Toward the end of 2021, Iris Nevins became a full-time advocate for artists after a long career as an art collector.
She and her co-founder, Omar Desire, had originally planned to open an online shop for artists to sell their work. It was only in 2020 that she discovered nonfungible token (NFT) technology as “a much more profound way to assist artists.” Rather than selling prints and paintings on the internet, “we thought that we could do more, have a bigger impact and generate more revenue for the artists, for ourselves,” Nevins, 29, tells CNBC Make It.
Artist promotion and Web3 education were the goals of NFT studio Umba Daima:
which was launched in February 2021 by Nevins and her team. An important part of Umba Daima’s services is the management of artists, in which it receives a percentage of their sales. A number of sub-brands have also been created by Umba Daima. There was Black NFT Art, then the NFT Roundtable podcast, and then The Unseen Gallery, a virtual exhibition. According to Nevins, he and his team noticed that the artists who were having a lot of success had “these really strong communities around them that were promoting or reposting or participating in their drops.” “In an attempt to create that kind of experience for Black artists,” the studio launched Black NFT Art An artist who worked with Umba Daima for about 4.5 months is one example of the company’s success. In the beginning, his NFT sales were low, but now, “Andre Oshea is one of the top Black artists in the space,” according to Nevins.
As a whole, Umba Daima’s brands brought in $140,000 in revenue in 2021.
It’s a big deal, but the team is still relying on their own resources. Despite quitting her day job to devote her full attention to Umba Daima, Nevins has not paid herself. As a rule, she says, she only pays her team members when it’s possible. In my opinion, we’re still a long way from profitability, but I’m optimistic that it will happen soon. Professor Tonya Evans of Pennsylvania State Dickinson Law and Troika IO’s chief crypto officer and consultant Umba Daima are just two of the people she is grateful to for their assistance. The fact that so many people believe in and support me as a black female entrepreneur has been “really nice,” says Nevins.
Blockchain, crypto, and the use of NFTs are all vital.
As the latest data from the World Inequality Report shows, the Covid-19 pandemic has only widened the wealth gap, which Nevins believes can be closed with the help of blockchain technology.
According to the report:
- the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population owned 76% of total household wealth in 2021, while the wealthiest 50% owned just 2%. “This is why I think that crypto, blockchain, and NFT use are so important,” says Nevins. As a result, “we can create an entirely new economic system in which the power can be rebalanced.” As a result, Nevins believes that building something new is the only way to improve the lives of those who have been marginalised and underrepresented in the financial sector.
Efforts must be made
Despite this, the NFT market is far from perfect.
First, Nevins noticed that the industry was lacking in diversity, and he saw an opportunity to create a more equitable environment for minority creators. As she puts it, “there weren’t many Black artists” or “if there were, they were really hard to find. As far as I could tell, “you didn’t see many Black artists making any money.” Many of the most popular NFT marketplaces require applicants or invitations from the creators in order to list their work. There are some platforms that don’t accept or invite artists of colour, according to Nevins. NFT marketplace applications currently enforce a culture where only those with a “in” can succeed, according to Nevins’ assertions. This is a problem, she says, because if you’re not actively building relationships with Black people in the space,
How are you going to get Black artists on the platform
- He hopes that one day, those same NFT marketplaces will change their practises and collaborate more closely with community builders like Black NFT Art.
In her own words, “people like myself benefit the marketplaces as a whole.” Disappointing when the majority of these platforms do not collaborate with us. To work with grassroots organisers, [they] can do more.
Umba Daima’s next move is unknown.
Nevins is looking forward to seeing the growth of black-owned NFT platforms, such as The Well and Disrupt Art, in the coming months. She’s looking forward to seeing more NFTs in the film, music, and dance categories. One-of-one NFT drops from well-known artists like Shaylin Wallace and Dominique Weiss are scheduled for Umba Daima’s first drop in February.
For the artists we collaborate with:
we want to be able to help them grow through the process of getting their flowers and growing their businesses,” she says. CryptoPunks appear to be the most commonly associated with non-fungible tokens.” They haven’t taken the time to study the work of other artists.”