‘Historic moment’ as OR Tambo’s spy pen to be auctioned as NFT

The spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction on November 11 in Cape Town.
The spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction on November 11 in Cape Town.
Image: Supplied

A spy pen gun, once owned by anti-apartheid icon and former ANC president Oliver “OR”  Tambo, will be auctioned as a non-fungible token (NFT) in a historical South African first.

An NFT is a 3D image, or digital asset, that has been loaded on a blockchain account. It is unique and cannot be replaced with something else, Adam Romyn, chief technical officer at Momint said.

“It is not hackable, so no-one can tamper with it. This is a moment in history that needs to be captured forever, and only with an NFT can you allow everyone in the public to forever know about this historical moment,” he said.

The spy pen gun is due to be auctioned at a live NFT auction in Cape Town on November 11.

Blockchain company Virtual Nation Builders has tokenised the spy pen NFT and its uniqueness has been independently certified with a crypto asset number.

All net proceeds of the sale will be used to help save the Liliesleaf Museum in Johannesburg, which has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Between 1961 and 1963, Liliesleaf farm served as the secret headquarters of the ANC, SACP, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and the Congress Alliance.

Liliesleaf Trust founder and CEO Nicholas Wolpe said the proud owner of the NFT will obtain the right to experience and view the pen gun at the Liliesleaf Museum for life.

Wolpe said Liliesleaf is a treasure trove of amazing apartheid struggle stories and items.

“Being able to unlock the value of the unique assets held by Liliesleaf through the exponential power of blockchain technology is quite simply phenomenal.

“We’ll be making history by transforming South Africa’s painful past into a current, technological asset to experience that history,” Wolpe said.

The spy pen gun is believed to have been gifted to Tambo by the East Germans, to help protect Tambo from any would-be assassins, during the mid 1980s.

“If we can successfully leverage the power of NFTs to preserve our rich heritage, we will put SA on the global map in terms of innovation through crypto asset use and management,” Virtual Nation Builders CEO Maurice Crespi said.

Momint CEO Ahren Posthumus said South Africa will be a pioneer in the field of NFTs.

“No-one else has really thought about unlocking the true asset value of our historical artefacts using NFTs,” he said.

“NFTs are stored safely and digitally on the blockchain, so there is absolute peace of mind.”