Q&A: Team behind NFT bulldog collection | Arts & Culture

The popularity of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, has risen over the past year. For University of Georgia sophomore business management major Kyle Duceatt and friend Zac Harms, what began as a new way to invest evolved into creating an NFT of their own this year.

The DownTown Hounds is an NFT collection featuring hand-drawn bulldog art. Users can purchase a unique bulldog online for three Solana coins, a form of blockchain, and become part of an exclusive Athens-based community. Duceatt, the community manager of The DownTown Hounds, and Harms, the NFT’s artist, are aiming to release the collection by the end of the semester.

When they reach their selling goal, each investor can access their unique bulldog and attend three stages of events, including a meet and greet with the creators and opportunities to connect with other members of The DownTown Hounds community. A portion of the money made from the NFTs will also be donated to homeless communities in Athens.

The Red & Black spoke with Duceatt and Harms about their goals for The DownTown Hounds, how NFTs function and more. 

The Red & Black: Where did the idea to create your own NFT originate?

Kyle Duceatt: We were fascinated by [NFTs]. We were buying into collections, and then we were like, let’s try our hand at making one. When we had that idea, we had to keep it local to Athens. Since I was a kid, [UGA] was always my dream college. I have the opportunity to come to college here and create a collection that can be used to help benefit the community.

Zac Harms: We realize that a lot of people are struggling with their social lives and with COVID — being locked down and everything. We really wanted to provide something that will benefit not only certain people but the entire community of Athens as a whole. We found by investing into the digital frontier through NFTs that it was the best outlet that we could provide what we wanted to.

R&B: As an artist, how did you decide what content to create for the NFT?

Harms: That took some time, no doubt a lot of brainstorming. If I could show you the amount of failed attempts that I had, you’d be blown away. We knew we wanted it to be a bulldog because of UGA, and we knew we wanted to make it more of a modern-day vibe. We wanted to add hats of the championship games and different things that associate directly with UGA, like the spiked shoulder pads. Everything is hand-drawn by me. There’s 45, maybe 50, attributes in the collection. We wanted to really just encapsulate the culture of Athens.

R&B: How would you explain an NFT to someone confused by the concept?

Duceatt: At its core, it’s a picture that is entirely unique and can be assigned to you. The fact that an NFT can be assigned to a specific person means that we can use them as tickets. When you buy into our collection, not only is it unique in terms of art and how it looks, since no two are the same, but we use it as a ticket for every event that we’re going to throw.

R&B: Once you purchase your share of the NFT, how does it increase in price?

Harms: Let’s say the community grows or is a little bit better than when you originally bought [into] it. If someone wants to get in, you have exclusive rights to that art or NFT. So you could sell it. Somebody that wants to join the community but missed out on the original drop would buy it for $200 versus the $100 and you would make a profit.

R&B: Why specifically did you decide to give a portion of the proceeds to the homeless community of Athens?

Harms: [Homelessness] is a problem in Athens, Georgia, and everyone knows. The homeless population strikes a passion with us and we really want to help those people get back on their feet and give them a second chance at life. We haven’t narrowed it down to the exact places we’re going to be donating to, but it’ll be a range from $15,000 to $20,000. We want to split it up to homeless shelters and a food bank. We don’t want to just give a check for $20,000 to some corporation that may or may not do what we want with it.

R&B: You spoke previously in opposition to a completely digital world. How are you different from other NFTs that seek to move towards a digitalized world?

Harms: What sets us apart from a lot of other collections is they’re only focused on the digital asset. They’re hoping that their art will increase in price, but me and Kyle agreed that we don’t really want the virtual world to be as big as it’s going to be. So, we want to host real world, tangible assets. You’re not just buying into some digital landscape that nobody knows anything about. You’re buying into a community.

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