Few understand the confounding world as well as Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann. He helped spark the NFT, or non-fungible token, craze after he sold a photo collage titled “Everyday: The First 5,000 Days” for $69 million at auction house Christie’s in March.
Beeple referred to his decision to join Otoy’s advisory board as “a longtime partnership made formal.” He says the company’s technology has been “integral” to his work creating NFTs and plans to use his seat to continue expanding the digital art space.
As part of the collaboration, Beeple is working with RNDR, a record-keeping technology that uses blockchain; holographic company Light Field Lab; and Endeavor to introduce the first fully holographic NFT. In effect, it would be the first instance of applying the immersive technology to blockchain digital art.
“For the past decade we have been inspired by how Beeple has used OctaneRender to create everyday renders that transformed the digital art landscape, and over the past year, we have been thrilled to see OctaneRender artists use RNDR and blockchain NFTs as a new way to connect with their fans and sustain their careers, independently,” says Jules Urbach, who co-founded Otoy in 2008 and currently serves as its CEO.
Already, several studios and other power players in Hollywood have been trying to cash in on the phenomenon. Beeple predicts there are “a massive amount of ways” the entertainment industry can utilize NFTs and dismisses the notion that surrounding popularity is just a flash in the pan.
“I don’t think it’s a fad,” Beeple says. “It’s actually very simple and can be applied to so many different things. It’s proving ownership of something. It’s hard for me to imagine this kind of all evaporating away. People have too much of an emotional connection to this stuff.”
Urbach agrees. With Otoy, Urbach’s mission is to “democratize” the state of 3D content creation and make it more accessible to artists.
“I remember being interviewed by people asking if bitcoin is a fad,” he recalls. “The concept is not going away. It’s something, I think, as fundamental as the internet. [With] NFTs, there’s no dispute over who owns it. That’s better than a legal contract.”