What is an NFT? NFT stands for non-fungible token. If you are hearing that phrase for the first time, and are like me, it goes in one ear and out the other. Although there are many forms an NFT can take, in essence, it is a one-of-a-kind digital good that can not be copied, replicated or duplicated. When described by experts, words like “block chain” and “crypto asset” are thrown about, but in the simplest terms, an NFT can come in the form of an image, video, or recording that gets “minted” with a unique code embedded in it that certifies its an original. Non-fungible means no single NFT is the same price as another NFT (100 bitcoin one person owns is the same value as 100 bitcoin owned by someone else, aka fungible). An NFT is a “digital snowflake” that you have ownership of, but can’t hold physically in your hands.
I have a confession. When it was first described to me, I thought of this new “NFT thing” kind of like trading Pokemon cards. I thought ‘how cute’. A fun little niche for people who enjoy that sort of thing. That was until March 11, 2021 when the news of an NFT by the artist Beeple had been auctioned by Christie’s for $69 million- dollars. If your mouth didn’t drop open upon learning this, my hat goes off to you.
NFTs exist in the virtual world, but they are very real. Much like buying a piece of real estate, it has a deed of sale, and the price is determined by market demand. NFTs saw celebrities come into the space early on. We saw Paris Hilton, Eminem, Patrick Mahones all creating NFTs. Celebrities made a big splash with NFT’s right away and have done well. A digital copy of Mark Cuban’s first tweet sold for a little less than $1,000 and Elon Musk’s Doge tweet set a new bar when it was bought for almost $8,000 in February of 2021. Everyone was talking about NFTs. This was the beginning of the cultural phenomena and converted a nonbeliever like me.
We spoke with Thaddaeus Koroma, a serial entrepreneur and business accelerator for the rich and famous. His company Limitbreakers (www.limitbreakers.com) has increased its focus over the past few years on taking NFTs and celebrities to the next level. “A mentor and friend of mine said let’s create an agency to develop NFT strategies for A-list celebrities and brands… what we want to do is create a world of its own, not just NFTs,” explained Koroma. Koroma is part of the team that created the incredible Mike Tyson NFTs (nfttyson.com). His team tapped Cory Vanlew–an up-and-coming digital artist— that included once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
“It’s not just NFTs. This is about something that grows over time. The NFTs we are creating are not just one-offs. What if you could sell a product that pays you forever? This is about building a long-term ecosystem with our clients” There are NFT’s that give you access to elite chat rooms. In Europe, there are clubs that you can get into if you have a certain NFT. Koroma hypothesizes that NFTs are going to elevate communities in every arena.Just as we see fantasy football deepen the spectators’ connection to the game, what about Football NFT?. NFT’s can create communities. Much like Star Trek created a world all unto its own, separate from the show, for its fans. The Mike Tyson NFTs allow you to, once a year, go to the Champ’s compound in Nevada and work out with his trainer. One experience includes smoking pot with Tyson.Why wouldn’t this deepen a Tyson fan’s connection to their love of boxing?It validates the passion a fan feels.”
Lastly, the bedrock of an NFT, the most complicated part I learned? Lawyers. Massive amounts of legalese go into creating an NFT. It may look like a cool image or video, but we are talking about contracts, trademark law, the rights to someone’s likeness, and transfer of ownership contingencies. We asked Koroma about what he thinks we should look out for next. He says, “if you believe in the power of a creator economy, a community driving things forward, then get into the market as early as possible. I see this as a renaissance. We are at the beginning of something that has the chance to shape the world we know.”