The appeal of NFTs is not limited to any one country — it’s not just Americans, Europeans or Canadians that have become obsessed with putting artwork and gaming on the blockchain — the NFT craze is global.
This worldwide, mainstream appeal of NFTs, non-fungible tokens
, has inspired many to explore the benefits of infusing elements of blockchain
-powered non-fungibility into their products — across all industries.
The goal is to capitalize on the high demand for an economy where real-world and virtual assets can both thrive. Due to the appeal of such products, the number of NFT-based projects has increased exponentially, even as companies continue to search for new ways to bring blockchain’s expanded features to the mainstream market via NFTs.
As expected, the Russian crypto community
has featured prominently in this NFT movement. Thanks to the technical savviness of Russian citizens
, the country is quick to identify and jump onto new technology trends. We saw this play out during the initial coin offering
(ICO) era of 2017 — when several Russian developers and entrepreneurs capitalized on the unregulated fundraising mechanism to raise capital.
Interestingly, a similar level of engagement is somewhat being replicated in today’s NFT boom. Below I have highlighted some of the NFT projects headed or initiated by Russians. The list includes NFT arts, marketplaces and events.
is one of the most active NFT marketplaces for arts, memes and game items, according to DappRadar
. The platform provides users with all of the tools and infrastructure required to mint and trade NFTs.
Interestingly, the platform was co-founded by Alexei Falin and Alexander Salnikov, and the entirety of the team is based in Russia. According to the development team, it is critical to make NFTs as user-centric as possible — and ohe goal is to remove the restrictions associated with the conventional intellectual property market. Therefore, Rarible combines simplicity and functionality to ensure that users can create, own and trade NFTs with just a few clicks.
The project leverages the Ethereum
blockchain to deliver an autonomous NFT ecosystem where users have complete control over the custody of their digital assets. In essence, users execute trades directly from their wallets through the Rarible software.
Rarible is also community-governed. In other words, the users have a say in the governance and development of the project. More specifically, anyone holding the platform’s native token, RARI
, is able to vote on governance proposals in order to reach a consensus on developments and protocol upgrades.
describes itself as a platform that enables mobile products designed to unlock creativity. The team combines art and augmented reality (AR) technology to create a unique mobile drawing app.
The goal is to help users master a higher level of artistry by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and gamification. Remarkably, the platform goes a step further to provide the NFT infrastructure required for monetizing artworks. SketchAR allows users to create art and mint the art into an NFT, all on a single app. The minted NFTs are then listed on popular NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible.
It is worth mentioning that the founders of SketchAR, Alex Danilin and Andrey Drobitko, met in 2004 while they both were studying in Penza, Russia. Although they came up with the original idea behind SketchAR in 2012, the limitations of mobile phone technology at that time made it hard to implement an AR product for mobile phones.
Eventually, SketchAR launched in 2017, and it has since implemented blockchain technology to great effect. The platform plans to launch an NFT marketplace of its own where users can trade artworks directly.
was founded by Evgenii Kuzin, a Russian blockchain specialist in 2020. Kuzin is currently the team lead and product manager of the project. The platform offers blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) products for improved scalability and usability. In particular, the project has introduced a new iteration for ERC-721 and BEP-721 standards. With this, the token data can be stored on the blockchain permanently. The data are also accessible on Ethereum and Binance Smart Chin (BSC). Foil Network calls this the Pure NFT standard.
As part of its proposed suite of solutions, Foil Network plans to create its native NFT marketplace with cross-chain capability. In July 2021, the project hosted a private offline NFT auction in Moscow to demonstrate the workings of Pure NFT.
was founded by Olga Dvoretskaya. Unlike other platforms highlighted in this guide, it focuses on impacting the local digital art movement in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The platform researches and develops new techniques for the creative industries. Notably, parts of its plans heavily rely on NFT technology, especially in the digital art scene.
More specifically, the initiative has created a private NFT art club to support and establish contemporary art forms. Among other things, the club looks to draft aesthetic and ethical standards for the emerging NFT digital art world. It will also provide grants and mentorship opportunities for young artists.
NFTs for Meduza
In May 2021, top digital artists in Russia agreed
to auction off some of their works on Rarible to support Meduza — a prominent news media outlet that was recently labeled a foreign agent by Russia’s Ministry of Justice. The foreign agent legislation has been a subject of controversy since it was adopted in 2012 — this is because it allows the government to impose restrictions on organizations and individuals suspected to be foreign-funded.
A total of 81 artists from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine contributed to the creation of two collages of pictures and videos inspired by Meduza.
Feminist NFTs: Panic Attack
Popular Russian feminist group Pussy Riot turned to NFTs to monetize their song
, Panic Attack, and raise money to build shelters for victims of domestic violence. In March 2021, the group minted four NFTs of the four-part series of their music video on Foundation, an NFT marketplace. They have since raised over $300,000, with the first NFT, Terrestrial Paradise, selling for $184,000.
Another exciting development that showcases the relevance of NFT in Russia was recorded in July 2021, when St. Petersburg-based Hermitage Museum’s announced
its decision to tokenize and auction off virtual copies of some of its most valuable masterpieces. The list of artworks included Lilac Bush by Vincent Van Gogh, Composition VI by Wassily Kandinsky, Corner of the Garden at Montgeron by Claude Monet, Madonna Litta by Leonardo da Vinci and Judith by Giorgione.
The platforms listed in this article are a handful of NFT platforms or projects headed or founded by individuals with Russian roots. Since there is basically unlimited room for innovation in the NFT space, there is every reason to believe that more Russian developers, artists and entrepreneurs will continue to join the NFT craze.
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