These ‘Knights’ Will Donate Samurai Swords To Meet The Museum – After Stamping It As A NFT

These ‘Knights’ Will Donate Samurai Swords To Meet The Museum – After Stamping It As A NFT

If you cross Indiana Jones with Web3, you get Nick Richey and the Knights Who Say Nah, a unique group of artisans who give real historical items new life as digital collectibles.

Tucked away in a nondescript corner of downtown Los Angeles is the group’s “knight weapon”: a loft-turned-restoration center containing everything from medieval swords and armor to a Triceratops skull.

The Knights Who Say Nah arsenal in Los Angeles. Image: Nancy Pastor Photography.

Launched in 2021 and named after the characters from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“, Richey co-founded Knights who say no with Katherine Peng, Jack Compton and Colin McDonnell.

Richey says the NFT project and group are rooted in the irreverent tone of Web3. Unlike Monty Python’s knights, whose mission was to block King Arthur in his pursuit of the Holy Grail, these knights have made it their mission to restore historical artifacts and create 3D-rendered digital recreations.

Richey began his career as a gunner after an apprenticeship at the Tower of London twelve years ago. His work in artefact conservation led him into the world of NFT. “I love storytelling, I’m also a filmmaker, and my love of storytelling really solidified my love of preservation because when you look at some of these objects, they have a story,” Richey said Decrypt in an interview at the armory. “And most of us don’t really have access to those stories.”

Nick Richey in the Knights’ arsenal in LA. Image: Nancy Pastor Photography.

Richey says the popularity of TV shows like “Vikings” shows there is a longing for that storytelling.

“People are interested in it, but you have to find that part of common connection,” he says.

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After Richey began to look more closely NFTs and the technology behind them, the idea of ​​recovering artifacts and putting them on the blockchain was born. The stories must live on, he says. “Recovering an artifact, conserving an artifact, and trying to keep that history alive, I started to get my bearings in the Web3 and NFT space.”

The latest project is to emboss a Japanese samurai tanto (short sword) given to an American general after World War II. The Armory obtained the knife and after it is scanned, it will be minted as an Ethereum NFT before the physical weapon will be donated to the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

“This tanto is of special significance as it is the first traditionally made blade made after the occupation forces banned sword making in 1945,” says Richey.

Japanese samurai tanto. Image: Nancy Pastor Photography

Richey says the project began after approaching the Metropolitan Museum and asking if there was a Japanese artifact the Met would be interested in — something that belongs in the public sphere and would be on display.

The answer was samurai tanto. The tanto, Richey explained, was made by a Japanese swordsmith, Takahashi Sadatsugu, who received the title of National Treasure of Japan and gave the sword to U.S. Army General Walton Walker of the Eighth Army.

“This is the first traditionally designed magazine, after the US occupation in World War II,” says Richey. “The authorities in Japan said this would be a great piece that belongs in a US-based museum because it was a gift to the US, and we now have it here.”

Acknowledging concerns about artifacts being taken from their homelands and held by museums and private collectors, Richey explains that the Knights aim to have conversations with private collectors and heritage organizations.

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“Imagine if you could convince someone [private collectors] by saying we’re coming, do a 3D scan of the artifact, sell it [scan] and all the proceeds will go to you, the private collector to make you whole, to reimburse you,” says Richey. “But you give us the real thing so we can give it back to the people where it belongs.”

Richey says the next step in the project is to create a 3D scan of the sword for the Knights Who Say Nah to share.

“Our community will have a 3D version of it that they will be able to interact with and that we will sell,” he says. “After that [the sword] goes to the Met, and will be gifted to the museum.”

This project has added meaning to Richey because it provides an opportunity to onboard people in Web3 with a practical application: preserving history. But more than that, Richey says there are more Web3 use cases to explore, like the ability to use the sword in games. Players would get to use the weapon while learning about its history and legacy.

Not content with being an NFT collective, Knights Who Say Nah also plans to become a full DAO, Roundtable, where Lightning Knights NFT holders will vote on how to curate the digital collections, repatriation efforts and future projects.

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization or DAO is an organizational structure in which control is dispersed rather than hierarchical. DAOs use smart contracts on a blockchain, with participants using governance tokens to vote on proposed actions.

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The idea of ​​a DAO come together to raise a lot of money to buy an item or for a the reason is not new. The most famous example of a DAO spinning up to buy a real-world object remains Constitution DAOwho raised $45 million in a losing bid to win a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Other DAOs like DuneDAOalso known as Spice DAO, which raised $11.8 million, collapsed after the group could not agree on ownership and custody of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Dune Bible,” a collection of storyboards from the failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s classic novel to life. in the 1970s.

“This [sword] was bought by the project, not with revenue, says Richey. “This was done to show that we can do it, and we can say here’s a way that Web3 can be useful, here’s a way that Web3 can be a champion,” he says. “And it’s not just about speculation, and it’s not just about making money.”

While Richey is all for the Knights Who Say Nah community making money, he says the mission goes beyond that.

“Our mission is to help take these ancient stories and carry them into the future, and then create a bunch of torchbearers for those stories,” says Richey. “If we can do that and have 100 or 1,000 of those people, that’s a win.”

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