The world has seen a surge in the adoption of digital artworks via the not-so-new NFT medium, and we’ve been following the trend and frenzy of this new technology. In light of this recent development, we launched the NFT Radar, a new series featuring artists putting out amazing works in the NFT space. From new but noteworthy NFT projects to sold-out listings, we dive deep with the artists behind these works into the world of digital art, discussing their work process, the significance of their art, and the secrets they knew or wish to know.
Unlike many other players in the NFT space, Stanley Ebonine was neither an artist nor a photographer. Revived memories of his childhood experiences awakened him from his deep slumber to answer the call to wave the flag of African culture in the NFT space. As an entrepreneur who notices a decline in the representation of culture, Stanley identifies an opportunity to create a solution in Web3, so he started an NFT community to foster discussions about overlooked African traditions. In this edition of the NFT Radar, Stanley talks about getting into NFT and how he is building a creative Web3 community.
ESLAH AYENAJEI: How would you explain NFTs to an older man on a bus?
STANLEY EBONINE: NFT is the digital representation of buying and selling, whereby the proof of ownership is stored on the blockchain and cannot be altered. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Before properly understanding what Non-Fungible Token is, you first must understand Fungible. Fungible in simple terms means exchangeable, substitutable, and swappable. If a commodity is of such a nature that another equal part may replace one part or quantity, such commodity can be termed as non-fungible. For example, if you have $1,000 and someone brings ten notes of $100 for you, that’s fungible because you still get the same value. For example, you and your friend go to a car stand to buy cars of the same colour and year, and immediately leaving the car dealer, your friend asks you to swap with them. The major reason you are sceptical about swapping cars with them is that there’s a possibility of faults, which makes the car a non-fungible item. But if your friend offers to give you petrol from their car, you’ll be quick to accept because you still get the same value. Now the car is non-fungible (because there’s a possibility of different values), and the petrol is fungible because you still get the same value. Other non-fungible assets are arts, photographs, diamonds, land, e.t.c. Therefore, a Non-Fungible token is simply a digital version of such non-fungible assets built on the blockchain.
Tell us about your photography journey? How did it all start?
I am not a photographer. I am an entrepreneur who sees problems as an opportunity to provide solutions.
As a young boy, I grew up in Port Harcourt, and my peers mocked me for not knowing how to speak the Igbo language and the customs and traditions of my village, Uga, in Anambra state. During my JSS1, I took it upon myself to relocate down to the village, where my parents begged me to come back, but I knew what I was searching for, so I stayed with my grandma. She taught me everything I learned, traditions, customs, and even speaking the Igbo language fluently. At this time, I fell in love with my history, the cultures, traditions and customs of the Igbo people, and vowed to promote its way across to other parts of the world.
In 2021, I got to know about NFT. I saw innovation as a perfect way to bring my dream to life, so I called a couple of friends, some talented young artists, and thus CruzMetaNFT Africa was born to promote African culture in the Web 3 and NFT Community.
There goes the summary of how I got into NFT: as an entrepreneur who sees an opportunity to create a solution.
How long did it take you to understand the nitty-gritty?
It took me a really short time to understand NFT. I am a fast learner with dedication and focus. Most of my education was from YouTube videos. Within two weeks, I was able to catch up. Then I began participating in Twitter spaces. I was able to catch up in no time.
What’s unique about your NFT? What do you do that makes it stand out from the rest?
The utility and plan of my NFT collection are to properly build a bridge between Web2 African cultures and traditions and Web3, therefore promoting the African cultures, which include our traditions, dance, customs, deities, etc. CruzMetaNFT Africa plans on introducing the first African Cultural Museum in the metaverse that will be accessible in its beta stage to the collectors of her genesis collection. Beta stage privileges are in place to acknowledge those who resonate with our NFT to ensure the project achieves its goals. Furthermore, we are looking forward to developing the first-ever African Cultural NFT Marketplace. We will be promoting our Web 2 artists to showcase their African culture related works, including antiques and artefacts. CruzMetaNFT is not just an NFT project but will be the voice of African culture in Web 3.
What’s your future outlook, and what are you excited about in NFT?
I am excited about my projects due to the adventures it promises. To establish and build a powerful community centre in Web3 and NFT innovation Technology. We have partnerships with companies and organisations like Mediabox Technology and Rotary Club of Nigeria, as we have projects with a commitment to charity. We are also looking to partner and collaborate with more artists to grow and achieve our full potential.
What’s your typical day like these days?
Thinking of new ways to grow my brand, engaging myself in Twitter spaces and hosting spaces of mine. All this helps grow my community, promote my project and gather more ideas and information to help me sell out as an artist.