Mamadou Ndiaye and Derek Gauthier met at Venture for America during an entrepreneurship fellowship. The recent college grads were both oriented towards problem-solving, especially when it came to the corporate world. Through conversation, the two quickly realized that their shared commonalities, especially those related to the African diaspora, would serve them well in building the business of their dreams.
Far too often, the Black community is not credited for their work or creativity when it comes to things like fashion, collectibles, art and more. Ndiaye and Gauthier recognized this gap and sought to come up with a solution that guaranteed creators not just full credit for their work but also an opportunity for equity.
Ndiaye recently joined Andrea Lawful-Sanders on The Source to discuss his and Gauthier’s businesses RE:LINK and Timbuktoo, two companies that utilize the revolutionary tools of blockchain technology and NFTs to protect Black innovation.
RE:LINK is a platform that utilizes AI and blockchain technology alongside NFTs to power a marketplace for art and collectibles, Timbuktoo. Blockchain technology acts as a decentralized, immutable database that anyone can access. This technology ensures the transparency and security of transactions. NFTs are a type of blockchain technology that serve as digital certificates proving ownership of things like physical collectibles, such as fine arts, jewelry and antiquities. This allows business owners and creators to establish the authenticity of their collectibles and track their ownership history.
One crucial aspect of NFTs is that creators can now receive royalty payments whenever their creations are resold. Unlike traditional art, where the original creator often misses out on the increasing value of their work when it resells, NFTs allow creators to profit each time their work changes hands.
“So what helps business owners or creators in this standpoint is we have the authenticity of the actual collectible that was made. We see this history of this was created by ‘Mamadou the artist’ for example, and it was made at this time for this amount, and then it was transferred to Andrea, who is the new buyer,” said Ndiaye. “And then perhaps you sell it to one of your colleagues years later on, but we see all these data transactions within the blockchain.”
Global governments and major financial institutions are actively investing in digital currencies, often using blockchain technology. Despite initial skepticism from institutions and stakeholders, digital currencies are not a passing trend.
“Just this week, JP Morgan, which we know is the largest bank in this country, just created a new system that’s based on blockchain technology, just so they can move assets more efficiently,” said Ndiaye. “The same thing with the London Stock Exchange, the same thing with huge governments in the European Union and within Dubai and Hong Kong and fortune 500 companies are investing millions of dollars into blockchain startups.”