Modern Rebel, Conflict, and BrownSugar’s Accidental Fame

Melanie kondo
Published in
5 min readOct 27, 2021


The 32nd auction on Loot Arena, that of Modern Rebel by Mazin Ahmed in the AI Minds collection, made history in many ways.

When we think of how art is valued, a large part of it revolves around its creator, the story it tells, the value achieved, but also the events of historical significance that surrounds it. For example, the famous elbowing of Picasso’s Le Reve by Steve Wynn made it more popular; Le Reve was later sold for $155 million.

Loot Arena is like American Idol for NFTs. The gamified dynamics involved focus the attention of bidders on creators and their creations, and, at the same time, collapse the traditional model used for creations to achieve attention and value (e.g., the time and cost drain when marketers, curators, critics, gallerists, and advertising are used).

Modern Rebel went on auction in the battle-bidding arena on October 17th and was sold to “Kellz” on October 27, 2021. Mazin, the creator, is from Sudan and was inspired by his mother’s resilience to the Sudanese law enforcers and her adaption to the world’s evolving technology while maintaining her roots.

Mazin tells us:

“Growing up in Sudan, my family has always been against the government and its brutality and dishonesty with the people and wasting their money and resources. That little Mazin was amazed by the way his mom always stood up to cops and was never afraid to speak her mind freely. The more that little Mazin grew up, the more he realized how the world was changing; technology took over in almost every aspect and he watched his mom adapting to the changes and keeping up with it without loosing her roots. This is what I tried to capture in this artwork, as the afro represents her attachment to her beautiful roots and cause, while the small power circuit shows the technology.”

Modern Rebel (Digital Only NFT) by Mazin Ahmed (SDN)

For the past 31 auctions on Loot Arena, the Loot team had not experienced problems; however, on Thursday, 21 October at around 3:20 PM EDT, an issue was detected with the Modern Rebel auction and the auction was paused.

The paused auction incorrectly displayed a miner known as “BrownSugar” as the last bidder and the timer set at 0:00.

The auction was paused to allow the Loot team to identify and resolve the issue. The full report of what happened is documented here. Bidding prior to the pause was frantic and as the issue was witnessed, the Loot NFT Telegram group became alive.

Our team immediately advised that it was investigating the matter and a statement issued later indicated that the auction would be resumed. This didn’t stop our community from turning “BrownSugar” into one of the most popular usernames on Loot Arena to date. The memes came fast:

“… said ‘BrownSugar’”
“…’BrownSugar’ Right Now”

Our Telegram group’s good-humored nature made “BrownSugar” an instantly recognizable brand.

The auction was resumed on Sunday, 21 October and quickly surpassed the last, highest-grossing NFT sold on Loot Arena; eventually shattering the previous auction record by about 60,000 BUN. The final value for which the NFT sold was 245,842 BUN(USDC 18,376.53). Modern Rebel is also the longest auction held, lasting approximately 7 days.

Sadly, midway through the resumed auction, a situation was developing in Mazin’s native home of Sudan. The Sudanese military recently overthrew the country’s civilian-led transitional government, causing an uproar of violence against civilians following their protests.

Mazin said:

“I was so excited about the auction till last night when a military coup happened back home. Please, everybody, try to keep up with what’s going on in Sudan if y’all get a chance. Most of this money I will be getting from this auction will be redirected there for the cause and for the people. Once more I appreciate you guys for this great experience and hopefully, more pieces will come through.”

“I want to thank this community first of all for being so welcoming and supportive. Also, I want to thank everyone that was bidding on the piece and got it here and of course, I can’t forget about Aya Trades and Ishant Ayadassen for making this possible to happen in the first place. Many thanks and y’all are great. I appreciate every single one of y’all.”

We think these events on Loot Arena will forever be tied to the Modern Rebel’s first-listing and could propel its value in the future. Owning Modern Rebel is owning much more than a work of art, it is also owning a piece of the history of Loot NFT and that of Sudan.

We realized that our growing community was now doing more than helping creators break out and showcase their talent, but also helping people in need around the world. We thank the community for their amazing humanity!

We look forward to the coming auctions, especially the HardCap 500, which will be introduced soon.

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