This week, some “controversial” events have occurred in the world of NFTs, so buckle up because we have two wild stories to share.
But rest assured, the piece ends on a milder note. Still, given the… slightly NSFW turn this piece takes, maybe don’t read this piece in front of your family or colleagues.
Fahmi Reza has joined the chat
Political graphic artist Fahmi Reza has been making plenty of headlines over the years for this provocative artwork. His most recent stunt was drawing the villain in The PowerPuff Girls, Mojo Jojo, wearing royal garb.
The piece was meant as a satirical jab at the Sultan of Selangor’s purchase of a painting that portrays members of parliament as animals including monkeys and frogs.
The artist was arrested over the cartoon drawing and was investigated under the Sedition Act as well as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
He later tweeted that he was banned from leaving the country, and followed up with an announcement that he will be selling an open edition NFT entitled Monyet Istana (Palace Monkey). This differs from the Mojo Jojo artwork as it depicts a generic monkey instead of The PowerPuff Girls character.
An open edition NFT means any number of editions can be minted of that one artwork. This means that it’s less exclusive, but by keeping the NFT available to be minted for only 48 hours, Fahmi is able to limit the supply.
The NFT is being sold for 0.05 BNB (RM 88.26 at the time of writing). Within 24 hours of its release, the NFT has already raised over RM33.7K.
However, Fahmi claims he’s not profiting from the sale, as all funds raised are going to the Freedom of Expression Legal Defence Fund, which supports Malaysians who are investigated and prosecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
According to a press release, this NFT fundraiser “intends to mimic the actions of the Selangor Sultan who plans to auction off the painting for charity one day”.
Many Twitter users have been supportive of the NFT, but there were also those who were quick to bring up the fact that Fahmi Reza has previously refused to sell his artwork as NFTs.
In a Twitter Spaces event hosted by NFXT though, Fahmi was reported to have said that he will not be minting any old artwork or creating artwork solely for NFTs for now.
On OpenSea, there is an account under his name that has minted several of his past works, but as there is no verified badge, it might be run by someone else who’s profiting off his work.
Local artist ruffles MCMC’s feathers with NSFW NFTs
Another controversial project that has gained the attention of authorities is the Dickheads NFTs collection.
Listed on a local marketplace, NFTPangolin, these NFTs are basically a stylised version of… you know, dickheads. The collection was created because the artist believes the world is generally full of dickheads, which to them are people who make decisions that may not favour the public.
“That’s why we are all in decentralisation, right?” the artist told Vulcan Post. “Because we do not agree with the establishments? Or what I call collective dickhead assemblies.”
The NFT creator said that in early April, NFTPangolin informed them that it received a letter from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on 30 March that the collection contravenes the Communication Multimedia ACT 1998.
“I understand that the Pangolin team explained this is not different than adult toys on e-commerce or some of the art erotica collection they already hosted,” the artist shared.
They also said that they don’t think the artwork classifies as porn, believing instead that it’s simply funny and provocative enough to get attention in the sea of NFTs.
The artist says they’re confused as MCMC did not cite which part of the act the art even contravened. They’ve tried asking, but have not received a response.
Currently, the collection is still live on the NFTPangolin site, though that might change in the future.
“We wish we could stay on NFTPangolin because the team has been incredibly supportive and that’s useful for first-time minters like me,” the artist said. “But if we gotta go, we gotta go.”
The artist believes MCMC also suspended their original Twitter account, but they have since started a new one.
AEON Malaysia drops NFT for Raya
Well, those were some pretty intense stories, so let’s dial it back a little and focus on the upcoming Raya festivities.
AEON Malaysia has collaborated with Meta Universe, a web3 company based in Malaysia, to release its first-ever limited-edition AEON Raya NFT series.
The collection features kuih raya art created by Malaysian artist Afi Sulaiman. There are 16 unique kuih art and 1,250 NFTs available per design. The first series went live on April 20 and will last until May 1. If you’re an AEON Member, you get to redeem the first series for free.
Series 2 will be available from May 2 to 13, and each piece of NFT will be sold at RM80. There’s also an AEON Member Bonus event coming soon, whereby members can get exclusive autographed digital gifts after collecting the first and second series.
It’s interesting to see how NFTs are still developing locally, with the possibility of censorship one on hand, and corporatisation on another. If anything, this week’s news shows the vast potential of NFTs in Malaysia.
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Featured Image Credit: AEON Malaysia / Dickheads NFT / Fahmi Reza