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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been one of the hottest topics in the DeFi space over the last two years. Some people believe that it will fade away with time, even comparing NFTs with the ICO craze of 2017.
We have seen millions of NFTs minted. Those who understand NFTs can see what the future holds for them. The NFT market was estimated to be worth more than $40 billion in 2021. We can see creators from different sectors joining the NFT space and taking their art to the next level.
The fact that NFTs allow people to represent ownership of anything in a digital smart contract is worth celebrating. The NFT Innovator of the Year Award is a program that rewards the biggest innovators in the NFT space.
MHOUSE opened the original nominations to everyone in the Web 3 space. There was a three-week window of open nominations during December 2021, where 226 nominations were recorded for the NFT Innovator of the Year Award. A guest panel of judges scored the nominees, shortlisted them, and prepared a list.
The nominees were either incommunicado, declined, or accepted. The final list of 10 nominees is now out, and the winner will be determined using a public vote. Voting officially closed at 23:00 CET on March 13, 2022, and the winner will be publicly announced at NFT LA later in the month.
The following are the ten nominees in no particular order:
Rayan Boutaleb — Oncyber.io
Rayan is the founder of Oncyber, which claims to be the “easiest way to show non-fungible tokens in fully immersive experiences.” He is Co-Founder and CEO at Wipe, an on-demand carwash service in Paris. Rayan is a web developer, self-driven learner, and just happy being techy.
Oncyber was founded in 2021 and is now one of the most used metaverse platforms with over 400,000 monthly users and more than 3 million spaces deployed. Oncyber is unlike most of the immersive worlds, and its approach is bottom-up, which resonates with people who want to understand the process.
Metakovan — Metapurse
Metakovan is the founder of Metapurse, a crypto-exclusive fund whose specialty is identifying early-stage projects across blockchain infrastructure, unique collectibles, virtual real estate, finance, and art. The fund also provides people with exposure to high-value assets.
Metakovan has been a coder, entrepreneur, and angel investor in blockchain technology for almost a decade now. He is a blockchain native, DeFi OG, Y-Combinator Alumnus, and a digital nomad. MetaKovan, whose real name is Vignesh Sundaresan, has been in the crypto game for years, and now his interests are in areas such as the Metaverse and the general Web 3.
Ben Strauss — Transient Labs
Transient Gallery has made tethering landscape photography to the real world a reality. The custom-written and programmable smart contracts have made this revolutionary approach to NFT photography a reality.
Ben describes himself as a person who spends most of his time outdoors with the intent of standing in front of beautiful things. The photographer has been in the photography space for more than half a decade. He currently works as an Aerospace Engineer at Honeybee Robotics and holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University.
Justin Aversano — Quantum Art
Justin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Quantum Art, a platform focused on curating digital culture with NFTs. He is also the Creative Director and Co-Founder of SaveArtSpace, a non-profit that brings community art to public spaces. In the past, Justin has launched Twin Flames, a collection of 100 sets of twins. Justin is a social entrepreneur and humanitarian who connects his art with the world by capturing communities, faces, and people that surround him. He brings all these beautiful moments to the lenses of his camera for the world to see.
Bruno Skvorc — RMRK
Bruno is the founder of RMRK, a Lego set that gives NFTs infinite extensibility. RMRK is hosted on Polkadot’s canary network, KUSAMA, and does not need smart contracts or parachains. The NFTs on RMRK are eternally liquid, forward-compatible, and multi-resourced.
Bruno is also CEO and owner of Bitfalls, where he works on content creation and the blockchain. He is a professional web developer from Croatia with Master’s degrees in English Language & Literature and Computer Science. He previously worked as a technical educator at Web3 Foundation, where his task was explaining technical content to outside observers.
Erick Calderon — Art Blocks
Erick is the founder of Art Blocks, a platform focused on genuinely programmable on-demand generative content stored on the Ethereum blockchain. As a user, you pick a style you like and pay for the work. A randomly generated version of the content will be created by an algorithm and sent to your Ethereum account.
Erick is a serial innovator and entrepreneur. He is the president of Light Art Interactive, an umbrella of projects on various fronts such as music, color, and lights. He is a visual outputs programmer, with coding a hobby since he was young. He is also the President at La Nova Tile Importers, a family-owned and operated import business.
Dadara — Artist
Dadara has had a career in designing record covers and flyers and making large-scale creations at Burning Man. He presented the CryptoGreyman NFT collection to the world, consisting of 7.9 billion pieces, one for every human on earth. All the pieces are identical, but they have one distinguishing characteristic, each has a different serial number. The concept is somehow unique but straightforward. The fact that it represents the entire society makes it more attractive.
His other achievements include creating a religion out of social media and starting a bank. Dadara is a recent entry to the NFT space and is challenging perceptions as he explores digital vs. physical art.
Dyl — Musician
Dyl is an entrepreneur and platinum-selling hip-hop artist from Philadelphia. The “Crypto Rich” album was the first crypto-inspired music album, streamed more than 2 million times on Spotify. The Crypto Rich NFT allows collectors to access exclusive experiences, community, and content.
Dyl started to gain fame in 2015 after his single “Jordan Belfort” went viral and had 50+ tours in the US. The song peaked at #25 on the Billboards and was also 2015’s college song of the year. Dyl has performed in more than 100 shows, with over 200 million streams worldwide and about 1 million monthly listeners.
Daniel Botha — Hashlips
Daniel is the creator of Hashlips, a place where programmers and NFT enthusiasts gather to code, collect, trade, and talk everything blockchain technology and programming. It is also a construct that governs how fun programming can be when we open it to the world and look at code differently.
Daniel Eugene Botha is a software developer from South Africa. He is also an artist whose work has been auctioned. He has previously worked as a senior software developer with iOCO Tech and Research and Development Officer with IDEA education.
Bartek — Fancy Bears Metaverse
Fancy Bears Metaverse happens to be one of the most influential profile picture (PFP) projects in Europe. The metaverse hosts 8,888 bear avatar NFTs and is an exclusive club where all the members can meet and hang out with various influencers and celebrities. Bartek is a serial entrepreneur who has previously created companies worth over $10m in the NFT/ Metaverse/Web 3 worlds.
A panel of eight judges scored nominees based on creativity, originality, and concept intent. The nominees must illustrate the following through their projects:
- Industry value. The innovation must address a clearly defined opportunity, desire, or problem.
- Potential for growth and sustainability. There must be a good market opportunity and a sound model.
- Marketing of innovation. Some of the things to check are the quality of the story, creativity in campaigns, size of reach, and targeted channels.
- Implementation & performance. Checking if entries have a track record and proven go-to-market strategy.
- Game changer. The project should have the potential to disrupt or impact their category and the industry.
This year will be the genesis of the NFT Innovator of the Year award, and it is hoped that it will be even more prominent in the coming years. The announcement will be at a live event in Los Angeles with a capacity of 10,000 people. The winner will get an entire episode appearance on Edge of NFT podcast. All shortlisted will appear on the MHOUSE MTALKS podcast.