The popularity of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, has increased over the past year. For Kyle Duceatt, a business administration major at the University of Georgia, and his friend Zac Harms, what began as a new way of investing evolved into starting their own NFT this year.
The DownTown Hounds is an NFT collection of hand drawn bulldog art. Users can buy a unique bulldog online for three Solana coins, a form of blockchain, and become part of an exclusive community based in Athens. Duceatt, the community manager of The DownTown Hounds, and Harms, the artist of the NFT, want to release the collection by the end of the semester.
Upon reaching their sales goal, each investor can access their unique bulldog and participate in three phases of events, including a meet-and-greet with the creators and opportunities to network with other members of The DownTown Hounds community. A portion of the money from the NFTs is also donated to homeless communities in Athens.
The Red & Black spoke to Duceatt and Harms about their goals for The DownTown Hounds, how NFTs work and more.
The Red & Black: How did the idea of developing your own NFT come about?
Kyle Duceatt: We were fascinated by [NFTs]. We bought into collections and then we thought let’s try to make one. When we had this idea we had to keep it local in Athens. Since I was a child, [UGA] was always my dream college. I have the opportunity to come to college here and create a collection that can be used to benefit the community.
Zac Harms: We know a lot of people are struggling with their social lives and with COVID — being locked down and all. We really wanted to offer something that would benefit not just specific people but the Athenian community as a whole. By investing in the digital frontier through NFTs, we found that this was the best deal we could offer what we wanted.
R&B: As an artist, how did you decide what content to create for the NFT?
Harms: That took some time, definitely a lot of brainstorming. If I could show you how many failed attempts I’ve had, you’d be blown away. We knew we wanted a bulldog because of UGA, and we knew we wanted to make it more of a modern vibe. We wanted to add championship game hats and various things directly associated with UGA like the spiked shoulder pads. Everything is hand drawn by me. There are 45, maybe 50 attributes in the collection. We really just wanted to capture the culture of Athens.
R&B: How would you explain an NFT to someone confused by the concept?
Duceatt: At its core, it’s an image that is unique and can be attributed to you. Because an NFT can be assigned to a specific person, we can use them as tickets. When you buy our collection, not only is it unique in terms of art and looks as no two are alike, but we use it as a ticket to any event we are going to host.
R&B: How does the price go up after you bought your share of the NFT?
Harms: Let’s say the community grows or is a little better than when you originally bought it [into] it. If anyone wants to get in, you have the exclusive rights to this art or NFT. So you could sell it. Someone who wants to join the community but missed the original drop would buy it for $200 instead of $100 and you would make a profit.
R&B: Why did you just decide to donate part of the proceeds to the homeless community of Athens?
Damage: [Homelessness] is a problem in Athens, Georgia and everyone knows it. We are passionate about the homeless population and we genuinely want to help these people get back on their feet and give them a second chance at life. We haven’t narrowed it down to the exact locations we will donate to, but there will be a range of $15,000 to $20,000. We want to split it between homeless shelters and a board. We don’t want to just give a $20,000 check to a company that can or cannot do with it as we want.
R&B: You have previously spoken out against an all-digital world. How do you differ from other NFTs who want to move towards a digitized world?
Harms: What distinguishes us from many other collections is that they only focus on the digital inventory. They hope their art will go up in price, but me and Kyle both agreed that we don’t really want the virtual world to be as big as it is going to be. So we want to host real, tangible assets. They don’t just buy into a digital landscape nobody knows about. You are buying into a community.