A few weeks ago the city of Cannes announced the sale of its assets in the form of an NFT. A priori, we could have said that the city was trying to navigate this new wave of web3. Looking a little closer, we find a thoughtful and mature project within a city that is not only based on summer tourism, its film festival and the plethora of professional conferences. Meeting with Régine Resbeut, Major Project Advisor to the Mayor of Cannes (David Lisnard) and Charles-Henri Puaux, president of Pertimm, the NFT publishing house.
– I’m Régine Resbeut, Major Project Advisor to the Mayor of Cannes.
– I’m Charles-Henri Puaux, CEO of Pertimm.
RR: Charles-Henri Puaux made a spontaneous proposal to digitize the emblematic sites of Cannes. This idea immediately seduced us and we started working together to define which sites we wanted to select.
cogeneration: So, from my point of view, I have been an adoptive resident of Cannes for a year and a half. And it seemed quite natural and logical to include the city where I lived around this turning point. And that is what I have explained in previous speeches. For me the metaverse and all the elements, be they crypto or NFT, are for me what e-commerce and Internet 1.0 and 2.0 have brought in the sphere of communication, in the sphere of purchase and in the field of art, the interaction between humans.
What is the interest for the city of Cannes in transforming some monuments into digital objects?
RR: The interest is to promote the cultural, natural and spiritual heritage of Cannes and thus simply to increase the attractiveness of the destination. Cannes is a city that thrives on tourism. Tourism is 25% of the GDP, it is 40 to 50% of the jobs, it is 3 million visitors per year. For us it is important, in the face of competing destinations, to make the destination more and more attractive.
And through this digitization of the sites, we have found another way to enhance our heritage, and it has also been a way to strengthen something that is very dear to us, the Cannes community. The Cannes community is not just the inhabitants, it is also all the visitors who come to Cannes and all the people who love Cannes. And there are many.
cogeneration: From my point of view, one of the elements that was also very important in the context of the collaboration and of having selected Cannes. Cannes is the first internationally known destination. I wouldn’t say after Paris or before Paris, but who challenge. So there was a real point of impact.
The second point is that the history of Cannes is really linked to a topical event, which is tomorrow, Le film Festival and consequently, all the transpositions of monuments in the context of the organization of events such as festivals. A festival that could be related to cinema or therefore one or a festival that could be linked to a whole series of other elements such as the city of Cannes will soon be able to do it on hydrogen, as it did recently on AI, and by putting these events, in a very hybrid form that, thanks or because of the pandemic, is developing a lot and the metaverses and the fact that Cannes could fit into that, for me, was something important.
This week, alongside the launch of the Cannes Film Festival, there will be the Cannes NFT Festival. Will you get there one way or another?
RR: It is an initiative of the Cannes Film Festival and its partners that takes place in parallel. It is perfectly relevant and complementary to that carried out by the Cannes City Hall.
cogeneration: One of the points that is also important is, for example, the initiative that has taken place Fortnite and on which it is a first exploitation of the NFT collection of Cannes, that is the real point where we are able to show that the way in which the buildings are set in the framework of Fortnite in video game. Tomorrow, the owner of the Palazzo delle Festeor the Croisette or else it could be inspired by this first experience and this first attempt that we made in this context. As part of the use of the Cannes NFT collection.
As for the technical plan, why do we always need to know if there is under the hood, which blockchain are you using to develop this project?
cogeneration: How come ? Because there was Polygon which is actually less expensive, and on which we have done a lot of studies today. We looked at what was possible. That is to say that we have both the title of ownership that is the NFT and above all we have the 3D model that allows its implementation in the context of metaverses.Since that moment the only blockchain that has allowed us to include and couple them was Ethereum. We have tried with other blockchains. Basically, we had a problem with that.
One of the attack points of Ethereum is the Proof-of-Work (before the merger) and its ecological aspect. Aren’t you afraid it’s bad publicity?
RR: Globally, perhaps to scale back, Pertimm is the creator of these NFTs. The location of the Cannes City Hall is that we own the brand walking sticksin total transparency, we have a license agreement, which allows Pertimm to use the Cannes brand, logo, image.
In the case of this license agreement, in fact, the question of ecology we talked about it quite a bit. We have two measures to compensate for this ecological footprint. The first is that Pertimm has pledged to offset the project’s carbon footprint twice by planting trees, obviously certified.
Furthermore, 10% of the auction proceeds will be donated to the endowment fund of the city of Cannes, which is an endowment fund that supports and finances environmental projects. This is really an important point that we discussed upstream as we had this concern about the carbon footprint, which may be right or wrong, but is still real.
Will we ask companies like Air France to compose their carbon?
cogeneration: This would mean that from an energetic point of view it is positive energy, which is normally impossible. Within the 10%, in fact, there is the ecological principle. We are on something very local.
Choosing another blockchain could raise this question if needed. And we can see it today, the more a blockchain grows, the more energy it can consume. Indeed, this point means that from the moment we are in a turning point on Ethereum, I think we will be in an ecological turn in any case. (known with union), on mining, so from this point of view, I think our initiative is neither a fortuitous nor an episodic one. The real question is “Will we ask companies like Air France to compose their carbon?”
Personally, I don’t think we are there yet, yet we have given them 4 billion. There is really that side that is important and that is something that ecology is important about. And it is all the more important when it is local. And the choice we made was to go ultra local, that is to say Cannes.
I am very transparent about this. I think maybe during the second or third meeting we had with the town hall, that was one of the points discussed. How come ? Because we are lucky, and I mean lucky to evolve in a territory where the setting is exceptional.
I do not make myself an ambassador any more than I am for the Cannes area! We are really on something you will be walking on in the Lerins Islands, there is a real point on which the ecology is palpable. Which unfortunately as a former Parisian or Londoner you don’t have.
Don’t you think there is a gap between what you develop and what 99% of people today are able to understand?
RR: There is tremendous enthusiasm for metaversi, is the future of the Internet. We think that doing this project leads people to ask themselves questions, we also deal with pedagogy, education, because we simply talk about it. Many people ask themselves, they question us. In the end, it creates curiosity among our constituents. Furthermore, precisely to relaunch education, we organized the first edition of the World AI Festival in Cannes from 14 to 16 April, an international exhibition dedicated to professionals and the general public on artificial intelligence.
Meaning what ? We had a day dedicated to the general public with a presentation of the NFT project which aroused a lot of enthusiasm. It is really something very important for us to educate citizens, about digital inclusion in a broad sense and to educate people about new technologies. It is fundamental and is one of the many workhorses of our Mayor.
What are the next steps in your roadmap?
cogeneration: The next step is to give an NFT to a public figure during the Cannes Film Festival.
RR: From the world of cinema!
cogeneration: So this will be the number one NFT as it is the first to be given. From that moment on we will have about a month until the time of the sale and then we will enter a phase that is quite known for auction houses and which from my point of view is quite unknown. This is the mediatization phase of the project and consequently we will try to spread the project as much as possible beyond the borders, in particular at the American and Asian border level, so as to continue to see the Cannes brand as an innovation brand and a brand of new technologies. As we can see in France, I have never heard so many arguments about the metaverse since it was announced.
Prove that it had its first effect. Secondly, it will really allow people, if need be, to identify Cannes as a benchmark in digital creation, as an element of global manifestation, which was my choice.
And the auction is scheduled for what date?
RR: There is an auction in progress June 21 at 6pm at the Port Canto Harbor Master’s Office, and the ten NFTs will be sold during this auction.
cogeneration: It will be, but also online. It will be possible to bid online. So I invite you to visit the Artcurial website the collection of the sale is called I Met My NFT in Cannes since we originally took this name because it was the principle of origin and encounter, what exactly is Cannes, and what exactly it is today the metaverse and therefore the sale I met my NFT in Cannes will obviously be for sale online as all auctions have ended today.
Interview conducted on May 16, 2022 at the Town Hall of the city of Cannes.