SA social media NFT marketplace launches – with Bryan Habana’s art selling for R150,000

Business Insider SA
Momint NFT South Africa
Bryan Habana NFT artwork sold on Momint
  • Momint is a new South African digital marketplace which allows users to auction, sell, trade, and display non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • The platform draws inspiration from social media apps like Instagram and encourages interaction among its users.   
  • During the beta phase, former Springbok rugby player Bryan Habana auctioned an NFT for R150,000.
  • Cricketer AB de Villiers, musicians Goldfish and The Kiffness, influencer Diipa Khosla, and filmmaker Dan Mace are some of Momint’s first celebrity users.
  • The platform is backed by investor Rob Hersov, with pre-seed funding reportedly valuing the company at over R30 million.
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A South African non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, developed as a social media app similar to Instagram, has officially launched following weeks of beta testing. The two-week trial phase saw artwork auctioned by former Springbok rugby player Bryan Habana fetch R150,000.

The global NFT phenomenon has taken the art world by storm. Although NFT’s have been around since 2014, the digital artworks’ rise into mainstream, coinciding with the mass popularity of cryptocurrencies, began in 2019.

In 2021, an NFT created by British graphic designer Beeple – real name Mike Winkelmann – sold for $69.3 million (R1 billion) at an auction hosted by Christie’s, making it the third most expensive work produced by a living artist.

Two weeks after Beeple’s record-breaking sale, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first Tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million (R42 million). Dorsey donated the proceeds to charity.

What is a non-fungible token?

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a secure digital file which validates ownership within a blockchain system which represents an online ledger.

Any digital art – including images, video game items and music – can be packaged and sold as NFTs.

It's impossible to forge an NFT, and it acts as an artist’s signature, confirms the identity and ownership of the underlying digital object.

And it’s not just Dorsey and Beeple who have been selling NFTs at high prices. Opensea, the world’s largest marketplace for digital goods, currently has more than 18,000 NFT artworks on auction. One of the most popular NFT creators, CryptoPunks, has sold more than $18 million (R259 million) worth of digital artworks through Opensea in the past week alone.

The preferred currency used to purchase NFTs is Ethereum (ETH), the world’s second-largest crypto currency. Most digital marketplaces also accept Bitcoin bids.

A South African gallery entered the NFT fray in March, selling a NFT created by Norman O’Flynn for 1.491 ETH (R59,000).

Launched on Friday 30 April, with pre-seed funding that valued the company at over R30 million, Momint combines an NFT marketplace with the functionality of a social media platform. Like Instagram, the Momint platform – which is described as an app but isn’t currently available for download via Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store – encourages users to following and react to shared “Momints”.

“We plan to release on the iOS App Store and Google Play store within the first month of launch,” says Momint’s landing page which describes the platform’s beta testing process.

These NFT “Momints” can be minted (posted), auctioned, sold, or transferred to other users. The platform also accepts payment in fiat currency, in addition to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“NFTs offer a means for creators to sell their works and support themselves without needing to litter their work with sponsor shout outs or advertisements,” says Momint COO and co-founder Joshua Minsk.

The launch has relied heavily on celebrity interest, with Habana and cricketer AB de Villiers, musicians Goldfish and The Kiffness, influencer Diipa Khosla, and filmmaker Dan Mace being the first users to promote the platform.

Habana’s NFT artwork, which represents the former rugby star’s race against a cheetah in a graphic rotating GIF, was released in three editions. All three editions sold for a total R150,000, which was donated to the Bryan Habana Foundation. More than 800 people from 25 countries took part in the auction, according to Momint.

NFTs sold via auction attract a 12% auction fee which is paid to Momint. Momint also charges a 0.5% direct sales fee.

“It’s another point of contact for followers to be able to own something they’ve always wanted,” says filmmaker Dan Mace.

“It enables anyone to not just appreciate but actually own art within a digital space from anywhere in the world, to have access to unique, scarce pieces of work. I'll be selling my project and timelines from films that I’ve made.”

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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