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Pakistani school’s ‘Wow Grape’ meme in Jeddah set for flood relief NFT auction

KARACHI: The viral “Wow Grape” meme that comes from a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia will be auctioned off as a non-fungible token (NFT) in late September, as its owner has pledged to donate profits to survivors of the devastating floods that ravaged the South Asian country.

The meme, which rose to internet fame in 2020, came from a clip taken at a 2010 event at Pakistan International School Jeddah, which showed students swearing allegiance to Pakistan speaking into a microphone held by the headmaster. at the time, Sehar Kamran, who at one point appeared to have responded by saying “grape”, when she had said “awesome”.

Kamran, a former Pakistani parliamentarian, told Arab News on Friday that she decided to auction the popular meme as an NFT following the widespread devastation caused by historic monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan. , which killed at least 1,208 people, submerged a third of the country and affected 33 million people.

“I decided to go to the auction. I will contribute exactly what will be my part to this cause, to rehabilitate the people,” Kamran told Arab News on Friday.

“I see the devastation ahead of me. I am from Sindh and the scale of destruction caused by the floods is so high that we have to take care of our regions.

Much of the country’s south, particularly the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, have been worst hit by the unprecedented floods, which Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said is costing Pakistan more than $10 billion in damage.

Kamran said rehabilitation of flood survivors will become Pakistan’s next main focus after relief efforts conclude.

The former director said that turning the meme into NFT would also raise awareness of trending digital assets.

The “Wow Grape” meme has garnered over 63 million combined views on video-sharing platform TikTok, where it initially gained traction in 2020.

“Memes have a specific cultural value when it comes to the internet because they are truly native to the internet,” Zain Naqvi, co-founder of content and storytelling platform Alter, told Arab News.

“I think it’s a big step overall if more memes from Pakistan, or South Asia in general, or other emerging economies are for sale, because it helps creators.”

As NFTs are still relatively new in Pakistan, the country still has some way to go when it comes to digital asset legislation.

“Talking about its legalization, there is still a gray area when it comes to Pakistan. We can look at nations like (in) the Middle East. The UAE is doing incredible initiatives when it comes to (the) possession of digital assets,” he said.

With Kamran’s consent, the September 30 “Wow Grape” NFT auction will be conducted in conjunction with software development company Maqssoft.

“Much of the world’s wealth now belongs to the owners of cryptocurrencies. We wanted to leverage our technical expertise in the field and our relationships with international NFT investors to tap into this segment and play our part in raising funds for rehabilitation efforts,” Maqssoft co-founder Mohammed Abubakar Mourigem told Arab News.

“We also hope to inspire others that even with limited resources, you can come up with out-of-the-box solutions and use technology to do good in society.”