Explainer: Everything you need to know about NFTs, the new digital currency

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Non-fungible token (NFT) has become a hot topic since an artist, Mike Winkelmann popularly known as Beeple, sold a piece through renowned UK auction house Christie’s for $69 million earlier this year. Since then, NFT has become the new digital money everyone can’t wait to get a piece of. Some Nigerian artists have already jumped on the trend but before we get into it, let’s give you a breakdown.

An NFT is a non-fungible token that certifies digital ownership of any digital art linked to a blockchain. They are unique and can’t be replaced by another NFT. Bitcoin, for instance, is fungible and can be replaced by another cryptocurrency. However, NFTs are different since they give the owner exclusive rights to the product.

Any form of digital assets can be an NFT including paintings, Jpegs, videos, GIFs, MP3. NFTs can be bought with cryptocurrencies mostly Ethereum and exchanged to any currency of your choice.

Nigerian digital artists in the NFT space

Jacon Osinachi

In 2017, Osinachi learned people were posting artwork as NFT collectibles. With some help from the community, Osinachi minted a few of his works. Not long after, his piece was featured in the Ethereal blockchain summit in New York and has since made over 75000 dollars in the NFT market. Osinachi has reportedly earned a year’s salary as a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka from one piece.

Mirror Mirror by Osinachi
Photo Credit: Cryptoart

Anthony Azekwoh

Anthony Azekwoh is a 21-year-old chemical engineering student and digital artist who grew up in Surulere. He started painting his works on Adobe photoshop before he decided to test the NFT waters. Anthony has since become one of the leading NFT artists in Nigeria and has sold his art to countries he has never thought of visiting. He currently runs an agency where he supports crypto Artists.

The Red Man by Anthony Azekwoh Photo Credit: (Anthony Azekwoh

Oyindamola Oyekemi Oyewumi

In March, Oyindamola Oyekemi Oyewumi, a 24-year-old Nigerian artist who creates portraits using ballpoint pens, tweeted her drawing of Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. This portrait drew Hokinson’s attention so he tweeted it and put it up for sale as a NFT. Oyewunmi has been into NFT since the tweet sold for 6300 dollars.

Why more Nigerian creatives need to jump on the NFTs wave

We are moving from traditional pieces of art to virtual pieces of art. Anyone can be an artist and you don’t have to wait to have a gallery before you showcase your art pieces. Usually, before you make a good profit from your artwork you probably have to do an exhibition which could lead to a loss if you don’t have the right connections. But with NFTs, you can advertise your works with little or no money and connect to the right audience who would pay the value of your work.

NFTs aren’t just beneficial to the art industry as they can further expose the music industry to the rest of the world. With NFTs, musicians can sell their music without having to pay radio stations or wait for record labels to sign them. Take a cue from M.I Abaga who was listed as one of the top 100 creatives for Binance’s NFT marketplace, he said he is honored to be part of the project because it brings technology and creativity together and is an incredible opportunity for musicians and creatives to showcase their talent to the rest of the world.

Another great thing about NFTs is that they help you avoid copyright infringement. It’s no news that creatives complain about how their pieces get stolen which in return affects their standard of living. The common solution is to sue the person but that can be really tasking and may later be swayed in the defaulter’s direction. However, with a non-fungible token, you can now uniquely personalize your creative piece to avoid copyright infringement.

The one thing we learnt from the pandemic and the lockdown is how important the digital space is. The whole country was placed on curfew, churches were locked, businesses were put on hold leaving the Nigerian economy to crumble. This period paved a way for remote sources of income. Jacon Osinachi, the leading Nigerian NFT Artist, recalled how he produced his digital arts during the lockdown using Microsoft word and converting them to JPEGs, which yielded thousands of dollars. The question we should ask ourselves is what happens if there is another lockdown? How do we intend to earn money?

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