The Archdiocese of Bangkok has announced the first-ever public release this week of an NFT token minted officially by the Catholic Church via Kalamint.io, an NFT marketplace built on the energy efficient Tezos blockchain.
An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger.
NFTs can be used to represent easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items, and use blockchain technology to establish a verified and public proof of ownership.
“With the release of this NFT, the Roman Catholic Mission of Bangkok is looking forward to exploring a brand new way to engage with those in our community and beyond,” said Cardinal Francis X. Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok.
“Youths today use technology, not only for practical purposes, but to also express their faith and identity,” said the cardinal in a statement release during the launch of the NFT on October 4, feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.
The archdiocese’s NFT is a photo mosaic of an image of Pope Francis during the Holy Father’s Apostolic Visit to Thailand in November 2019.
The mosaic is made up of 350 unique photos taken during the visit, signifying the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the first Apostolic Vicariate of Siam during the papacy of Pope Clement IX in 1669.
“We hand-selected the photos that make up the mosaic from thousands of photos that LiCAS.news took during the papal visit,” said Nattha Nuchsuwan, marketing director at LiCAS.news, the English language social communications arm of the Roman Catholic Mission of Bangkok.
“We hope that the individual photos together convey the excitement and devotion with which Thailand welcomed the pope,” added Nattha.
She said the mosaic is being released as an NFT to help ensure its permanence as well as to enhance the Roman Catholic Mission of Bangkok’s engagement with online communities around the world.
“We are pleased to be using the environmentally-friendly Tezos blockchain technology on Kalamint to drop our NFT,” said Dr. Peter Monthienvichienchai, executive director of LiCAS.news and the project’s technical lead.
“Throughout this project, we paid particular attention to the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, making environmentally-conscious decisions with determination to shape blockchain technology in a more socially and morally responsible direction,” said Monthienvichienchai.
Kalamint, a leader of the Clean NFT movement, is one of the first marketplaces on Tezos, an LPoS (Liquid Proof of Stake) blockchain that effectively verifies transactions while consuming a miniscule amount of energy. This is in stark contrast to bitcoin, whose blockchain infrastructure consumes a vast amount of energy daily.
Backed by Tim Draper’s Draper Goren Holm Ventures, Amesten Capital, and Moonwhale Ventures among others, Kalamint is one of the only NFT marketplaces that does not store any NFT data in private servers and builds its reputation around the legacy of the art.
Speaking about the drop, Kalamint CEO Chris Deschenes said they are “extremely excited that the Roman Catholic Mission of Bangkok have chosen Kalamint and share the ideals that NFTs can be created and sold in a sustainable and energy efficient way.”
“It has been our goal to ensure that the art created on our platform is stored in a way that allows the data to last forever,” said Deschenes in a statement.
“With this historic piece minted by the Church, we surely have the affirmation that what we are building is on the right path,” he said.
All proceeds from the release and auction of the NFT will go to Communita Incontro School in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
Established in 2004, the primary school provides free education to socially disadvantaged children, especially those whose parents are being treated in the nearby rehabilitation center for drug dependents.
The school provides support for the children to meet their daily needs, including clothing, food, and school supplies.