In 2021, Mike Winkelmann popularly known as Beeple, sold a piece through renowned UK auction house Christie’s for $69 million, setting off a major demand for Non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The global NFT market went from $100 million in 2020 to $22 billion according to tracking company DappRadar. A year later, NFTs are still the rage across the world and in Nigeria with everyone from celebrities like MI Abaga to artists like Jacon Osinachi getting in on the action. Despite the growing popularity of NFT, the concept and market can be a bit confusing, especially for artists trying to get in. Don’t sweat it; we have got the best guide you need to a seamless entry into the Nigerian NFT space.
Join African Spaces/Community
To get rid of the overwhelming trepidation that can come with starting something new, look out for communities like @Naijadao and @africannftclub to get acquainted with other NFT artists. On Twitter, these groups occasionally host spaces on Twitter for everything NFT. Here, you will find other Nigerians and African artists, feel at home, get informed and soon, you are speaking on spaces and marketing your work. On the importance of joining spaces hosted by Nigerians and Africans, NFT artist, 2D illustrator and animator, Akpomedaye Oghenetega says, “When people host spaces, sometimes they would not let black people speak so I advise people to join more African or black spaces. They would feel more welcome and the anxiety to speak will be reduced.”
As you join these spaces and communities, make genuine friends and build relationships with your peers in the NFT space. It’s okay to shoot your shot with established NFT artists but you should focus on making connections with people you can grow. Look out for new artists like yourself and others that are a bit more experienced. These are the people who will help educate you on NFT and assist you as you all navigate the space. As you grow, you can give each other some exposure. The friends you make in the NFT space are ‘eth-less’, you just need to find the right ones.
Beware Of Hackers/Scammers
The internet is filled with possibilities, hackers, and scammers. As an artist new to the NFT world, you could easily fall for their tricks. The most common technique is through links. Don’t open any links if you are not familiar with them or people sending said links. Only open links from trusted minting and listing platforms like opensea.io to avoid losing your artworks and your earnings.
Don’t Fall For Fake Shilling Twitter Threads
Shilling is a term used to describe the act of NFT artists marketing their artworks on social media. Basically, it’s when people promote their NFT so it can be viewed and potentially purchased. Shilling threads could be created by anyone on Twitter which makes it perfect for scammers. They create fake shilling threads to lure and prey on new creatives in the NFT space yearning to make sales. According to Akpomedaye Oghenetega, “The whole idea of them creating shill spaces is for them to get engagement. They will claim they are buying works and that there are collectors nearby. What they are doing is they are getting people to know them before they release a project. Most of these people have a big project in mind like a PFP project. All that fake shilling space is basically for them to get attention and to get people’s eyes on them. It’s usually a strategy. Some call themselves collectors, they buy $2 work and they would boldly, literally state in their bio ‘NFT collector’. They believe when people see ‘NFT collectors’ they would want to follow them”.
Beware of NFT Artwork Theft/Don’t Steal NFT Artworks
This is an inevitable situation since all it takes is for someone to save your art or take a screenshot of it and upload it onto the blockchain once your NFT artwork is posted on the internet. “You are never prepared for art theft,” Oghenetega says. “There are people who come into the space and they aren’t actually artists. They hear NFT brings money so they go to steal peoples’ art and list it on Polygon blockchain thinking no one will know. Polygon blockchain is a gas-free blockchain so anyone can list without paying gas fees or whatever, which means it’s very easy for people to steal works. We are artists and we have used references for years, we know these artists and their art styles so it’s very easy to catch these people.” She goes on to explain how references can help. “People should learn how to make use of references properly because as an artist, you can’t just get a reference like an image and just copy it straight because that person created that as well and you’re just going to have copyright issues. We need to learn to use references like 3,4,5 references for one art,” she adds.
Value Your Art
As a newbie, you are an easy target for people who refuse to pay what your art is worth. They will try to take advantage of you by discouraging you about the price of your artwork saying, “no one will buy your work”. Talking about these internet trolls who prey on newcomers, NFT artist, and photographer, Awelewa Charles says, “I feel if they sense that you’re new to the space and haven’t made sales, there’s a higher possibility of it happening to you but it could happen to anyone really.” We recommend ignoring them and focus on putting in the work. One day, your hard work will pay off and you won’t have to reduce the price of your work to get paying clients.
Get Ready For The Occasional Setback
Some people in the NFT space may promise to purchase your art but don’t get your hopes up. Believe a person after they buy your NFT art. “Heard people complaining about collectors promising to collect works, only to air them afterward. Artists should not live on promises, putting your trust in humans is a risk,” Awelewa Charles says.
Negative Feedback Will Come
Don’t fret, criticism is inevitable in a creative space. A few creatives have received feedback insinuating their work won’t sell or just distasteful comments about their work and a part of this could be attributed to their inability to relate with the artist’s stories or just preference. Do not be discouraged, it means your art is not for them. Keep trying. As someone who has received negative feedback, Awelewa Charles says, “I concluded that day that everyone has the right to their own opinions and perceptions, we can only choose which to accept and which to ignore.”
You Don’t Need Sob Stories To Sell Your NFT Artwork
If your NFT artworks are not naturally inspired by a bad situation, do not fabricate one or negatively exaggerate your living condition just to sell them. It takes out the originality of your work and makes you look less credible and desperate. Think long term, not how to make a quick buck today. You want people who truly connect with your work for the long haul.
Support NFT Artists
It costs 0 Ethereum (Ethereum is a crypto trading currency) to share the works of NFT artists. If you love an artist’s work, let them know. You can follow them but most importantly, share their art. Not everyone will return the energy and you should know when to shift your energy to another artist who will value and appreciate you. Support people like you want them to support you someday.