TIL* about NFTs. Sort of.
When Charlie bit his brother’s finger back in 2007, we were so naive. We still looked to lottery tickets as a means for fast cash, we thought the currency was tangible and all of our trading cards were physical cards.
Fast forward 14 years, we now live in a meme economy in a crypto world and pretty much everything on the internet – videos, tweets, posts – can be sold.
Charlie’s act of brattiness brought his family 538,00 GBP.
A Cat-Pop Tart hybrid viral sensation sold a one-of-a-kind digital rendition for 300 Ether. (That’s $590,000 in 2007 language.)
Jack Dorsey sold his very first tweet for $2.9 million. (Who would willingly give a billionaire millions?)
Do you know that two-handed reverse windmill slam LeBron threw against the Houston Rockets at the start of last year? Someone owns a 16-second clip of that dunk. They paid $179,000. We can all relive that moment over and over again online but we’ll never know how it feels to own it. (We can own other on-the-court moves if head on over to NBA Top Shot and shop their extensive Moment Collection.)
For any Trekkies out there, William Shatner sold packs of digital trading cards of images of himself – one card featured an X-ray of his teeth – for an undisclosed amount. (Apparently, they sold out in warp speed.)
If anyone doesn’t know, non-fungible tokens are officially a thing. (They were even a thing back in 2014 but not all of us woke then.) Much like it spells out, an NFT is a digital token – a certificate basically – to prove digital ownership of tangible and non-tangible items. “An aura of authenticity” is how The Conversation defined this certificate. Aura being the keyword here.
Recently, the Bellwether office – ok, the zoom room – was abuzz
with NFT-related questions and opinions.
“I don’t get this. I don’t even understand how private collectors loan art to a museum. If I spent all that money on a Van Gogh, I’d want it in front of my face at all times Why to own something everyone else has to!”
“I hope songs become NFTs.
The guy who bought Charlie kept it up on YourTube for everyone to see, for
free. Spotify doesn’t
even let me listen to the song I want without an upgrade.”
“Is this sort of like the Etsy of the digital world?”
“Is this a democratization or exploitation? Should we celebrate NFTs or snub them?”
A quick search online however made it clear that we weren’t the only ones without a full grasp. Article after article felt our pain:
‘What are NFTs?’;
‘NFTs explained: These expensive tokens are as weird as you think they are’;
‘Confused about NFTs? Here’s All You Need to Know’.
Nifty’s – the articles sure are useful – are associated with rock stars, artists, the NBA, gaming, a Gucci-wearing ghost, Grimes, scientists, Paris Hilton and the auction house, Christie’s. Quite a varied list.
Basically, the world has found more things – and ways – to sell and buy.
The Conversation describes NFTs are a cultural answer to creating technical scarcity on the internet, and they allow new types of digital goods. But they also seem the very opposite of scarcity.
Mitchell Clark for The Verge tries to explain this scarcity irony: “NFTs are designed to give you something that can’t be copied: ownership of the work (though the artist can still retain the copyright and reproduction rights, just like with physical artwork). To put it in terms of physical art collecting: anyone can buy a Monet print. But only one person can own the original.”
But is there really an NFT out there that’s ‘equal’ to a Monet?
Well, the digital artist, Beeple, sold an NFT of his work – via Christie’s – for $69 million which is more than the $54 million that Monet’s famed Nympheas sold for. (Don’t fret, Monet’s highest-selling piece beats Beeple’s. But for how long?)
No surprise that brands are jumping on the bandwagon.
Taco Bell sells tacos obviously, but now it also sells taco-themed GIFs and images. The highest bid for this NFT art came in at around $3,723.83.
Charmin offered up “NFTP” (non-fungible toilet paper) and Pizza Hut announced a “non-fungible pizza”.
Is all this just a flash in the pan?
NFTs are essentially digital bragging rights, says Forbes.
NFT value is driven entirely by what someone is willing to pay for it.
Some NFTs can be taxed. (Unless your accountant knows the loopholes.)
They use up a lot of electricity so they’re not environmentally friendly.
Sounds pretty much like something we’ll all adopt and they’ll go on forever.
How cynical of us?
But the author will definitely be submitting the notion of a non-fungible workweek to management for an NFT-worthy price.
(*Today I Learned)
Bellwether Branding is a strategy-led brand consultancy that believes in asking questions and considering varying and opposing perspectives. Some of us are now combing through our social media histories to see if we inadvertently created anything worth selling. The others are studying up on NFT art for investment.