- Wian van den Berg, South Africa’s most followed TikTok magician, has an impressive following of 13 million subscribed on his TikTok account.
- He launched his first set oft non-fungible tokens (NFTs) where he lets users in on how he does some of his famous magic tricks.
- The TikToker was also nominated earlier this year in the Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards at Santa Monica, California.
With an impressive 13 million TikTok followers watching him do an array of magic tricks, it’s no wonder magician Wian van den Berg launched his very first set of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the world of cryptocurrency, to show people they too can own their digital assets.
Born in Frankfort, Free State, van den Berg told News24 that he initially wanted to be a WWE wrestler but quickly realised he is not the "biggest guy!"
Van den Berg, 26, is currently South Africa's most followed "TikToker" and he's now exclusively launched his first set of NFTs on Binance NFT platform on 24 June 2021.
Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange, has launched its own NFT marketplace where users can create, buy, and sell NFTs.
NFTs is a term used to describe a unique digital asset, whose ownership is tracked on a blockchain. A blockchain is simply a digital ledger that records transactions. It can be any digital file such as an image, video, pdf or a piece of music, it can be purchased anywhere in the world where Binance can be accessed.
“For years, I saw people performing magic on TV, YouTube and I truly believed I could do better. Initially, it began as a hobby, but when people started actively wanting to see me do tricks, I started to love performing for them,” he said.
He started practising magic tricks when he turned 16 years old, and practiced whenever he had free time available.
According to the self-taught magician, he decided to use whatever savings he accumulated, booked a bus ticket to Durban where he would film most of his videos to bystanders on the Umhlanga and Durban beachfront.
“To my surprise, I went viral on Facebook within weeks! As a deep passion of mine, I loved doing magic all day, so I decided to do this as a living!”
He added that NFTs are important as it now provides the opportunity for people to show proof that they own a digital asset. People purchase NFTs as collectibles, financial investments or to back their favorite creators.
The magician's NFT launch will be part of Binance NFT "100 Creators", a new campaign on Binance NFT Marketplace, to support and promote innovative creators from around the world and highlight exclusive NFT pieces from different cultures.
Van den Berg said even though his followers are growing rapidly on social media, the pandemic has caused him to perform less.
He said 2020 was his "best year!" as it was the year his TikTok following took off.
“More people joined the app because of the extra time that they had being at home, I firmly believe that it has been the greatest time of my career,” Van den Berg added.
He said that when he performs his magic tricks, it is amazing how different people react. "Some people laugh, some scream and some even "run away".
Vuyolwethu Sithole, 24, said she was in complete shock when she watched Van den Berg perform his craft earlier this year whilst he walked into a local shop.
“A staff member at the door stopped him and asked him to put on a mask before he walked into the shop, this caused people to stop and stare at the slight commotion. He then showed the staff member a R10 note, in a split second he turned that money into a full surgical face mask!” she expressed.
Sithole said she still cannot understand how he did that.
“There is nothing like magic. It seems almost like a superpower! To be able to amaze people and make them garner a sense of wonder and surprise is an amazing feeling,” he gushed.
In March this year, Van den Berg was nominated at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards at Santa Monica, California, although he never won he was very grateful for the "wonderful experience".
His magic tricks have taken him to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Tanzania, and the whole of SA. He has also been privileged to be seen by some famous people and groups, like Ernie Els, Siya Kolisi, and the Springboks.
Van den Bergs' soon to be announced NFT collection will be the first to launch by one of the largest social media influencers in Africa. He is also set to be the first magician in the Southern Hemisphere to sell his own original “how-to” magic trick as an NFT.
He is the first and currently only South African influencer that is part of the global launch for the Binance NFT platform.
"The first collection of my NFTs involve my likeness on various playing cards."
As he is a modern magician without the frills of a “hat” or “magician suit.”
“I thought I would put a modern twist on playing cards, but just with my face on it! When my first collection was released in June 2021 it was exciting! I will be releasing second collection of magic tricks in July 2021,” he said.
"The second collection is what I am most excited about because I will be selling my very own trick with an accompanying 'how-to' tutorial video.
“I am honoured to be the first African social media influencer to launch NFTs in Africa. All my NFTs are available exclusively on the Binance NFT marketplace."
Through Wian’s NFTs, he hopes to highlight his love of magic and how it is used to entertain, shock, and inspire audiences.
One of the NFTs that he will be launching is a magic trick that he has originally developed.
Once sold to the highest bidder, they will be the only person in the world who will know how to do the trick, unless they reveal it or sell it to another buyer.
“A portion of the proceeds from each NFT sale will also be donated to charitable causes in education and healthcare in Africa,” said the magician.
He said even with a following of 13 million on TikTok, he reminds himself that it is not just a number.
“When people ask me for photos in public, it makes me realise that this is an audience that enjoy my content, I wouldn’t be who I am without them and for that I am grateful,” he added.
Van den Berg said that on most occasions he gets asked how does it and his simple answer is always: “A magician never reveals his secrets, unless he sells it as an NFT!”