A Guide to NFTs for the Caribbean @alexiajames_
by Alexia James January 1, 2022
You’ve heard about “NFTs”, seen “WAGMI” everywhere on your timeline and now you’re curious. You are now trying to figure out what these things are, where to go to see them and buy them and how to find out more. Perhaps you’ve even asked, is this something I can even do or access from the Caribbean? To support the community I put together this guide to give a rundown on the what, how and why of NFTs for people in the Caribbean and the diaspora.
Here’s what you need to know :
What is an NFT?
The abbreviation means “Non-Fungible Token”, but here’s a simpler way to understand it; Many consider NFTS akin to shares/stock in a company because to acquire them you typically have to spend cryptocurrency (usually ethereum, though some are free “to mint”). Consider it a certificate of ownership and provenance. Additionally, much like stocks, these assets can be traded on the open market (via the blockchain) and can appreciate or depreciate in value depending on the demand/supply of a given NFT. NFTs is a digital asset that is uniquely owned by a single person and cannot be reproduced or replaced.
Here’s a breakdown of some key NFT examples:
- NFT Collections: Wyld Flower , Don Dada
- PFPS – Profile Picture based projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club , Crypto Punks
- 1/1 Art – These are NFTs where are single piece is released.
- P2E NFTS – These are NFTs that have a game component to them that allow collectors to play as they earn. Ex – Wolf Game
- Identity management, governance
What is cryptocurrency?
Yikes! You just read the word “ethereum” and now you’re dizzy – no worries. What is cryptocurrency you might ask? It is the digital currency used in an ecosystem where transactions are verified and recorded by a decentralized system using cryptography (Digital Ledger), rather than by a centralized authority (Ex -Banks).
There are several cryptocurrencies that exist the most popular ones being Bitcoin, ETH (ethereum), Solana and Cardano etc. Sometimes also referred to as a token.
What is Web3?
You’re scrolling your Twitter timeline and stumble across the phrase “Web3” a few times and wonder what is this person even saying. The current internet as we know is known as Web2 in the developer world, with the advent of NFTs and decentralized avenues to create and build digital assets where the creator has control of the community is called Web3.
Community is one of the most integral parts of Web3 from projects , to people , to of course the art. The community creates an ecosystem that not only is your audience to consume content as seen in Web2 (The current age of the internet) but to supporters who are willing to not only amplify but pay to own your works. Through dynamic storytelling creators and owners can benefit widely from projects – as the evolution of branding expands not just to a cooperations bottom line but to individual creators.
The creator is no longer begging for capitalization from a large platform/cooperation repping all the benefits of their work but can now gain immediate monetary and community benefits for themselves.
What is the Ethereum BlockChain?
Oh man, that word again – Ethereum. Don’t worry, simply look at Ethereum as a currency, cryptocurrency to be exact, used to trade your NFTs. At a very high level, most NFTs are built and live on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or dogecoin, but its blockchain stores the record of NFTs that makes them work differently from, say, an ETH coin” – The Verge.
How to Purchase them or Sell Them?
Now that you understand what NFTs are, you’re now thinking “okay this sounds pretty cool, how do I get started??”. Before doing anything you need to remember how I earlier drew the analogy between NFTS and stocks/shares.- Please remember that with any type of trade-able asset, there is always a risk attached. Your NFT will be at the mercy of market forces that are impossible to control and hard to predict, the warning, therefore, is never put more into NFTS than you are willing to lose.
Web3 and Crypto are mostly unregulated and there is no regulatory body or insurance to protect you. Also, nothing contained in this guide is meant to constitute financial advice and I am not a licensed financial advisor – just putting that out there.
Now that we have that cleared up, one can participate in the NFT community, either as a creator, collector or both. In each case you need to have access to the following:
- A crypto wallet
- Cryptocurrency to purchase or mint an NFT
- Access to an NFT Marketplace
- An understanding of the fees associated with trading, i.e. “gas”
How to Purchase Crypto when Based in The Caribbean
Alright, now the hard part actually buying your Crypto. Within the Caribbean, it is difficult to purchase Cryptocurrencies as many of the popular crypto-exchanges are “not available in your region”. What does that mean? Most exchanges will not allow you to use your locally issued debit/credit card to purchase crypto. Some countries are however more progressive, Barbados and the Bahamas, for example, come to mind.
Do not close the document though! Where there is a will there is a way. Here are some tips to acquire cryptocurrency::
- If you have a US-based bank account you can purchase Ethereum by utilizing MetaMask once you are able to successfully connect your debit card/credit card to the app
- We really like Kraken , CEXIO , DeFi Wallet as exchanges that are available in most countries in the region. They are however a bit of a pain to set up as you will need to complete extensive KYC requirements such as submitting proof of residence (usually a utility bill), clear copies of your ID, and even a picture of you holding your ID next to your face, SMILE!). Once you are set up on these exchanges, purchasing crypto and sending it to your wallet is a breeze. You have a host of options, you can do wire transfers of actual cash from your local account to the secure bank details provided by the respective apps or you can use your credit card – we prefer the former option because it teaches you to only spend what you can afford on crypto.
Source: @frazras Caribbean Crypto Friendly Cards, Banks and Exchanges
Once you have purchased cryptocurrency, the concept of a wallet is obvious. You need somewhere to store it (never store it in the app for the exchanges we mentioned above). Your wallet is what will interact with the blockchain to trade NFTS.
MetaMask, mentioned earlier, this is the most popular wallet for engaging with the ethereum blockchain and is super easy to use. Your wallet, will not only store your crypto but will also secure your NFTs/tokens after purchasing. Pay very careful attention when setting up your wallet, as most require that you write down a “seed phrase”. This is literally the only way to access your wallet if you forget your login password – there is no “enter email >> reset password” in this game.
So now you have your ETH in your wallet and are ready to look at NFTs or mint (to create something on the ETH blockchain) your first piece. Your mind goes …” Where do I even find these things? “
What is an NFT Marketplace?
Here is your answer, just like you have a mall to shop for your favorite clothes you also have marketplaces to shop and sell your NFTs.
These platforms allow you to see works by artists, purchase and sell NFTs, release collections and dive into the incredible Web3 world.
Once you have selected which NFT Marketplace you want to engage and interact on – you will move onto to connecting your wallet on the platform to Buy/Sell NFTs. This is done by simply going to your profile on your selected marketplace and selecting connect your wallet.
What are Gas Fees?
You now have your wallet connected, you found an NFT you love and want to purchase but then you see gas fees. Gas fees are payments that users have to make to compensate for the computation energy required to process transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. This is very much like the processing fees credit cards may charge for transferring money to various accounts or for paying bills. – Cyberscrilla.com
Now that you have the basics, let’s talk about community. Community is one of the biggest facets of the NFT community and what people outside of the community “normies” fail to see – is that this Web3 movement is about putting the creators first. Thus, your community and how you engage and interact with them is integral as a collector or artist. Additionally, information is your ally be sure to do research and engage with communities for projects, drops or pieces you may be interested in before diving into purchases.
A real and authentic story will always win.
Here are some community guidelines below for NFTs below:
- Join Discord
- Twitter is your bestie with the degen community
- Spaces and Clubhouse rooms are your soundboard and information resource
I hope you enjoyed this mini deep dive into NFTs, we have so many beautiful stories to share being from the Caribbean and our work deserves to take up SPACE in this ever-evolving new digital frontier.
Here are some great people to connect and follow on Twitter (The largest NFT community) to start instantly learning about the space:
Happy to connect with all of the new Caribbean degens out there!