Non-fungible tokens are the wave of the future, but will they include opportunities for Black folks?
In the last several weeks, the conversation about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has exploded into the mainstream. While some are still scratching their heads about what NFTs are, crypto enthusiasts are buying them almost as quickly as they are being produced.
NFTs are different from cryptocurrencies in that they cannot be traded at equivalency as they are different from one another—unlike cryptocurrencies, which are identical. NFTs are unique cryptographic tokens that cannot be replicated. More than often, NFTs are used to represent valuables like art, collectibles, or music. However, their tokenization vastly reduces the probability of fraud.
Take music for example: NFTs can be used within the music industry to remove the intermediaries like music streaming services or even record labels. Through this method, NFTs allow artists and listeners alike to connect with one another.
Rapper Nas is the latest musician to take the plunge into NFT world as he recently partnered with NFT music rights platform Royal.
Nas speaks at the Universal Hip Hop Museum Groundbreaking Ceremony in Bronx Point on May 20, 2021. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
On Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, Royal will launch two of Nas’ latest songs, “Ultra Black” and “Rare.” Royal works in three steps: 1. Artists sell royalty ownerships of their songs and give collectors access to special perks; 2. Listeners and collectors can buy royalty ownership directly from their favorite artists in the form of NFTs; 3. Both the audience and artist are able to collect dividends on the music.
During the Nas launch, these NFTs will represent up to 50 percent ownership of his songs. There are also preexisting tiers that the buyer can select that determine how much ownership of the song they will have; as expected, the higher the ownership, the higher the expected royalties. But the hip-hop legend’s NFTs will be limited, with only 1,110 tokens for “Rare” and 760 for “Ultra Black.”
Nas’ NFTs were originally set to release Jan. 11, however, user demand was so large that the site crashed a minute into the drop. Thus, the sales we see Thursday could not only set the precedent for how consumers begin to view NFTs, but could also play a large role in introducing the hip-hop community to blockchain.
But for many hip hop heads and art enthusiasts—the Nas NFTs will not be their first dabble into the quickly developing metaverse.
(Adobe Stock photo)
In fact, NFTs completely revolutionized Art Basel this past year. Art Basel is the festival that urges celebrities, techies and art connoisseurs alike to descend upon Miami Beach for a week in December to discover what’s new and cutting-edge in the world of music and art.
As attendees seemed to agree that NFTs are what’s next for the art world, the NFT trading platform OpenSea expanded rapidly.
OpenSea, founded in 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, has grown into the world’s largest NFT marketplace, trading over $3.5 billion last year. Although most of these NFTs are built on the Ethereum blockchain, there are competing blockchains like Polygon which seek to take the lead.
Although OpenSea is the biggest marketplace currently, it is not the only one, with platforms like Solanart and MagicEden, which both operate on Solana.
Thursday’s NFT drop will be the first of a series of events that will continue to shift the culture into the metaverse. With the Brooklyn Nets recently introducing the ‘Netaverse’ and stars like Kevin Durant collaborating with organizations like Coinbase and NBA Top Shot (a blockchain-based NFT platform)—one thing is certain: there is space for the culture in the world of NFTs.
Wen-kuni Ceant is the CEO and Co-Founder of Politicking. She is a Fulbright Scholar and through the fellowship she studied health infrastructure in Senegal during the last year. She received her Masters in Public Health in Health Management and Policy in 2016 from Drexel University. Before Drexel, she attended Howard University, in Washington, D.C. where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors with a Bachelors of Science in Biology.
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