Flagstaff Dark Skyes Coalition has entered the non-fungible token (NFT) market with its original NFT collection entitled “A Night in Flagstaff”. Featuring the night sky scene at Buffalo Park, this collection is described as “70 images from 7,000 feet to $ 700 each.” Sales of NFTs from this collection will begin on April 21, and revenue will support the Northern Arizona Eyes on Night Sky (EONS) research program.
NFTs are digital assets that use blockchain technology to prove unique ownership of an asset. The NFT market, which is essentially an art market, reached $ 44 billion in 2021. According to the Flagstaff Dark Sky Union (FDSC), this collection makes Flagstaff “the first and only destination to enter the NFT market in the country”.
The NFT in “Flagstaff Night” is a digital image. Each is a 20-second exposure of the night sky as seen from Buffalo Park, showing stars less than two miles from the city hall and a dark sky. The image was taken by FDSC President Chris Luginbourg.
“Flag staff has their own resources and wanted to create a collection of images that convey the message that they have had their own success in protecting those resources,” says Luginbuhl.
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In 2001, Flagstaff was designated as the first International Dark Sky City and more recently. Celebrated the 20th anniversary Of that designation. The city is still a global example of the conservation of the dark sky, and these images “embody the message that the flag staff has a proof of concept and the dark sky can be protected.”
The idea for the NFT fundraiser came from a collaboration with Discover Flagstaff, said Bonnie Stevens, executive director of FDSC. “Trace Ward has that idea and introduced the concept of NFTs into FDSC as a new marketing tool,” Stevens said. The FDSC also sought guidance from Blake Rayfield, a professor at WA Franke Business College at Northern Arizona University.
“Flagstaff Night” will make FDSC one of the “first” nonprofits to enter the NFT market, Rayfield said. As a funding tool, Rayfield explained that selling NFTs has some clear advantages. The overhead cost of creating an NFT is much less than funding tactics such as event planning and building specialization. This will lower the admission fee for philanthropists.
“If the building needs your name, it’s in the millions of dollars,” says Rayfield. “NFTs can be used by nonprofits to raise money, but those who donate can get some recognition in return,” Rayfield said due to the nature of blockchain technology. , Explained that those who purchased from “Flag Staff Night” will have a name that is permanently associated with the collection.
As a fundraiser, that “great”, said Rich Naden, who first purchased the NFT from “Flagstaff Night”.
“For people like me who are always hungry for new experiences and adventures, it has reached me,” Naden said. “It’s nice to be on the cutting edge of this sort of thing,” he said, while buying NFTs is like investing in cryptocurrencies, but not so “serious.” ..
“Honestly, this is really a donation,” he said. “But at the same time, I think it’s good to diversify all holdings, whether or not it turns out to be the quality of the investment. I’m happy to support a big purpose and at the same time diversify. increase.”
Naden bought an NFT depicting “The Milky Way and all of its glory.” There is a line of an airplane and a blinking satellite around it.
“It captures the night sky, a little humanity, and a little space,” Naden said. He plans to magnify and print the image and hang it in the office. “I thought it was all so cool, and I’m glad to own it.” At the time of the press, three of the 70 NFTs in the collection were on sale.
Researcher Ed Anderson said the funds raised from the sale of “Flagstaff Night” are destined to support EONS research, including “continuous reading of the night sky.” The research team has already set up several surveillance units around the town, and dates from these units will help scientists understand light pollution and refine Flagstaff’s dark-sky protection policies.
The next step for EONS is to set up a surveillance station on the Babbitt Ranch. Stevens said the ranch land is already “one of the darkest places in the state.” “It is surrounded by dark sky areas such as the city of Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon National Park and the Wupatki National Monument.” This study is expected to help designate the Baby Ranch as a Dark Conservation Area.
Due to their interest in starry sky conservation in many respects, the FDSC has become a conservation organization aimed at protecting and protecting natural resources. NFTs, and the cryptocurrencies in which they are traded, are not in perfect agreement with this mission. Recently, cryptocurrency transactions have been scrutinized because they are very energy intensive. It all has to do with the amount of computing power needed to maintain cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology on which NFTs are built. In 2021, the New York Times said, “The process of creating Bitcoin. [a popular cryptocurrency] Expenditure and trade consume about 91 terawatt hours of electricity annually. This is more electricity than is used in Finland, which is about 5.5 million countries. “
When the energy-intensive nature of cryptocurrency trading emerged before the FDSC Board, “we wanted to make sure that moving forward was compatible with our organization’s environmental mission,” Luginbuhl said. rice field. However, not all cryptocurrency transactions are equal. Through discussions with Rayfield, the group has identified a trading platform known as Polygon, which trades Ethereum cryptocurrencies in a less energy-intensive way.
“We comfortably feel responsible for our overall environmental mission by moving that particular constraint forward,” Luginbuhl said.
Those interested in purchasing NFTs from the Flagstaff Nights collection can purchase them by creating an OpenSea account.