This week, Aussie crypto/Web3 educational outfit Collective Shift announced a long-term collaboration with the Australian Open ArtBall project to help scale the latter’s education platform, AO Academy.

The aim is to onboard the crypto curious – and we’re pretty sure there’s plenty of those still around in spite of the tumultuous, foot-shooting year the industry just endured.

We’ve covered AO ArtBall a couple of times in the past, and you can read more about it here. As Collective Shift’s CEO and founder Ben Simpson describes it, though:

“The AO ArtBall NFT is one of the most innovative NFTs I’ve seen anywhere in the world when it comes to blending together real-world benefits and digital world access.

“So many other NFT projects offer their holders little more than a digital image, along with a hope and a prayer. Their match-linked NFTs deliver tangible utility and innovation in spades.”

The match-linking Simpson refers to is digitised tennis ball NFTs that have metadata linked to a 19cm x 19cm plot of an AO tennis court surface. If the winning shot from any of the Aussie Open matches lands on that plot, the NFT metadata is updated in real time to incorporate the match info.

This is just one part of the AO ArtBall utility. NFT holders have also received benefits such as limited-edition wearables and complimentary Seven Day Ground Passes for week two of AO23.


‘Just the beginning in onboarding the mainstream’

All very cool, but what’s the crux of the Collective Shift collab, then?

Simpson tells us that Collective Shift has created a “token-gated educational experience” offering ArtBall holders access to a suite of tools, expert daily insights, opportunity alerts, custom ArtBall workshops and more.

For Tennis Australia, he says, this is essential when you consider so many holders are new to owning NFTs and need the right tools to unlock the true value of an AO ArtBall.

Collective Shift’s role is to guide ArtBall holders through personalised crypto education that includes unique videos, content and guides to make it easier to learn and get started in NFTs.

The idea, the crypto educator explains, is for tennis fans to “learn how to trade their NFTs with confidence, and not fall foul of scams that are so common in the crypto space”. 

“When I first started to invest into crypto six years ago, I didn’t know how to trust, or who to listen to,” said Simpson. “I learnt the hard way by losing money in bad investments and even buying a scam NFT.

“Collective Shift champions people who are new to crypto and NFTs. With 3.3 million Australians owning cryptocurrency, and a third having no clue what they’re doing, mistakes are bound to happen unless you have the right independent education.”

“When you search for learning platforms to scale Web3 learning, Collective Shift stands out for its independence, curation, structured organisation and balanced views,” said Sarah May, CMO of Run it Wild & AO Metaverse.

“The collaboration with Collective Shift is just the beginning in onboarding the mainstream,” added May.