Celebrities turn their popularity into profits with NFTs. (In image: BTS)
This has been the year of the non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Memes, games, art and many more items raked in thousands of dollars in the form of NFTs. It was only a matter of time before celebrities caught on and boarded this money-making bandwagon. Their token of choice? Themselves.
As a celebrity, it’s woefully inadequate to be a renowned name only in your chosen profession. You must have a finger in every pie. In keeping with that, personalities—from BTS to Lionel Messi—launched their own NFTs this year. Here’s a look at five celebrities who forayed into NFTs in 2021.
The Bangtan Boys, aka BTS
Being smooth like butter has its advantages, including—but not limited to—garnering a massive global following, “ARMY”; becoming the UN’s Presidential Special Envoy for Future Generations and Culture; and launching profitable NFTs. In November 2021, the boy band’s management company Hybe has announced that they will launch digital photo cards of the members featuring moving images and sounds. On teaming up with Upbit, a top South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Hybe Chairman Bang Si-hyuk said, “We will bring together the capabilities both companies have built up so far to introduce a new and exciting innovation to the global music and fintech industries.” Following this announcement, Hybe shares lit up like dynamite by 7.5 percent. The NFT is set to debut in the first half of next year.
“I wanna thank me for just being me at all times,” American rapper Snoop Dogg gave us all a much-needed lesson in self-confidence while receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the mood; he is the moment. And now, he is tapping into that self-assured spirit to become a money magnet.
On April 2, 2021, Dogg stepped into the NFT space with a collection titled “A Journey with the Dogg”. In what can be called a new high for the rapper (if you catch our drift), the collection will include a trip down Dogg’s memory lane (think pictures and iconic lines); an original track aptly named “NFT”, and “Snoop Dogge Coins”, a cryptocurrency inspired by Dogecoin. Discussing the launch, Dogg noted, “I’ve seen the game change over the years from analog to digital, and I’m always happier when the technology lets the fans get to connect with the artists. NFTs are an amazing innovation, and it is an honor to do my first drop with Crypto.com/NFT.” Safe to say, it was a hot drop.
Is it giving Cher? Probably not. But it is giving philanthropy. Canadian singer Shawn Mendes came together with avatar tech company Genies to launch an NFT based on his latest album, Wonder. The singer launched digital wearables—guitar, vest, a signed t-shirt and more—on OpenSea, an NFT marketplace. The total sales volume currently amounts to nearly US$10M.
Penning a note for his fans alongside his collection, Mendes shared, “Inspired by my Wonder album, I’m dropping collectible Genie Moments to raise funds with an aim to amplify, uplift and empower young digital artists who are using their talent to create positive, social change.” He declared that all the profits from his NFT sales will go to the Shawn Mendes Foundation that supports young digital artists. He added, “We’re hoping this drop will enable young creators to prosper. In this drop, you can contribute to that cause while unlocking rare Wonder digital wearables for your own Genie.” This future-forward display of altruism makes us realize that there’s truly nothing holding him back.
“That’s the ugliest effing NFT I’ve ever seen”—said no one ever, at least not to Lindsay Lohan, the Mean Girls actress. In September 2021, she launched an NFT of her furry friend titled “fursona”. Upon buying this NFT, the buyer also received a complimentary membership to Canine Cartel, an online group boasting unique digital collectibles.
Earlier in March 2021, Lohan launched another NFT of her song titled “Lullaby”. It fetched over US$85,000. Her recent NFT launches are testimony that succeeding in the digital currency world can be an easy game, if you play it well. On NFTs taking over Hollywood, she said, “I see a future where crypto, NFTs and blockchain will be the norm, rather than the exception.”
Step aside metaverse, “Messiverse” is the new it thing. Often touted as “the best football player” in the world, Messi put his fame to the test by launching an NFT collection in August 2021. The NFT features crypto art designed by artist BossLogic. The art features his career highlights and includes pieces titled “Man from the Future”, “Worth the Weight” and “The King Piece”. On the first day of its launch, the NFTs’ sales reached US$3.4M—a stunning display of his star power. Announcing his launch, Messi tweeted, “Art is like football. Eternal.” Much like Messi’s legacy.
From Paris Hilton and Cara Delevingne to Katy Perry, Eminem and more—everybody wants a piece of the NFT pie. With time, more will want in, eventually parlaying NFTs into the mainstream.
All images by Flickr