NFT art hits town with industry events and shows by collectors WhaleShark and Cordell Broadus

NFT art collector and entrepreneur Cordell Broadus at Somerset Youth Park with inflatable sculpture of Champ Medici PHOTO- GUSHCLOUD INTERNATIONAL
Whale Booth at Token2049 Singapore featuring art NFTs by artists including Brendan Dawes at OP3N WHALE NFT Exhibition . PHOTO: WHALESHARK

SINGAPORE – With over 400,000 art NFTs (non-fungible tokens) worth around US$100 million (S$145 million), the NFT art collector who only goes by the name WhaleShark should know what he is talking about. Right now, he is bullish about metaverse real estate. His simple digital investment philosophy is that digital assets “must be able to draw parallels in real life”.

The Hong Kong-based investor owns 2,800 plots in The Sandbox, making him one of the biggest digital real estate owners on that particular metaverse platform.

The 39-year-old who runs a venture capital firm has also invested in gaming NFTs as well as next-generation Web3 infrastructure products. But it is the NFT art he bought with his early crypto currencies gains – he started buying Bitcoin in 2012 – that remains his first love.

He will be exhibiting some of his collection to participants of Token2049 at Sands Expo & Convention Centre, a Web3 industry event for entrepreneurs, investors and developers that is on from Wednesday to Thursday. “This is my first physical art exhibition. And I want to bring prominence to these artists,” he says of the exhibition called the OP3N WHALE NFT Exhibition featuring 34 artworks.

On show are works by some of his favourite artists including Pak, XCOPY and Brendan Dawes.

Here for an NFT event as well is art NFT collector Cordell Broadus, son of American hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg. The 25-year-old did not want to follow his father’s footsteps into the music industry and “dance when they say dance”.

Instead, he has set his sights on building a Web3 empire. And he credits his foray into the NFT world for this. “NFTs were an introduction to something bigger,” he says.

In February, Snoop Dogg acquired a majority stake in record label Death Row Records and vowed to turn it into an NFT label. He released four audio files in March as part of an NFT collection, each attached to an image of an NFT by Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). That NFT artwork belonged to his son. “Dad took it from me,” Mr Broadus jokes, so he got another one.

Father and son now have their own BAYC NFTs which they have also parlayed into their avatars and what Mr Broadus refers to as “brand ambassadors” named Dr Bombay (Snoop Dogg) and Champ Medici (Broadus). A 12m-long inflatable Champ Medici now reclines at Somerset Youth Park off Orchard Road until end-October.

Mr Broadus is also here for an exhibition of his art NFTs, which includes works by CryptoPunk, Doodles and CloneX. The exhibition, which will be held at the Mandala Club in Bukit Pasoh Road, is presented by BCA Gallery and OKX NFT and will be open to the public on Oct 1 and 2, from 11am to 9pm.

Instead of buying more BAYC NFTs, Mr Broadus bought a stake in its creators Yuga Labs. Apart from investing Web3 platforms like FaZe Clan and Moon VR Player, he recently set up a fund with Singapore’s Golden Equator Group to invest in early-stage businesses in the blockchain and Web3 space.

Asked for his reaction to the recent fall in cryptocurrency values, he says: “I love playing the long game.”

Cryptocurrency is also a hot topic at Token2049. Mr Hong Qi Yu, chief executive of cryptocurrency platform Tokenize Xchange and one of the speakers at the event, says that while there is “more caution in the cryptocurrency sector”, he is still “bullish as I adhere to the school of thought which says that Bitcoin will always remain the ultimate hedge against inflation”.

Tokenize Xchange is one of the few platforms in Singapore which allow users to buy cryptocurrencies in Singapore dollars.

In July, Tokenize announced the launch of Elemint, a NFT marketplace where collectors and creators can meet to buy, sell and collect curated NFT collections based on Web2 and Web3 technology. “It allows creators to turn their digital artwork into NFTs and incorporates cost-effective minting methods that enable them to launch their NFT projects with plug-and-play ease.”

Visitor viewing an art NFT by Pak from the Rubik's series. at OP3N WHALE NFT Exhibition , which is part of Token2049. PHOTO: ARTHUR SIM

Mr Hong says that Tokenize is also working with a “strategic partner on NFT art projects”, but is not ready to divulge details yet.

“I think that NFTs still have a long way to go to fulfil their true potential as one of the key drivers, if not the key driver, of cryptocurrency,” he adds.

Also happening this week is Crypto Art Week Asia (CAWA), on till Friday, followed by Artaverse, an NFT art event from Oct 5 to 9.

Blockchain adoption entity TZ APAC will be supporting CAWA. Its head of growth David Tng says: “We are also putting together a Creative Coder Meet Up and Sharing event as part of our efforts to build the community.

“The burgeoning creator economy in Asia will also be on display in CAWA. The work of some of the most talented artists in the Tezos ecosystem such as Arya Mularama, CS Lim and Jakestudyos will be showcased.”

On the crypto industry outlook, Mr Hong says: “Singapore unquestionably has a bright future as far as being a thought leadership centre and crypto incubator is concerned.”

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