Crypto is having a moment, and it’s starting to make its way into the entertainment and media space. A digital asset called non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, saw a massive spike in popularity over recent months, and many are starting to take notice.
The sudden interest in NFTs is likely part of the reinvigorated interest in the crypto space amid the COVID pandemic. Now the main question is whether the NFT trend is just a fleeting fad or here to stay.
NFTs are types of digital assets in a blockchain with completely unique codes, and they can transform digital objects such as music, art, videos, images and even tweets into assets that can be owned and sold. Unlike bitcoin and other crypto currencies, NFTs cannot be traded for one another.
While NFTs have been around for years, sales only started to gain traction over the past month or so.
According to NFT data tracking site NonFungible.com, there have been over 160,000 NFT sales in just the past month, and things have gotten so hot lately the largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, announced that transaction volume on the platform grew over 100 times in the last six months, with monthly sales on OpenSea hitting $95.2 million in February.
Many industries are seeing NFTs creep into their marketplace, but entertainment and media are seeing the bulk of activity and interest.
Paris Hilton was the first celebrity to explore NFTs back in August 2020, but it wasn’t really talked about at the time. Then in late February and early March of this year, things really took off.
Kings of Leon was the first band ever to sell an entirely new album as an NFT, and Canadian singer Grimes sold $6 million worth of NFT art in under 20 minutes.
EDM DJ 3BLAU sold an NFT collection for a whopping $11 million at auction, and fellow DJ Steve Aoki’s NFT art was bought by former T-Mobile CEO John Legere for a reported $888,888.88.
In the sports world, the NBA is selling NFT highlights through a new product called NBA Top Shot. According to the official website, there were already over $400 million in sales of the NBA collectibles, and a LeBron James highlight sold for upwards of $200,000.
News outlet Quartz announced it would be selling the first-ever NFT article, and the Associated Press sold a painting for nearly $200,000.
The short “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” was the first Oscar-nominated documentary to be released as an NFT, and Hollywood talent agency UTA worked with singer Halsey to hold an NFT auction to sell her art. UTA is planning more NFT projects in the months ahead.
The slew of celebrity and artist NFT announcements prove things are heating up at the intersection of crypto and media, and there could be a couple of reasons artists and creatives may be exploring the use of NFTs.
First, they offer a way to create unique works of art and sell them, sometimes for high price tags. Also, NFTs could offer artists protection by minimizing the issues of copyright infringement, piracy and even plagiarism.
Supporters argue that blockchain and digital assets such as NFTs are the future of entertainment, while critics say it’s just another fad that will eventually lose its luster. NFTs may have our attention now, but it’s the longevity of the trend that will be the main focus going forward.