Meet Michael Ugwu, Tim Kang, B, and the Other Crypto Standouts Joining the New Artnet NFT Advisory Committee
As Artnet Auctions launches its debut NFT sale "ArtNFT," meet the industry leaders serving on our advisory board.
From the eye-popping sales of CryptoPunks, to Quentin Tarantino’s NFTs based on the Pulp Fiction screenplay, Non-Fungible Tokens and blockchain technology have been taking the art world—and the internet—by storm. Now, Artnet Auctions is joining the fun with our inaugural NFT sale, ArtNFT: Beginnings. As one of the world’s first online auction houses, Artnet’s core mission reflects the pioneering spirit of this moment in the art world.
Beyond the fanfare and headlines, NFT and crypto collectors have formed a tight-knit global community filled with visionaries and innovators. Artnet is proud and humbled to have found support from some of the top thought leaders in the crypto art community for Artnet NFT. With open embrace and an extremely generous collaborative spirit the insights shared by the stand-out group listed below has become the very foundation of our foray into the space.
Please read on to meet this extraordinary group formed by early claimers of CryptoPunks, visionary museum founders, angel investors, crypto influencers, and champions of diversity in the NFT community.. And don’t miss Artnet’s first NFT-focused auction, ArtNFT: Beginnings, live through December 21.
Colborn Bell is the co-founder of the Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△), an immersive digital art center for NFTs in the virtual world of Somnium Space. Through the museum, Bell aims to create a bridge to Metaverse spaces, ushering in a creative renaissance that empowers digital creators. Bell began his career in finance, holding a position at Abacus Wealth Management. However, he pivoted to co-found the 5th Element Group, a global brain trust that advises corporations in aligning brand and social impact, before creating M○C△.
His first foray into cryptocurrency began during his time at Abacus. After purchasing Ether, Bell became a first Mooncat rescuer. Now, Bell has a collection of more than 2,000 NFTs, and has donated 169 NFTs from his collection to the museum so far. Bell’s dedication to the NFT community extends to positions on the boards of the Foundation for Blockchain+Art and Dream Tank.
The Beauty and the Punk
B, also known as The Beauty and the Punk, is an avid NFT collector and a supporter of womxn in the NFT space. She was one of the few women to claim CryptoPunks on their launch in 2017, and she now owns several punks, including three apes and a zombie. B is passionate about the community aspect of NFTs—she uses a CryptoPunk as her profile picture to create a sense of identity and belonging among other Punk collectors, and the crypto art community as a whole. Through her collecting, and her engagement in podcast interviews and other events, B supports emerging artists from developing countries, and fosters diversity in the NFT space.
In 2016, while working as a software engineer for Deutsche Bank, Tim Kang took a massive risk, investing one year’s worth of savings into Ethereum. The risk paid off, and the Los Angeles-based 28-year-old, often known as @illestrater_, is now a successful crypto art collector, and an early collector of pieces by Pak, Beeple, and many others. After noticing rising “gas” fees (the cost for minting NFTs), Kang founded the Sevens Foundation, an organization which offers grants to emerging NFT creators in an effort to minimize barriers to entering the field. One early partner of the Sevens Foundation was Paris Hilton, who curated the organization’s show, “Empowered,” highlighting female NFT creators.
Claire Silver stepped into the world of NFTs in 2017, after she learned about them from a friend on 4Chan. She was gifted CryptoPunks that same year, and since then, her role in the community has continued to grow and evolve, and she consistently champions female NFT artists. More recently, she became an NFT creator. After struggling to find success in the traditional art world, Silver minted her first NFT in February 2021, pulling skills from her background in art history and sociology. She quickly gained a following, and expanded her practice, experimenting with A.I. collaborative and generative media. As a disabled, female artist, Silver has found that NFTs have enabled her to build a career and earn an income that would have not been otherwise possible.
Silver is the co-founder of the NFT gallery AccelerateArt that exists in Cryptovoxels, a virtual world on the Ethereum blockchain, and also on Twitter. She currently also works with MUSE0DAO, an online platform run by artists and curators dedicated to the exhibition of NFTs.
NiftyNaut is a German-based collector, creator of various NFT startups, and an original CryptoPunk claimer. NiftyNaut founded Swap Kiwi, a platform that facilitates safe and simple trades of NFTs between a community of collectors from all around the world. He also founded House of Nifty, and Niftyhorde, an experimental blockchain-based creative think tank.
TokenAngels is an angel investor and collector of crypto art. He is one of the earliest collectors in the space, and he proudly backs founders in the NFT space and projects that built the foundations of the new digital renaissance. He is the cofounder of Bitcoin Volatility Art project, a website that hosts an artwork by Matt Kane titled “Right Place and Right Time, Bitcoin Hourly Price Offset,” an Async Art master NFT that generates a new composition each day, based on Bitcoin price volatility.
Michael Ugwu, known as Magic Mike, is an avid NFT investor and the founder of one of the largest independent production studios in Nigeria, FreeMe Digital and the FreeMe Space. Michael continues to play a key role in the Lagos Angel investment space. Since 2017, the digital music executive has been one of just a few major NFT collectors based in Africa. His collection includes hundreds of pieces, including the work of Osinachi, one of Africa’s most successful NFT artists. Ugwu exhibits his collection in a virtual museum he built on the metaverse platform OnCyber, displaying works by Fewocious, XCOPY, and Sarah Meyohas alongside other rare NFTs.
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