With cryptocurrency transforming from a medium of exchange to digital collectibles also called NFTs (non-fungible tokens), the world is currently trading unique forms of it. These Non-Fungible tokens could be literally anything you can post on a digital space, like a piece of music, artwork, a photo, a book, a game, GIFs, or a bit of writing. These can be tagged as an NFT and be sold on the blockchain.
Times of India explains, “Non-fungible also means that you can’t exchange it for anything of equal value. While a bitcoin can be exchanged for another, or a Rs 100 note can be exchanged for two Rs 50 notes, a non-fungible token is unique – there is nothing of a comparative value. And it is currently fetching creators millions of dollars.”
Let's take a look into some of the diverse NFTs being sold in the market.
Grimes’s flying WarNymph babies
In the latest blockchain craze, Canadian musician Grimes earned $5.8 million by selling a suite of her artworks in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The digital artworks were featured as “WarNymph Collection Vol. 1,” and launched in the past week via a tweet to her 1.1 million Twitter followers. According to Insider, the artworks were sold out in a minimal time of 20 mins.
MIC reported, “But turning just one of those pieces, with 303 editions, into an NFT produced an estimated 70 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about the equivalent of the electricity used by 10 homes in the course of a year. Yikes. At least the artist donated a portion of proceeds to Carbon180, an NGO focused on reducing carbon emissions.”
Beeple’s Trump corpse
With a massive sale for $6.6 million, artist Beeple’s (aka Mike Winkelmann) work, Crossroad made a mark by being the most expensive digital art ever sold. It featured a former US president lying face down on a field and it changed based on the outcome of the US 2020 elections. If Trump had emerged victorious the artwork portrayed him muscle-bound and naked, stomping through hell. And when Biden won, the 10-second video artwork depicted the former president’s lifeless and graffiti-covered corpse lying in a park. It was originally sold for $66,666.6 in October 2020, but in late February 2021, it was resold in the secondary market for a humongous price of $6.6 million.
Jack Dorsey’s first tweet
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is selling his first tweet from March 2006 which reads, “Just setting up my twttr.” He listed his first-ever tweet as an NFT on March 5th and the auction that ends on March 21st has the current highest bid of $2.5 million. Dorsey also said that he will convert the proceeds from the sale into bitcoins and donate them to Africa for COVID-19 relief.
According to an FAQ on NFT auction site Valuables, where Dorsey’s tweet is up for sale, the winner will get a “digital certificate of the tweet.” However, the tweet will still be posted and available on the internet for free, unless Twitter or Dorsey himself does not remove it.
Shawn Mendes’s embroidered vest
It was witnessed that artist Shawn Mendes also hopped on the bandwagon to launch a line of digital goods in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He partnered with Genies, a company that creates 2D avatars and designed some copies of Shawn’s signature accessories like his signature Fender guitar, gold ring, and embellished vest from his touring closet.
Genies CEO Akash Nigam said, “What we’re able to do is not only allow the celebrities to memorialize a moment and own it forever through their journey, but their fans can own a piece of that moment through the form of digital identities.”
“Shawn Mendes doing an activation with us on OpenSea, which is the largest NFT marketplace in the world. It will be their first drop,” he added.
Chris Torres, a decade ago created Nyan Cat, an animated flying cat with a Pop-Tart body leaving a rainbow trail, and since then this meme has gained a lot of popularity and has been shared across the web hundreds of millions of times. In Feb 2020, the creator put up a digital version of this animated work, and it was sold to a whopping amount of $580,000. “I feel like I’ve opened the floodgates,” Torres exclaimed in an interview.
The New York Times reported, “Other digital tokens recently sold include a clip of LeBron James blocking a shot in a Lakers basketball game that went for $100,000 in January and a Twitter post by Mark Cuban, the investor, and Dallas Mavericks owner, that went for $952.”
“This month, the actress Lindsay Lohan sold an image of her face for over $17,000 and, in a nod to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, declared, “I believe in a world which is financially decentralized.” It was quickly resold for $57,000”, the article added.
Indians on the NFT landscape
Indians to have made a mark in NFT trading. Siraj Hassan, a Chennai-based digital artist sold many of his 3D and animation pieces through digital marketplaces like OpenSea.
Hassan first read about some well-known artists abroad selling their work on the blockchain in October 2020. “I started exploring this and found that these were mostly invite-only sites. But then I found some open marketplaces too,” he remarked.
“You must be very careful where you post your work because, even in an open site, it costs anywhere between $40 and $60 just to put your art on the blockchain. If it doesn’t sell, you will end up losing money. On the other hand, if it does, you may get twice or thrice the amount back. I only post pieces that I feel have a good chance of being picked up”, he adds.
The Hard Copy stated, “Amrit Pal Singh, a Delhi-based designer, has been creating 3D ‘toy libraries’ with interesting faces for a while. His work won him a grant from the Adobe Fund for Design, but Singh admits that he had no actual monetization plans for the library – until he listed the faces on Foundation, a marketplace for Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs.”
“On 22nd February 2021, he sold his first NFTs – toy faces of Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo for ETH 3.7 (US$ 5,400) and ETH 3.9 (US$ 5,678) respectively”, the article added.