NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have exploded onto the scene in recent years, with a significant surge here in the second half of 2021. In the simplest terms, an NFT is a unique digital asset that represents a real-world item, and can be bought and sold online. It tracks ownership of the original item, and the information is stored on a blockchain, so that those who are interested in the item can see what has been paid for it in the past. This has been particularly popularized for digital artists as a way to sell art while still retaining property rights, something that traditionally is not done with the transfer of ownership. As you might imagine, it’s a lucrative industry, but it’ll cost you to get in on it; as of the writing of this blog, 1 ETH (Ethereum—the currency used to buy and sell NFTs) costs nearly $4,500 USD.
Whereas cryptocurrency has primarily been dominated by white traders, people of color are beginning to get much more involved in the NFT scene. Here are three black-owned NFT projects that you should know about.
#1: We Are Aliens
We Are Aliens is the NFT brainchild of Jarrell Chalmers, a black entrepreneur who has worked on a number of major marketing projects over the years, including campaigns for Comic Con and even the Empire State Building. We Are Aliens’ NFT artworks feature 3D renderings, and a percentage of all initial sales go to All Star Code—a non-profit organization that teaches coding to young men of color. Currently, We Are Aliens is distributing a percentage of their secondary market royalties to anyone holding one of their NFTs. Those looking to get involved can join them on Discord.
#2: FELT Zine
Meta: Mark Saab, founder and CEO of FELT Zine.
Founded and owned by Mark Saab, FELT Zine markets itself as an experimental, online art platform. Its subject matter focuses on gender, class, race, digital activism, and more. Within FELT Zine, there are several sub-project NFT collections, including Villains, ALGO Lite, and PROV.
#3: Satoshi Art
Meta: Waka Flocka Flame, rapper and co-founder of Satoshi Art
Source: Shenandoah University
Waka Flocka teamed up with Stally, a certified crypto expert and entrepreneur, to create Satoshi Art. Their goal was to create a platform for black artists to feel empowered and have access to a stream of revenue for their work, be recognized, and to profit off of their own intellectual property. Satoshi Art aims to give artists the freedom to create and sell their work in the way that they wish to; not the way they are pressured to by external (often financial) forces.
#4: Culture Shock Galleries
Meta: Frederic Madzimba, also known as “Fred Frenchy,” is the founder of Culture Shock Galleries.
Culture Shock Galleries, or CSG, is an NFT marketplace for black digital artists. Founded and owned by Fred Frenchy in 2021, CSG has served as a virtual auction house for digital works by black artists but is expanding into the music scene as well. Frenchy, who comes from a background in the music industry, also founded Culture Shock Studios, which caters to NFT entertainment. Frenchy, along with an A-list team and an incredible celebrity network, aims to help creators develop original content and educate them on intellectual property rights.
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