Ellen DeGeneres, notorious aficionado of internet culture and memes, is the latest to get swept up in the mania for non-fungible tokens — better known as NFTs.
DeGeneres is set to drop her first-ever NFTs next week, with proceeds from the stunt to be donated to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen food-relief organization. NFTs certify the ownership of a piece of digital content based on blockchain technology, and they’ve become a hyper-buzzy ecommerce trend this year.
In a monologue from next Monday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the talk-show host and comedian announces she will be selling her first-ever NFTs: a selfie of her holding original artwork of a cat, which she’s calling “Woman With Stick Cat” (see below).
Appropriately, DeGeneres’ monologue itself will be up for auction as an NFT, available as a downloadable 4K video file to the highest bidder. The 24-hour auction will be held on Monday, April 26, beginning at 9 a.m. PT exclusively on NFT auction site Bitski (at this link).
What’s the appeal of NFTs? Essentially, it’s bragging rights: They designate a sole “owner” (or multiple owners) of a digital asset — even though that could be copied and viewed an infinite number of times elsewhere.
For the “Ellen” NFT auctions next week, there will be a single winner of the monologue, who in addition to the exclusive ownership of the 4K clip also will get a hi-resolution digital copy of “Woman With Stick Cat,” plus a physical copy of the image signed by her.
In a second auction, 10 people will be able to bid for a hi-res digital copy of “Woman With Stick Cat” (and will also receive a signed physical copy of the image).
In addition, an unlimited number of “open edition” digital copies of the selfie will be available to purchase during the 24-hour sale period. (Or, you can just view the image here on this site… as many times as you want.)
The early activity for NFTs popped up in the art and music worlds: Last month, an NFT by digital artist Beeple sold for $69.3 million at auction, reportedly the most ever paid for a non-fungible token asset. The format has been increasingly adopted in media and entertainment: Legendary Entertainment recently released an exclusive “Godzilla vs. Kong” NFT collection in coordination with the film’s debut (with the first digital artwork selling for nearly $27,000). As with, say, baseball cards or physical artwork, NFTs can be bought and sold — and some of the eye-popping sale prices may reflect the belief that their value will appreciate over time.
Last December DeGeneres tested positive for COVID-19 after which “Ellen,” produced by Warner Bros. Telepictures, went on hiatus before resuming production in January. A year ago, at the outset of the pandemic, the show’s crew members were upset by pay cuts and a lack of communication from producers. “Ellen” last summer also was the target of allegations by former employees alleging sexual misconduct and harassment by top execs.