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This is how the Akutars NFT project hopes to redefine the interface between culture and Web3

Since the non-fungible token (NFT) boom, creators have left their Web2 entities in droves and carved their own footprints in the Web3 world.

It’s not just technologists and artists who are turning to Web3. Former American baseball player Micah Johnson, for example, turned to painting and focused his work on representation. In releasing his first digital piece, sä-v(ə-)rən-tē (pronounced “sovereignty”), Johnson was not only fueled by adversity, but also inspired by a question that would change the trajectory of his work.

“Can astronauts be black?” Johnson’s four-year-old nephew asked his mother.

Unfortunately, the main character of “Akuverse” was created in February 2021. Aku is a physical representation of the confidence and boldness of a little black astronaut navigating his way through his dreams. Aku’s characterization challenges the notion that dreams are exclusive to certain social identities.

The story of Aku is told through NFTs, or chapters, that depict the journey of Aku’s dreams. Micah Johnson recently airdropped 9,241 Akustar mint passes to Aku chapter holders, now trading at 4.85 Ether (ETH) ($14,331.65). Over the past seven days, the Aku Mint Pass has raised over $13.4 million as the Akustars prepare for their largest expedition yet with a Proof-of-Profile (PFP) launch.

Akutars could be more than just another PFP

Akutars is the 15,000 PFP three-dimensional collection of Akuverse that will also live on the Ethereum blockchain. The images are meant to be empowering and the comments on Twitter prove that Aku’s story and images resonated with a number of NFT collectors.

According to data from NFTgo, 60% of Diamond Hand investors have had their Aku Mint Pass for more than a week, while about 30% of owners have had it for less than a week.

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Akutar Mint Pass holding period distribution. Source: NFTgo.io

Volume for Akutar Mint Passes is up 26% in the last seven days and the average selling price is up 89%.

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Akutar Mint Pass 7 Days Avg. selling price / quantity. Source: OpenSea

Akutars are not only a symbol of confidence and courage, but also of style. The collection will feature unique items and features created by some of streetwear’s most notable names such as Pharrell Williams, Billionaire Boys Club, ICECREAM, Puma and luxury streetwear experts Upscale Vandal. Roc Nation streetwear label Paper Planes and New York-based luxury label Who Decides War also helped design Akutars.

These strategic partnerships are more than just a drip for Akutars. PFP owners receive a range of perks and incentives on Akuverse, as well as physical access to exclusive experiences, collaborations and products.

What might be unique about Akutars compared to other NFTs is the cultural importance of Aku and how its history has influenced key players across the ecosystem who want to make sure the story is heard.

Related: Despite the bad reputation, NFTs can be a force for good

ready to go

On October 13, 2021, Visa announced its partnership with Micah Johnson and further plans to support the artist and the creative economy. In an interview with NBC, Micah Johnson expressed his recognition that there is an “audience that says this is what we want in the world,” and they have shown their support by investing in the project.

In just one year, AkuDreams has generated over $60 million in combined sales across all ten Aku Chapter NFTs and Akutar Mint Passes. Johnson has also confirmed that Aku’s story will be adapted into a feature film in which the Aku Chapters (NFT) can be reflected in scenes.

As previously mentioned, 9,241 Aku minting passes have been distributed to all respective Aku chapter holders and 5,500 will be available to the public for minting at a Dutch auction on April 22nd.

In true Dutch auction fashion, the lowest bid within the auction determines the price for everyone. This means that any bid higher than the lowest will pay the lowest bid. Many NFT investors took to Twitter to praise the intent of an “actual” Dutch auction, implying that other projects using the same mechanism had failed to execute it properly.

The increasing number of NFT auctions and drops makes them difficult to track and many go unnoticed. In hindsight, Moonbirds lock-in bid of 2.5 Ether ($7,385) seems like a steal compared to its current price.

This suggests that investors care a lot about the reputation and credibility of a team and its history. It’s possible that Akuverse will reflect an evolution where the community reflects the cultural importance of diversity and inclusivity, rather than just focusing on one product, brand, or genre.

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