NFT for Good Report 2021
Everything you need to know about NFT and Social Good in 2021
2021 has been a wild year for NFTs. They sprang into the mainstream when an artist called Beeple sold his art as an NFT for $69 million in March. Since then NFTs have mushroomed and exploded in popularity, taking all kinds of forms. Just in the first four months of 2021, NFT trading volume exceeded $2 billion, and as we close the year , the very young NFT market generated over $23 billion in trading volume. NFTs have extended beyond art to avatars, games, collectibles, tweets, videos, music, memberships and more. Even NIKE recently bought RTFKT (pronounced artifact), a studio that produces digital collectibles. And Coinbase took the plunge into launching an NFT marketplace.
So What are NFTs?
NFTs stands for Non Fungible Tokens which are any copyrighted digital asset like an image or a video with an assigned unique id (cryptographic hash) on a blockchain. The id (hash) of the asset on the blockchain certifies their uniqueness, ownership and this can then be signed over to someone else when the NFT is sold as in with anything on a blockchain. Anything in a digital format can be minted into an NFT. Originally NFTs were minted on the Ethereum blockchain but now other blockchains such as Solana, Flow, Polygon, Algorand, etc offer minting capabilities . NFTs are not interchangeable (Non-Fungible) like money as each is unique and are usually bought and traded on NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea, Foundation, SuperRare etc.
If you want to learn in details about NFTs you can read my previous article here
NFTs and Social Good
NFTs offer a radically new way for nonprofits to spread awareness, raise money and to offer recognition to their donors and volunteers. I’ve been tracking the NFT for social good space since the very start of 2021.
Nonprofits have been slow to enter the NFT space and have mostly been passive recipients. However towards the end of 2021, I’ve seen some great momentum. There now exists NFT marketplaces exclusively for artists to support social causes and many more nonprofits are minting their own NFTs. I’ve also seen some other creative uses emerge beyond fundraising.
To give you a sense of how the NFT space for nonprofits is playing out I’ve categorized it into three broad sections
Charitable Giving through NFTs
This is where a creator sells an NFT and donates a percentage of proceeds to a charity. This has been the most popular form of NFTs for doing good. Creators pick the nonprofit they’ll like to support based on their passion or the NFT theme. Largely the NFT creators have been very giving and many nonprofits have benefitted from this kind of new funds pouring in. It’s difficult to compute how much money has been donated in totality as there have been so many projects across different NFT marketplaces. However as per Giving Block that has facilitated many such transactions between NFT donors and nonprofits states over $12 million have been raised for nonprofits.
Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter sold his first tweet as an NFT and donated the full amount to Give Directly
Edward Snowden sold an NFT to fundraise for his charity
Some of the top NFT collections that donated
Jack Butcher, Founder of Visualize Value and a prominent name in the NFT space, created an NFT collection of 1000 Care Package to provide help to families in Afghanistan through the nonprofit Care.org
Nonprofits Minting NFTs
In 2021 very few nonprofits ventured into launching their own NFTs. Noora Health was the very first. In May, Noora Health auctioned an NFT on OpenSea which was bought for over $5million by Paul Graham the founder of Ycombinator.
New Story Charity, a nonprofit working in the area of building homes for the homeless was the second to raise money through NFTs. They launched a collection of 10 NFTs on December 1st, the purchase of each NFT translating to building a real home for a family in El Salvador and Mexico.
Inspired by the success of their first NFT, New Story Charity launched a second collection on Dec 15
Built With Bitcoin Foundation is a nonprofit that uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fund social projects. In the past the nonprofit has built schools, provided access to clean water and undertaken sustainable farming projects in 5 countries across Africa. Built With Bitcoin launched Built with NFTs in December to raise money for their schools and community building initiatives. They launched a collection of 1000 NFTs, each NFT hand drawn by students from Built with Bitcoin schools.
NFT Marketplaces Exclusively for Social Good
This I would say is one of the biggest achievements in the NFT and social good space in 2021. In the last quarter of the year we saw new NFT platforms come up with doing good built into their DNA. These platforms provide the infrastructure to NFT creators to support social causes.
DoinGud is an NFT marketplace that launched on Giving Tuesday (November 30). Selling NFT on the DoinGud platform equals doing good. Creators select a cause and nonprofit they’d like to support and a donation of minimum 5% goes to their preferred charity. Creators can up the donation percentage but a minimum of 5% is built into the smart contract and NFT resales amount to 2.5% to nominated charity for life.
MetaGood is another NFT marketplace exclusively for NFTs supporting social causes. A portion of each drop on MetaGood goes towards a cause chosen by the creators. MetaGood launched in September with their OnChainMonkey collection of 10,000 profile pictures. The OnchainMonkey trading have been doing a lot of good, one auctioned theirs for over $35K, 100% of which was donated to Giga, a UNICEF project to connect every school in the world to the internet. One of MetaGood’s other notable project has been the rescue of the Afghan woman behind the iconic photograph “Afghan Girl” to Italy. The rescue efforts were funded by NFT sales.
2021 has provided only a little taste to the Nonprofits and the NFT world of the vast potential that lies in doing good when the two collaborates. NFTs presents an immense opportunity for fundraising and creating awareness for social causes. The NFT creators have been largely giving to nonprofits on their own however the nonprofits themselves need to move faster and actively reach out to collaborate with creators if they want to tap into this new funding model.
Besides fundraising I see other creative applications for NFTs to create and nurture a culture of giving and volunteering. Nonprofits can issue NFTs to donors, board members and volunteers which they can proudly display as their profile pictures or as accomplishments on the web - a proof that they have contributed towards a cause and earned that NFT.
It’s been fascinating to see how the value created online (via NFTs) has translated to real dollars and impact on the ground and can’t wait to see what happens in 2022.
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