As the technology advances, there are a lot of changes we are faced with. An average person has a choice; either adapt to the newness of the ever-changing world or be held hostage to the past by the things we don’t understand. The choice is always a difficult one to make, but if you have chosen to adapt to this fast-paced ever changing world, then buckle up, we’re taking the blockchain express.
For the average percon, the term Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), could mean almost anything, but to Alexia James, it is just one of her passions.
James, a Trinidad and Tobago native who moved to Jamaica for academic pursuits, established herself as one of the Caribbean’s walking resource centers on all things NFT.
In her own words, an NFT operates like a certificate of ownership and provenance; a digital asset that is uniquely owned by a single person and cannot be reproduced or replaced; a one in a million.
This inability to be copied is what makes NFTs so special – and so expensive.
“The first thing that makes NFTs so special is the financial opportunities that people are making with them. But what also makes them special is the art and people being able to put themselves out there, ”James said.
Creativity plays a big role in the spread of technology and is not just limited to paintings as some websites will let you mint (or create) NFTs out of poems, songs, and even dance moves.
The more unique the idea, the more special the project, and, therefore, the more expensive the NFT.
This explosion of creativity comes as a result of the current Web3 environment that experts are calling the ‘age of the creator.’
James explained that “Web3 is giving more creators more power in terms of financial and economic stability. Whether they sell one piece of artwork or more, they gain royalties each time the artist’s pieces are sold. It creates a creator economy. “
One example of such creativity is the ‘Don Doda’ project carried out by local artist Bonito Thompson and his team (which included James) last year.
The since sold-off project stood as a physical and virtual monument to dancehall, an endeavor James says she feels lucky and blessed to have been a part of.
NFTs, however, are not the only bit of technological advancement taking Jamaica by storm as James noted that more attention is coming to currencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin because of its involvement with NFTs.
Simply put, these digital currencies and NFTs operate on the same virtual foundation – blockchain technology – the most popular being the Ethereum blockchain.
The blockchain operates as a kind of ‘virtual ledger’ that records transactions carried out by the NFTs and the currency, preserves creativity, and allows for the sharing of art and technology to wider audiences.
As it stands, there is some difficulty for the average man to purchase cryptocurrenies in some Caribbean countries because of banking limitations, but James noted that these restrictions are not as stringent as they were before.
But where does this leave the average man on the street, the haggler in downtown Kingston, or the art student thinking about future prospects?
The onset of the 21st century and its uncountable advancements has transformed societies into mutated variations of what they used to be.
The future for the downtown market could very well be a future filled with phones sharing crypto-wallet information for the purchasing of goods, sharing NFTs for the preservation of unique artworks, or even bartering some new technology on the horizon.
Whichever it is, Ms James reminds the Jamaican people to be open-minded in the pursuit of new endeavors, especially in relation to technology.
“Take advantage of everything that’s in front of you. Even if you don’t understand it, don’t let it be a hindrance to being a part of the movement, ”she closed.
For more information on NFTs in the Caribbean, read Alexia James’ guide to all things NFT here: https://www.alexiamjames.com/blogs/news/a-guide-to-nfts-for-the-caribbean