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The power of NFTs and DAOs for leaders_ influencers_ celebrities_ and public figures

The power of NFTs and DAOs for leaders_ influencers_ celebrities_ and public figures

The Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry can be traced back to the early days of the internet. The first NFTs were digital collectibles created on forums and message boards. These tokens were simply images or text used to represent a unique asset.

However, it wasn't until the development of blockchain technology that NFTs really began to take off. Blockchain provided a way to securely and permanently store data on a decentralized ledger. This made NFTs much more secure and trustworthy than traditional digital collectibles.

Since then, the NFT industry has exploded in popularity. Millions of dollars worth of NFTs have been sold, and the market is only getting bigger. With the help of blockchain, the NFT industry is revolutionizing the way we think about digital ownership.

This article discusses NFTs, including where they came from, important milestones, and what to expect in the future.

The Origin of NFTs

The first-ever known non-fungible token (NFT) was created in 2014 by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash. It was called Quantum and consisted of a video clip of digital art created by McCoy’s wife, Jennifer. Originally, the technology was called “monetized graphics,” and Quantum was registered on the Namecoin blockchain and sold to Dash for $4. Today, it’s on sale for $7M.

In October of 2015, three months after the launch of the Ethereum blockchain, the first NFT project, Ehteria, was launched and demonstrated at DEVCON 1 in London. Most of the 457 NFTs went unsold for more than five years until March 13, 2021, as interest in NFTs was renewed. These remaining pieces sold out in 24 hours for a total of $1.4M. At the time of their launch in 2015, their cost was only $0.43 each.

Increased public awareness began in 2017 when an online game CryptoKitties monetized cat NFTs. During 2020, the value of the NFT market exploded, tripling to $250M. During the first quarter of 2021, more than $200M was spent on NFTs.

Or Was the Origin in 2012?

There is another origin story out there on NFTs worth discussing, known as Colored Coins. Colored Coins, created in 2012-2013, are made of small bitcoin denominations–known as a single satoshi–which can be used to represent a multitude of assets and have multiple uses, including:

  • Coupons
  • Property
  • Issue shares of a company
  • Ability to issue your own cryptocurrency
  • Digital collectibles
  • Access tokens

Unfortunately, the whole Colored Coin system carries several flaws. But, they played a significant role in laying the groundwork for NFTs. You can learn more about them here in the “Overview of Colored Coins.” 

Counterpoint: “Counterparty”

Another early consideration for the creation of NFTs is Counterparty. Counterparty is a peer-to-peer financial platform and distributed, open-source Internet protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. It allowed asset creation and even included a trading card game and meme trading, where Rare Pepes originated.

Rare Pepes

In October 2016, “rare pepes” were issued along the Counterparty platform. A rare pepe is a meme featuring a frog character that has developed an intense fanbase. Besides being incredibly quirky, the uniqueness of these images makes them such desirable NFTs. 

How the NFT space has evolved

In simple terms, an NFT is a unit of data stored on a variety of digital ledgers called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. But, what started as a simple video clip has evolved into many use cases across various industries. But, perhaps none is more compelling than the art industry.

The History of NFT Art

Art is perhaps the most common way to use NFTs, as auctions from high-profile NFTs have made the biggest splash in public attention. Currently, the most expensive NFT ever sold was at an auction price of $91.8M–work by artist Pak, entitled The Merge.

The merge

The Merge is both a single piece of artwork and a series of artworks. When it launched, buyers could purchase an NFT, called a mass, for a set amount of money ($575). However, for buyers who purchased more than one mass, instead of receiving another NFT, their current mass actually increased in size. The price of a mass NFT grew throughout the sale, and buyers who bought a lot of mass were rewarded with free mass. 

It sounds a little confusing, but if you can picture a tiny ball of mercury as one mass, then add other tiny balls of mercury to it, you can see how each comes together to get bigger and bigger. That’s what The Merge is and was before the sale was brought to a close. Now, even though the launch is over, buyers and traders can still sell or trade their NFTs to grow their mass bigger, making their NFT more valuable. 

In the end, more than 28,000 buyers spent over $91M on what has been one of the most compelling NFT art concepts to date.

Everydays: The first 5000 days

The second most expensive (at $69M) was a piece of artwork by Michael Winkelmann–known as Beeple–called Everydays: the First 5000 Days.

Beeple is a graphic designer and motion artist from South Carolina who is well-renowned in the digital art world. However, his rise to fame reached a new height with his NFT collage created from 5,000 images created daily for 13 years. The images were put together and formed one NFT unit that sold for almost $70M making it the third-most-expensive piece of art ever sold.

CryptoPunks

Perhaps, the most well-known NFT digital art pieces are the collection of CryptoPunks, which is credited with starting the NFT craze of 2021.  

CryptoPunks is a series of 10,000 unique collectible characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Each character is created using an algorithm and no two are identical. The images are 24x24 pixels and feature some combination of guys, girls, apes, zombies, and aliens. While some of the images share attributes, the rarest ones feature the fewest attributes. For example, on the current marketplace, CryptoPunk 5822 is on sale by the owner for $34.89M. It features one attribute–a bandana–which is only shared by 481 punks. 

Perhaps the wildest part of CryptoPunks is that initially, they were all free. One simply had to claim them. Now they sell for hundreds of thousands to multi-millions of dollars.

CryptoKitties

In the 90s, we had Tomagotchi–a handheld digital pet that you could feed, love, and–if neglected–kill. In the 2020s, we have CryptoKitties! CryptoKitties are digitally created breedable and collectible cats. Each is one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed.

It turns out that breeding digital pets is big business for at least a short period of time. While CryptoKitties was the first widely recognized blockchain game and featured astronomical growth, the popularity was short-lived. In fact, it reached its peak on December 10th, 2017. But, by the beginning of 2018, the game’s popularity fell by 90% of users. However, for those that were fortunate during that short time. One CryptoKitty fetched $1.3M, another $566,000, and the third most expensive CryptoKitty was sold for $107,000.

Bored Ape Yatch Club

Similar to CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a collection of 10,000 unique, algorithm-created images. Except instead of aliens, zombies, and humans, BAYC features images of–you guessed it–apes. In March of 2022, sales of BAYC made up more than a third of total NFT sales. In January of 2022, BAYC surpassed $1B in total sales.

Who Can Create & Purchase NFTs?

The easy answer is that anyone can create or purchase NFTs. Some companies help guide you through the process of creation, connecting your content through blockchain, and getting the proper paperwork done to develop your own NFTs. Purchasing is also as easy as connecting with an online marketplace and working with vendors to purchase or acquire the NFTs you want.

You can launch your NFT collection in seconds with Mantial. We assist everyone, from entrepreneurs to celebrities and large companies throughout the whole process of conception, sales, and management of NFT collections.

In Conclusion

The future is wide-open for the NFT industry. As it becomes more and more popular, creators and even NFT experts are still exploring the possibilities of this technology and how it collides with our everyday lives. While the exact future of NFTs is uncertain, the market is expected to continue growing, and NFTs worth millions of dollars today could be worth billions in the future. 

And, when money like that is involved, everyone will want a piece of the action.

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Rick’s NFT

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Michonne’s NFT

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When Did High-Profile Individuals Get Into NFTs?

NFTs were created in 2014 and gained value in 2017 when CryptoPunks came on the scene. With one of the first NFT projects supported on Ethereum, Larva Labs managed to sell the first six-figure digital asset.

CryptoPunks was quickly followed by other popular NFT projects such as Decentraland, Gods Unchained, and Cryptokitties. These projects demonstrated the potential of NFTs to create engaging gaming experiences and store digital assets.

Yet and still, NFTs remained largely unknown to the general public. However, the proof of concept for NFTs was there, and it was only a matter of time until high-profile individuals started to notice.

In early 2019, several high-profile individuals began to discuss their interest in NFTs publicly.

The Link Between NFT and DAOs?

Now emerging are DAOs or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. A DAO is a digital organization powered by code and community instead of a centralized authority.

DAOs exist on the Ethereum blockchain and use smart contracts to automate certain aspects of their operations, allowing them to run without the need for a centralized team(i.e., social media).

The removal of the third party comes with its own benefits, such as:

  • No censorship
  • No platform risk
  • Increased transparency
  • Stronger community engagement
  • Improved security

As for the decision-making, NFT holders of the community can make decisions about the direction of the DAO through voting. This process makes DAOs more democratic and transparent than traditional organizations.

Thus, NFTs and DAOs work in tandem to create new ways for leaders, influencers, and celebrities to interact with their fans.

The Power of NFTs and DAOs

There are several reasons why NFTs and DAOs are so powerful for leaders, influencers, celebrities, and public figures. Let's take a look at some of the key benefits.

Increased Engagement and Interaction with Fans

With technologies like VR and words like the metaverse being thrown around daily, it's clear that the future of entertainment revolves around immersion. DAOs provide a perfect way to immerse fans in the lives of their favorite celebrities.

NFTs, on the other hand, can be used to create digital assets that represent real-world items. For example, let's look at how musicians could use NFTs. A musician could create a digital asset for their new album, give it to fans, and store it on the blockchain. Only the private key owner could redeem it.

Those on the DAO could then vote on the album artwork, name, and release date. The musician could also use NFTs to create unique experiences for their fans. For example, they could auction off a meet-and-greet or backstage pass as an NFT.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to how public figures can use NFTs and

This would give fans a sense of ownership over their favorite artist's music. They would know that their purchase is permanent and can never be taken away. In addition, the musician could release new content related to the album that can only be accessed by those who own the digital asset.

That would create a more interactive experience for fans and deepen their connection to the artist.

DAOs could also be used to create similar experiences. For example, a traveling influencer could have their DAO members vote on the next destination, the content style to upload, or the average time for videos.

This feeling of power would give fans a sense of belonging and allow them to contribute to the decisions made by the influencer directly.

Increased Transparency and Accountability

Another key benefit of using a DAO is that it allows leaders to be more transparent and accountable to their followers. A politician could create a DAO to enable citizens to vote on proposed bills.

Imagine if you could vote on the bills that your representative proposes! We can imagine it would lead to a more democratic system and allow citizens to have a say in the laws that govern their lives.

Similarly, an influencer could use a DAO to vote on which products they should promote, giving followers a sense of control over the content. It would also help ensure that the influencer promotes products that the community actually believes in.

As for NFTs, recent legislation seems to be hinting at their potential for increased transparency. Project creators are expected to keep the project afloat or risk being labeled a scam. This part can prove complicated as many project creators are not experienced in the business.

Increased Revenue and Profit

Of course, it's no secret that the use of NFTs can lead to increased revenue and profit. The Decentraland project, for example, has generated over $26 million in revenue from the sale of land.

Similarly, the Cryptokitties project generated over $12 million in revenue in just four months. Clearly, there is a lot of money to be made in the NFT space. What makes the proposition attractive for public figures is the speed at which they generated this profit. 

DAOs provide a way for public figures to monetize their content more quickly and easily-- a stark contrast to traditional methods of revenue generation such as album sales or movie tickets. These methods often take years to generate a profit and can be difficult to track.

Community Building

One of the most powerful aspects of using a DAO is that it allows communities to form and transact directly. For example, friends could create a DAO to manage their shared expenses, allowing them to pay for things like rent and groceries without relying on a third party.

On a larger scale, celebrities with cult followings could create their own DAO. This DAO would allow fans to vote on things like the next tour location, the type of content produced, or the supported charity.

It would allow big chunks of the population to move as one and gives them a collective voice. NFT holders would have a direct say in how the celebrity uses their influence.

Examples of Public Figures Leveraging The Power Of NFTs

Now that we know what celebrities stand to gain from DAOs and NFTs, let's look at some examples in the wild. These new technologies are disrupting virtually every industry in the public eye in some way or another.

Sports

The world of professional sports is starting to leverage the power of NFTs in some exciting ways. The NBA, for example, remains a perfect example of how to use these technologies to create a more engaging fan experience.

In the past, the NBA has used things like virtual reality and augmented reality to bring fans closer to the action. They have also used social media platforms to allow fans to vote on MVP players and All-Star teams.

The NBA has recently announced Top Shot, an NFT marketplace dedicated to the league's rare memorabilia. Lebron James's "Cosmic Dunk," where he took off from the free-throw line and slammed the ball through the hoop, remains the most expensive NBA NFT with a price tag of $208,000.

Even more recently, The Kraus House announced that they are working on a ground-breaking project. The DOA aims to be the first professional basketball team owned by fans. 

No more billionaire owners; this team will be owned and operated by the DAO. The power of franchises currently remains in the hands of a few billionaires like Marc Cuban, Michael Jordan, and Robert Pera. As of early 2022, they have only raised about 500 ETH, almost half of their $4.2 million goals. That's barely enough to pay for a decent player's salary, but it's a start. 

But, as the blockchain evolves, it's only a matter of time until the average fan can purchase a stake in their favorite team.

NFT Sports Collection Launch

Hollywood

Wherever the money goes, Hollywood isn't far behind. The movie industry is one of the most obvious early adopters of blockchain technology. Late DAO is an interesting experimental concept in the industry.

It's a platform that allows fans to vote on who gets cast in the lead role, what the story is about and other critical details. Buying a Late DAO NFT would essentially enable fans to become editorial team members.

This type of engagement could completely disrupt the traditional studio system. It would also give a voice to underserved demographics, like women and people of color.

Of course, NFTs also have their place alongside A-list actors and actresses. For example, beloved Reese Witherspoon teamed up with the World of Women to launch a new NFT. The goal is to create a community for the women of crypto in a largely male-dominated industry.

Music

NFT Music Collection Launch

Perhaps no industry has seen more disruption from blockchain technology than music. It's no secret that record labels are struggling to keep up in the digital age, which ends up hurting the artist.

The new tech found its way into music when Jay-Z, arguably the first major celebrity to showcase his crypto assets, changed his Twitter profile picture to a Bored Ape. This display of wealth, or flex, led some of the game's biggest names to start experimenting with NFTs.

Snoop Dogg has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. After his augmented reality (AR) advertising campaign with 19 Crimes wine, he is set to release exclusive unreleased songs on the Cardano blockchain.

Another artist worth mentioning is Grimes, the ex-girlfriend of tech mogul Elon Musk. She recently sold over $6 million worth of music-accompanied visual art on the Nifty Gateway platform.

We can imagine that DAOs will hold a place in the music industry as well. Tours could be planned and executed by the fans. Playlists could be curated by those who have a stake in the artist's success.

It's also not hard to imagine a world where entire albums are funded by DAOs. In this scenario, the fans would essentially be the record label. They would control everything from production to distribution.

Influencers

When it comes to power, there's no question that influencers hold sway. They can shape public opinion on everything from what to wear to which politician to vote for.

With the help of DAOs, influencers could create even more powerful communities. For example, they could use an NFT-based voting system to choose a contest winner.

They could also use an NFT-based system to distribute exclusive content or crowdfund new projects. With their large following, influencers can cause price spikes in NFTs by posting about a limited-edition drop.

In a way, DAOs give influencers another tool in their arsenal. They provide a way to connect with their fans on a deeper level and create more meaningful relationships.

Paris Hilton, the self-dubbed "crypto barbie," is a great example of this.

She has been very vocal about her love of blockchain technology and has been educating her fans about it on social media. Curiously, she doesn't seem to be promoting her own NFTs. Instead, she supports other projects, really trying to help the space grow.

Politicians

Then, there are the leaders of the world. Politicians are some of the most influential people in the world, and, as such, they need to be open to new ideas. We saw they can use an NFT-based voting system to make policy decisions or get feedback from their constituents.

But it's not just about giving people a voice. Politicians could use DAOs to get real-time polling data from their constituents on various issues. That would help them make better decisions and make them more accountable to the people they represent.

NFTs are also a great way to raise money for a political campaign- an especially attractive option for younger candidates who may not have a lot of money.

Gaming

Finally, we can't talk about public figures without talking about gaming. Streamers are becoming the new star athletes, and studios show no sign of pumping the brakes on in-game microtransactions.

NFTs could help streamers take their careers to the next level. They could use NFTs to reward their viewers for loyalty or give them exclusive access to certain content.

For example, Kaitlyn "Amouranth" Siragusa, a popular streamer, uses NFTs to give her viewers early access to her content. There are some racy photos of herself, which she sold for nearly $120,000.

As for in-game purchases, that's a no-brainer - NFTs could be used to unlock new skins, emotes, or other in-game content. It will also be interesting to see how the metaverse develops and how big of a role NFTs play in it.

Conclusion

Public figures aren't creating the hype surrounding NFTs, but they are certainly taking notice. And now, DAOs give NFTs their long-awaited "case use", showing great potential for the leaders, influencers, celebrities, and politicians of the world.

Of course, it might be challenging for someone unfamiliar with blockchain technology to get started. But, with the help of an experienced team, it's definitely doable.

Mantial is an end-to-end development studio that specializes in building NFTs and DAOs. Our team of developers, designers, and strategists is here to help you with every step of your NFT drop.

We can then guide you through the process of creating a robust DAO, which will leverage the power of your NFT collection. Contact us today to catch the money train before it leaves the station!