Afrobubble’s Venn Oputa puts Africa on the blockchain by immortalising the legendary Queen Amina
Venn Oputa is an ideator committed to carving out room for the rich African history with the power of blockchain. He is the creator of one of Africa’s first NFT collections, which seeks to immortalise the legendary Queen Amina. In a chat with Technext, the co-founder of Afrobubble discusses how he decided to put a sumptuous piece of Africa on the blockchain.
Venn Oputa grew up in Lagos and had primary, secondary and tertiary education there.
“Growing up, you couldn’t get me away from cartoons, Dexter, Samurai Jack and it was because my father put me on Tom and Jerry. Over time I picked up anime and manga which I still watch & read till today. I won’t call myself a creative artist, more of an ideator. I like stories, I like working alongside creatives and most importantly I love working on things that put Africa on the map.”
Venn Oputa’s encounter with NFTs and launching Afrobubble
Earlier on, when the tech industry was starting to really boom in late 2020 and early 2021, Venn was in clubhouse rooms, and he had screen grabbed a CryptoPunk NFT and used it as his profile picture. This gave him some access to more influential people within the space. He fell into the NFT rabbit hole when he realised that:
- The technology was going to be responsible for onboarding more people into crypto
- It’s the first actual product on chain that people could purchase with their crypto
- He saw the potential of Afrofuturistic digital art being at the forefront
“This led me and my team to start working on a potential NFT collection.”
Venn Oputa, co-founder of Afrobubble
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Venn Oputa remarks that a particular feature of the NFT as a concept that caught his interest at that initial stage was Digital memberships.
“The idea that creating a collection of digital images that can have its authenticity verified on the blockchain meant you could create global memberships with global perks & know who your members are.”
When the idea was etched into his brain, they initially set out to try and build a niche NFT marketplace for African creators but soon realised that it wouldn’t have been a good product then. They wanted to create a place or space where Africans could create because the ETH network gas was high.
Fortunately, at that time, Solana had just started booming with a powerful NFT ecosystem, and it was fast with little to no gas fees.
“And for us, rather than talking about the space, we decided to create within space. We started with the art and wanted to create something different, something that represents us but will also have a global appeal. And with my mind for world-building we also created a story around the Afrobubble journey.
Within it, we immortalised the famous Queen Amina but also added a spin towards what the story would be. Like a Samurai Jack and Game of Thrones plot.”
Afrobubble NFT Collection
There have been some updates regarding GameFi from Afrobubble recently. Venn Oputa admits that some things are coming up in that direction, but he can’t officially disclose yet because their goal is to innovate with the space and be as malleable as possible.
Although it could be said that there has been a palpable decline in hype and buzz surrounding GameFi and NFTs recently, Venn says:
“Hype, excitement is all marketing. It’s good when you need to get attention and eyes on what you’re creating but the main goal is to create an addictive environment and product, something that sticks. And that takes more than hype and time.”
African creators and NFT
It has been said that NFT is the perfect avenue for African creators to harness their creative talents. Venn Oputa, however, says not all talented and creative artists can make it in the market.
“No, not all will make it, like everything in life you have to better your talent, be consistent and improve your network within a field. If you don’t do it you don’t make it. No handouts for anyone African or western. I do believe it is the perfect avenue for creators because creators can raise the much needed funds from believers, a pool of people (globally) to execute their ideas.”
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Venn Oputa believes NFT will be integrated into almost every aspect of our lives and every system that needs proof of authenticity and verification.
“Consider deep fakes and how AI can now create a duplicate version of yourself online with your voice. How will we be able to verify which digital content is really you or an Artificial intelligence generated content? NFT solves this. How we verify identity like ID cards, passports etc. NFT solves this. There’s just a lot of real world problems we have that NFTs solve that goes beyond hype and art and I look forward to it.”
According to Ven, we now live in an attention economy. In this context, he advises artists and gamers who need breakthroughs in the art world to speak for their works as loud as they can, even if the work won’t speak for itself.
Subsequently, Venn Oputa is fascinated by future technology; he might dip his hand in AI once he gets around the right product.
“For Afrobubble, we are currently working on Bubwork. An all round platform to find opportunities in web3 from work, African/bipoc web3 communities, grants and dev resources.”
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