A carpet that the United Arab Emirates presented as a gift to the head of the Catholic Church a few years ago was sold in the form of NFT. While the original remains in the Vatican, its digital representation has been successfully used to raise funds for the people of Afghanistan.
NFT of Historic Carpet Sold for 25 ETH
The pontiff’s rug was presented to Pope Francis during a visit to Vatican City by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In September 2016, the two met to discuss strengthening diplomatic ties between the UAE and the Vatican and promoting interfaith harmony.
On Friday, a non-fungible token (NFT) representing the carpet was sold for 25 ETH, nearly $82,000, Dubai-based Khaleej Times reported. The money raised from the sale will be used to support vulnerable families in Afghanistan during the cold winter months.
The head of the Catholic Church keeps the physical version of the carpet woven by Afghan women. The purchaser of the NFT will receive a scaled down replica of the original created by Zuleya, the retail arm of the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI).
The initiative was founded in 2010 to change the hard lives of women and children in Afghanistan. FBMI invests in healthcare, education and a range of social and economic reforms. It also offers job opportunities in arts, crafts and agriculture.
FBMI Chief Executive Maywand Jabarkhyl called the NFT sale a “decisive step forward” for the initiative. It would allow his team to showcase his designs to a global audience and also create new revenue streams for local artisans in Afghanistan, he said.
“This is perhaps the most iconic NFT sold in the Middle East,” said Musfir Khawaja, co-founder of Nftone, a marketplace based in the Dubai International Financial Center that listed the NFT. “The buyer receives the physical replica of the rug alongside an ornate gold frame on a 165cm digital canvas loaded with the NFT,” he explained.
The token is one of six pieces being shown on digital canvases at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair alongside some of the world’s finest contemporary artworks, the report added. Zuleya recreated the rug as an NFT in collaboration with the Morrow Collective NFT platform.
NFTs, which offer a unique way to reproduce digital files such as photos, videos, and audio and store them on a blockchain to prove authenticity and ownership, have been around for a while, but their popularity started to grow in 2020. A recent report by Reuters revealed that NFT revenue will reach $25 billion in 2021.
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photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, WikiCommons
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