Congratulations on the successful launch of the first NFT marketplace in MENA and for selling out on 2 collections on the first day! For our readers, what is an NFT marketplace?
Simply put, an NFT is an online shop for user-owned digital goods and assets, they use the powerful technology of the blockchain. The blockchain is a global ledger using the highest level of cryptography, and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are certificates of ownership registered on the blockchain for everyone to see. In physical assets, goods are fenced by the authority of where they are, like our homes, offices, museums, and safes, etc, the digital space on the contrary is expansive, owning an NFT, doesn’t prevent others from viewing it and enjoying it, while maintaining its ownership and rights. NFTs can be fractional, give royalty, be sold at a fixed price or even in auctions as well as be associated with physical assets. A marketplace is where we can buy, trade, and showcase those NFTs.
Tell us more about NIFTYsouq.com
Our goal is to create the first and biggest inclusive and environment-friendly NFT marketplace in MENA that will change the Arts map in the region using the power of the blockchain and cryptocurrency, eliminating the middleman and giving economic control to the creators.
What inspired you to found NIFTY Souq?
It started with the pandemic, a lot of my friends and people in my community are independent artists. When the lockdown started rolling out one country after the other, those artists lost the ability to have concerts or any gigs, they lost their stream of income. Hence, I started a small platform to support those artists by selling their merchandise online, the goal was that the artists make the majority of the profit, that’s when “Arabic Indie” started, I was also a partner in a venture builder, creating startups in MENA. The word about NFTs began to go around, it got our attention and we wanted to know more. We started reading and learning about NFTs, one podcast at a time, that’s when we started thinking, how can we use the power of NFTs to support artists. After some research, we found out that there are no NFT platforms in the region, and the application goes beyond just artists, so we decided to build one!
Why did you choose to use Polygon rather than Ethereum for your platform?
We initially built it on Ethereum, but our goal from day one was to be environment friendly, Polygon uses the Proof of Stake (PoS) method vs the Proof of Work (PoW) method used by Ethereum, Polygon is a protocol and a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. Aggregating scalable solutions on Ethereum supporting a multi-chain Ethereum ecosystem. We wanted to have the best of both worlds, Polygon combines the best of Ethereum and sovereign blockchains into an attractive feature set. And of course, the close to zero gas fees!
What are the current trends you’re seeing in the MENA NFT marketplace? How can readers take advantage of these?
The MENA region is just opening to NFTs. Early adopters jumped on this quickly, it’s the right move I say, NFTs are the future. Analytics show that searches for “NFT” on search engines have increased 100 times at least in the last year. I have noticed just since August how more and more people are aware and interested in NFTs, many projects are popping up and governing bodies are looking at regulating it.
Anyone reading this is by default someone ahead of the curve, now is the time to invest and collect NFTs that will only appreciate in value in the near future. NFTs are not just an investment, they could hold a utility, they can act like VIP cards, replace loyalty programs, they can also be used to authenticate luxury goods like watches and identify originals from fake copies through linking them to an NFT.
What does the future hold for NFTs in MENA?
Society is becoming digital by nature, caring about things we didn’t care about years ago like, we care about the number of followers, blue verified checkmarks, Fortnite skins, plus-ups in gaming, etc. It is the way we show the world who we are. This is about identity and social currency. People buy expensive clothes, jewelry, vehicles, take photos on expensive vacations because humans are inherently communicative beings. We communicate through our fashion or through our accomplishments. We used to send mail, then faxes then emails, we used to hang paintings on our walls and collect Pokémon cards in specific holders, now we have them in our digital wallets and display them in the Metaverse!
A decentralized server-based reality of documenting what tokens (NFTs) one has, is happening and hitting the social consciousness of humanity. The US had its boom, just recently Opensea, the first largest NFT marketplace in the world raised $300 million with a valuation of $13.3 Billion. Now is the time for the region to have its boom. We are seeing a lot of interest from creators, collectors, investors, platforms, and even governments in NFTs. I personally see NFTs penetrating different industries, soon concert and conference tickets will be sold using this technology, for example, opening up a legal secondary market instead of the less known black markets, with the difference being that the original creators will continue to benefit through royalties from those secondary sales. This is only the beginning. NFTs are smart contracts designed to self-execute, the sky is the limit really.
What are your goals for NIFTY Souq for the next 5 years?
We are disrupting and upgrading the way art is consumed while providing a new and unprecedented money stream to artists online. NIFTY Souq aims to brand Arab art creators and become the largest NFT marketplace in the region and compete with global players.
NIFTY Souq is committed to ZERO minting costs for all artists launching NFTs, with dedicated onboarding support until their NFT visions are brought to life. With ZERO minting costs, artists can set affordable prices making them accessible to all fans, by integrating a payment gateway. We provide collectors and fans the opportunity to purchase NFTs with a credit card, or using cryptocurrencies, making NIFTY Souq a truly accessible and inclusive platform. Our roadmap is very promising, we have several milestones until we release our own ICO.
How can readers get involved with NIFTY Souq and find out about future drops?
We are growing our community through our dedicated discord server: https://discord.gg/niftysouq We have all our announcements and drops explained there and our team is available to engage and support. Anyone joining our server before the end of January 2022, will receive a very limited edition NFT for founding members, this NFT will provide its holder with many benefits and open up many possibilities. I’m available on our Discord Server, Instagram, and LinkedIn (@NabilAlsayed).