When NFTs where first launched, all sorts of utilities were tied to them as creators were looking to give users more than an image file. When the art is not only way to attract a buyer, then people get creative with the uses that can be given to an NFT. A community that looks to invest in other blockchain products (a DAO), a fun-oriented community, access to real-life events, and doing charitable work.
NFTs for philanthropy or charity is very common in the space, given that utility is very hard to pin down and really understand —at least for now—. So, some artists decide to tie that utility to giving some of the earnings to a charitable organization. For example, that is the case of Beeple, who auctioned off Ocean Front for $6 million, which went to the Open Earth Foundation. This was part of an effort to track down progress relating to the Paris Climate Agreement and avoid the existential risks that climate change poses. Another example of a charitable NFT collection is the Bill Murray 1000, where the proceeds of the sale of NFTs goes to charities that support underserved military veterans. The charity NFT utility is, fortunately, very common.
Having noticed this trend, The Giving Block emerged as project that connects charitable and philanthropical organizations to projects that are willing to do provide some of their proceeds to do the good work. Such is the volume of projects that give to charities that The Giving Block even came up with a ‘top 50’ of projects that are already using this platform for good, with the most philanthropical project donating more than $3.5 million. The one that has donated the least amount (as of November 2021, bear in mind) was giving $3,500, which is not bad at all.
An example of NFTs used for philanthropy is Sheqonomi, a woman-oriented listening app with high focus on developing nations. The app is accessible on KaiOS, an operating system that works on keypad-featured mobile phones, whose price are as low as 10$ —making them ideal mobile phones in low-income populations—. What is very cool about this app is that they reward users for their data with a token, which they can hold, or use to buy in-app NFTs. This past Women’s Day they held an art showing, where the proceeds were given to participating charities.
NFTs are being used as a means of crowdfunding and creating value. This is usually for a project that looks to perform a job like a game or develop a software. They allow people to participate in the decision-making of the project in exchange for much-needed funds to execute the different tasks that the project requires. Crowdfunding has been traditionally used for charity and philanthropy, so when it took the leap into Web3, it’s not surprising that charity and philanthropy started to take place in the NFT space as well.
NFTs that helps cultural institutions
The Czech National Theater decided to get in on NFTs through the philanthropical angle. They will auction their first NFT, which features Nikola Márová (the Czech National Ballet’s first soloist), in the role of Odette as seen in the famous Swan Lake composed by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The NFT shows a transcendent moment in the play, the moment where Odette meets Prince Sigfried for the first time.
And what is the charitable work that will be done with the proceeds of the NFT? A rehabilitation and physiotherapy center, where dancers will be able to heal their bodies. This is a very important work that needs to be done. As medicinal science advances, more resources should be available so that a dancer can relieve him or herself from the strains of the work that they are putting in. This is a great news for any dancer that perhaps has had a career-ending injury or accident. Or perhaps as a way to prevent those injuries.
The auspice of the auction will be in the hands of the Czech National Theater’s Benefactor Club, who will handle the proceeds of the NFT auction and make sure that the rehabilitation center gets built. The auction itself will take place in the metaverse, in SOPRG’s parcel in the Somnium Spaces. A new medium like NFTs requires a Web3 setting. For the Czech National Theater, it is a great opportunity to jump into a new medium and explore what new possibilities the blockchain can provide for art. It is a great opportunity for NFTs as a medium to be adopted by artistic institutions, which helps push for the adoption of NFTs. As for SOPRG, an art gallery owned by the Prucha family in the Malá district of Prague, Czechia, they have already taken the leap into Web3. The partnership with such an important institution represents an opportunity to show the wonders of NFTs to a more traditional audience, as well as convince other artists to jump into blockchain and Web3.
The event will take place at 21.00H CET in the metaverse art gallery.