Neil Gaiman to auction off NFT of film-adaptation of poem for Afghan aid

All proceeds of the auction will be donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help the many Afghans who were displaced following the Taliban takeover.

 Neil Gaiman. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Neil Gaiman.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Jewish-British author Neil Gaiman is auctioning off an NFT at the Mars Panda NFT charity auction to benefit displaced Afghans.

The auction, all proceeds of which will be donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was organized as a way for a number of authors, artists, NFT influencers and athletes to auction off NFTs to raise funds to help the many Afghans who were displaced following the Taliban takeover.

NFT stands for non-fungible token, which refers to any file linked to a tradable token on a blockchain. The file is usually computerized work of art in .jpeg format that is unique and is something that along with cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity in the past year among art collectors and users of blockchain technology, among others.

Gaiman, who is a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, is one of the many VIPs contributing to the auction, having donated a UNHCR-produced film of his poem "What You Need To Be Warm," alongside a never-before-published message from Gaiman himself. Winning bidders will also win a signed copy of Gaiman's legendary comic book The Sandman, along with a personalized message.

Other VIPs participating include Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-born author behind the award-winning novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and illustrator Dan Williams. The two donated 17 original ink and watercolor illustrations from Housseni's short book Sea Prayer, which winning bidders will get a signed copy of.

 NFT (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY) NFT (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY)

These VIP items will be on auction starting January 31, 2022, but will only be available until February 6. However, other NFTs will be auctioned off later.

The auction comes at a time when the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has only gotten progressively worse. Now, aid is needed more than ever, and the funds generated from this auction could hopefully help the UNHCR do just that.

"The relentless influx of wealth and interest in NFTs are perfect ingredients to make them a force of good. NFTs have empowered everyone to convert their art and creativity into meaningful actions targeting social and humanitarian issues," Kevin Pang, CEO, Mars Panda World, said in a statement.

The auction can be visited here.

Aaron Reich contributed to this report.