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Last Word Features: The NFT craze

Kings of Leon
Matthew Forowil / Photo courtesy of

When our founders drafted the Constitution, they sent home-attack weapons, Senate filibusters, or perhaps Kings of Leon encrypted video into space and auctioned the iPhone on which it was played. You could hardly have foreseen the call.

But all this has happened. More recently, Southern rock bands have worked with Elon Musk to shoot irreplaceable tokens of self-esteem into the stratosphere.

Thanks to everyone involved, the money raised from the launch of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 last month was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition, the promotion of the band has become popular. The Billboard magazine headline “Kings of Leon will be the first band to play NFTs in space” has been repeated in many ways by countless media outlets. The midpoint of the 2021 tour.

This was not Kings of Leon’s maiden voyage to the realm of irreplaceable tokens, a type of digitally certified art sold as part of the cryptocurrency blockchain. Last March, the band rushed to release the “When You See Yourself” album as a collection of digital NFTs, and was welcomed by “Rolling Stone” magazine as its first band.

In fact, that wasn’t true. Devon Welsh’s Belave, a virtually unknown indie band, defeated them with an even faster release of the album “Does the Bird Fly Over Your Head?”. However, the Kings of Leon was able to raise at least $ 2 million to get comfort, a quarter of which was donated to the Global Relief Fund for Live Nation’s live music crew.

One of the biggest discussions about non-fungible tokens is focused on the issue of ownership. The NFT’s “original” contains metadata that proves its authenticity, but trademarks and copyrights are not part of the transaction. In fact, most people with a working internet connection can download the same content. So why might you ask, would someone buy them? There are several potential reasons. For example, you may want to show support for content authors. You may want to impress people by flashing the contents of your digital wallet. Or maybe you just have too much money. However, the strongest motivation for buying an NFT is the potential for huge profits from reselling the NFT.

Think of this as the equivalent of flipping a mortgage home, auctioning autographs on eBay, cleaning up toilet paper shelves, and raising prices on Amazon during a pandemic. NFTs can also give musicians the opportunity to benefit from work in lesser-known arts. Experimental pop artist Grimes, who until recently was Elon Musk’s girlfriend, “WarNymph Collection Vol. 1” is a digital art series depicting winged babies floating in space.

After all, space is a recurring theme in the world of blockchain art. Both NASA and the US Space Force have released their own brand of NFTs. And then there’s Chris Torres, the creator of Nyan Cat. Earlier this year, he flew around space for a pop-tart body cat NFT, leaving a rainbow trail in its trail and pocketed $ 600,000. In the first three months of 2021, collectors and venture capitalists are reported to have invested more than $ 2 billion in NFTs. So it’s no wonder that these once vague objects of desire have gained considerable ridicule.

“Many of the digital collectibles traded on today’s exchanges are, frankly, junk,” said Nyan Cat’s featureless candidness in 2018, three years before the big leap into the NFT art market. Declared by Forbes magazine. “People are trying to create something of no real value and bring value through tokenization. Think about the current excess of digital art. Unfortunately, the amount of demand is far from supply.”

Of course, it’s as embarrassing as an encrypted counterpart, but to find a work that isn’t missing out on buyers, all you have to do is look at the Fine Art Gallery.

Think of the “comedian” of the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. This is a work of art consisting entirely of bananas taped to the walls of the gallery. The piece sold for $ 120,000 and artists were encouraged to create the 2nd and 3rd editions, which also recorded 6-digit sales.

“Whether it’s on the wall of an art fair booth or on the cover of the New York Post, his work wonders how the material’s products are valued. “Masu,” explains Emmanuel Perrotin, the owner of the gallery. “The sight is as much part of the job as bananas.” Meanwhile, Cateran said he spent a year working on a bronze and resin version of his sculpture before realizing that “bananas should be bananas.” Insisted.

Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was not uncommon, but quite interesting. This is a 2015 album released by a hip-hop supergroup in a limited edition and auctioned for $ 2 million. It could not be released commercially until 2103.

The winning bidder turned out to be Martin Shkreli, well known as “Pharma Bro”, a former hedge fund manager who notoriously obtained a license to manufacture HIV drugs and raised prices by 4,000%. Sukurelli later boasted that he had no plans to actually listen to the album, but bought it simply to “protect it from the people.” Shortly thereafter, he was charged with securities fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison. The federal government then confiscated his property, including an album sold for $ 4 million reported this July.

Not surprisingly, Utan members are stepping into the irreplaceable universe, either individually or collectively. The group plans to publish a 400-page coffee table book about their heritage in the form of NFTs. Meanwhile, Method Man has released a series of comic NFTs featuring exclusive artwork and unreleased music. Elsewhere in the hip-hop world, Death Row continued to release 30th Anniversary NFTs, and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons launched the “Masterminds of Hip Hop.” From Chuck D and MC Lyte to Big Daddy Kane and Grandmaster Caz.

But what’s most intriguing at the moment is the newly created NFT by Russian feminist band Pussy Riot, whose agitprop image may seem inconsistent with such entrepreneurial companies. ..

This group recently published “Be Virgin Mary, Be a Feminist”. This is an NFT that combines a hand-painted image by co-founder Nadia Trokonnikova with a digitized original copy of the two-year imprisonment for the Putin opposition movement in Moscow. Cathedral.

The new NFT is a follow-up to a series of tokens from the band’s “Panic Attack” video, with the first token sold for $ 187,000 and the group donating to shelters for victims of domestic violence in Russia. did.

As Tolokonnikova said at the time, “I’m always looking for ways to support the art of our activists without being involved in the institution. The NFT claims that digital art is art, and in fact Is excellent because it shows that something that no one can touch is worth it. “

As 2021 finishes its final quarter, more and more artists see NFTs as a more viable medium than the sum of You Tube, Facebook and Spotify. For Pussy Riot, Kings of Leon, and even Nyan Cat, it’s still unclear how long it will last.

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