By the end of the year, reggae artists in the Caribbean should have access to a new platform which will help them tap into the cryptocurrency world using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs have been around for about three years. According to the CEO of Caricoin, Karsten Becker, they give anyone the ability to digitise an asset, like a painting or a song, in a manner where it cannot be broken but still be transferable. That's unlike cryptocurrency which can be split into smaller valued pieces.
In an interview with Kalilah Reynolds Media, popular reggae-dancehall recording artist Bay-C from the group TOK disclosed that the platform is being developed in partnership with the UK-based company Caricoin. The two have been business partners for the last three years.
Bay-C, who himself has been reaping success from his first reggae NFT, said the new platform will allow others in the industry to quickly set up their own NFTs to earn, without the hassle of first learning all the nuances of the cryptomarket.
The singer said he was introduced to NFTs just six weeks ago through a German producer, but was previously conducting his own research about the cryptocurrency market.
His recent NFT was just one song, but was limited to only seven copies. One song sold for 0.1 Etherum (about US$220 at the time) with his first sale coming a day after the release. If a person were to transfer a copy of the song from the NFT today, it would be valued at over US$350.
Bay-C also stands to earn royalties each time a copy of his NFT song changes hands.
“Not everybody wants to understand how the blockchain technology [which powers the cryptocurrency market] works, some just want to get the content out; know that they have this NFT, so we're trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people in the Jamaican and Caribbean creative space,” said Bay-C.
“You can definitely look out for a really robust solid platform to help other folks set up by the third or fourth quarter of this year,” he added.
Bay-C said he's encouraging as many artists to invest in NFT's as they are the future, especially because it cuts out the middleman in many industries, allowing creatives to gain more from their work.
He said he would have still ventured in the NFT world even if there wasn't a pandemic, noting that the health crisis made it more appealing as more people became stuck at home.
“Even when the pandemic goes away, it will still be an opportunity for me to create something and put that out to my community, and people who support me know that when they support me that support goes straight to me, to Bay-C coin and not to the person who owns Apple music or Spotify,” he reasoned.
There's already high anticipation for Bay-C's next NFT and it appears fans will not have to wait that long.
This summer, the artist said he will be releasing his full sophomore album, King Bass, which will be accompanied by NFT collectibles including playing cards and coupons that will give a user access to unlockable and redeemable content.
“We're building up the content right now. I was in some other cities over this past weekend capturing some cool visuals to put together, because I don't just want to put up something and it's cool, I want to put up something that is 'wow' so we're putting together that part of it while we finish the album so people can look for it about July,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, CEO of Caricoin Karsten Becker told Kalilah Reynolds on Taking Stock that music NFTs are selling from anywhere between US$10 and US$10,000 dollars. He added that the overall value of the NFT market has jumped from US$1 million to US$1 billion over the last few years.
However, Becker said there are some generic fees that come with NFTs, which companies are now working to eliminate using new technology. Those costs go directly to the network that supports the cryptocurrencies.
“It started with a project called Crypto Kitties which allowed people to collect little playing cards based on cats. Crypto Kitties started the whole revolution, but they didn't really go mainstream until around December/January during the pandemic when it moved from the collectibles into the art world and a lot of artists realised that instead of paying a 30 per cent commission to a gallery they could sell their art digitally using NFTs,” he said.
Becker said interest will continue to grow for NFTs with a lot of artists now needing more ways to make money. Even Rapper Eminem recently released a series of NFT collectible playing cards. So too has the local reggae group, Morgan Heritage, with theirs selling out in record time.
Becker said the right to digital ownership with a NFT has also made them attractive. He has advocated for more persons to get involved.
He said even the average man can join the community.
“You will need a DeFI (decentralised finance) wallet,” he explained. “Metamask is the wallet of choice these days, so you create a wallet then go to sites like Rarible or Open Sea and they will walk you through the process of stamping and creating NFTs. There are ways to do it on a larger scale if you are a larger artist where you create your own coins and tokens,” he said.