Grand Forks Man Creates NFTs to Fight His Bipolar Disorder – Grand Forks Herald

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GRAND FORKS – Creating and selling NFTs isn’t Daniel Schott’s first foray into the wild, wild west of investing.

Schott, who creates NFTs based in Grand Forks and North Dakota, first entered the cryptocurrency world in 2014 when he started mining Bitcoin before coming to NFTs.

“My history with cryptocurrency is that I’ve certainly had a good amount, but I’ve used a lot in projects and startups,” Schott said. “My wife is a doctor and I took a lot during her pregnancy so that she could stay at home. Part of me knows that was a great decision, but part of me says, “Ah, it would have been nice to stick with it.” But I think making smart decisions about crypto is the best way forward.”

Chris Davis (left) and Daniel Schott (right) stand next to a computer system that mines the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are either a new way of doing business or a passing fad, depending on how you look at it. NFTs can be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. Investopedia defines a blockchain as “a distributed database shared among the nodes of a computer network.”

Essentially, blockchains keep a decentralized record of transactions. They collect data in groups or chunks that have specific storage limits and are linked to the previously filled chunk – hence the name.

“Let’s say I want to give you $5,” said Chris Davis, Daniel Schott’s business partner. “I go to the bank and I tell them, ‘Hey, I have $5 and I want to give you $5. Please transfer it to this guy’s account.’ And the bank writes in their electronic ledger that I sent you $5. Your bank now has $5 more than before. The bank doesn’t necessarily charge a fee for this, but they collect many other fees to keep them alive. So what if I didn’t have to go to a bank? What if there was simply no bank involved? Humans, crypto miners, are the bank right now.”

Selling an artwork, whether digital or not, as an NFT allows the creator to make as many copies as they like and sell them or sell the original, which also allows creators to remain in control of the value of their work afterwards. Davis compared the process to selling a rare Pokémon card.

“You can think of the holographic Charizard, of which there are maybe 5,000, but it’s the rarest Pokémon card out there,” Davis said. “So you can release (art) as one of one, one of 100, one of 5,000, or whatever you like.”

So how does one do an NFT? Schott said there are still many steps to be taken at this time, but the process could be streamlined in the future. He posted a YouTube video detailing how he created an NFT and counted 26 steps.

“I would say if you’re a traditional artist, it’s going to be more than that, and you need to learn a few things about what types of files you should be putting out there,” Schott said. “You may need to change your art.”

Schott said 3D animations sold as NFTs are currently popular. He has used Photoshop and even computer software to overlay animation over the images he has taken.
“There’s artificial intelligence software that makes it easier to do that, so I’m cheating a bit,” Schott said.

Schott began manufacturing NFTs in the summer of 2021. He is a house husband whose wife is a doctor. He also has bipolar disorder; a mental illness that causes mood and energy swings that make it difficult for sufferers to perform basic tasks. He said creating NFTs is a way for him to escape the challenges of his mental illness and interact with nature and other people.

His first NFT was Grand Forks themed, and now he’s continuing it with collections of NFTs featuring the natural world in the area.

Schott NFT.jpeg

An image of the first NFT created by Daniel Schott.

Daniel Schott

“It’s downtown behind the train tracks, and there’s a building with art at the back,” Schott said. “There is artwork on it and it’s just kind of a unique little hidden little gem of Grand Forks.”

Schott is happy to drive up to an hour each way from Grand Forks. He has NFTs with photos of bridges, fields, sunrises and other things that catch his eye. He also takes photos to show his mood swings.

“Sometimes I take dark photos that could represent depression or light photos that represent mania,” Schott said. “Sometimes I animate a photo and bring it to life.”

Above all, Schott wants to use NFTs to show the region that he proudly calls home.

“We may not think that Grand Forks and the Red River Valley are special, but there are a lot of people who haven’t seen the horizons that we have and the vast, open fields and plains,” Schott said. “It’s very unique to them and it impresses them a lot.”

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