London, UK, December 20, 2021: Last week, the story broke of Thea-Mai Baumann, an Australian artist and Australian Arts Council executive who worked under the pseudonym metaverse for nearly a decade and owned the account @metaverse on Instagram.
On November 2, with less than 1000 followers under her name and a week after Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta, Thea had her Instagram account suspended. When she tried to log in, she was greeted with a shocking message that read:
“Your account has been disabled for pretending to be someone else.”
She tried to verify her apparent “fake” identity on Instagram – but to no avail. At the time, she had nothing to prove she was really the original metaverse artist, aside from an NFT she coincidentally minted a few days earlier.
NFT From Her First Instagram Post
On October 30, Thea was testing a new platform and marketplace in the NFT space that is able to mint social media posts into NFTs in a way that all data and value is transferred from the Web2 to Web3 through a specialized minting process. Minting an image from a post is easy, but quite different from capturing the value of a particular piece of content and storing the provenance data and valuation estimates in a structured model.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, this is exactly what Clout.art did with her account and Instagram post. By validating her Instagram profile, Clout.art created a verified social-to-wallet identity pair, meaning that her @metaverse handle would now exists on-chain via her public wallet address.
She minted her very first Instagram post from 2012 as an NFT and named it Metaverse Flamingo. The process is done on-chain with an open and transparent transaction record in less than a minute. She became the owner of the NFT that represented her first post on Instagram. Moreover, she even archived the original post to keep only the Web3 version alive.
The Flamingo proved to be a valuable asset at times when she was trying to restore the handle through her legal team. As on-chain proof, it meant that no one would be able to dispute her ownership of the account. It was the core piece of evidence in her fight to win back her identity.
“We live in a system where our data or identity can be locked and deleted seemingly out of nowhere. If you are an artist and your main source of income depends on your online presence, you can not afford to lose it for nothing. You need a way to validate your ownership,” Thea explains.
After the article in The New York Times, Thea’s @metaverse account was restored and returned to her without any further explanation from Meta.
Metaverse Flamingo NFT Auction
The original first-ever @metaverse Instagram post NFT will be auctioned on Clout.art on December 21, 2021 starting at 10am UTC. Proceeds from the auction will go to Thea’s Punk Fund to fund and liberate artists through education about NFTs and their monetization opportunities.
- Jure Z