In My Wallet: Collecting the Equitable Future With Sirsu.
In this week’s In My Wallet, Palm NFT Studio welcomes Ameer “Sirsu” Suhayb Carter, a mixed-media creative in the NFT ecosystem aiming to provide creators with funds to engage in the crypto ecosystem. Sirsu is also one of the most active NFT art collectors in the space, with a focus on emerging artists and creating support systems for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creators.
Alongside Sirsu’s creation of The Mind Fund, a community-run fund dedicated to helping artists mint their first NFTs, he is also leveraging community at The Well, a self-founded cultural index to route creative value back to Black creators. Sirsu’s commitment to creating an equitable web ecosystem and empowering Black culture in the Web 3.0 space is heavily showcased as he continues to amplify the reality that Black internet culture is not a monolith.
Read our full story below to learn about Sirsu’s latest work in the Web 3.0 space, the creation of BLVKHVND as a decentralized e-sports and gaming collective aimed to uplift and build the next generation of competitive players, and his take on the best NFTs around in the space.
“When She Takes Flight, It’s More Than We Imagined” & “No False Idols / Gods” by Sirsu
You’re a founder of The Mint Fund, an initiative aimed at alleviating the upfront cost of minting an NFT. How do you envision the process of onboarding the next era of communities entering the Web 3.0 landscape?
For me, what I’ve noticed recently is that this idea of multiplayer, or operating in a group, is helping to bring people into the space faster than a kind of individual self-starting matter. Even though the crypto environment is rooted and fostered by self-initiation and sovereignty, we know for a fact that working in a group or with people that you may feel comfortable with gives you more confidence in achieving a task that you can then take on for yourself later.
What we’ve seen with PartyBid (an application that allows users to collaboratively pool funds to purchase NFTs) has been a really amazing primitive to get folks active into the space. For many PartyDAO projects that I’ve worked on, we’ve been able to onboard hundreds of people within the past couple of months just by doing our short initiatives.
We’re still going to [need] regular education. We’re still going to have the Clubhouse talks and the YouTube guides and everything related to that, but nothing beats the boots on the ground, grassroots, ‘I’m going to show you how to do something, but we’re going to anchor it with a project, a cause, and an idea.’ That just catalyzes so much faster in my opinion. We’ll really start to see more cause-oriented and anchored objectives with crypto to get people interested in participating in it.
This was also heavily seen in your #CryptoCookout initiative, in which you led nearly 400 people to pool 70+ ETH to buy a Cryptopunk named $HALLE as part of a mission to raise the value of the Black and Brown Cryptopunks. What’s the importance of community in regards to an NFT?
#CryptoCookout is dope because it’s literally just a community-owned collective aimed to buy and support projects that are aimed towards Black identity and Black culture. It started out being the purchase of some Black CryptoPunks, mainly because at the time, there had been a consistently low value for many Black-identifying CryptoPunks within the 10,000 avatar project.
While some folks had displeasure at this, myself included, many of the ideas surrounding what people would do to rectify the situation only made it look as if we were charity cases incapable of purchasing things of that nature.… And so, I thought to build a means in which the community could participate and own these high-value assets, and even if we just decided not to do anything, the fact that we came together to buy it is a reclamation of that digital identity.
It’s way different than just having an anonymous dude purchase a bunch of these punks and donate it to charity when we don’t know what’s going to happen when it’s donated to charity, especially if there’s no real education around what these assets do or how those charities can flip these assets to meaningful dollars for their initiatives.
It just seems like a marketing play that has no substance, but at least for us, we have this ability as a community of saying, Black and Brown folk who are boots on the ground in crypto have a perfect opportunity to work together to get something cool. And as a result, it can monetarily benefit us over time. If we decide to do other things with this property, we now have much more added access and visibility because of the fact that we’re represented by an object, an NFT that is already insanely pervasive. Having a CryptoPunk as an avatar makes moves. It opens doors.
It’s weird and it feels very off-putting at certain spaces, but we can’t deny its influence. But now that we collectively own a few Cryptopunks at this point, we know have this opportunity to operate in the same playing field and in the same purview as the folks that were privy to this information prior. That’s what #CryptoCookout was designed to do.
Yatreda’s Kingdoms of Ethiopia NFT series.
We’ve started to branch in supporting other block projects, like Yatrida’s work and we’ve managed to own two of her pieces. We’re certainly looking to identify more works that really amplify who we are as a people, as a Black Diaspora group.
How do you see your actions in collecting these types of works in regards to supporting the preservation of just history in general?
We need to make sure that there are cultural stewards of what we’re doing here.
Even though the blockchain records all things that happen on-chain, there is no presentation of that data. It’s still up to us to create the layers of presentation that people can tap into those blocks and tap into those transaction hashes to figure out what the real story is behind them.
Without groups like the #CryptoCookout or movements like HerStoryDAO or things of that nature, right, we wouldn’t have voices that are speaking about our stories and what we’ve done to the space as we’re ushering in this fully realized new way of culture, and a new way of creativity, and a new way of art and music. Web 3.0 is creating an entirely different world.
The acquisition of these works means that we now take the responsibility of being those documentarians and those stewards of the great work of our time.
BLVKHVND: A Decentralized Gaming Organization.
Beyond traditional digital art, can you inform us more about your work in gaming, BLVKHVND, and how NFTs relate to this organization you’re currently building out?
I want BLVKHVND to be the most pervasive, decentralized gaming entity period. I want BLVKHVND to be literally everywhere. I want streamers to have them under their banner. I want a decentralized network of eSports teams that are playing under the hand of many different spaces, whether it’s the Apex Legends, Call of Duty, a Halo Championships series, or even League of Legends.
Those are just non-crypto native games, like Fortnite, for instance. In the crypto space, there’s Dark Forest, Illuvium, Star Atlas, Axie infinity, and the likes. I want us to have a decentralized network that supports game developers and helps fund the newest projects in the space, like Arcade NFTs, or if a kid has a really sick idea. We want to be able to have the budget to support those ends.
Gaming is more than just competitive play. It’s more than just building a game. Gaming is a way of life. It’s something that, at least for me, was one of the first communities that I ever got to foster and create…from playing Pokemon cards to getting a Game Boy. Once we had the Game Boy link cables, that was the first core group of people that I learned from. Gaming is a connector. It’s a community builder. It’s a self-starter. It gets you motivated. Through BLVKHVND, we can build a comprehensive network and on-ramp to get any, and everyone excited about crypto in many different avenues.
How did this all start? What was your first NFT? If you can remember.
My first NFTs were actually these Gitcoin Kudos NFTs when I participated in a blockchain hackathon with Consensys and Gitcoin in 2019 called Beyond Blockchain. I worked on a project for a medical ID system called Active Health and that case study is actually on my media page, but yeah, they got second place within the medical blockchain hackathon and I won 10 ETH and they gave me two kudos NFTs. It was very, very cool.
It still didn’t click to me to be like, “Ameer, you should go look into it.” It wasn’t until the following year where my friend put me on and then I’m like, “Oh, I already have some of these. Wow. I didn’t even know you could do this.” And then yeah, now here I am.
A Tako Universe NFT art series.
Lastly, what’s your favorite NFT project right now?
I would say this one incredible dude named Tako Universe. I’ve been slowly buying up a bunch of his work and he also sends his physical paintings too. I have about four of his paintings at my house with one more being shipped soon…assuming I win this auction. It’s a 5 x 6-foot piece. It’ll be the biggest art piece that I have. I have no room for this in my current apartment. So I’m very happy to find a new space that I can put this art in. I would say Tako Universe is probably one of the sharpest painters in the space that I’m really enjoying.
Block Racers NFT series by ArtForMachine.
Another project that I really love is called Block Racers. It’s a sick racing game by this dude named Art for Machine, and I’ve been supporting it since late last year. And no, since late last year. I love the work he’s doing.
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