NFTs are shaking up industries around the world – but what exactly are they? And will they be the key to retaining local talent in the North? We take a look to see what the buzz is all about.
From celebrities to your next-door neighbour, everyone who is somebody is talking about NFTs. Non-Fungible Tokens (or NFTs as they are fondly known) are defined as unique digital tokens that serve as proof of ownership of an asset and cannot be replicated. So, what exactly does that mean?
“Imagine them as digital files representing the official ownership of digital and tangible commodities,” explains Pamela Kerr, who is pioneering the NFT space in North Queensland through her business, Virtual Horizons.
“You can’t hold an NFT in your hand. The digital token which is stored in a wallet shows who owns a unique digital image, artwork, an online game and various other assets.”
Whilst NFTs can be anything digital, from music to concert tickets, much of the current excitement is around using the technology to sell digital art. This is something Pamela has leveraged off with her latest project The Corals, a unique NFT collection that blends digital art and blockchain technology in a carbon friendly framework to raise awareness about the dire state of The Great Barrier Reef.
“Our aim is to increase awareness of the dangers facing the Great Barrier Reef and support the conservation by using NFTs to highlight its beauty whilst providing a platform for artists in this space,” says Pamela, whose first ‘wave’, Genesis, launched earlier this year in partnership with The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and supported by artists such as Brenda Stone.
“The Corals Genesis Collection is a set of 3,000 AI powered pieces of art focused around the Great Barrier Reef, with the following six waves due to be released featuring different locations across North Queensland.
“Thanks to this technology, every person who buys an NFT from any of the seven waves will automatically go in the draw to win an all-expenses paid two-week holiday to the Great Barrier Reef.”
A key initiative of The Corals project is its fundraising aspect, where The Great Barrier Reef Foundation receives a percentage of the revenue generated from each NFT sale.
“Through this project, we are aiming to use NFTs to fundraise $1 million and also highlight everything our region has to offer,” continues Pamela.
“NFTs are changing the fundraising space for charities across the world. It’s opening up new possibilities and giving non-profits access to new sources of funding outside their established channels.”
Abstract artist, Brenda Stone, entered the NFT space under the guidance of Pamela and sold out her first NFT collection in record time.
As the first Townsville artist in this space, Brenda says it has been a game changer for her business, particularly since there is a built-in royalty feature which enables her to earn a commission on every future sale of her NFTs.
“Entering the world of NFTs was exciting and scary; the whole creative process is completely different to making physical art,” says Brenda, who is also the featured artist for wave two of the The Corals.
“When I sell a physical piece of art, it could be resold numerous times and the only revenue I generate is from the original sale. Whereas with NFTs, I will forever receive payment for my work every single time it is sold.
“It has opened the door to a global market, and I now have collectors all over the world through this digital medium.”
The ability to reach an international audience whilst staying in her hometown is something Brenda finds extraordinary and says NFTs could be the answer to retaining local talent here in the North.
“As a Townsville local, I love it here and I don’t want to leave but I am also at a point where I want to be expanding my customer base globally,” she continues.
“NFTs now enable me, and a whole new generation of individuals, to live and work in North Queensland, while still accessing an entire market without having to move. It’s truly incredible for the region.”
Yet, it’s not just artists and charities who have the potential to benefit from this technology.
“I am working with other Townsville people across various industries, including a blacksmith, a vocal coach, a photographer and another digital artist,” adds Pamela.
“For all businesses, NFTs open new markets and revenue-generating opportunities that weren’t accessible beforehand. From lawyers to accountants, anyone can attach their services to an NFT and sell worldwide. The possibilities are endless.”
In May, Pamela and Brenda both attended VeeCon in Minneapolis, a multi-day super-conference where they crossed paths with world leading NFT pioneers, such as renowned entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk.
“To put North Queensland on the global NFT stage was an incredible experience,” says Pamela.
“We are sitting on a gold-mine here at the moment and I can’t wait to see what happens once it explodes.”
Image credit: Phil Copp Photography