What is the Clock NFT?
Originally, people only used NFTs as a means of digital art collection and trade ever since NFTs are becoming popular in recent years. The appeal of NFTs is so wide and thorough that world-class celebrities are also flocking in to have their own NFTs, such as Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg NFT, Eminem, and many others. However, NFTs are also becoming a medium for fundraising, like the one seen in the Clock NFT or simply the "Clock".
In recent years, one of the most unprecedented uses of NFTs is the potential for charity. Organizations such as UNICEF have launched their own NFTs in late 2021 to raise awareness and money for children’s development and education. With uniquely crafted NFTs, organizations can depend on their design qualities to attract people into raising their money through these NFTs.
Compared to other elaborately designed NFTs, the Clock is quite simple in design. It only shows a simple clock timer, as befitting its title. However, the timer shows the total days of the imprisonment of Julian Assange, an Australian editor, and activist who founded WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organization, in 2006.
The Clock is a part of the collaboration between Assange and Pak (formerly Murat Pak), an anonymous digital artist and cryptocurrency investor with the project title "Censored". As a form of fundraising for supporting Assange's legal fees in his struggle against the pending extradition from London to the U.S., the whole collection is designed in mind to assist in alleviating the grave charges that Assange has to face due to his past actions.
Who is Julian Assange?
Before we talk about the NFT in further detail, who is Julian Assange, and what did he do to warrant such charges and force him to design NFTs to assist his legal case?
Originally, Assange took the world by storm in 2010 when WikiLeaks released a series of log leaks that revealed the grave misconduct of the United States Armed Forces during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Due to the gravity of these log leaks, the United States government launched an official criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and Assange himself. After attempting to escape the arrest attempts by the U.S. government and the Sweden government (under the allegations of sexual misconduct), he was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012.
However, in 2019, Assange was eventually arrested by the Metropolitan Police in the Embassy of Ecuador in London after Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno stated that Assange had "interfered" with Ecuador's internal affairs. Throughout his imprisonment, Assange is incarcerated in Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh in London, U.K.
Julian Assange's First NFT
In his struggle against the legal indictments for his past actions, Assange sought multiple attempts to free himself from the charges by the U.S. government. The latest of these attempts is the aforementioned development of the Clock and its accompanying NFT collection by Assange and Pak.
In this regard, the Clock NFT is the first NFT that you can find in the collection. Even though the Clock is currently the only NFT you can see in the collection, until its bid time has ended, it managed to gain a total winning bid of 16,593 ETH ($52.8 million).
The project owed its success to the long-time support of Assange's sympathizers, who are united in the AssangeDAO organization. Founded on the basis of the provision of a solidarity network to support and fight for Assange's freedom, AssangeDAO managed to have more than 10,000 people join its organization during Assange's legal battle.
During the auction on 9 February 2022, AssangeDAO managed to gather the winning bid of 16,593 ETH. When the auction closes, the Clock is considered the second most expensive NFT after Beeple's Everydays – The First 5000 Days.
Thanks to the highly decentralized and digitalized organizational structure of AssangeDAO, the organization was able to gather a sizable amount of funds to assist the funding for the legal defense through the Clock.
Apart from the Clock itself, there are other things used for visitors during the bid time to help the fundraising campaign. These include:
- - Message Tokenization
A unique part of Assange's NFT project is the message tokenization section on the website. Assange's supporters can input their own message into the type box that can be converted into a token when the section is still open. After being converted into a token, the message will take the form of an image, each with its own value.
- - Vanguards
Individuals who have directly participated in sending the messages are called the "Vanguards". On the website, the Vanguards section contains information on the total amount of Ethereum paid by the Vanguards. To provide transparency regarding their support, their contribution is recorded on both OpenSea and Etherscan. While the section only contains a total of the top 200 Ethereum contributors, it's safe to assume that there are more contributors who aren't listed on the website.
- - Wallet Connection
- The last section of the Censored collection contains the Wallet Connection section, in which supporters can link their WalletConnect-compatible wallets to the site. There are two ways in which supporters can link their wallets. They can do it by either scanning the QR code or choosing their preferred wallets. The existing wallet choices are Infinity Wallet, Wallet 3, Ledger, Tokenary, SecuX, Ambire, KEYRING PRO, RICE Wallet, KryptoGO, and PunkWallet.
Since the procurement of the sales from the Clock, the proceeds were then directed to Assange's defense fund, Wau Holland Foundation. The statement was delivered by Pak as their form of support for Assange's ongoing legal battle.
From the "Censored" messages, supporters have managed to raise more than 671 ETH ($2.1 million) for legal support as well. Apart from Wau Holland Foundation, other organizations have been chosen by Assange and Pak to support Assange.
The Role of NFTs in Fundraising
Due to the immensely controversial nature of Assange's case regarding the freedom of information and information censorship, Pak's decision to design the Clock (and other NFTs on a larger scale) was a form of support for the democratization and freedom of information.
Considering that the Clock has been financially supported by AssangeDAO through cryptocurrency means, it's safe to say NFTs can fulfill their role in assisting fundraising campaigns that can't be normally done through conventional fundraising means. Moreover, due to NFTs' characteristic of being decentralized, the full potential of NFTs hasn't been discovered yet in terms of supporting certain finance-related activities.
By learning about the case of the Clock NFT, we can only wonder how far can NFTs work not only as a medium of the digital art trade but also as media for fundraising and other finance-related activities. In fact, without the existence of NFTs, it would seem impossible for Assange to collect the amount of money he needed in such a short amount of time to finance his legal defense. As a result, it would be entirely possible for people to use NFTs to do fundraising in the future.