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DBEDT News Release: Hawaii’s Digital Currency Lab announces “NFT for Good” initiative

Posted on Oct 20, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The State of Hawai‘i’s Digital Currency Innovation Lab (DCIL) facilitates the first collaboration of its kind bringing together creatives and technologists to beautify communities through an initiative using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Worldwide Walls Hawai‘i (formerly known as POW! WOW!, the Hawai‘i-based organization of global street art fame) is hosting its first NFT-based gallery on MakersPlace, a premiere rare digital art marketplace. Through the “NFT for Good” initiative, Worldwide Walls Hawai‘i receives a donation amount of up to 10% from the proceeds and will administer a community beautification project in underserved neighborhoods next year. Creative digital works from artists selected by Worldwide Walls Hawai‘i and approved by the platform are slated for sale. Collectors can pay for rare art creations on MakersPlace using cryptocurrency (digital wallet) or fiat currency (credit card).

The Worldwide Walls Hawai‘i gallery on MakersPlace is scheduled to go live on December 1, 2021. Interested collectors can sign up for updates on the HTDC website.

Jasper Wong, founder of Worldwide Walls and lead on this initiative, is excited about the collaboration, “This is a fantastic opportunity to elevate promising artists in Hawai‘i and showcase their creations to a global audience of art collectors and enthusiasts. The best part of it all is how we are coming together and using the power of technology to work with communities in expressing themselves, especially during the pandemic.”

Worldwide Walls plans to adorn public housing, community centers, and schools with new murals, primarily in the Kalihi-Pālama areas. Five local artists – Jasper Wong, Lucky Olelo, Shar Tuiasoa, Woes and Wooden Wave – were selected to participate in this inaugural collaboration with MakersPlace, which is an invite-only platform for high-quality art creations.

“MakersPlace is thrilled to be part of this collaboration with Worldwide Walls and the State of Hawai‘i. Our mission is to empower the world’s most creative minds and we are achieving this through our NFT-based platform and our rapidly growing community of 85,000-plus people, while at the same time, helping Hawai‘i’s non-profits,” shared Ryoma Ito, chief marketing officer.

NFTs use the secure and transparent digital ledger of blockchain to verify and authenticate unique digital items and ownership. This technology enables the San Francisco-based startup to ensure that artists also earn a 10% royalty fee when their works are re-sold on the platform. This year, MakersPlace rose to prominence when it brought Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days to market and sold for $69.3M in March. In August, it announced $30M in venture capital funding, counting Sony Music Entertainment, former Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht and Eminem as some of its investors.

“We need to embrace this new era of digital art creation and ownership. Through the DCIL, we look forward to exploring for our creatives how new technologies like NFTs can be used to grow global export opportunities for Hawai‘i’s creative entrepreneurs and help our artists remain competitive in this rapidly changing media landscape,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer of the Creative Industries Division (CID), founder of Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) within the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

The DCIL is a two-year program forged through a partnership between the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) and Hawai‘i Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), an agency attached to DBEDT. Its purpose is to collect data on digital currency activity to determine the need for regulation and supervision as well as explore economic opportunities related to this realm of financial technology.

Len Higashi, acting executive director of HTDC, celebrates this collaboration brought forth by the DCIL, “The global NFT market witnessed $2.5B in sales volume earlier this year. We are excited to pilot this opportunity for Hawai‘i.”

The DCIL concludes on June 30, 2022, with a winddown period lasting until December 30, 2022.  For more details on the pilot program and to stay up to date with developments in the DCIL, visit the HTDC website at:


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