Krama NFT Marketplace makes history with sale of first Cambodian digital art

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Tony Francis shows guests the Wonderful Women Wall, a project run in collaboration with the Cambodian Children’s Fund. SUPPLIED

Krama NFT Marketplace last Saturday celebrated the opening of the Kingdom’s first digital asset platform – and made history with the sale of the first Cambodian artworks to be sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Serving to “protect, preserve and promote Cambodian culture,” the opening of Krama NFT Marketplace at the Cambodian Country Club saw the sale of Relax by Chhim Sothy from the Legacy Collection, said its managing director, Tony Francis.

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Relax by Chhim Sothy. SUPPLIED

“History was made on Saturday when Cambodian-born legacy artist Chhim Sothy recreated the Relax artwork and sold it as a digital collection as an NFT. Every artist in Cambodia now has the opportunity to re-enact their work and forever receive royalties.

“NFTs are creating revenue from new streams due to the opportunities digital assets offer. The work of Chhim Sothy and the other artists sold are now preserved and protected forever as a one of a kind on the blockchain, and will continue to make them money via future sales.

“So we are excited to introduce Cambodia’s first digital asset platform – Krama NFT Marketplace. After all the hard work, we are delighted to have the platform up and running, on which pioneers can join us in protecting, preserving and promoting Cambodian culture into the metaverse,” said Francis.

Krama NFT Marketplace, he said, is to serve as a “bridge” for the digital transformation.

“There is this epochal movement happening, and Krama NFT Marketplace has been created as a bridge, helping this transition from physical to digital ownership, and the way we will be doing this is by offering collections of Cambodian art.

“The wonderful collections available include works by legacy artists such as Sam Sophonn, Chhim Sothy and Hour Soben, to urban art, to Angkor Fractals, which is digital art, to Full Steam Ahead – our amazing project with the Cambodian Children’s Fund – and numerous other artists’ collaborations.

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The Cambodian art available comes in five collections. SUPPLIED

“All of the pieces come with the original artwork or print and the NFT, which is stored on the blockchain on Ethereum. And for the opening 30 collections, they also come with beautiful digital frames in gift boxes with which to display the digital artwork,” said Francis.

One of the available collections of note, Francis said, is that of the Full Steam Ahead (FSA) project run in collaboration with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF), with the Wonderful Women Wall a particular highlight.

Created by CCF students under the mentorship of German artist Danilo Halle, the Wonderful Women Wall represents a celebration of female intergenerational empowerment featuring CCF’s three eldest grandmothers, three mothers and three daughters.

And Andrew Roberts, STEM coordinator at the CCF’s Neeson Kripps Academy and a co-founder of FSA, hailed the importance of the project in being fundamental for developing the students’ critical and creative thinking.

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The event was held at the Cambodian Country Club. SUPPLIED

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for our students working in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning – to use the other part of their brain and develop art inspired by the sciences.

“With the FSA project, the arts have been a platform for all the other learning. And that has been the key because the students hadn’t had the opportunity before to be able to link all of those subjects together in one project that lasts over a year.

“So it is touching multiple students in multiple different projects in multiple different areas of learning. And while the art has been the final outcome that gets sold, the learning along the whole way is fundamental to their critical and creative thinking, and their knowledge of the world,” said Roberts.

Francis said the world is witnessing a global transition, with people changing from having the physical ownership of assets to digital ownership.

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Krama NFT Marketplace serves to ‘protect, preserve and promote Cambodian culture’. SUPPLIED

“We have had Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and now we are at Web 3.0 – a whole new world where artworks, real estate and even utilities are all owned in a digital form. This what the excitement is all about.

“This is why Facebook have changed their name to Meta, this is why we have someone buying 5,000 JPEGs for $69 million, and this is why we have Goldman Sachs, Nike, the NBA, the biggest companies and organisations in the world, all joining what is the next stage in the evolution of asset ownership.

“And now with the first ever pieces of Cambodian art sold on the Kingdom’s first ever digital asset platform, the Kingdom is at the forefront of this momentous movement,” said Francis.