WASHINGTON – A new startup is using NFTs to unite Black-owned businesses nationwide.
D.C.’s Motown Square Pizza, in the Shaw neighborhood, is part of this venture which also seeks to educate the Black community on cryptocurrency.
A group of HBCU graduates started the Greenwood District Society. It’s named after what’s commonly known as Black Wall Street, the community of businesses destroyed in the Tulsa Race Massacre.
“It never really has been recreated at all,” said Usman Tijani, a Delaware State graduate. “So now with the whole NFT hype, what better way to educate the community on the crypto space and NFTs, and also build the Black Wall Street globally.”
The NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, the pizza shop will start selling in about a month will make buyers part of a crypto club of sorts. They’ll be able to get freebies and perks at Black-owned businesses across the country. At Motown Square pizza, NFT holders will get a free pie every month.
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Owner Paulos Belay said he doesn’t know much about NFTs and what made him get involved is the lack of diversity in the crypto market. He said he wants to support the effort to change that.
“I just wanted to be a part of it,” Belay said.
He said he lost his managerial job during the pandemic prompting him to launch his pizza shop where he makes Detroit-style pizza. Belay just moved to a new location on 7th Street NW.
“I was out of a job March 2020,” Belay said. “I had a passion for making the pizza already. I had been working on the recipe for a few years.”
The Greenwood District Society NFTs will go on sale in just over a month. Tijani said the price is .1 ETH, which right now is just over $300.
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“You could think of it like stocks,” Tijani said. “So, you getting an NFT is like a share into that specific project and depending on how the company grows, your specific NFT could grow as well in price.”
He said the end goal is to have at least one business in every state from a range of industries.
Jordan Bobo, a Hampton University graduate, is working to secure more partnerships with businesses before the launch. Right now, they have less than a dozen. Bobo said when she’s making calls to businesses, she starts with a conversation about the crypto market in an attempt to increase understanding.
“There’s so much money out there and knowledge is power,” Bobo said.
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