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How NFTs Are Coded to "Mint" Culture, Reward Artists, and Protect Communities

When NFTs reward creators at the point of use, they advance art and protect the rights of those who make it.

Major Dream Williams, the co-founder of Cancer NFT, thinks that NFTs can help “mint culture” by putting a time stamp on the blockchain and showing where a creation originated in the world. When someone uses an NFT, Williams says, the code directs a portion of the proceeds back to the original owner, protecting them from theft and appropriation.

Williams cites the example of a creator making an NFT of an image of a stadium or landmark. The NFT can then be digitally rendered for use in a video game, movie, or TV show. Each use will send funds directly into a “cultural wallet” for dispersal among the creators and wider community.

“Michael B. Jordan had an opportunity recently where he took a rum and called it 'J'Ouvert' from Trinidad. And the people—the culture, the guardians—asked, ‘How much do we get from it?’ He decided to change the name rather than pay them back. That should not necessarily be an issue. That should be something baked into the cake. And you can do that with NFTs,” Williams says.

Author and journalist Jillian Godsil agrees with Williams that cultures can be financially compensated through smart contracts. When an artist sells a piece of art, digital or physical, a smart contract is coded for secondary royalties, Godsil says.

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“When that piece of art exchanges hands, as an NFT further on down the line, the royalties will always go back to—as a precept—to the original artist,” Godsil says.

Williams says that countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo can benefit from NFTs by using them to make money off stolen national artifacts currently sitting in Dutch museums.

“The proceeds from that can actually go back to the DRC,” Williams says. “There are ways for us to really utilize what the world has, make it, put it in the metaverse, and [allow] the revenue to go back to a lot of the people who would probably have better use of it.”

Watch the full panel: