Sometime soon I hope to be sharing some thoughts on Non-Fungible Tokens, aka NFTs, and how they might actually be applicable to creators, artists, and makers (and not just those Lebron James highlight reels that are simultaneously on YouTube and worth a bajillion dollars in NFT form).
If there’s a better way for creators to monetize their work via NFTs, I (we!) want to understand it. I actually think it’s in here somewhere (at least smarter people than I keep saying it is), but there are a lot of details. And when I say a lot, I mean imagine an acronym tsunami crashing into a small island of crypto-term shacks inhabited mostly by got-rich-quick (maybe) geniuses who have something to sell us. We have to approach this with equal parts curiosity and skepticism.
With any emergent idea, we have to tackle what’s going on from multiple angles. This week I’m highlighting one podcast I think is helpful for anyone who is wondering about NFTs to hear now, because it will help temper any excitement and turn up their BS filter. I’m also adding several additional links at the bottom of this email to publicly share some other resources I’ve found helpful.
If interested, do listen to Lochhead on Marketing episode 103: “Digital Products, NFTs, Clubhouse, Oh My with Jason DeFillippo.” This will give you a good high-level overview of the skepticism required to look at NFTs and some other recently trendy items. This is a good reality check to start with.
If still interested, know that I am also still personally intrigued with how individual, non-celebrity creators might put these to use. Even DeFillippo drops some clues in his anti-angle. If there’s a way for regular people to make this technology work to better monetize the things we do, the time to explore it is now. Here are some other NFT resources I’ve found helpful:
Decrypt’s “Non-Fungible Token (NFT): Beginner’s Guide”
Ernest Wilkin’s, “NFTs and the DNA Rule”
Christopher Lochhead, “The Future Just Changed and Most People Just Missed It”
Seth Godin, “NFTs are a Dangerous Trap”
Justin Paterno, “Web 3.0 is a Network of Formats and Formats will Build the World”
WSJ’s “The Whales of NBA Top Shot Made A Fortune Buying LeBron Highlights”
Stay tuned for more on this topic. And, if you have any thoughts, resources, or specific questions on this topic – let me know.
2 thoughts on “Podcast Of The Week: Making (Applicable) Sense of NFTs”
Whew, yeah. While I think I’d like to understand what this is all about, I had a whole bunch of feels about it, much like the banana at Basel. Oh look, another white man entered the elite art world and figured out how to bamboozle the 1% into eagerly parting with their inadequately taxed riches. In a word: Disgusting. In five words: The Emperor has no clothes. Many people, many artists, struggle in this world to make $50,000 a year, but this painting just earned the sum of 1,380 people each making 50k. Need another reason for a wealth tax? Here ya go. Imagine that sum used to enrich the Arts at large in communities around the country or the world.
When I think of how BIPOC and female artists have struggled for all of existence, just to be NOTICED, I want to puke at this utterly dystopian event. A JPG! I bet Jeff Koons is apoplectic. For good measure, watch art doc, The Price of Everything, this weekend. But, online artists, most of us marginalized in some way, have been trading commissions and digital art rights for over a decade. And in my online shop, I have always had the choice of listing my stuff as a thing, a service or a digital file. We’ve been generating sales and have created economies around it where we all pass much smaller sums of money around, but every new tech advancement is a bulldozer. So, for those who can afford to spend $13k+ on an NFT saying they’ve solved the problems with selling digital art as though the issues weren’t always about people being locked out of the systems, in this case the ever-present “elite” art world where kings and queens are made by people who care nothing about the work– when do the crowds at a Christie’s auction applaud wildly? Not when the art of a dead artist arrives onstage, but when the final ludicrous number is gaveled. For those of us on the ground putting in the work day after day, this feels a lot like having no visibility, and having our work devalued.
I’ll be 53 this year, and have only ever been a working artist. Any time I’ve taken my focus off my own personal/professional mission, such as it is, to look at the next super shiny object, I have regretted it both personally and professionally. To those other artists thinking this is the next big thing I say, stay the course.
Couldn’t agree more about staying the course and not chasing this super shiny, non-fungible object. I do think there may be some advantages however in smart contracts to drive long-term value especially for smaller and more marginalized artists. This is where it gets technical, but I’m looking forward to exploring it deeper (especially with feedback like yours). Thanks for the thoughtful response Dar!