The week in NFTs, ranked
It’s another day in 2021, and so of course it’s another day where someone, somewhere is launching an NFT in hopes of making a ton of easy money. This week’s NFT launches were headlined by some big names — M.I.A., Tfue, Spike Jonze — and collectively posed the question: can you still, nearly a month after Beeple’s blockbuster NFT sale at Christie’s, make a stupid amount of cash off these things in part by being in the right place at the right time?
The answer, it seems, is mostly yes. And several of this week’s NFT creators were clearly here for just that possibility. Not that this NFT thing was always the exclusive realm of fine art — I present to you this golden Pringles can that raises its eyebrows at you as if to say come and try me — but there’s a clear feeling of function (making money) over form (being a piece of artwork) with some of these latest projects.
Because I cannot look away from the endless stream of NFT launches — good, bad, fascinating, and facepalmingly dumb — I now present you with a list of my favorite / least favorite of the last seven days. I assure you, this list is nowhere close to comprehensive; it is merely a collection of the NFTs I could remember off the top of my head while writing this story. There are truly too many.
6. Tfue’s NFTfue collection
Tfue, a popular esports player and Twitch streamer, launched an NFT series based around cartoony versions of himself inserted into major video games. The videos look like they were quickly thrown together by the Taiwanese studio that makes those uncomfortably unnecessary animated news clips. There’s also a series of NFT bobbleheads, which, at least, come bundled with a physical bobblehead.
“This NFT is digitally signed by Tfue, the physical Bobblehead is not signed,” the sales page warns.
The team Tfue worked with expects the NFTs to sell for “somewhere between $300,000 and a million,” according to The Washington Post.
5. 100 Thieves’ 100 Thieves NFTs
The hugely buzzy esports group 100 Thieves, which counts Drake as a co-owner, launched a series of NFTs showing their logo imposed on a vibey animation of a spinning, metallic galaxy. There are eight versions of the same animation with different color combinations used on each one. It’s kind of like buying a pin or sticker from your favorite sports team, except in this case, it’ll cost you 3 Ether, or around $6,250.
4. A film anthology featuring Flying Lotus and Spike Jonze
I have no idea what you’re really buying here when you buy the NFTs associated with this collection of short films. What does it mean to own a film’s NFT, when presumably that film will continue to be screened and sold by the actual owner of the movie?
Each of the short films in this collection (save for one) is being sold individually as an NFT, and then the anthology as a whole (plus that additional short) is being sold as an NFT, too. Buyers get the ever-ambiguous NFT, plus a Blu-ray of the film and a display featuring a clip from the shorts. Whoever buys the anthology will get a full box set.
The one thing I do think is compelling here is the pitch for the anthology: most of the proceeds are meant to be put back into making films so the creators can make a second volume of the anthology. I doubt NFTs are the future of film financing, but they might help supplement a Kickstarter someday soon.
3. M.I.A.’s old art NFTs
M.I.A. put a few NFTs up on Foundation that include some old artworks of hers. Two of them are just short clips of herself from the late ’90s doing a weird dance / possible exercise class routine, and truthfully they are great. There’s also some kaleidoscopic GIF of a coin that sold for 25 Ether, or around $52,000.
2. Another 200+ year old auction house is selling an NFT
Phillips, Christie’s slightly younger neighbor in London, is getting into NFTs with the sale of an artwork called REPLICATOR.
At its most basic, the work is just a short video clip of a photocopier. But the twist is that the NFT will produce additional NFTs over time, all of which will be owned by the buyer of the initial work. Those NFTs will in turn produce more NFTs, and some NFTs can “jam,” stopping further replication but producing a unique “jam artwork.” After seven generations, the works will stop reproducing (so it will not be a total ecological nightmare, like the rest of the blockchain).
The NFT seems like a reseller’s dream, since they’ll be in possession of a growing number of works that can be split up and resold. And what are NFTs (all of cryptocurrency, really) about if not making a questionable investment and reselling it years later for inexplicable returns?
1. The Fyre Fest sandwich
At first glance, this looks like a grift on a grift: an NFT sale, of a tweet, of a photo, from Fyre Fest, is being put up for auction with the goal of raising $80,000. But the seller, Trevor DeHaas, is using the sale to fund medical bills to pay for a kidney transplant — turning it into a sort of GoFundMe in the latest bizarro horror story from America’s health care system, as my colleague Kim Lyons pointed out in a story speaking with DeHaas.
Honestly, this is the ultimate NFT sale, and it deserves a $69 million price tag.