A carpet given as a tribute to the leader of the Catholic Church by the United Arab Emirates a few years ago has been auctioned in the guise of NFT. While the source material is still in the Vatican, its digital replica has been helpful in raising cash for Afghanistan’s people.

During a tour to the Vatican City, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, presented Pope Francis with the Pontifex carpet. The two met in September 2016 to talk about the enhancement of UAE-Vatican diplomatic ties as well as the fostering of inter-religious peace.

According to the Dubai-based outlet Khaleej Times, a non-fungible token (NFT) depicting the carpet was traded for 25 ETH, or around $82,000. The proceeds from the sale will be utilized to assist disadvantaged Afghan households throughout the chilly winter months.

Source: khaleejtimes.com

The actual form of the carpet, which Afghan women made, will be kept by the head of the Catholic Church. The NFT purchaser will acquire a dimensioned reproduction of the original manufactured by Zuleya, Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative’s retail arm (FBMI).

The program began in 2010, intending to improve the lives of Afghanistan’s women and children. FBMI funds healthcare, education, and various other social and economic improvements. It also gives options for work in the arts, crafts, and agriculture.

The NFT transaction, according to FBMI CEO Maywand Jabarkhyl, is a “critical step forward” for the effort. He explained that it would allow the company’s designers to display their work to a worldwide audience while providing new cash sources for Afghan craftspeople.

“This is perhaps the most iconic NFT to be sold in the Middle East,” said Musfir Khawaja, co-founder of Nftone, a marketplace based in Dubai International Financial Centre, which listed the NFT. “The buyer will get the physical replica of the carpet besides an ornate gold frame on a 165 cm digital canvas with the NFT loaded on it,” he explained.

According to the source, the token is one of six works featured on virtual canvases at the Abu Dhabi Art fair, among some of the greatest modern art in the world. In collaboration with the Morrow Collective NFT platform, Zuleya reproduced the carpet as an NFT.

NFTs have been around for a while, but their reputation began to expand in 2020. NFTs are a unique means to recreate digital items such as images, movies, and music and store them on a blockchain to establish authenticity and ownership. According to a recent Reuters study, NFT sales would exceed $25 billion in 2021.

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