Linda Adami, founder of Web3 and NFT startup Quantum Temple, is on a mission to preserve and promote cultural heritage through technologies based on an immutable ledger.
Through her startup, the 30-something-year-old entrepreneur is attempting to drive a rebound in Indonesia’s tourism sector, which has been plagued by the pandemic for three years.
“I believe there is a large untapped potential for blockchain applications and value creation for vital economic sectors, including tourism, education, real estate, retail, remote work, and healthcare among others,” Adami said.
Indonesia closed its borders to foreign tourists in March 2020 and, like most other countries, had been slowly reopening with various restrictions in place, for some time. While its borders are now wide open, the damage the pandemic wrought lingers.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia dropped by more than 75% from 2020 to 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels, and many tourism businesses have struggled to stay afloat.
It’s the reason why the country’s tourism ministry has tapped Quantum Temple and others like it across a range of sectors to help drive fresh investment and get people back to its shores.
Indonesia’s digital economy reached a Gross Merchandise Value of roughly $77 billion in 2022, up 22 percent year on year, according to a recent report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company. That trend is expected to continue its course, reaching roughly $130 billion by 2025.
Muhammad Neil El Himam, deputy chairman for Digital Economy and Creative Products at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, told Blockwoks the e-commerce sector is driving the digital economy in Indonesia.
“To achieve the potential of the digital economy, of course, we need to apply the latest technologies, such as blockchain, Web3 and NFTs,” Himam said.
The thinking is that by storing cultural items on a blockchain, an incentive for artists, collectors, and other cultural sector stakeholders is created, opening new markets and the ability to reach a wider array of audiences than was previously possible.
Adami told Blockworks Indonesia’s cultural heritage — sometimes an afterthought in a globalized world — is at risk due to a lack of investment, access to finance, digital transformation and global distribution.
That, in turn, threatens the livelihoods of heritage practitioners, particularly young women under 35 in rural areas. The creative and handmade sector is the second-largest employer globally after agriculture, according to the World Economic Forum.
And yet, the founder says the sector has been neglected and under-served for far too long.
“Most heritage practitioners earn low salaries, which provides scarce financial incentive for current and future generations to continue the traditions of their ancestors,” Linda explains.
Blockchain use case
Turning to blockchain, Adami says the technology is critical to crystallizing culture, creating an immutable and invaluable record that also guarantees the authenticity and provenance of creative assets.
It can help to track the asset from its origin to distribution to the consumer and protects them by virtue of decentralized ownership and immutability, Adami says.
Asked why Quantum Temple was one of the ministry’s top picks, Himam told Blockworks it envisions the startup involving many creative economy actors in Bali to forge a unique cultural heritage native to the region.
“We have also seen that the curators of NFT creation also involve people who have experience in Balinese culture,” he said.
Quantum Temple aims to safeguard the cultural heritage of communities worldwide using Web3 tech, namely by leveraging NFT incentives including royalties.
Through the startup’s business model, anthropologists verify and curate the NFTs, documenting traditions, which Quantum Temple hopes will raise awareness and appeal to conscious travelers and collectors wishing to support affected communities.
UNESCO believes cultural heritage is not just limited to physical monuments and object collections, but also includes living expressions passed down from ancestors. These expressions can include oral traditions, performing arts, social manners, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices related to nature and the universe, and traditional crafts.
“By tokenizing cultural heritage, Quantum Temple creates three critical areas of value: immutable archives of culture, transparent alternative income streams through royalties and verified provenance, and recognition for cultural creators,” Adami said.
The art of the immutable dance
Quantum Temple’s “Paths to Alangö Cultural Heritage NFT Collection,” as it’s come to be known, also aims to explore how NFTs can be used to support cultural heritage.
As part of that effort, Quantum Temple has developed a collection of NFTs showcasing the “Cendrawasih” dance, in an ongoing project centered around Bali. The dance, meaning “Bird of Paradise” dance, originates from Legong, a sophisticated classical dance in Bali.
Videos of the dance have been preserved on the Ethereum and Algorand blockchains.
The project features 11 unique NFTs that represent different aspects of cultural heritage in Indonesia. The goal of the project is to understand how NFTs can be used to positively impact communities, particularly those who have never been involved with web3 or blockchain initiatives before.
By doing so, the project hopes to unlock the social impact of Web3 in cultural regions.
The project is part of a larger focus for 2023, which includes piloting initiatives across artifact and experience NFTs and contributing to the Quantum Temple’s Impact Fund for blockchain education and inclusion. The ultimate goal is to prove the use case of NFTs and unlock social impact in cultural regions through Web3.
The founder is hopeful the project will expand to further countries abroad.
Quantum Temple first originated through fieldwork in Indonesia but has already expanded and completed projects in Panama and Peru which will be revealed later this year, Adami said.
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