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Early days for NFTs in South Africa and Nigeria

get.Africa
Early days for NFTs in South Africa and Nigeria
By get.Africa Weekly • Issue #61 • View online
Avuxeni,
That’s “good morning” in Tsonga
The first-ever tweet was posted 15 years and a day ago today.
To commemorate the event, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey opened up an auction for it that closed on its anniversary. The last bid was $2.5 million.
The proceeds from the sale are to go to GiveDirectly, a charity organization that gives cash to families in Kenya, Liberia, Malawi and Rwanda living in extreme poverty.
Through Dorsey and GiveDirectly, scores of people on the continent will benefit from NFTs without having to understand what they are and what the hype is all about.
Selling tweets, come again?
If you, too, are yet to get a hang of NFTs, you’re not alone.
In fact, I know that by the time an explanation starts with: 
“an NFT stands for non-fungible token" blah blah
Most of us have already switched off. But stay with me.
In economics, an item is said to be fungible when that item is interchangeable. Perhaps the best example of this is money.
If Person A lends Person B a ₦1,000 note, it does not matter to Person A if they are repaid with a different ₦1,000 note. In the same sense, Person A can be repaid with five ₦200 notes and still be satisfied, since the total equals ₦1,000. 
But with non-fungible tokens, it’s different.
Back to Dorsey again, and what he has done is to create a digital certificate for his tweet that’s signed and verified by him; the certificate is unique and not interchangeable.
That certificate is called an NFT. And it’s the NFT and not the tweet, that’s being auctioned.
Similarly, any digital item – tweets, art pieces, songs – can be turned into an NFT.
Another way to see NFTs is to imagine if that ₦1,000 note from Person A had Person A’s signature, Person B now has a non-fungible item in their possession.
If that item is valuable, maybe because Person A is a person of great repute, it can be sold and resold as a collector’s item, just like a classic car, a Rolex watch or a piece of art. And every time the item exchanges hands, Person A and every previous owner stands to benefit.
It’s for this reason that creatives are most excited about the future of NFTs.
Watch a video of veteran rapper Jim Jones speaking about some of the possibilities. For a deeper explanation of the good, the bad and the fluff about NFTs, read here.
Gaining steam
Worldart recently launched South Africa’s first NFT gallery auction. The first piece was a GIF by local artist Norman O’Flynn.
In Nigeria, this article details the growth of NFTs from the perspectives of a creator, who’s sold pieces for as much as $35,000 and an investor, who’s bought one of his works and currently holds an NFT piece from another artist that’s worth $180,000 and has refused to sell. 
But the article also highlights significant hurdles:
  1. Regulatory risk: The creation of NFTs and their exchange is facilitated by blockchain and cryptocurrency, and that’s a headache because the South African finance regulator has just issued its umpteenth warning on crypto investments, while Nigeria’s central bank banned crypto and now seems to have made a policy reversal. Emphasis on “seems”.
  2. Western appreciation: With the biggest NFT investors currently from the West, many local creators have had to adapt their creations to appeal to Western sensibilities.   
However, as more local investors and startups get involved in the NFT space, that second point should change.

Correction
The last issue of the newsletter erroneously stated that Africa has 4 billion-dollar companies. There are far more. It should have read that Africa has 4 billion-dollar companies that are typically referred to by the press as unicorns.
get.Africa is a weekly roundup of the most interesting stories in African tech. To support, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, share this issue or send us an email. You can also check our archives.
The first-ever tweet
The first-ever tweet
What's the Big Deal?
+ Nigerian-based digital bank, Kuda, has announced a $25m Series A, led by Valar Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm. Kuda plans to use these funds to build out its credit offerings, B2B services, and expand to new markets. This isn’t Valar’s first investment in an African fintech (Paywall).
+ Termii, a Nigerian platform-as-a-service (PaaS) startup has raised a $1.4 million seed round for North Africa expansion starting with Algeria. The round of funding was co-led by Future Africa and Kepple Africa Ventures.
+ $ Rise Fund, the global impact investing platform of investment firm TPG, will invest $200 million in Airtel Africa’s mobile money arm. The investment will see the mobile money business — Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) — valued at $2.65 billion. MTN too seems to be on its way to spin off its mobile money service from the rest of its business.
Reads
Why Lagos has become Africa’s most attractive tech hub for investors
Champagne corks popping in South African ecommerce boardrooms
China’s Transsion dominates smartphone market in Africa
Gokada announces new CEO, Nikhil Goel
How Nigeria's commercial banks are adapting to digital banks
Charts + Graphs
Best paid tech CEOs in South Africa – And why they deserve high salaries
Best paid tech CEOs in South Africa – And why they deserve high salaries
South Africa’s high flying tech CEOs are raking in tens of millions of rand but this article argues that as long as they’re bringing in the billions, the executives are worth it.
+ Reads
+ Like Tesla, like Innoson? The Nigerian car maker denies reports that it now accepts crypto as payments.
+ Even tech bros: A whopping 28.2% of tech professionals in Nigeria are unemployed.
+ Netflix is cutting checks checks: Netflix to invest R14 million to fund South African movies.
+ Uniformity: Nigerians will now pay ₦6.98 every time they use the USSD banking service, rather than providers arbitrarily setting USSD charges.
+ Android only: Facebook rolls out Instagram Lite to users in Sub-Saharan Africa. The idea is to have an app that consumes far less data than traditional Instagram. It’s only available for Android users.
Watch + Listen
What is USSD?
What is USSD?
Middlemen-as-a-Service - A Retrospective with Sayo Folawiyo and Justin Norman
Mdundo's business model puts the artist first
Overheard on Twitter
Moe
People don’t realize how big that Flutterwave and PayPal partnership announcement is.
It is probably the biggest (most impactful) news in our e-commerce space & this will gradually become clear.
Classifieds
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
I'm writing a book on remote work for African businesses
+ To make whiteboard animation videos like this for educational or marketing purposes, please send us an email.
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