Non-Fungible Tokens for Visibility and Intellectual Property Protection in the Nigerian Visual Art Industry


  • Olayinka Iyinolakan University of California, Santa Cruz



Nigerian creative artists have long faced a disparity between their efforts and economic returns. Amid this landscape, the emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and their marketplaces has sparked a revolution in industries such as gaming, literature, art, and music. However, the potential of NFTs in the Nigerian visual art sector raises concerns regarding awareness, effectiveness, and associated risks. This study employs a triangular methodology - surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, while integrating media economics and the diffusion of innovation theories. Analyzing data from 28 stakeholders, primarily artists, art collectors, and copyright regulators, reveals that early adopters in Nigeria recognize NFT marketplaces for showcasing and trading digital artworks. Despite this acceptance, a lack of confidence emerges concerning the applicability of NFTs for copyright protection. The research further illuminates policy, structural, and economic barriers impeding the Nigerian art realm, underscoring the need for technology adoption. As pirated creative works continue to circulate in Nigeria, NFTs offer an avenue for artists to gain remuneration in the digital metaverse. This study advocates for Nigerian creatives to closely monitor the NFT evolution, offering potential solutions for sustainable growth and paving the way for economic empowerment within the metaverse.


Adewopo, A. (2012). According to intellectual property: a pro-development vision of the law and the Nigerian intellectual property law and policy reform in the knowledge era. Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Afolayan, O. T. (2021). Piracy and the Nigerian Copyright Law: A Re-Appraisal. Library Philosophy and Practice, 1A-11.

Albarran, A. B., Chan-Olmsted, S. M. and Wirth, M. O. (2006). Handbook of media management and economics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Allen, S., Juels, A., Khaire, M., Kell, T., & Shrivastava, S. (2022). NFTs for Art and Collectables: Primer and Outlook.

Bamakan, S. M. H., Nezhadsistani, N., Bodaghi, O., & Qu, Q. (2021). A Decentralized Framework for Patents and Intellectual Property as NFT in Blockchain Networks.

Bayta?, M. A., Cappellaro, A., & Fernaeus, Y. (2022, April). Stakeholders and Value in the NFT Ecosystem: Towards a Multi-disciplinary Understanding of the NFT Phenomenon. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts (pp. 1-8).

Carbonaro, M., Bainbridge, J., & Wolodko, B. (2002). Using Internet surveys to gather research data from teachers: Trials and tribulations. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 18(3).

Chohan, U. W. (2021). Non-fungible tokens: Blockchains, scarcity, and value. Critical Blockchain Research Initiative (CBRI) Working Papers.

Conrad, M. (2022). Non-Fungible Tokens, Sports, and Intellectual Property Law Issues: A Case Study Applying Copyright, Trademark, and Right of Publicity Law to a Non-Traditional Ownership Vehicle. Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport, 32(1), 132-152.

Copyright Act (1992). Amended Decree No. 98 of 1992 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Copyright Act (1992). Amended Decree No. 42 of 1999 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Couper, M. P. (2011). The future of modes of data collection. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75(5), 889-908.

Dinwoodie, G. B., & Dreyfuss, R. C. (2012). A Neofederalist Vision of TRIPS: The Resilience of the International Intellectual Property Regime-Chapters 6-7.

Dosunmu, D. (2022, April 12). Has NFT found its biggest mainstream proponent yet in Africa? Tech Cabal.

Dowling, M. (2021). Is non-fungible token pricing driven by cryptocurrencies?—elsevier enhanced reader.

Egonwa, O. (2001), The Evolution of the concept of Natural Synthesis. USO Nigeria Journal of Arts. 3.

Enamhe, B. (2014). Art Management: a versatile tool for managing and developing visual arts education in Nigeria. Journal of Arts and Humanities, 3(2), 81-86.

Ezekude, A. (2012). Nigeria's Anti–piracy Drive Yields Result. In: World Intellectual property Organization. Retrieved from

Faga, H. P., & Ngozi, O. (2011). Limits of Copyright Protection in Contemporary Nigeria: re-examining the relevance of the Nigerian Copyright Act in today’s digital and computer age. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Journal of International Law and Jurisprudence, 2.

Iwu, M. M. (1996). Biodiversity prospecting in Nigeria: seeking equity and reciprocity in intellectual property rights through partnership arrangements and capacity building. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 51(1-3), 209-219.

Kim, C. G. (2021). A Study on Technology to Counter Copyright Infringement According to NFT Transaction Types. Journal of the Semiconductor & Display Technology, 20(4), 187-191.

Maramarosy, F. S. (2020). Caveat Vendor: A Call to Reform the Scope of Rights of Withdrawal for Off-Premises Contracts Under US Consumer Protection Laws with Respect to the Auction of Art. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal, 30(3), 805.

March, E. (2007). The Nollywood phenomenon. WIPO Magazine, June, 8-9.

Nadini, M., Alessandretti, L., Di Giacinto, F., Martino, M., Aiello, L. M., & Baronchelli, A. (2021). Mapping the NFT revolution: market trends, trade networks, and visual features. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-11.

Ndubuisi, C. (2017). Visual art appreciation in Nigeria: The Zaria art society experience. Mgbakoigba: Journal of African Studies, 6(2), 168-174.

Nieto Mcavoy, E., & Kidd, J. (2022). Crypto art and questions of value: a review of emergent issues. Policy and Evidence.

Nwadigwe, C. E. (2018). Creativity and New Technologies: Piracy, Politics and the Business of Cultural Production in Nigeria. In Africa and Globalization (pp. 183-204). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Noam, E. (2009). Media ownership and concentration in America. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Nwankwo, A. O. (2018). Harnessing the potential of Nigeria’s Creative Industries: Issues, prospects and policy implications. Africa Journal of Management, 4(4), 469-487.

Ogbechie, S. O. (2009). More on nationalism and Nigerian art. African Arts, 42(3), 9-10.

Olugbemi, B. (2022, June). Adisa Olashile – the most qualified presidential candidate. Business Day. Retrieved from

Paul, C. (2008). New media in the white cube and beyond: Curatorial models for digital art. Leonardo Reviews Quarterly, 1(2010), 33.

Pijpers, G. G., & van Montfort, K. (2005). An investigation of factors that influence senior executives to accept innovations in information technology. International journal of management, 22(4), 542.

Reyburn, S. (2021). JPG File sells for $69 Million, as’ NFT Mania’Gathers Pace. New York Times, 11.

Rogers, E. M. (1995). Lessons for guidelines from the diffusion of innovations. The Joint Commission journal on quality improvement, 21(7), 324-328.

Rogers, E. M., & Singhal, A. (2003). Empowerment and communication: Lessons learned from organising for social change. Annals of the International Communication Association, 27(1), 67-85.

Valuables, (2021). Auction site “just setting up my twttr”. Retrieved from

Velthuis, O. (2011). Art markets. In A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Wang, Q., Li, R., Wang, Q., & Chen, S. (2021). Non-fungible token (NFT): Overview, evaluation, opportunities and challenges. arXiv preprint arXiv:2105.07447.

Wilson, K. B., Karg, A., & Ghaderi, H. (2021). Prospecting non-fungible tokens in the digital economy: Stakeholders and ecosystem, risk and opportunity. Business Horizons.

WIPO (2022a) Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1886. World Intellectual Property Organization. Retrieved from

WIPO (2022b) WIPO Nigeria Office. World Intellectual Property Organization. Retrieved from

Yogev, T., & Ertug, G. (2015). Global and local flows in the contemporary art market: The growing prevalence of Asia. Cosmopolitan canvases. The globalisation of markets for contemporary art, 193-212.