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In the end, do NFTs even matter? Linkin Park rapper joins celebrity NFT mania



Mike Shinoda, the musician and co-founder of rap-rock band Linkin Park, launched an auction on Rarible last night for “Zora,” a nonfungible token (NFT) music clip from a forthcoming song. In doing so, Shinoda joins an ever-growing throng of celebrities and influencers who are dipping their toes into NFT tech — and bringing their considerable fanbases along for the ride. 

Late last night Shinoda revealed the drop with a short Tweet:

I made a thing: #NFTs #Cryptoart @ourZORA

— Mike Shinoda (@mikeshinoda) February 6, 2021

In a follow-up thread Shinoda described the auction as an “experiment,” and seemed to be impressed with the value proposition of provable scarcity and ownership:

“Here’s the crazy thing. Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), i would never get even close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc,” he wrote.

He ended the thread with a link to a “beginner’s guide” explainer on NFTs, inviting his followers to learn more.

More celebrities than a gossip mag

Shinoda isn’t the only celebrity who has been toying with NFTs. 

Yesterday, YouTuber Logan Paul released a set of 44 NFTs styled as pokemon cards to promote his upcoming celebrity boxing match. Likewise, billionaire investor Mark Cuban released some halfhearted animations on Rarible, and today is releasing another set where buyers can request personalized videos from the Shark Tank host.

Polyient games co-founder Craig Russo says that the celebrity activity is an inevitable byproduct of a wild bull market overtaking the NFT space, but also a natural product-market fit that better links famous individuals to their communities:

“After a relatively slow period over the past few months, the NFT market is again heating up,” said Russo. “Given that the current use cases for NFTs are approachable and very social in nature, we’re beginning to see an influx of mainstream interest. This has ultimately resulted in a few notable celebrities entering the space.”

Notable celebrities… and a few less-than-notable ones as well. Rounding out the big names trying to pawn some tokens is one-hit wonder Soulja Boy, who has been selling collectibles on Rarible throughout the last week. He currently has 30 ETH worth of animations for sale, and is experimenting with other non-blockchain content platforms, having recently set up an OnlyFans account.

Direct to consumer

While some efforts have been more of a blatant money-grab than others, there are plenty of examples of projects and people who appear genuinely interested in using the technology to better connect with their fans. Openlaw co-founder and NFT investment group Flamingo DAO member Aaron Wright says it’s a natural fit, and a perfect use case for blockchain.

“One of the visions of Ethereum has always been Web3 and the creation of an ownership economy. With the growth of NFTs we’re seeing that play out,” said Wright. “Celebrities are recognizing that instead of relying with ad-based models, they can interact directly with their community and tribe online by selling their creative works.”

Pranksy, the collector-whale who has recently been proselytizing NFTs to the masses on the nightly news, likewise thinks that celebrities using NFTs to monetize their content and connect with fans might be here to stay. 

“Mark Cuban is not the first, nor will he be the last celebrity to monetise NFTs. More eyes on the space can only be a good thing, and the hope is they continue to embrace and support the community beyond a quick cash grab,” the collector said.

It’s a notion that Shinoda himself seems to have latched onto. After critics uninitiated in the tenets of NFTs criticized him for selling content users can see for free, Shinoda gave a short lesson on value and NFTs to his followers:

The thing that’s throwing everyone off is the idea that “something I’d post on Instagram doesn’t have value.”

That is incorrect.

It’s very valuable to IG. User activity=they make money. Here, the exact same item (the post) has real, public value—to *you*#nft

— Mike Shinoda (@mikeshinoda) February 6, 2021


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