- The crypto art market is a growing business in Nigeria.
- Pop artist Osinachi sells Microsoft Word paintings for thousands of euros.
- Between January and May, NFTs generated approximately $ 2.5 billion worth of transactions.
At just 29 years old, Nigerian pop artist Osinachi sold Microsoft Word paintings for thousands of euros, or as much as ether, the cryptocurrency often used to buy digital art.
One of his works, Becoming Sochukwuma, shows a black dancer wrapped in a tutu made of African cloth, dreadlocks tied in bread, and swirling on a computer screen.
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But what makes this picture really unique is its approval by NFT (Non-Fungible Token), which is a set of data stored on the blockchain used as a proof of ownership.
Digital painting was sold in April in cryptocurrency worth $ 80,000 in the crypto art market, a growing business in Africa’s most populous country.
Acting as a unique identifier around the world, NFTs have reassured collectors when buying online art and have pushed digital artists to the star.
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Between January and May, the NFT generated about $ 2.5 billion worth of transactions, arousing the interest of the world’s auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s, according to the website NonFungible.com.
Osinachi’s work works very well in this emerging market, and in just a few months the young man has become the most famous African crypto artist.
He used to paint with Microsoft Word when he was in college, but until recently “gallerists didn’t care about digital art,” he told AFP.
It was in 2017 that he discovered that he could sell his artwork directly to buyers using the blockchain. You can store a record of NFT ownership here.
In the last six months, cryptocurrencies and NFTs have grown so fast that digital art like Osinachi has flourished.
“Now the gallery is following him,” said Oinda Morafaky, creative director of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Lagos, the cultural center of the country.
“He has a very positive influence on other African digital artists.”
Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFT are terms that are no longer foreign to Osinachi, who spends a lot of time directly and online to explain to other artists what they are.
Many creative spirits and entrepreneurs in Nigeria are inspired by his success.
It’s an “art space revolution,” said Niyi Okeowo, a crypto artist who works with afro-futureists who combine photography, 3D, and graphic design.
There are about “100” digital artists in Nigeria, says Okeowo, and “mostly inspired by Osinachi.”
Osinachi believes that West African countries have a large, youthful, creative and connected population and have “potential” potential for NFTs.
“There are a lot of talents here. The creative energy of Lagos alone is confusing among young people.”
Nigerians also like cryptocurrencies and have contributed to the success of NFTs.
In an era of economic crisis when the naira was devaluated, more and more people are choosing to invest in digital currencies at home.
By 2020, more than $ 400 million will be crypto-exchanged, making Nigeria the third-largest digital money user in the world after the United States and Russia, according to Statista, a German company specializing in market and consumer data. I did.
Entrepreneur Uyi Omokaro believed early on in the potential of NFTs in Nigeria.
This month he launched Wearmasters, a platform for selling African-made NFT art. It hopes to bring in some of Nigeria’s most talented up-and-coming artists, such as the 23-year-old painter Daniel Pengrapher.
“Our ambition is to give them international visibility through NFTs.”
So far, there are few NFT collectors in the country. One of them is Michael Ugwu, director of the digital studio in Lagos.
“I’m one of the only people,” says Ugwu.
He began investing in cryptocurrencies in 2017 after several devaluations of Nyra and before discovering his true passion, the crypto arts market.
“Traditional art spaces may be a little pretentious,” Ugwu said. In the crypto art market, he says, “I found a community, so it’s very welcome and very interactive.”
He proudly owns “100” NFTs, which he considers to be an investment.
Ugwu used NFTs as insurance to get loans in the crypto market. This is a process that takes months in a traditional banking system.
Ugwu is confident despite the recent cryptocurrency crash that automatically devalues its collection.
“Most of my friends think I’m crazy … wait 10 years later and see.”
Nigerian artists and entrepreneurs use crypto art
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