UPDATED: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have recently become a tulip-bulb-level mania among the digerati — with artwork, music, tweets and other content selling for millions of dollars in some cases.
But Ellen DeGeneres fans, it seems, aren’t irrationally exuberant about the NFT hype: Her first non-fungible token sales netted a total of $33,495. NFTs let people buy and sell ownership of digital assets, certified through blockchain-based technology.
DeGeneres’ first NFTs went on sale Monday, and the proceeds are going to World Central Kitchen, the food-relief org founded by Chef José Andrés. The show began promoting the stunt last Friday online, and DeGeneres announced the NFT sales on Monday’s “The Ellen Show” — with her monologue about NFTs sold as the premium auction lot. She also tweeted info about the auction, held on NFT site Bitski, to her 79 million Twitter followers.
The NFT of DeGeneres’ monologue was sold for $14,555 to @thattallfamily, the self-described “Tallest Family on TikTok,” which evidently made the purchase to boost followers. They are now the (proud?) owners of the four-minute, 24-second 4K video clip. That Tall Family also gets a digital copy of “Woman With Stick Cat” — the selfie of DeGeneres holding the sketch that gently satirizes the whole NFT fad — and a physical copy of the pic signed by Ellen.
In a second auction, five “limited edition” copies of the “Woman With Stick Cat” image were bought for $2,500 (out of 10 available). [UPDATE: As of Monday noon ET, when the NFT sale was set to end, four of those had been sold; however, Bitski kept the item open and a fifth was subsequently purchased.] And in the third sale, open to anyone, 64 people paid $100 for a digital copy of the selfie during the 24-hour sale period.
DeGeneres in the monologue poked fun at her own mystification over NFTs. “This term has been all over the news recently, but most people know what it is — including me, but that is not going to stop me from trying to explain it to you,” she said.
In the end, “Woman With Stick Cat” did not come near the sky-high prices some other NFTs have gone for. The most paid for an NFT is believed to be “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by the artist known as Beeple, bought for $69.3 million (in digital currency) in a Christie’s auction last month.