How two Nigerian College Students Built AfroPunkNFT From Their College Dorm Room

5 min readJun 8, 2022

The Founders: Cedric and Aino

This story starts in Lagos, Nigeria. That's where our co-founders, Aino and Cedric, were born and raised. They lived there their whole lives and have known each other for almost ten years. They attended the same secondary school in Nigeria and stayed there until they graduated high school in 2019. After graduating high school, they were privileged enough to go to university outside of Nigeria; coincidentally, they ended up at the same university in Canada, which put their friendship in a better position to flourish.

Although they are going to the same university, they are in very different fields. Cedric is a business student, concentrating in marketing with a current minor in entrepreneurship, whilst Aino is an industrial design student with a minor in psychology. So, you can already see how this is the perfect duo to found an NFT project — a business head and an artist.

Cedric and Aino

A Foreign Land

Now in a foreign country, Cedric and Aino began observing and learning about the culture in Canada to reduce friction as much as they could as they attempted to fit in. Surely, over time, they began to notice the huge differences between the culture in Nigeria and the culture in Canada. People spoke differently, the food was different, the weather was different and so was the music. They loved it, it was a new experience, a new challenge, and they were up for it.

They began socializing, meeting new people and making friends. Whenever they met new people they would always mention that they were from Nigeria, they were never shy about it; after all, they had no reason to. Whenever people heard where they were from, it was usually and expectedly met with intrigue and excitement to know how things are like there, and that was okay. However, there would be the occasional person who’d ask “Do you guys have cities in Africa?” or “Are there any roads in Africa?”

They didn’t think much of it at first but after this happened on a number of occasions, it became clear that something was wrong because it made no sense to them why people would have these wild assumptions about Africa. There seemed to be a widespread perception of Africa that was incomplete, to say the least. It was like someone was telling a story and just stopped halfway.

Over time, they realized that when people thought about Africa they thought of the starving child. Sadly, while that is a part of our reality, it doesn’t tell the full story. There is so much more to Nigeria and Africa at large than what is shown around the world. We have great music, which is taking the world by storm right now, and even better food — we have a vibrant culture, beautiful scenery and perhaps most importantly, we have a young and talented population bursting with potential.

Calabar Festival in Nigeria

The Birth of an Idea

In March of 2021, Cedric and Aino found out about NFTs and instantly thought they could use this as a platform for them to tell their story the way they wanted it to be told. To tell their story in its entirety — a story by Africans, about Africans, and to the world. This was the birth of AfroPunk.

They set out to build a collection of NFTs to show the world that great things can and do frequently come out of Africa. The collection would embody our African excellence and show that on a large stage. The story was ready but the art wasn’t, so they brought together some minimalistic art and tested the vast waters of the NFT space.

In April of 2021, they launched a very small collection of four with the first version of AfroPunks. They had put their story out there and started telling the story in whatever little way they could, starting from scratch and juggling university as well. However, because of how nascent the NFT space was, they were able to sell three out of four of them with almost no marketing.

First version of our AfroPunks

The New Era of AfroPunks

Despite this achievement, Cedric and Aino weren’t able to work on AfroPunk in the summer of 2021 because of a myriad of reasons but the biggest one was that Aino went back to Nigeria and Cedric was in Canada working full time in door-to-door sales in a different province. The coordination in different time zones proved very difficult, especially when coupled with very limited time availability. All this hindered their ability to work on the project in the summer.

In September of 2021, once Aino had returned back to Canada there was nothing holding them back so they started building the current version of AfroPunk in the following months.

After many months of building and pushbacks on the estimated launch date, on February 24th all 3,333 AfroPunks became available for sale on their website. They did this with one goal in mind; to share the African culture with the world.

The collection was completely revamped to tell the African story in its entirety through powerful African women — each element was carefully curated to portray different aspects of our culture with the aim of expressing to the world what it means to be African. Each AfroPunk has different connotations showing the beauty, pride and even pain that could come with being African.

AfroPunk #106

What now?

So, what now? Experience Africa like never before by owning an AfroPunk. This is bigger than just art in itself; you are not only sharing our stories but you become a part of our story as well. Mint a few today on our website!