To celebrate sending an agoraphobic Robert “I am A” Badman kicking and screaming to the NFT Fest in ‘St Kilda’ (which we’re told is a Melbourne suburb) today, we asked willing hashtag Guinea Pig, the Hong Kong-based Hex Trust MD Geoff McAllister – #crypto, #defi, #digitalassets, #blockchain, #Custody, #fintech, #hextrust, #hiring #etc etc – to take a moment from banging his head against an #SBF concrete cut out and expand our minds on the very frontiers of Web3.
NFTs. Innovative, genre-bending work at the slicing and dicing intersection of incredible creatives and emerging blockchain technologies, or #MoreBollocks designed to bleed the human heart dry of hope and money??
According to the crypto-data site Coindesk, “What is an NFT” still gets an average 948,000 searches every month, globally.
So yeah, what is an NFT?
Here’s a response from CoinGecko’s head of research, Zhong Yang Chen:
“NFTs are unique, non-fungible tokens on the blockchain, often used as digital representations of assets such as art, collectibles, music, video game items, and real-world assets such as property deeds, luxury items, diamonds, and more.”
That’s a good summary, although Badman still actually quite likes Paris Hilton’s description of them, too:
“[An NFT] is basically a digital contract on the blockchain… so you can sell anything from art, to music to experiences, physical objects…” Hilton explained to The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in August 2021.
In a message sent to Stockhead while arriving at the festival this morning, Badman said:
Not an exactly uplifting start.
But the festival apparently offers rare access to an extensive and diverse program of workshops, panels, cutting-edge virtual experiences, and live performances, with exclusive content and contributions from creative leaders across painting, fashion, music, film, and illustration.
That’s why we asked News Ltd to stump up the $220 entry fee and allow Badman out of the Surry Hills basement storage cupboard he still thinks is an office.
So it’s understandable that Robert – a man at war with both art and culture – would only very reluctantly attend when I naturally dobbed him in to my wonderful leader and personal mentor SH editor Peter “The Eternally Tolerant” Farq-u-har-har (who actually hates to be texted before midday unless it’s about seafood stocks), and was immediately sent this:
To his credit, (from the Badman):
Anyway, ladies and gentles, as I was saying, this from Geoff – a senior risk management executive covering all the riskiest stuff – Crypto, DeFi, Digital Asset Custody & Financial Services, via New York, Sydney, Singers and honkers and Dubai with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Westpac, NBAD / FAB and PSVB.
So Geoff, NFTs… it’s a scam, right?
(Ed: The following is a very lite edit of Geoff’s extremely quick turnaround – so thanks MD GM)
“Hello… Christian and thank you for thinking of me while Robert Badman finds a park.
“Y’know, ladies and gentlemen, recently a former colleague had the temerity to ask ask me a very similar question:
How is this anything but a scam?
“He was referring to the Metarembrandt Project. Where, it seems, they’re fractionalizing the Night Watch piece to raise funds and allow people to become a founding member of the Metarembrandt Museum. I have not looked beyond the landing page…”
(Ed: Me neither … but here it is below !)
“But my response was not to explain the specifics of this project but to illustrate potential use cases for NFTs. Additional similar questions on the topic have followed from other friends.
“I reckon it’s a more useful approach to provide a clear example and ‘paint the picture’ for some of my thinking around the potential of NFTs.”
Look beyond the digital print for the value
“For example, companies and projects can use NFTs as a club, or membership key. In this case, imagine the founders want to build an immersive art museum, or learning experience in the metaverse. Interested people can visit, tour and learn all about Rembrandt and other artists in a place dedicated to sharing knowledge and exploring this facet of the art world.
“The NFT in this case can be the ‘key’ which gives you special membership privileges, potentially governance responsibilities for the project and ownership/benefits participation.
“Think of it as kind of fundraising for the museum project, where the founding team try to create value for the initial investors through privileges and potentially profits depending on the business model/tokenomics of the project.
“Of course, there can be some scams, but it can be a very legitimate project with admirable ambition.
“The way we can establish and build business models is changing… it’s great and will revolutionise the startup and management of enterprises, commercial and charitable. The idea is to give more participation to the content creators and the community who participate in the activity can also participate in the economic benefits/growth of a project.”
“You could even donate a portion of tokens to a charity, so, as the project grows and succeeds, the charity and the community it supports will benefit more and more.
“This will help bring in many more users. The ability to share participation in an open and trusted operating model is incredible.”
More augmenty than scammy
“Many such projects may not succeed, but the aims can be very sound and are not necessarily scammy at all. This kind of thing can replace / augment art gallery membership schemes and websites.
“Another friend chimed in on the chat… ‘Shares in something tangible vs shares in the ethereal I think is my great reservation. I think we have a solution here that hasn’t found a problem.’
“I like the membership idea. That sounds like a start, but I don’t think current applications are valuable.
“And another… ‘if I believe it will have value, I’ll buy it. That then increases the ‘market value’. Worked so far for crypto. So long as enough people believe it has value 🤷🏽♂️ ‘
“And another… ‘Still lots of fancy words and thinking around ‘buying nothing’ 😉’
“And another… ‘It has the letters NFT so obviously a scam’
“Acronymical doubt alone can go deep… and is really for another article… so. Maybe put a picture of Badman here, or something… I heard he looks like the guy from Avatar who turns into one of the blue giant things (note to self good NFT idea):”
What is real, what is tangible?
“We know digital non-tangible content can have value, but also an NFT can be used as a tool to accrue value from real world activities. Unsound fiat currency / ‘money’ may be printed at whim, but ultimately, value is always assigned by people.
“Imagine an online University of the Arts… a traditional business model / company structure would allow participation in the venture through share ownership & a CEO with a board would be required to run the enterprise.
“A Web3 business model could raise funds via token sales (fungible or NFTs) & the enterprise can be governed on-chain by all the NFT holders, instead of a shareholder board. The NFT can be a membership / privileges token, share receipt, Governance token… or all of the above.
“Money is a human construct to aid in barter / exchanging value, new methods of exchange are here. Your unique, immutable, NFT can accrue rewards for your content contributions, which could also be spent to consume content from other contributors, or exchange for other products & services.
“There is a whole new world of business models coming… it’s time to open our minds and be creative.”
The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interviews in this article are solely those of the interviewee and do not represent the views of Stockhead. Any views expressed are opinions of the author at the time of writing and is not a recommendation to act. Stockhead does not provide, endorse or otherwise assume responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.