Paris Hilton Teamed Up With a 28-Year-Old Engineer to Fund a Nonprofit That Helps Artists Mint NFTs
An NFT collector gives back with some help from the hotel heiress.
Artists looking to test the waters of the cryptoart world may no longer have to worry about paying pricy fees to mint their NFTs. Now, they can apply for a Sevens Genesis Grant, funded by Tim Kang, a 28-year-old software engineer and NFT collector.
Friday marked the launch of the first Sevens Genesis Grant exhibition and sale, featuring the work of 317 digital artists from 60 countries.
Kang announced the first open call for the grant in January, and had 700 applications within two days. He was inspired to offer grants by rising “gas” fees (the costs for minting NFTs), which he saw as a barrier to entry into the field.
“At the time, gas fees were starting to hit like a hundred dollars. That’s so much money for some people,” Kang said. “I just wanted to make sure that there is opportunity for anyone out there, no matter where you are or what kind of background you have.”
The grant winners were selected by a curatorial team made up of NFT bigwigs such as Blake Kathryn and Ness Graphics. Kang also decided to pay the NFT minting fees for artists who hadn’t been selected to receive one of the 175 inaugural grants.
“Our goal was to help fund people, and we all felt bad hitting the reject button,” Kang said. “So we opened it up to everyone to self-nominate to receive funding.”
There will now be two inaugural exhibitions, one for the grant recipients, and the other for the nominees. Each NFT costs approximately $250 to mint and host, and Kang estimates that he has invested $25,000 of his own money into the project to date.
He also has donors, including heiress and NFT evangelist Paris Hilton, who will curate Sevens Genesis’s next show, “Empowered,” featuring female artists.
“Paris is very kind and genuine,” Kang said. “She’s the perfect person to do this women’s empowerment exhibition.”
Kang began investing cryptocurrency in 2016 and discovered NFTs last fall, after he purchased a new home and was looking to decorate. With his first purchase, he set a SuperRare record, shelling out 77 Ethereum, or $42,720, for Pak’s Moebius Knot.
“I first bought that piece, and I started to realize this might be the way that the world can start understanding what it means to own a digital asset,” Kang said. “It was just exciting because art was at the forefront of a new movement in terms of communication and expression.”
Kang—who said he considers seven “a spiritually divine number representing unbeknownst foresight and good fortune”—went on to buy Beeple’s complete MF Collection for $777,777.77 on Nifty Gateway in December.
In total, Kang now owns about 500 NFTs—which he displays on his TV—and he’s not selling.
“I think the narrative [about reselling NFTs for profit] has not been healthy,” Kang said. “That’s not what I think about when I buy. It’s mainly because I love the art and I want to support the artist, and that’s why I haven’t sold any yet.”
He sees the Sevens Genesis Grant program as a way to present curated NFT art shows, something that existing platforms don’t really offer.
“A lot of NFTs are very low effort and kind of cash-grabby. I’m more interested in the storytelling,” Kang said. “I believe that art should be curated, with a theme and an intention.”
“Moving forward,” he added, “we’re going to be structuring these grant programs to provide educational resources and artists tools to further the development of artists who are very passionate and talented, but cannot afford to do these things otherwise.”
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