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Retiree Alfo_nel taught himself AI art and Enjin NFT minting

Luis Valiñas, known as Alfo nel online, embodies the spirit of an Enjineer.

As a retired accountant with zero background in computer science or web development, he has put his heart and soul in maximizing Web3 opportunities through Enjin’s community and suite of tools.

He is in it for the tech, in it for the community, and he can’t be stopped.

Selfie photo of Luis, from Luis Valiñas

Luis turned his childhood fascination for dragons into Dragons Art, an artistic collection created with artificial intelligence and a previously top performing collection on EnjinX - the predecessor to NFT.io, Enjin’s NFT marketplace.

I am a simple dreamer who goes at his own pace and at my age with everything I have learned this last year in Enjin, I feel satisfied, but knowing myself I know that I will not stop and I will continue to discover new things in Enjin.

Crisis reveals opportunity

Hailing from Puerto la Cruz, a tourist city in Venezuela, Luis and his story is nothing like your ordinary Web3 degen.

A national political and economic crisis overshadows the beautiful beaches of his city. Venezuela has been in recession since the mid 2010's and nearly 25% of the population or 7 Million people have fled the country in search of better working opportunities (including Luis’ own daughter).

Image of Puerto la Cruz, from Freddy Sánchez-Leal, on X

Amidst this crisis, people have had no choice but to adapt.

With the banking system grinding to a halt, Venezuelans turned to centralized cryptocurrency exchanges where citizens could easily remit money to relatives back home.

“If you had a business you needed to sell and with the cash shortage that there was, you necessarily had to do something or you would go bankrupt."

During the Covid pandemic, Luis utilized his downtimes to immerse himself in this new technology, familiarizing himself with wallets, cryptocurrencies, staking, peer to peer (P2P) transactions.

Later on, through a sponsored event with Coinmarketcap, an informational website on cryptocurrencies, Luis downloaded the earlier version of the Enjin Wallet. This was the first time he discovered NFTs.

Luis’ first NFT through the Coinmarketcap x Enjin campaign
...it was love at first sight, it was very clean, practical, very easy to use, beautiful design, unbelievably cool, also when I entered the page they gave me welcoming with an NFT, it was my first NFT that immediately came to my new wallet, amazing, it looked great.

Setting sights on Enjin

After joining the official Enjin Telegram Group, like many newcomers, Luis got attracted to the NFT giveaways. Not before long, he had activated his Twitter account (now called X), and his Enjin wallet quickly filled out with NFTs from long-time creators in the Enjin community.

The Bad Bears Collection by ScottieTash, from Luis’ NFT.io Wallet

Other collected works included Grumpy Faces from souzfusion, as well as giveaways from

NFT Enterprise, and Dizzy Duckz NFTs among others.

With hundreds of beautiful pieces dropped into his wallet, Luis thought of how to extend his gratitude to the community.

...I was wondering how I could give something back to everything I was receiving.

At first, he listed some of the NFTs that he had collected and through this experience he had sold his first few NFTs. With further inspiration from Enjin long-timer NFT_Enterprise, Luis found himself conducting giveaways.

Through the giveaways, Allye, another OG Enjineer reached out to Luis with a message in what has turned into a long-lasting friendship.

The most important achievement is when someone from the community tells you that they like this or that job, greets you daily, shares your posts and is always there encouraging you to keep going and never give up.
Allye - performing a giveaway for Luis’ Dragon collection, from X

This encouraging message inspired Luis to continue on his journey.

My wallet was constantly on the move…I kept doing raffles for the community to follow the artists and I gave them a gift that the artist had given me...
Giveaway by Alfo_nel, from X

To this day, Luis continuously conducts giveaways for other creators and encourages supporters to follow these artists. It’s a refreshing sight given the current conditions of the Web3 space where communities and influencers tend to argue amongst each other.

But the story of Luis continued.

I had to take another step, I couldn't stay there.

The dragon king is born

While Luis was intent on producing NFTs of dragons, creating his first NFT collection on EnjinX proved to be a challenge.

So DragonsArt would be my first collection, how did I do it? Well nothing easy, but not impossible when you put your mind to it.
Dragons Art by Alfo_nel,  on NFT.io

Luis learnt the wonders of artificial intelligence. Through platforms such as Midjourney, he generated art through experimentation and added his personal touch. Having been based in Venezuela presented a tough challenge, one that he was more than willing to overcome.

Nothing easy from my country because there is no way to pay for a subscription, payment methods do not apply, so there is no other choice than to do it in its free mode.

Free mode required  creating and selecting hundreds of images, translating into English, and experimenting for hours on end. Generating the images was one thing, minting them was another beast on its own.

The story of Alfo_nel is one of resiliency and solving one problem at a time.

Luis, defiant against all odds. Photo from Luis Valiñas

He studied the minting process through a YouTube video, transferred Ethereum to his wallet and funded the necessary Enjin Coin through a contest by ScottieTash.

My first DragonsArt collection was ready in the Jumpnet market, I already had a way to bring gifts to the whole community and that made me happy.

A few months later, following the success of DragonsArt, Luis introduced Animal World, a collection inspired by animals who accompany humans on the journey of life. For his third collection, Luis created the Awakening, which was a reflection on life’s purpose.

The Awakening by Alfo_nel, on NFT.io

Throughout this creative process, Luis praised the value of Enjin and its support team.

I have used the service in some opportunities and all those who have assisted me are very attentive, kind, professional people…like talking to a friend by your side, you really feel like family…

Creating art on the blockchain can be a daunting task, so having Enjin at his side made the journey easier.

Looking ahead

With the launch of Enjin’s NFT.io (new NFT marketplace) and Beam (a proprietary QR code distribution system), Luis looked forward to how these tools would benefit the community.

Can you imagine the scope and speed with which you can send gifts to your community, create 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 whatever you want and through a QR code everyone can pick it up anywhere you post it, even on a poster in your business.

He also imagined how Beam could have been used in Dragon Bingo, a bingo card game utilizing his expansive Dragons Brothers collection on NFT.io.

Inspired by the original bingo, an extremely popular game with families in Venezuela, Luis’ dragon version uses images from his Dragon NFTs instead of numbers. Beam would aid in distributing the chests which hold the bingo cards.

During its launch, the game struggled to attract many players and Luis decided to pause development. But such is the life of a builder, not all ideas will work out and it's a matter of learning and trying new things.

If there’s one thing that people can learn from Luis it’s that one should not let age, background, or other circumstances prevent one from pursuing his or her dreams. A little desire and creativity will go a long way.

My message to young entrepreneurs is to follow your dreams but you will have to come to Enjin to make them come true. If you like games, you are a developer or you have a big project in your mind and you can't find a way to start it, come to Enjin, just tell them your plans, what you want to do, and they will give you the necessary tools and support. So that your dream becomes a reality.
Enjin is a world of opportunities at your fingertips.
-
Luis Valiñas
,
Creator of Dragons Art
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