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Upland to sell NFTs to raise money for equitable playground access

Upland, a metaverse platform mapped to the real world, is launching an NFT fundraiser to help support an American nonprofit building playgrounds in neighborhoods that historically haven’t had access to them.

KABOOM! has built or renovated over 17,000 playspaces since its founding more than 25 years ago. According to Upland chief of staff Danny Brown Wolf, ending playspace inequity is a mission that resonated with users of the Upland metaverse.

“Our community members who are avid Uplanders brought in…KABOOM!,” Wolf said, adding that some of those members participate in real world fundraisers for the playground manufacturer.

Thanks to the community members, KABOOM! was able to get in touch with the Upland team so a fundraiser could be facilitated in the metaverse through in-game map assets.

Map assets in Upland equate to NFTs, and users can buy assets such as land, houses, apartments and even decorations for their virtual living spaces.

So, in that same vein, Upland is selling an NFT playground collection with 1800 NFTs, the proceeds of which will be going to KABOOM! Upland takes a 10% transaction fee.

The minting process, visible to all metaverse participants through an in-game representation of a factory churning out the playgrounds, will be underway on Thursday. The first sales will begin on Friday.

The collection was designed by an Uplander who is a graphic artist. It features five different playgrounds that, once bought by a user, can be put in their virtual backyard, Wolf said.

This isn’t Upland’s first charitable endeavor. In December 2022, Upland launched a similarly-styled fundraising campaign, this time with UNICEF Brazil to fund its “youth program teaching metaverse and Web3 skills to young adults who wish to work in the industry,” according to Wolf.

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This sale featured ornaments and winter gnomes that people could buy to adorn their virtual homes for winter — just like in the real world, Upland has seasons.

Leveraging its established relationship with UNICEF, Upland initiated a sale of items in February to aid the victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Both sales of these winter decorations raised a combined $89,692, Wolf told Blockworks.

Wolf views the UNICEF fundraiser, as well as Upland’s involvement in other metaverse funding projects, as testament to the medium’s validity and a confirmation of its future business model.

Wolf said that “just like every impact organization has a social media team that does GoFundMe campaigns on Facebook,” she wants to see the same use case play out in a broader sense in the metaverse.

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