Is the celebrity effect still in effect in the NFT world?
NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens, allow buyers to purchase the ownership of a digital good, ranging from a video to an image or animation in the form of a unique digital token on a blockchain. Although buyers cannot hang these works on their walls, they purchase such works as a speculative asset that they can resell for a higher price, as long as the NFT hype continues. Examples of NFTs include the Nyan Cat, which is sold for around $600000, music of electric musician 3LAU, which made for more than $11 million, and more. As the concept of NFT attracts more mass appeal and hype, more and more celebrities join the bandwagon to sell their collections. Among them included Grimes, who earned $6 million 1 day after dropping her collection.
Putting a series of 10 pieces on Nifty Gateway on February 28th, 2021, Grimes released both one-of-a-kind pieces and some that had multiple copies. The highest-selling product was a video titled “Death of the Old” featuring flying cherubs, a cross, a sword, and glowing light that has an original song by Grimes in the background. Two other pieces included in the collection are “Earth” and “Mars”, which sold for nearly 700 copies and made her a total of $5.18 million before sales closed.
Nifty Gateway is a platform that mixes crypto-technology with collectible artwork to create a word of new investment potential. To purchase from Nifty Gateway, one can pay with Ethereum using an ETH pre-paid balance. To sell your own NFT, all one has to do is uploading your own work to the Nifty Gateway Omnibus Wallet using MetaMask. Nifty Gateway has claimed that an undisclosed percentage of Grimes’ sales would be donated to Carbon 180, a nonprofit focused on removing carbon in the atmosphere. This gesture might be meant to acknowledge one of the major problems that NFTs and other blockchain technologies have- extremely inefficient electricity use.
Grimes has created a world of simulation merging fantasy, anime, manga, science fiction, apocalyptic omens, and anachronistic fashion through this NFT collection. The main character, WarNmph, is the Goddess of Neo-Genesis who battles the destructive force of systemic decay that poses a menace towards our future. She represents the power of perpetual regeneration and the shedding of corruption. This NFT collection is meant to manifest the fluidity of identity in the virtual age where the ability of creation is limitless and the world is boundless.
Identity as a part of the circuit of culture can be analyzed from two aspects: the meaning intended by the creator and the meaning perceived by the consumers or users. As presented by Grimes herself and Nifty Gateway, this collection is meant to present a boundless and fluid world that celebrates fusion, diversity, and the power of creativity. However, the consumers’ perceptions may differ. After the artwork was sold, one buyer was only able to resell what was originally $7500 at the price of just $1200, with an 84% drop. This significant decline in price may reflect that many choose to buy Grimes’ or other celebrities’ NFT collection not because they agree with or are interested in the message these public figures wish to convey but rather because of this belief that a famous person’s work would guarantee promising future investment prospects. More and more investors are realizing that the celebrity effect might only be temporary and are steering away from purchasing their NFTs or are carefully evaluating different collections’ authenticity before making a decision. Therefore, in the future of the NFT market, it is likely that the consumers need to first agree with the identity or meaning that the creators intend to express before making a purchase.
Kastrenakes, Jacob. 2021. “Grimes Sold $6 Million Worth Of Digital Art As Nfts”. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/1/22308075/grimes-nft-6-million-sales-nifty-gateway-warnymph.
Kharif, Olga Kharif, Kim Bhasin, and Bloomberg. 2021. “A Grimes NFT Plunges 84% In Value As Celebrity-Minted Tokens Struggle In The Market”. Fortune. https://fortune.com/2021/11/16/nft-celebrity-value-plunge-investment-grimes-asap-rocky-john-cena/.
“Nifty Gateway”. 2021. Niftygateway.Com. https://niftygateway.com/collections/warnymphvolume1.
“Nifty Gateway Review | NFT Marketplace & Fees Explained”. 2021. Daytrading.Com. https://www.daytrading.com/nifty-gateway.