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An Indian couple just had a ‘blockchain wedding’ — with vows in NFT and digital priest

The Pune-based couple cemented their union through an Ethereum smart contract, while another Tamil Nadu couple is going the Metaverse way.

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The wedding was exciting as any could be, both were joyous but what made it even more exciting was the fact that it was backed by blockchain — it was India’s first ‘blockchain wedding’, probably.

Soon after their court marriage in November 2021, Shruti Nair and Anil Narasipuram, both residing in Pune, were on their laptops — cementing their union in blockchain technology through an ‘Ethereum smart contract’. ‘Digital priest’ Anoop Pakki mined an NFT on OpenSea platform and transferred it to the couple — by the powers vested in him by Ethereum, of course.

For many, crypto, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and blockchain are still complicated business, but young India has taken another leap towards digital India—blockchain weddings.

The couple read their vow: “We won’t make any big promises, but we will do everything we can to make this work. Through all our disagreement and conflict, we hope to grow our understanding of each other and ourselves. We don’t expect to be the whole village for each other, but we will be by each other’s side, hand in hand, walking through this adventure, together”. It was now a part of their NFT. And in 15-minutes, the blockchain ceremony was over.

“The transaction is a permanent, immutable and public record of our commitment to each other on the ETH blockchain,” wrote Anil on his LinkedIn profile.

Also read: Why people are spending millions on crypto art — really a JPEG file

Quick and digitally permanent

Non-Fungible Tokens are digital copyright tokens with unique identification codes for digital artworks, paintings, etc. NFTs are backed by the security of blockchain technology, which makes it impossible to be copied, pirated or sold illegally. NFTs are today widely traded throughout the world in global markets.

The NFT created by the couple was a photo of Shruti’s engagement ring with their vows written on the picture. It was mined by Anoop, the digital priest.

“It is like we signed a digital recorder-available on digital ledger and registered our wedding online,” Anil told ThePrint.

The priest bestowed his blessings: “And now, by the power vested in me by Ethereum, it is my honor and delight to declare you married. I am pleased to present the newlyweds.” The whole transaction was over quick, and required $35 in Ethereum gas fees.

“I read some articles on how people in other countries were doing blockchain marriages and it motivated me,” Anil said. “Blockchain is here to stay — it comes with a lot of security and it also furthers democracy. You don’t have to be dependent on anyone for doing your things.”

The NFT of the marriage | By special arrangement

The Metaverse is here

While this marriage might not be the first of its kind in the world, it shows a changing tide. In March 2021, Rebecca Rose and Peter Kacherginsky, during a traditional Jewish ceremony in the US, exchanged their virtual rings (NFTs) through their smartphones. Their story went viral on social media.

On 6 February, India is set to host Asia’s first wedding reception in the Metaverse. A Tamil Nadu-based couple, Dinesh Kshatriya and Janaganandhini Ramaswamy, have decided to host their Hogwart-themed virtual wedding Sunday, reported The Indian Express., which allows the trade of NFTs, has launched a wedding NFT collection on Beyondlife.Club.

The NFT collection includes virtual avatars of the bride, groom and some of the family members with a Harry Potter-themed background. A total of 12 NFTs were created and one wedding invitation consisting 50 copies. All copies of the invitation cards were then reportedly sold for $10 and one resold for $100. One of the cards has already crossed the value of $4,450.

Also read: Modi government crypto tax aims to maximise state revenue, deter low-income investors

As NFT weddings take off, many are also unhappy with Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2022-23 announcement on digital assets. The Narendra Modi government has proposed a 30 per cent tax on any gains made from virtual digital assets whether by sale or acquisition. Even though cryptocurrencies and NFTs are not legal tenders in India, many saw the tax as the government de facto accepting virtual digital assets. Around 2 crore Indians had bought cryptocurrencies in the year 2021 alone, and Indians accounted for a total of crypto assets worth $35 billion.

NFT is picking up pace. In 2021, the global NFT market generated over $23 billion in trading volume. India is one of the fastest-growing and biggest markets for NFTs. Many celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Yuvraj Singh, Salman Khan, and Smriti Mandhana are already endorsing the new market. After digital currency, ‘digital weddings’ might be the next big thing.

(Edited by Neera Majumdar)

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