NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are digital tokens that represent ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique item or piece of content using blockchain technology. While NFTs are most commonly associated with commercial art and collectables, they have a wide range of potential applications – including cultural preservation.
This is especially important as governments and other cultural institutions look to combine art and technology to attract newer generations to the art world and educate people about their history and different cultures.
However, there are challenges and considerations. Governments and institutions must address issues related to intellectual property rights, copyright, privacy, and environmental concerns. Additionally, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility in the adoption of NFTs for cultural preservation is crucial to prevent exclusion and exploitation.
Using NFTs in cultural preservation
Some of the key ways that NFTs can be used for cultural preservation include:
- Art and artefact preservation: Museums and cultural institutions can tokenise artworks, historical artefacts, and cultural relics as NFTs. This enables wider access to these items while maintaining their provenance and authenticity on the blockchain.
- Documentation: NFTs can store detailed documentation of cultural heritage sites, monuments, and traditions. This can aid in preserving and sharing cultural knowledge for future generations.
- Royalties and reparations: NFTs can be used to ensure that indigenous and traditional artists receive royalties when their cultural works are used or reproduced digitally, providing them with a more equitable share of profits.
- Education: NFTs can be used to create educational content and experiences related to cultural heritage. This can help raise awareness, promote understanding, and attract interest in preserving diverse cultures.
- Tourism: Cultural icons and symbols can be tokenised as digital collectables, making them accessible to a global audience and fostering a sense of cultural appreciation.
- Fundraising: Governments and organisations can issue NFTs as part of fundraising efforts to support cultural preservation projects, such as restoring historical sites or digitising archival materials.
Using the BSV blockchain for cultural preservation
In 2022, the BSV Blockchain Association and the University of Sharjah initiated a project led by Mohammed Al Hemairy. This endeavour focuses on safeguarding the cultural and heritage aspects of the UAE by leveraging a Metaverse system powered by the BSV blockchain.
Emerging as a leading educational establishment in the Middle East for blockchain and its associated domains, the University of Sharjah holds the top rank among the nation’s universities.
It has been actively engaging with blockchain technology, notably employing a BSV blockchain-backed remedy to combat the pervasive issue of counterfeit academic certificates, which totals a staggering $1 billion.
In this latest innovation, Al Hemairy noted that individuals will have the ability to purchase, lease, or trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) rooted in the rich cultural heritage of Arab and Emirati origins.