Rhys Dale has been fascinated by the sporadic peaks and troughs in the value of cryptocurrency since he started investing in 2017.
- A group of friends in the Shoalhaven area of NSW have created 10,000 quirky cartoon koala artworks
- The artworks were sold as NFTs using cryptocurrency and proceeds have been donated to koala hospitals around Australia
- So far, $70,000 has been donated, with more to come as artworks are on-sold
However, it was not until he and his friends nearly lost their homes in the 2019 Shoalhaven bushfires that they decided to use their knowledge of digital currency to help an Australian icon in need.
They started creating digital NFT — or non-fungible token — art of “bogan, degenerate” cartoon koalas to sell and donate a percentage of the money to koala hospitals around the country.
NFT is a digital proof of ownership licence used for artworks traded on cryptocurrency networks.
“Our project is named Drop Bears after the Australian urban legend,” Mr Dale said.
“The baggy green [Australian test cricket cap] is a very popular one.”
All up, the team created 10,000 unique artworks which sold out in less than 18 hours on August 29.
Significant donations to koala hospitals
The artworks have been sold in the ethereum currency and the money is already being used by two koala hospitals in Port Macquarie and Magnetic Island.
“We have another $10,000 ready to go to another koala sanctuary.”
While there will only be 10,000 koala artworks, the Drop Bears team intends to continue with the formula of larrikin Australian animal cartoons raising money for wildlife projects.
“We’re trying to build upon the foundation, so the second drop will be emus. Then we’ll do a third and fourth drop,” Mr Dale said.
Reselling artwork generates donations
In the world of NFT art, if someone resells a digital artwork a percentage of the sale price will go to the original artist.
This cut is known as the “secondary sale royalty”, and Rhys Dale said it will ensure donations will continue to flow to their causes as the artworks are traded in the digital marketplace.
“We’re donating 40 per cent of our secondary sale fee, so once a month we’ll get paid out for that,” he said.