BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY is changing the digital landscape, from finance (crypto) to event ticketing, gaming, lending, authenticating collectibles (NFTs), and even the internet as we know it.
As a web development company, GROW has had the opportunity to introduce blockchain technology for a variety of use cases. But our most recent project is unique: using NFTs as a fundraiser to preserve a collection of historic Civil Rights era photos from acclaimed photojournalist Ernest Withers.
Bringing Tech to NFT Social Good Club
GROW provides the technology that fuels 1687, an NFT-membership club. 1687 uses NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and technology to support social good projects that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the web3 space.
Most recently, 1687 partnered with Memphis-based Withers Collection Museum and Gallery to use NFTs as a fundraising platform to help preserve the most historically significant collection of photos in United States history.
The Withers Collection
Memphis photojournalist Dr. Ernest C. Withers used his camera to capture life in the segregated south in the 1950s and 60s. His work includes photos of the most important figures and events from Civil Rights history, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, the Emmett Till trial, and the I AM A MAN sanitation workers’ strike that led to the assassination of Dr. King.
Withers also photographed some of the most well-known cultural icons of that time, including Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and many other music and film icons.
When Ernest Withers passed away, he left behind nearly 2M photographs. His daughter, Rosalind Withers, turned his Beale Street photography studio into a museum and began the difficult task of preserving and digitizing these historic photographs.
The Withers Collection and 1687 decided to collaborate on an NFT-based fundraiser to help digitize Withers’ work, and GROW was there to handle the tech lift on this social good project.
Turning Vintage Photos into Digital NFT Art
NFTs are non-fungible tokens, digital collectibles that include art, music, and sports memorabilia whose authentication and provenance are permanently and publicly recorded on a blockchain.
The Withers Art Project NFTs started as a series of vintage photographs from the Withers Collection. From there, layered elements for each photo were hand-drawn and painted by a team of artists and then uploaded into a computer program.
The program then randomly assembled the various layers into a series of unique digital works of art (known as a generative art collection): each piece is completely unique and one-of-a-kind.
The NFTs were then available for public minting, using cryptocurrency to purchase the NFT and then having that NFT moved into a digital wallet while its sale (mint) was recorded on the blockchain.
GROW’s tech team helped create a front-end website for the Withers Art Project, oversaw the generative art process, and built a minting web dApp to allow users to connect their digital wallets and complete the blockchain transaction safely and securely. We removed the barrier-to-entry that would prevent a crypto-novice from minting an NFT by ensuring a “buy with credit card” option was available on the mint dApp.
Our marketing department got to work with press releases and social media, email, and SEO-driven content marketing, while 1687 Club founders enlisted the help of influencers and local media to help promote the project.
How Can GROW Use Blockchain Tech to Help Support Your Next Project?
GROW clients are finding incredible ways to implement blockchain technology into their business operations.
Whether you’re a web3 brand looking to create your own NFT collection, or think the blockchain’s public and permanent transaction record capability would be a boon to your lending, ticketing, courseware, or other business, GROW can help you bring your vision to life. Connect with us and share your vision.