The “Floydies” NFTs have sparked a contentious debate over intellectual property within the NFT world after an NFT collection of George Floyd caricatures in diverse costumes and settings emerged.
George Floyd was an African-American man who was wrongly murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020. The police officer behind the crime was sentenced to 22 and a half years in jail for killing the father of five by kneeling on his throat for more than nine minutes.
The tragic event triggered the United States' largest racial justice protests since the Civil Rights Movement, spearheaded by the“Black Lives Matter” (BLM) organization. Interestingly, BLM went far beyond the nation, inspiring a global reckoning with racism across the globe.
Nonetheless, the initial collection of Floydies NFTs was released by anon curators on OpenSea starting on December 7—a week after the police officer who killed Floyd plead not guilty. OpenSea took the collection of NFTs down following backlash from those concerned about equality and human rights.
Some believe digital art is “overtly racist caricatures.” The project attracted labels such as “horrible,” and many campaigned for their reporting and removal from marketplaces like OpenSea. Others claimed to perceive the digital assets as a “commemoration” of the life of George Floyd.
Please note that this article isn’t intended to be a commentary on the social issues surrounding George Floyd’s murder, but an exploration of the debacle surrounding the “Floydies.”
The History of Floydies
The original Floydies weren’t very financially successful on OpenSea before being pulled down, but were the target of much criticism on Twitter. The highest-priced NFT costs 0.05 ETH ($97.39). The lowest-priced cost 0.007 ETH ($13.72).
The curator of the first drop of Floydies used Twitter to announce the drop and link to the collection on OpenSea. The post gained over 3,000 likes and 4,100 retweets in just three weeks.
Many dubbed versions of Floydies NFTs followed. The highest bid for one of the non-fungible tokens was $12k. Others sold for significantly less.
Despite OpenSea kicking off many versions of Floydies, anon curators continue dropping other versions—“George Floyd Defender of Ukraine”, “George Floyd on the Moon”, “George Floyd Explore the Sea”, “In Memory of George Floyd 108” and “George Floyd on the Moon Shining”.
Following the popularity of Floydies, another marketplace, Scatter Art, continued selling NFTs of George Flloyd. Although, it recently erased the collection regarding copyright issues:
Unlike OpenSea, the project removal had nothing to do with racial scrutinization.
Floydies Digital Art - Yay or Nay?
Many NFT projects write descriptions regarding the reasons behind their project to entice buyers. The description on OpenSea for the original collection of Floydies NFTs stated: “Owning a Floydie is a great way to express yourself and your beliefs! Floydies are a unique and progressive way to celebrate the monumental life of George Floyd”.
Although the blockchain applies human rights activism in numerous ways, many find this hard to believe concerning Floydies.
The main issue with these NFTs is that there’s no sign of the proceeds going towards good causes, like Floyd’s family, Black Lives Matter, and the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. Further, the creators were anon.
There’s no excuse for the proceeds not being donated. One of the most significant benefits of NFTs is that curators can easily donate auction proceeds using marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible. All curators need to do is set a payout address to their given organization’s cryptocurrency wallet address in advance.
Thus, people have turned to Twitter to voice their outrage over the anon curators behind Floydies using the homicide for financial gain:
Another concern regarding Floydies is what the imagery manifests. Many different types of Floydies have circled the Web3 space. The digital assets showcase tasteless designs, such as Floyd dressed as a police officer, angel, astronaut, minion, standing in front of a trans flag, and much more.
It’s important to note that buyers also needed an “N word” pass to access the first collection of Floydies NFTs after purchase.
Nevertheless, the repercussions haven’t prevented other crypto collectors from being drawn to the collection and showing off their purchases on the social media site:
As you can see, Floydies NFTs and other George Floyd derived and inspired works of art draw much criticism.
Using NFTs to Fight for Racial Equality
Following Floydies and the many dubbed versions, George Floyd’s brother, Terrance Floyd, created his own much more tasteful collection.
There are 9,000 “SEENINJUSTICE” NFTs in collaboration with Confront Art on the Flow blockchain. The digital assets feature George Floyd sculptures alongside Breonna Taylor ones.
Sadly, Taylor was also killed in America by the police in 2020. She was shot by one of the seven police officers who broke into her apartment in Kentucky to investigate a drug dealing operation.
Unlike the above collections, these NFTs highlight the need to fight for justice whilst raising money for relevant charities—The Breonna Taylor Foundation, the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation, and We Are Floyd Org.
Additionally, the NFT charity campaign also partners with the families of the late Rep. John Lewis, alongside participation from the TV host and Grammy Award-winning singer, Dionne Warwick:
Many Floyd NFTs that degrade the African-American wrongly murdered by a policeman in the States are circling. The project scorns not only George Floyd and his beloved family but also progressivism, equality, and other politics behind the black culture.
If you are interested in holding a mini George Floyd in your wallet, you can purchase a “SEENINJUSTICE” NFT, the collection launched by the Floyd family, donating to relevant charities.
Anyone disheartened by some of the characters of Floyd continuously swirling around the sphere can do their part by reporting the projects’ Twitter and Openseas accounts. Many of these projects are money grabs by anons seeking to exploit what was a nationally painful moment.
If you want to show support without purchasing a “SEENINJUSTICE” NFT, you can pledge directly to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. Donations support critical work to inform, unite, engage communities and fight for justice.