Sotheby Alters Art Sale, Novice Player Makes Staggering Profit

In response to community feedback regarding a lack of diversity, Sotheby’s has announced that its upcoming digital art sale, “Glitch: Beyond Binary,” will place a focus on inclusivity. This comes after criticism of last month’s “Natively Digital: Glitch-ism” auction, which was temporarily paused due to the lack of diversity. Sotheby’s emphasizes that the sale will represent people from all backgrounds and identities, stating that it is committed to highlighting the diverse artist communities that make up Glitch Art.

On the other hand, a newcomer to the online game Illuvium: Beyond has made a staggering profit by finding the rarest character yet, the “Holo Blazing Rhamphyre.” The player found the character in a “D1SK,” a type of digital loot box containing random characters and accessories. The player purchased the loot box for only $32 and sold the character for $49,128.85, netting a profit of approximately 140,525%.

In other NFT news, the Ukrainian President has signed the country’s first NFT, a collection called “UACatsDivision,” featuring cats of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with all funds donated to the Ukrainian military services. At the time of writing, 3,026 NFT cats had already been purchased out of the 10,000 available.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin miners have made over $5 million from creating NFT inscriptions using the Ordinals protocol, according to Dune Analytics data. Transaction fees for Ordinals transactions exploded from $1.5 million on March 10 to $5.2 million by April 12. Nearly 1.1 million Ordinals had been inscribed on the Bitcoin network, consisting mainly of jpeg images and text but also PDFs, video, and audio formats.

However, an NFT collector made a costly mistake by bidding 100 Ether (ETH), worth around $192,000 at the time of writing, for an NFT from the Gemesis NFT collection, which was intended to be free to celebrate the launch of OpenSea Pro. Some community members believe the transaction was a wash trade, while others argue that the trader simply made a mistake bidding 100 ETH instead of $100. However, another community member argued against theories that it was a wash trade since it was too risky.

Overall, the world of NFTs continues to grow and evolve, with new developments and opportunities for profit emerging regularly.


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Inspired By Tulsa, Black Leaders Are Defining What Black Wall Street Means Today—In Its Many Forms

Lakeysha Hallmon prides herself on following in the footsteps of O. W. Gurley, the founder of Tulsa’s Greenwood district, known as the original Black Wall Street. 

Like Gurley, who moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma where he purchased the 40 acres of land upon which he’d build Black businesses, Hallmon left Mississippi for Atlanta 10 years ago with similar plans.

“Atlanta exemplifies mobility, and where there’s mobility there’s opportunity,” says Hallmon. “There’s an opportunity where there’s already unapologetic conversations around economic mobility for Black people.” 

Hallmon founded the Village Market in 2016, an Atlanta-based initiative that aims to support Black entrepreneurs through marketing campaigns and marketplaces. She’s one of many Black leaders who are vowing to keep Gurley’s Black Wall Street vision alive 100 years after the Tulsa race massacre destroyed his prosperous Black neighborhood. 

“A lot of my decisions are made by the way that he conducted business, the way that he truly galvanized the community,” says Hallmon. 

To date, the Village Market’s annual “Buy Black in August” campaign, triannual marketplace and community retail store—which shares 80% of profits with those whose products are sold—have generated more than $5.3 million for local, Black-owned businesses. Hallmon has also launched a 12-week incubator called Elevate that’s provided more than 75 Black entrepreneurs with mentors and funding support to scale their businesses.

Actor Hill Harper saw an opportunity to digitize Black Wall Street. On Monday he launched The Black Wall Street: a cryptocurrency app that allows users to trade and convert cryptocurrencies. It also offers financial literacy resources for Black communities that are often underserved.

“O.W. Gurley originally founded the Greenwood district…and since then we’ve had this whole trend,” says Harper. “Nipsey Hussle talked about it with ‘buy back the block.’ Our thing here is: buy back the blockchain.”

“Black culture has empowered and emboldened so many tech companies,” Harper adds. “Yet that value has not yet made its way back into our community. Owning this platform is to allow individuals in the community to own their own culture and to benefit from it.”

Randy Wiggins is honoring Tulsa by putting down roots for a new Black Wall Street in the city. “We want Tulsa to be the world’s most Black entrepreneur-centric ecosystem, which is essentially what it was at the turn of the 20th century.” 

Tulsa isn’t just rich in history, notes Wiggins. Geographically, it’s ideal for budding Black entrepreneurs. “[That’s] reality given Covid-19, high prices and cost of living on the coasts,” says Wiggins. 

Through his initiative, Build In Tulsa, which launched Monday, he aims to attract and support Black businesses that choose to settle in Tusla. The organization’s advisory board includes Ariel Investments’ John Rogers, whose grandfather owned property that was destroyed during the massacre, and Loida Nicolas Lewis, widow of the late businessman Reginald Lewis. 

Build In Tulsa is launching three accelerator programs, and within two years hopes to provide 30 companies with the funding they need to set up shop in Tulsa. Long-term goals include opening a dedicated Black Tech HQ in the city and launching a $10 million seed fund.

Wiggins is also in the process of acquiring an 11-acre property five minutes from the original Tulsa Black Wall Street. He wants to make this a hub for Black-owned stores. 

“Black Wall Street to me means radical and intentional partnership and collaboration across every segment of Tulsa and greater Black America,” says Wiggins. “It’s about every part of the Black community in America thinking about Tulsa as what it was, which was the center a Black wealth creation, and everyone pulling an oar to make that a reality again.”

J. Hackett, owner of Asheville’s first Black-owned coffee shop Grind Coffee Co., wants to build a Black Wall Street in his city. He is reinvesting a $50,000 grant he received from the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council to create an incubator for 25 Asheville Black-owned businesses. “With the help of 15 local partners—including Hatch AVL, Venture Asheville, Rotary Club of Downtown Asheville, and the City of Asheville’s Business Inclusion Office—his goal is that each business exits the program with at least $250,000 in revenue.”

He’s also generated more then $200,000 for Asheville’s Black business community through Grind Black Wall Street AVL, an initiative that hosts twice monthly pop-up shops featuring Black-owned vendors. But Hackett has greater ambitions to create a dedicated space for Black businesses and has been eyeing a vacant property in the heart of Asheville. 

“We have to be able to think systemically: what does it take to be part of the history making of the future?” asks Hackett. “If you don’t have a physical location, it’d be easy for history to forget you. But if you [do], it’s going to be hard to erase that. It’s important for every city to have some home base for Black Wall Street.”

Back in Atlanta, Hallmon acknowledges that each modern-day vision for Black Wall Street is different, and all are a unique variation of Gurley’s. Their ultimate goals, however, are the same.

“The 2021 version of Black Wall Street is what it was 100 years ago: it’s a model of resilience,” says Hallmon. “It’s Black people deciding yet again to be each other’s greatest resource.”


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How Waka Flocka Is Using NFTs To Amplify The Voices Of Black Artists

When Christie’s auctioned off a non-fungible token for more than $69 million in March, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and other big-name executives took notice. So did big-name artists.

Most recently, rapper, actor and business mogul Juaquin James Malphurs, best known by stage name Waka Flocka, announced he’s partnered with Satoshi Art, a NFT marketplace owned by people from underrepresented communities. The brainchild of a diverse group of entrepreneurs from the art and finance worlds, Satoshi Art founders, Stally and William Wang have one goal in mind: to ensure all artists are recognized for their creativity. 

“This new venture will bring freedom back to the artist,” says Waka Flocka. “Made by the artists for the artists,” adds Stally.

NFTs, or unique assets recorded on a blockchain, burst onto the digital art scene this past year, providing artists with a way to sell and investors with a way to obtain ownership of digital files that are authentic, one-of-a-kind and, therefore, valuable. After years spent watching Black artists continuously lose out on profits, this resonated with Waka Flocka. 

The Atlanta rapper, whose biggest hits include “No Hands” and “Rollin,” featuring Gunplay, says the mission of the venture is to educate and provide underrepresented creatives with a global platform for NFT deals, through which they can achieve financial freedom and two-tier ownership.

There are, of course, other platforms that allow people to buy and sell NFTs including  OpenSea and Rarible, but the Satoshi Art cofounders say none have the same mission and perspective that allows them to cater to artists of color.

“We best understand the concerns and grievances of fellow artists,” says Stally. “We provide unprecedented types of services on our platform, including the environment we create, for example, for an American artist to collaborate with an artist from China to increase the volume of potential interest in their digital artwork. Satoshi Art is truly a platform for artists.”


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Expert panel divided over best way to achieve diversity in crypto sector

While almost everyone agrees the blockchain industry needs to address the under representation of women in the sector, experts remain divided on the best way to achieve it.

Should we take an interventionist approach or hope that as blockchain becomes more widespread it will hold more appeal outside of its core demographics?

Recent data from trading platform eToro, which has 18 million registered users, suggests women account for just 15% of Bitcoin traders, and 12% of Ether traders.

Panellists at an Australian Blockchain Week event on April 21 offered a range of views on how to provide more diversity in the crypto and blockchain sectors moving forward.

Rupert Colchester, the Lead Client Partner for IBM said he was amazed how many “things are built by teams that aren’t diverse,” as he feels that diverse perspectives can help ensure user-friendliness and also help to create better products. Colchester stated his solution to the problem was to “build his teams right” with a 50/50 male-to-female ratio from the ground up:

“I think designing, you know, good ethics, designing diverse applications designed by diverse people and that whole kind of wave of diversity, that’s how you get here. You know, that’s how you get to a good thing.”

Sue Keay, the CEO of Queensland AI Hub & Chair of Robotics Australia echoed Colchester’s sentiment, noted she’s in favor of a more interventionist approach to  diversity regulation because a failure to do so could lead to a future of homogenized thinking and values when it comes to blockchain tech development:

“The big risk is that we will have a future that looks very much like it’s populated by you know, 18 to 30-year-old white Anglo-Saxon men who live on the west coast of the US and reflects only those points of view.”

While Professor and Future Fellow at RMIT University Ellie Rennie didn’t disagree she suggested we may not need to put the emphasis on quotas to force diversity. Noting that “one of the many things that’s interesting about Blockchain is that it’s really not just about developers,” she pointed to the growth of different crypto sub sectors such as DeFi and NFTs which attract very different, and diverse, crowds.

“So DeFi, it’s very much about people with financial expertise, in NFTs it’s artists and they’re bringing, you know, creative and interesting work and contributions into these infrastructures that I think is, you know, often overlooked because we focus so much on who’s making the code.”

Karen Cohen, the Director of Blockconsulting Group and the head of Melbourne’s Women in Blockchain, told Cointelegraph that she feels there is “still a long way to go” for gender diversity in crypto and finance”. She pointed to the Chief Executive Women ASX200 census in September 2020, which revealed only 10 Female CEOs of ASX 200 companies.

But Cohen noted that a quota is only “one tool in the diversity toolbox”, and emphasized that “mentoring, sponsorship, training and succession planning” are also important pieces of the puzzle:

“We need to think more holistically about this issue and have a succession plan for every role in the business and how we can prepare women for the next level. If they haven’t got the skills to step up to the next role now, what investment and training do they need to get there?”

She said that projects making an attempt to hire an equal number of women and men for entry-evel positions would help as well as designing appropriate “family-friendly policies and procedures to ensure you retain your women in the business and also allow men to take parental leave so women can choose to go back to work as well.”