Meet the eight-year-old NFT artist about to launch Banana Eats
The project, called Banana Eats, is a collaboration between Davis and his dad Scott and was inspired by a puzzle game of the same name on Roblox, a popular online platform for gamers. It also happens to be one of eight-year-old Davis Cunningham’s favorite games.
To make the NFTs, Davis drew 90 attributes with colored pencils and Scott worked with an artist to turn them into digital cartoon renderings. The duo plan to release 2,014 NFTs on July 22nd. The number 2,014 is significant because it’s Davis’s birth year, but also because it’s the year that Kailash Satyarthi received the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi started the Satyarthi Foundation to help rescue children from slavery or trafficking. Of the funds raised from Banana Eats, 25 percent will be donated to Satyarthi’s foundation.
Most adults don’t truly understand the blockchain, so it may seem like a lot for an eight-year-old to take in, but Davis has had a few years to learn it, looking over his dad’s shoulder as his dad dove into the world of cryptocurrency, blockchain, and NFTs.
“When my dad started getting more into it, he started telling me about it and showing me his NFTs he bought,” Davis says. “You don’t have to be an age. There’s nobody too young to [start looking at NFTs].”
His dad agrees. The younger generations are more set up for success than generations before them, he says.
“I think the generational gap is pretty significant. When Davis wants something for his birthday, he wants to buy a skin on Fortnite or buy Robux (money on Roblox),” Scott Cunningham says. “For me, growing up I didn’t care about that stuff. I just wanted to play the game. So there’s already an understanding of owning a digital good that’s prevalent within their generation, as well as connecting with people and concepts in a digital way that we didn’t have growing up.”
Still, Davis says none of his friends know about cryptocurrency—probably for good reason. The cryptocurrency world can be rife with scams, rug pulls, and deceit. In UNICEF’s 2022 “Prospects for Children” report, the United Nations agency stated that “as we wait to see what direction these trends take us, the implications for children hang in the balance… Now is the time to begin incorporating cryptocurrency and digital currency child safeguards into online child protection initiatives.”
Cointelegraph reported that UNICEF policy specialist Melvin Breton Guerrero, who wrote the section of the report relating to cryptocurrency, wants to see age restrictions for cryptocurrency.
Though some cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase require users to be at least 18 years old, Scott believes kids can still get involved in the artistic aspects of NFTs, play-to-earn gaming, and learning about emerging technologies without risking their own money.
“Maybe it’s just talking about the art for some people. Maybe it’s talking about play-to-earn. It’s money because money is cool, right? I think there are many places you could speak to at a foundational level that will build that interest,” he says.
Scott sees another advantage to Banana Eats. He works with nonprofits and has been pushing many of them to integrate web3 into their businesses.
“Most of these organizations are older… and they don’t get it, so they’ve pushed back really heavily,” he says.
If he’s able to show what an eight-year-old can do using web3, it might change that conversation. Not that it’s gotten any easier in recent months. More than $2 trillion in value has been erased in the past few months, according to CNBC, as Bitcoin dropped to around $20,000 from highs of over $60,000—nearly every mainstream cryptocurrency has felt the blow. NFT projects have also seen mainstream interest drop sharply as the speculative assets have dropped in price.
NFT interest peaked in January, according to Google Trends, which tracks the number of google searches for particular topics. By June, that interest had dropped 79 percent.
For those who believe in blockchain and web3 technology, there’s hope this period will be just a blip on the radar.
“I think what resonates with pretty much everyone is: if you say, ‘Do you wish you got into crypto or web3 earlier?’ I don’t think anyone is going to say ‘no.’ Everyone wishes they bought Bitcoin in 2012. Everyone wishes they bought Ethereum in 2015, 2016,” Scott says. “So I think that’s one of the main reasons I think it’s important to at least expose youth to these emerging technologies that are groundbreaking. You may expose your youth to Ripple or something like that—and maybe in five years that won’t be around—but that technology is tied to everything else, so you just have a foundation. I think it’s just starting somewhere that’s important.”