In an auction, a non-fungible token made from Nelson Mandela’s original arrest warrant raised 1.9 million rand ($130,000) to help fund a heritage monument documenting South Africa’s struggle for democracy.
Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who was imprisoned for 27 years before becoming South Africa’s first Black president, was arrested in 1962 for plotting to destroy the White-minority government.
The proceeds from the sale will benefit the Liliesleaf Museum Heritage Site, which got the original document as a gift in 2004, according to Ahren Posthumus, CEO of Momint, the NFT marketplace where the Mandela item was sold. Following an auction of an NFT of a pen pistol owned by fellow freedom fighter Oliver Tambo, the museum got around $50,000 last year.
In an interview, Posthumus explained that this helps the “museum locations stay afloat.” “The absence of tourists as a result of Covid has had a significant impact on them.” As a result, this is a way to re-energize their flow while also preserving history.”
The buyer of the NFT will have exclusive access to the original document at Liliesleaf Museum, Posthumus said. “The ink is visible through the paper” of the high-definition scan, he said.
From 1961, Liliesleaf property, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, was used as the African National Congress’s secret headquarters, where Mandela and other party officials hid from police. During a police raid in 1963, several prominent campaigners were detained.
In recent months, NFTs have become increasingly popular, with caricatures of monkeys and lions fetching millions of dollars. The new trading market, which utilizes blockchain technology to authenticate unique ownership tokens linked to otherwise easily reproduced digital assets, is attracting sports organizations, prestige cars, and even pop singers.