a Ghanaian company, has been awarded $3 million to develop digital infrastructure for Africa’s commerce corridors
Online auctions have provided a new channel for collectors, allowing for a more personal relationship between buyer and maker.
Furthermore, content creators can sell their work from anywhere, and collectors can virtually access global markets from everywhere.
NFTs in Africa
In March this year, Nigerian artist M.I Abaga became one of the first mainstream artists to embrace NFTs and even announced that his next album ‘A Study on Love’ will be an NFT.
Exclusive!@MI_Abaga just confirmed to us that his next album 'A Study on Love' will be an NFT"
— TechCabal (@TechCabal) March 26, 2021
Two months later marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge made Kenya’s first NFT auction after he auctioned off two videos of his career highlights for $37,351.07 (Ksh4 million).
Rich Allela, a Kenyan-based award-winning photographer and filmmaker, also used non-fungible tokens to auction one of the continent’s first crypto art collections (NFTs). The auction took conducted on OpenSea, one of the world’s largest NFT digital marketplaces, from April 26 through mid-May.
Where can you get an NFT and how can you get one
A third-party online marketplace, or NFT exchange, is used to purchase NFTs.
OpenSea is the world’s largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs, having launched in 2018. Rarible, Superfarm, Ethernity, and other popular NFT sites include Rarible, Superfarm, Ethernity, and others.
While transaction details may differ slightly from site to site, the blockchain auction will open at predetermined intervals, and once the NFT has a winning offer, the site will connect with the new owner, usually by delivering a confirmed link to their profile on the marketplace site.
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