Nonfungible tokens (or NFTs) have been a revolution in crypto, the arts, and the sports industries. Not only are they a financial liberation for creators but also because they can bring artists closer to creators and athletes closer to their fans.
NFT-based art existed before 2021, with a few exceptions from Beeple. OpenSea existed, but the trading volumes that were seen over the past six months were impossible to imagine.
Dapper Labs’ NBA TopShot TopShot NFTs were a huge success. To date, over $780 million worth of collectibles has been sold and bought on the platform. Dapper Labs received $250 million more funding in September. This confirms that large businesses understand the potential for NFTs to increase sales and marketing.
Over the last three months, many musicians, celebrities, influencers, and athletes have made their way into the NFT space. They either purchased “blue-chip” NFTs or launched their own projects on different platforms. Steph Curry, Shaquille Oleo and Shaquille O’Neal are two examples of professional athletes who have recently updated their Twitter profiles to NFTs taken from projects such as Creatures World NFT and Bored Ape Yacht Club. Even Snoop Dog revealed that he is a keen collector of rare NFT projects.
Celebrities, athletes, and businesses are expected to launch their own NFT platforms. Cointelegraph managed to get a few minutes of O’Neal this week to inquire about his recent purchases as well as his plans to enter the space.
Cointelegraph: Shaq is a smart businessman who has experience in many sectors. What attracted you to NFTs in the first place?
Shaq: Twitter caught my attention in 2008 because it allowed me to speak directly with my followers. NFTs are part of the next wave in direct engagement. If you have one of my pieces, you can contact me directly. It’s cool that collectors can interact directly with other collectors.
CT: CNBC quoted you recently as saying that you don’t believe in cryptocurrency investments because you don’t understand it.
Shaq: I have always approached new places by diving headfirst. This NFT collection is the first step in my journey into cryptoworld. Justin is a digital artist who I have partnered up with. He’s teaching me how to do it. Every day I learn more.
CT: What do you think NFTs could do to help athletes connect with their fans better?
Shaq: There are many ways to accomplish this. Owning one of my NFTs can be a way to contribute to my legacy. You can have a Shaq item that no other person has by owning one. While giveaways and airdrops are great, nothing beats having a real conversation with someone. At my Fun House event, I will also meet another collector.
CT: What do you think the crypto sector should do to make cryptocurrency more accessible and understandable to the general public and average investor?
Shaq: NFTs can be a great way to help people understand the technology. This is how I do it. To fully understand crypto, people need to be able to interact with it.
Ethernity will host Shaq’s NFT series on Friday, Oct. 15. Five different NFTs will be available that will reflect Shaq’s NBA career. The prices range from $50 to $20,000, Ether (ETH), ERN and Banq credit card purchases.
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