‘METAIYE KNIGHTS’ IS THE WORLD’S FIRST CRYPTO COMIC
November 28, 2019
metaMe and its sister NGO, the Internet Foundation, have partnered with Comic Republic, Africa’s leading comic production company, to produce Metaiye Knights, a cyberpunk saga that’s like The Matrix meets Mr. Robot on the road to Wakanda. The project is led by a world class team led by Dele Atanda CEO of metaMe and the Internet Foundation along with advisors including Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower, Karen Hunter, Sirius XM exec and Pulitzer prize winner, and David Chaum, the forefather of cryptography. Metaiye Knights launches along with an equity crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine, inviting people to invest in the future of digital collectibles and own a stake in educating young people about the importance of privacy, data sovereignty and the decentralized internet.
How are you using the comics Metaiye Knights as a way to create dialogue and learning about creating crypto currency and blockchain?
Using comic books to surface social issues and presenting them in ways that society can explore and make sense of is a proven approach. Captain America corralled support for the anti-Nazi war effort. The X-Men addressed racism through symbolism. Charles Xavier was modelled on Martin Luther King and his efforts to peacefully bring civil rights to a people scorned by many, while Xavier’s archnemesis, Magneto, who was more accepting of violence as a necessary part of the liberation struggle, was modelled after Malcolm X. Their conflict was a way for society to explore the merits and flaws of these opposing philosophies.
Metaiye Knights continues this rich tradition of using comics to address significant social issues, in this case the daily erosion of our privacy and data sovereignty, and the opportunity to fight back with decentralized technologies. It is the tale of the rise of a new social order and freedom struggle underpinned by decentralized money, information and power. The saga has a diverse cast of heroes designed to address privacy, data and digital currency literacy within disenfranchised communities, while also promoting diversity and inclusion in technology. It starts with a chance encounter between its lead character Deji, a recently homeless, failed whistleblower of African descent and Satoshi Nakamoto the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, whose childhood is revisited explaining what inspired him to create Bitcoin.
Metaiye Knights enables us to immerse the next generation in the very real and urgent threats of digital manipulation, discrimination and exclusion that are rampant in technology today. It is critical that we provide young people in particular with skills and literacy for privacy, data ownership and digital money, in an accessible manner, if we are to keep them safe from the dystopian future explored in Metaiye Knights.
Metaiye Knights is designed to address the why of blockchain and crypto currencies while teaching people how to use them to manage their information and prosper from it. It uses a combination of storytelling, game play with monetary and digital collectible rewards to incentivize learning and self-sovereignty skill development. The comics themselves will be crypto collectibles that cannot be forged or replicated meaning that they will become more valuable with time. So just by buying our comics readers will learn how to own and manage digital assets which in many ways will begin their digital literacy training.
What is the importance of data management and identity management, especially to Black people globally?
I believe that personal data and identity management are the most important civil and human rights issue of our generation. We launched the Internet Foundation in 2013 to campaign for Universal Digital Rights as an extension of human rights for this very reason. The world is going through a massive transition from an industrial paradigm to a digital one. The industrial revolution was funded by colonialism and the slave trade; the human and natural resources of Black people around the world literally built the industrial world. The digital revolution that we are transitioning to now is being funded by and built on our data. Our data is the new oil, the new gold and the new currency of the digital era.
We are at a crossroad in the evolution of societies around the world. And the difference between whether our world evolves into a new era of freedom, equitability, prosperity and humanity for all or a dystopic world of tyranny, exploitation and enslavement will depend on what controls we can exert on our digital selves, data and identity today. History is littered with examples of groups of people being persecuted based on race, gender, sexual persuasion and political ideology. As our societies becomes more digitalised our data will be how we as people come into contact with the increasingly digital machine that society is becoming.
There is a new war unfolding between forces that wish to use our data to enslave and manipulate us and those that wish to use it to liberate and empower us. Data is currency and data is power and the land grab for our data is the new face of colonialism and exploitation. We need not look further than the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the US 2016 election and the Brexit vote to see the urgency of the danger. As such depending on how we are able to manage it will be the difference between being captives or being free. The extent of the control and subjugation that we will be exposed to if we don’t gain control of our data now will be unlike anything we have known.
How can data management also help protect creative IP and personal content?
It’s all about ownership When we understand that our data are in fact our thoughts, our behaviour, our ideas, our feelings, likes, our health and illnesses, our genetics, our finances, desires, fears and deepest wishes then we begin to understand the importance, value and power of it. There is a reason why FANG companies like Google and Facebook don’t charge us for their services and it’s not just to sell advertising. It’s because our data is worth more to them than our money. For starters money can only be charged once but data can be sold over and over again. And that’s because data essentially is IP. It doesn’t matter whether that IP is a poem, a song, or some thoughts on a photo shared by a friend. It’s all IP. All that is different is the value of that IP. This IP however, gets to the very essence of who we are. From our DNA and genetics our likes, taste in music and clothes. Look at the bizarre case of Henrietta Laks for example. What value has been generated from her genetic data? Yet her family’s ability to even claim ownership of her DNA is in question. That’s like saying you don’t own your very physical self, which to me is a kind of enslavement that could be even more perpetual and extensive than the trans-Atlantic slave trade of old.
At metaMe we believe we all have a digital self that is the sum of all our data and our digital footprint in cyber space. Metaiye Knights is a story about how our digital selves are being enslaved and exploited and about our fight to liberate them. We focus a lot on identity in the series and how to use metaMe’s identity management tools to ensure that your identity data is safe. We will enable readers to create personal avatars that they will be able to tailor to express who they are while being in control of who can access aspects of their identity that they may or may not want to share more widely. This will be the first step for many in taking ownership and control of their identity and data as personal content and personal IP. We are publishing Metaiye Knights using an open blockchain designed to give complete control to creative content creators. We will encourage our community to become active creators in the Metaiye Knights saga and gaming platform we are building in ways that enable them to generate value from their creativity and content. This is also why we have launched an equity crowd funding campaign for Metaiye Knights to enable our community to not just be consumers but to also become owners of the property. People will be able to buy and win cameo performances in the saga for example, becoming part of the story not just readers of it.
Explain data sovereignty and the implications this has on communities of the African Diaspora?
Data sovereignty essentially means having ownership and control over your information and identity. This is a human right that is increasingly becoming backed by law in Europe, the US and around the world. By owning our data we can exercise property rights over it meaning that we can use it for our benefit and prevent it from being used against us. This means that we will be able to earn money from it and use it to improve our lives. metaMe has developed the world’s most advanced and complete framework for identity and personal data management. We provide a self-sovereign identity app with a digital wallet in which people can hold data they want to share or sell along with digital collectibles like our comic series. We will be distributing the comic with this wallet giving people a means of becoming self-sovereign. We believe self-sovereignty will fundamentally redefine the relationship between citizens and society across the world and our mission at the Internet Foundation is to enable 1bn people to become self-sovereign by 2030.
5. In creating a Black Future, say our own Wakanda, what is your thinking about creating currency as a community?
I don’t think it is newsworthy to say that the current monetary system does not work well for black communities. We create vast amounts of value in the arts, sports, sciences and technology. Yet we receive a tiny proportion of that value and have very little control of the value we create. Creating currencies that we can trust and that are controlled by laws of mathematics and the market as opposed to political interests and a corrupt monetary system designed to extract value from us will be essential to addressing this imbalance. The world’s information and monetary systems are being reinvented before our very eyes right now with new models emerging to redefine the status quo. It is essential that we take this opportunity as a community to reset our relationship with our money and information by establishing currencies that serve our interest as a community as opposed to currencies that exploit us. To build Wakanda we need to gain control of our data and money as a global community. These new decentralized money and information technologies give us the means to do this and are the building blocks of the technologies and societies of tomorrow. It all starts with a story. A story that helps us understand the why, what and how. And that is the story of the Metaiye Knights.
To own a stake in Metaiye Knights visit Start Engine. Investments start from as little as $100. If you invest and register on metaiyeknights.com with the code “AP2019” after your name you will be able to earn special perks soon to be announced.
To read the Episode 0.1 of the series visit Comic Republic Episode 0.2 will be released on Thanksgiving.