The NFT fever that moves celebrities – Business & Politics

The thing about celebrities obsessed with NFTs is already a phenomenon that has transcended the dark corners of the Internet to be the subject of open debate. On the table, the many and disturbing unknowns that this business still raises, a digital gold rush spurred by startups dedicated to cryptocurrency transactions.

The Cartoonish Chimpanzees That Populate The Metaverse Bored Ape Yacht Club, they are the genuine virtual campus, emerged in April of last year by the work and grace of the American collective Yuga Labs. He has already generated more than 700 million euros marketing his creations: comic monkeys, with wacky anthropomorphic features and a lackadaisical gesture, in NFT format. At the moment there are 10,000, each unique in its kind —they are designed by an algorithm, no two are the same—, and as non-fungible tokens they serve as avatars for those who acquire them for their virtual social interactions.

Twitter Blue, premium version of the bird’s network, has just admitted them as a profile image. Hosted on Ethereum, a blockchain technology platform —the one that endorses cryptocurrencies and certifies the authenticity and ownership of NFTs—, They don’t come cheap: around 180,000 euros for a boring ape, to be paid with the house’s cryptocurrency, ETH. In September 2021, a lot of 101 Bored Apes was awarded at Sotheby’s for €22 million. Then it was learned that Adidas had bought one, and the NBA star Stephen Curry, another. And Eminem. And Gwyneth Paltrow. And Jimmy Fallon. And Neymar. Madonna has been the last to jump on the bandwagon.

There are suspicions of money laundering, payment of favors, pyramid schemes and questionable motivations, also by the famous who are entering the rag. Charitable causes through public auctions initially served as an excuse, such as the Cryptograph of Munchkin project with which Paris Hilton jumped into such an arena in 2020. A year later, the “original influencer, wildly successful DJ and innovative entrepreneur” launched a series of non-fungible tokens of her own, Planet Paris, created in collaboration with the graphic designer Blake Kathryn and for whose sale he got a million euros. “It is a new medium to tell your stories.

With this technology, I can elevate my experiences and relate them in a more authentic way”, he conceded for his part Lindsay Lohan presenting her first token, in February 2021. And then he tweeted: “Bitcoin is the future.” Then he appeared promoting crypto capitalization platforms such as All Coins Yield Capital or DeFi and the alarms went off: Behold the new favorite product placement of Hollywood stars, that could be pocketing cryptocurrencies at large.

Tell that to Matt Damon, image of the investor Crypto.com. The ridicule he was subjected to in an episode of South Park surely still stings him: “My father says he listened to Matt Damon’s ad and lost all his money,” Clyde snaps at Cartman. That the issue is burning is also revealed by the volume of operations registered in the account called JustinBieberNFTS opened on OpenSea, a platform for the purchase and resale of these digital assets, just two months ago. That it belongs to the Canadian singer, there is no doubt; that he is speculating with the more than 1,300 tokens that he has accumulated, either.

More promotional are the purposes of other musical idols, such as the rapper Snoop Dogg, that in December he debuted as a digital creator with a token auctioned for nearly 700,000 euros; singer Katy Perry, that sells NFTs in which he appears preparing to act at just over 200 euros each, or even Dolly Parton, more generous with her fans: she gave away tokens to those who bought a ticket for her Dollyverse, the virtual concert she offered as a web 3.0 experience at the South by Southwest festival in March. Record labels in the range of Universal are also maneuvering to bring avatars of their best-selling artists in NFT format to the metaverse.. There goes Shawn Mendes and, soon, Rihanna, Migos and J. Balvin.

Greater substance has the action undertaken by Emily Ratajkowski with Buying Myself Back: A Model for Redistribution, a conceptual piece with which she wanted to denounce the exploitation that is usually made of the image of women like her: in 2014, the artist Richard Price used an Instagram photograph of the model and actress to paint a portrait that he exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery of New York without his permission. “I hope to set a symbolic precedent that respects the authority over the control of our image and thus receive correct compensation in terms of use and distribution,” Ratajkowski argued when auctioning his non-fungible token at Christie’s in May 2021. It was shipped for 160,000 euros.

In the same wave vibrate the intentions of the actress Reese Witherspoon, willing to create opportunities for women in a clearly male-dominated business. His idea: to develop movies and television series with his production company, Hello Sunshine, based on the World of Women NFTs, a popular collection of female avatars for photos on social profiles (just like Bored Ape) created by illustrator Yam Karkai. The fact is that, according to studies, women barely represent 5% of the market for virtual intangibles. Examples such as those of Ratajkowski, Witherspoon or, as far as we are concerned, the never well-considered sisters Teresa and Fernanda Hurtado —converted to digital video art under the name of Hurtado Gemelas— finally light the way. |

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