Place/Date: Orlando, Florida - October 8th, 2021 at 1:00 pm UTC · 4 min read
Contact: Chris di Girolamo, Source: World of White Dudes
Amid the 2021 NFT explosion, a new hero burst onto the scene. His name happens to be Bob, he happens to be white, and he happens to work in the accounting department. Bob may sound a bit vanilla, but, in this case, Bob is the canvas in which diverse strokes are painted in the World of White Dudes (“WOWD”) NFT.
What does NFT stand for? NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token.” A “token” is a unit of data stored on a blockchain. While “fungible” items, like dollars, are replaceable or interchangeable, NFTs are “non-fungible,” meaning unique and non-interchangeable.
What does non-fungible mean? An NFT is a digital item, or deed/reference to an item, that you own that is unique or one of a kind. If you have $10 in your bank account, each dollar is not unique; you don’t know (or care) which is which when you withdraw, making dollars “fungible.” However, your grandmother’s wedding ring is not interchangeable. If you stored it in the bank’s security deposit box, you would not be happy if someone replaced it with an identical-looking ring from someone else’s marriage. Your grandmother’s ring is “non-fungible”.
Why do I hear “blockchain” and “NFT Crypto”? A blockchain is a chain of data, like a ledger, that is decentralized or distributed, making it essentially impossible to hack. NFTs are developed on a cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) blockchain because it permanently records ownership in an ultra-secure manner. If title to your house was tied to whoever owns a certain token, you certainly wouldn’t want anyone but yourself to be able to transfer it.The NFT is the deed to the underlying token, which in the case of WOWD represents art, not your house!
NFT art on NFT Marketplaces? Yes, there are several online marketplaces where you can view, purchase, and sell NFTs to others.
WOWD is a collection of 10,000 portraits, each one different from the rest, that live as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. WOWD officially launched in October 2021 and has made splashes ever since. As of this article’s writing, not all 10,000 NFTs have been issued yet. This is done by the initial purchaser on WOWD’s website in a process called “Minting”. Once all 10,000 have been minted, no new Bob can ever be created. To acquire one, you would have to purchase it on a secondary NFT marketplace. WOWD has created a walkthrough video tutorial to help those purchasing an NFT on the OpenSea marketplace.
Simply put, the project is interesting because it stays true to its intention of highlighting diversity and inclusion while inciting confusion in others who judged the book by its cover (the cover being Bob). The project beautifully dances the tango of nuance over these issues without missing a step. Christopher di Girolamo, the artist behind WOWD, says:
“I was inspired to highlight just how diverse we all are. If you launched an art project highlighting diversity within exclusive groups like ‘women of the world,’ the overall reaction today would be very supportive. I wanted to take this ‘diversity within exclusive groups’ concept to the extreme with World of White Dudes by highlighting the diversity within the group ‘white male Bobs who work in accounting. When learning about WOWD, people are generally either angry – at the assumed exclusivity based on race/gender, or amused – at the absurdity of the project. I really want both groups of people to take a deeper look and think for themselves. You really can find diversity within any singular group of people. Yes… even in a group of white dudes named Bob who work in the accounting department.”
World of White Dudes is a snapshot of Internet culture at an interesting crossroads in time: digital artwork is selling for millions of dollars, and the idea of diversity has been manipulated by marketing teams and corporate activists to the point of becoming inane.
Another interesting aspect of WOWD is the hidden attributes of the artwork. Each Bob has regrets and a happiness level coded into the NFT itself. NFTs generally don’t have a backstory or dialogue attached to them, and WOWD is one of the first and few projects that bakes in a unique narrative as an attribute. The WOWD community has already embraced this by comparing their Bob’s regrets to their own.