What are NFTs for? Flaunting on social media? Gaining admission to exclusive avatar clubs? Flipping for spectacular profit? Up until now, these have been the primary use cases for non-fungible tokens. But like any nascent technology, it can take time for the market to figure out how best to utilize them.
One startup believes it’s found an untapped application for NFTs that treats them as more than speculative JPEGs minted in batches. Signifty insists there’s a place for NFTs within the philanthropic sector, where they can be leveraged to raise money for charitable causes, from environmental projects to humanitarian initiatives. But for this vision to materialize, it’s going to need the help of the great and the good: celebrities, whose sprinkling of stardust will transform the humble NFT into a vehicle for effecting positive change.
Art meets heart
The concept Signifty is pinning its platform on goes like this. Celebrities have philanthropic causes that are close to their heart. NFTs have an ability to form passionate communities around shared interests. Signifty wants to channel fan power into a potent force for social change through the use of ‘Missions.’ These are celeb-fronted campaigns approved by the project’s Good Deeds Center, which creates an NFT collection around the concept, with funds routed to the charitable cause.
For example, imagine Popstar X wants to conserve Javan rhinos, an endangered species in the Ujung Kulon National Park. Custom content in the form of audio, video, art, signature, letter, or personal item from the star is digitalized by Signifty, turned into an NFT collection, and then made available to the public. The Mission will detail fundraising targets, what can be achieved with the proceeds, and how the NFT drop will proceed.
Rules for participation will also be enacted; the event may be whitelisted, and take the form of an auction or a fixed price sale. If everything goes as planned, the funding target is reached, the fans get a piece of Popstar X in the form of exclusive NFTs, and the Ujung Kulon National Park gets funds to conserve the Javan rhinos. Everything’s tracked on-chain, ensuring full transparency, and everyone benefits.
The beauty of the system is that participants can get involved for very different reasons, be it altruistic, speculative, or a mild obsession with Popstar X, but all parties will emerge with something to show for their efforts, and the endangered rhinos will live to forage another day.
The future of fundraising is social
While Signifty’s implementation of NFTs as a philanthropic tool is novel, they’re by no means the only startup to have stumbled on the idea. Where there’s art there’s The Arts, whose creatives are known for championing charitable causes, often auctioning off their work or performing fundraisers to facilitate this. Harnessing digital art for social improvement is merely the logical progression of this movement.
From raising funds for Ukraine to aiding environmental projects, NFTs have been used to divert funds to meritorious causes of all kinds. Last year, legendary NFT artist Beeple auctioned off his Ocean Front NFT, raising $6 million for the Open Earth Foundation, while Edward Snowden did similar for the Freedom of the Press Foundation to the tune of $5.4 million.
Such initiatives have been one-off efforts, however, that have served primarily to raise funds from the already wealthy. Signifty aims to democratize the process by providing incentives for ordinary investors to participate, allowing everyone to claim a piece of the pie, do their bit for a cause they (or their favourite celebs) believe in, and earn an exclusive NFT as a keepsake or tradeable item.
NFTs have come a long way from the days of Pepe the frog trading coins and pixel art. What started as a non-fungible token standard has been transformed into a panacea for global improvement, one cause at a time.