ave you scrolled past a headline with the acronym ‘NFT’ in it recently? Or wondered what it stood for? The newest development in blockchain technology has everyone from small artists to big brands in a frenzy.
InMarch, the artist known as Beeple sold a collection of digital artwork for over$69 million, which made him the 3rd most valuable living artist in the world.How is it possible this artist you may have never heard of outsold DaVinci andMonet? It’s because his art was sold as one of the very first NFTs.
Let’s Back Up, What is an NFT?
The acronym NFT stands for non-fungible token and is a unique digital asset bought with cryptocurrency (likeBitcoin). Fungible tokens, like a physical dollar bill, are interchangeable, meaning any one dollar bill can be exchanged for another one dollar bill because we have agreed they hold the same value.
Anon-fungible token, more commonly referred to as a NFT, is a one-of-a-kind digital item that has a certificate of ownership. An NFT can only be bought with digital currency such as Bitcoin and exists purely online.
To further illustrate: 10 years ago, the artist Chris Torres created Nyan Cat, an animated gif of a cat with a Pop-Tart body flying through the air, leaving a trail of rainbows. NyanCat quickly rose to internet stardom and became a beloved meme in 2011. Because of the popularity and value of his original meme and the opportunity to own the authenticated original digital art, Torres recently sold his meme as an NFT for$580,000 online.
But How Does Someone Own a Meme?
There are thousands of videos, gifs, and replicas of Nyan Cat online. Anyone on the internet can right-click and save any image on Google Images. But, there is only one original put up for sale by the artist as an NFT. This means whoever purchased the original, and authenticated digital asset from Torres can claim ownership over the original Nyan Cat.
Purchasing NFTs essentially allows the owner digital bragging rights. Anyone can own a print of the Mona Lisa, but only one can claim to own the original painting.
So, NFTs Are Just Digital Art Pieces?
Not necessarily no! The beauty of NFTs is that anything digital can become anon-fungible token. People can buy, sell, and breed virtual race horses on Zed Run. They can also buy virtual real estate to build a space to display their digital art in. The possibilities for NFTs are practically endless and these examples are only the beginning of developing new forms of NFTs.
What Does This Have to do With Marketing?
A lot more than you might think.
Not only are NFTs selling like crazy right now, due to their potential for new uses, they are also making headlines and sparking conversation online. Big brands have already started participating.
TacoBell sold a series of taco-themed gifs as NFTs which sold out in just 30 minutes. All profits were donated to the Live Más Scholarship and the person who bought the NFTs received a $500 gift card for real-life tacos. Charmin sold 3 squares of virtual toilet paper andPringles released an NFT-exclusive flavor called CryptoCrisp.
Should My Brand Get in the NFT Game?
There are a lot of ways to participate in the NFT craze, both big and small. But, before diving in head-first, marketers should note that there are concerns over the carbon footprint of blockchain technologies that NFTs run on. (If your brand is eco-conscious, it might be best to wait on joining or sit this one out entirely.) If you’re ready to take the plunge and dive into this bold new digital marketplace, then read ahead.
Here Are Some Ways Digital Marketers Can Cash-in With NFTs:
● Like Taco Bell, you can kill two birds with one stone by using an NFT to both drive brand awareness, and donate the profits from the sale to a charity to support a good cause.
● NFTs are also a great way to partner with a digital artist who can bring a fresh perspective along with their own online fan base. Why would you sell a normal image of a taco online when you could sell an artistic gif or 3D CG rendering of one?
● Ultimately, NFTs are a great way to build audience engagement and spark conversation online. You can surprise even the most devoted fan with an NFT version of their favorite product.
Don’t be afraid of something new. Many people initially dismissed social media marketing or influencer marketing as a simple fad but now both of these are apart of our everyday life. The same goes for memes in marketing. NFT’s are anew, exciting way to buy, sell, and collect digital items. Even if you don’t actually list an NFT for sale, simply engaging with the trend will impress any digital native.
After all, it’s only a matter of time until KFC sells a virtual piece of fried chicken as an NFT, and you don’t want to miss out on that!