The Big Five project, a game changer for African arts

July 21, 2021

 

TINASHE MAKICHI

 

Catapult Africa, a Zimbabwean company, has unveiled a product called “The Big Five” which has the potential to significantly boost curating, digitising, and monetising African Art as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through blockchain technology.

The Big Five NFT platform is the first in Africa and aims to turn African art into digital art sold as NFTs.

Catapult is currently signing artists into its stable.

So, far artistes signed include Alfred Kainga, the biggest comedian to come out of Zimbabwe while talks are underway with various artistes such as internationally recognised South African singer and songwriter, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Connie Ferguson, a well-known South African actress, filmmaker, producer and businesswoman, among others.

NFTs are digital certificates that authenticate the claim of ownership to an asset and allow it to be sold or transferred.

The certificates are then secured by blockchain technology, similar to the undertakings of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

NFTs allow an artist to auction their art on a secure marketplace, a transparent bidding process, and ensure creators receive a percentage of all future resales.

Catapult Africa chief executive Izzy Mutanhaurwa told Business Times that the company believes NFTs are not yet being used to their full potential.

Fine art collectors, music consumers, and investors do not only purchase a JPEG or 3D GIPHY of the art, but also the physical art.

This could be the original painting corresponding to its NFT or music record corresponding to its digital NFT.

In this case every artwork would have a corresponding contract NFT, which would function as both its certificate of authenticity and certificate of ownership and this contract NFT would be attached to the artwork in the form of a linking serial number or QR code.

“Payment for the physical artwork would happen via this contract NFT. The money could even go into an escrow account so that the artist and gallery would not be paid until the work arrived safely with the buyer.

“Every time a physical artwork was sold, the contract NFT would be sold along with it, otherwise ownership would be invalid. This ensures all artists are well compensated for their art at a fair market value, receive future resale royalties, information of its current owner, and current resale value. This brings unprecedented transparency to the African art market and ensures artists are supported for their hard work,” Mutanhaurwa told Business Times.

The Big Five NFT marketplace for African Art will be a first in Africa.

In the history of crypto currency there has never been a project that targets and benefits Africa.

The only representation that Africa has had in this space is being recipient of charity donations.

This means it is the first time we have a project that has been built by Africans for Africa.

“The problem that we are aiming to solve is under representation of African Art in the global marketplace. The project also aims to mitigate the financial impact Covid-19 has had in the arts industry across the continent. With gatherings prohibited in most countries, artists that require live audiences have suffered a negative impact on their earnings,” Mutanhaurwa said.

Tokenisation of their art also mitigates the loss of income as the platform allows them to digitise and sell their digital art to a wide audience. Copyright has been a problem for African artists, as ownership and copyright were not easily enforceable.

The block chain technology also addresses the ownership challenge as its record is immutable ensuring artists can continue to benefit from their art to perpetuity.

Under this product, artists will be charged a fee of 0.33% of the value fee to use NFTs. These fees are chargeable in the native currency of our NFT Marketplace, The Big Five Token,” Mutanhaurwa said.

A 1% final value fee is also payable when the NFT is sold. The fees are used to secure the block chain with proof of stake mechanism.

The Big Five Token is a deflationary token with a finite supply of 100bn tokens. Holders of BFT are rewarded with 1% of the fees, while 2% of the fees will provide liquidity and 1% is distributed to charity partners which have been carefully selected.

“We are working hard to recruit prominent artists on the whole art spectrum from across Africa. The pool includes musicians, actors, dancers, painters, sculptors and wire artists.  We are the first in this space, the only NFT marketplace for African art,” he added.

“We currently seek private investors for a limited period, which will be followed by the token launch on Pancakeswap. The launch will be followed by the establishment of the NFT marketplace.”

Any private investor that invests in the token before TGE will have the tokens vested for 12 months with 25% release every quarter in order to hedge token volatility and maintain market price, he said.

 

 

 

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