Welcome to the world of "NFT". Today, an antique "QQ avatar", an unremarkable picture, a 10-second piece of music or video, it seems that as long as it turns into an NFT, its value can skyrocket, and it can easily sell for tens of millions.
You may feel enthusiastic about encryption technology, you may also scorn the hype cutting leeks, or you still can't figure out what NFT is, but in any case, you can't stop the storm and trend it set off.
More and more brands and IP are actively entering the NFT field. What's interesting is that while Disney is struggling to keep up with this wave of trends, NFT publishers are studying how to become the "next Disney."
▲ The "Golden Moment" series NFT recently launched by Disney
They are ambitious and gearing up, hoping to build their own IP kingdom, get on the big screen as soon as possible, enter Hollywood, and even conquer the world.
Tell stories to create IP, copy Disney
Imagine this: one day, when a friend shows you a zombie "QQ Avatar" with 3D glasses and messy hair, and tells you that you spent $6.63 million to buy it. The first reaction of any normal person is shock and confusion.
crooked? Why is a jpg worth so much money? ? ?
You can understand NFT (Non-Fungible Token) as digital collectibles stored on the blockchain. It can be in various forms (pictures, audio and video, game equipment, etc.), and it is unique and irreplaceable. Simply put, if you spend 6.63 million US dollars on a "QQ avatar", your friend will get not only a jpg, but also a digital ownership certificate.
But there are no stories and cores, only visual images and created scarcity, which is one of the reasons why the early NFT project makes people feel like cutting leeks.
Take the famous CryptoPunks as an example. This NFT series has a total of 10,000 pixel-style avatars. Features such as hairstyle, skin tone, and glasses are all randomly generated by an algorithm. The rarer the feature combination, the more expensive the "QQ avatar" will be fired in the secondary market.
▲ Currently the 12 CryptoPunks with the highest price, the highest price is 7.58 million US dollars
The Vogu Collective approach is different. From the very beginning, they established a grand worldview for their NFT universe.
The story is set in 3648, and humans have moved to the Milky Way for 300 years. The earth that has experienced climate change, nuclear wars, and industrial pollution is no longer habitable, but you can use the robot avatar TARS to return to work or play on the home planet, and even get an immersive experience remotely through sensors.
There are only 7777 robot TARS wearing human clothes. What is the style of the robot head, whether it is wearing a Hawaiian shirt or a street fashion man, etc., features are randomly generated and matched by an algorithm.
Once you accept the setting of the story, what you buy with $600 does not seem to be a simple jpg, but a hardcore partner who will explore the dark earth of 3648 for you.
In addition to the story setting, Vogu also launched the MUTTS series, small robots that look like pets and are called "good friends of TARS."
At present, Vogu has also released webcomics with TARS as the protagonist. Only by buying their NFT can they be unlocked for viewing. At the same time, your TARS also has the opportunity to participate in the casting of each webcomic issue.
▲ Part of the comic content
Vogu's official website also lists other plans for "Becoming Disney":
The next step is to cooperate with large publishers to publish web comics. In the future, there will be Vogu brand T-shirts and hoodies on sale. Their dream is to put Vogu's story on the big screen. According to the official website description, Vogu’s mission is to “reimagine entertainment and media while providing exclusive access to our NFT holders.”
In an interview with The Verge website, Vogu founder Andrew Trackzy said:
Our goal is to develop Vogu and TARS into global IP, just like "Star Wars" or "Pokemon".
Let fans participate in the second creation, there may be surprises
In the view of encryption technology enthusiast @jackbutcher, the official-led storytelling to create IP is actually not a true "decentralized Disney". He listed such a concise formula on Twitter:
NFT project for commercial authorization of characters = decentralized Disney.
@jackbutcher added that the closest thing to this idea at the moment is Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) , which is also known as the "boring ape" in China.
▲ No. #8817, auctioned at Sotheby’s for US$3.4 million
"Boring Ape" was born in April this year. There are a total of 10,000 NFTs. Features such as golden retriever, laser eyes, and sunglasses are also randomly generated and matched by an algorithm. Currently, the sales in the secondary market exceed 500 million US dollars. Unlike Vogu, they do not have a complete and detailed official story plan, only a simple setting:
In 2031, people who invested in cryptocurrencies in the early days became billionaires, and life became super boring. The Boring Ape Yacht Club is a messy little bar, filled with 80s hardcore and 90s hip-hop style. You can spend time drinking and chatting with a group of bored apes here.
What is special about BAYC is that they provide holders with NFT commercial authorization. For example, when you spend 350,000 US dollars to buy the psychedelic skin "Boring Ape" with the number #2087, in addition to the general rights of holding, reselling, and displaying, you can also create derivatives based on the character image of this NFT. Profit from it.
Jenkins the Valet is a typical fan-derived creative project. This "boring ape" dressed like a loyal servant, number #8877, was bought by content and technology company Tally Labs and got a new personality.
Now, his name is Jenkins and he works at the Boring Ape Yacht Club. He usually moored yachts on behalf of his clients, keeps secrets for the 1% richest apes in the world, and writes his stories into novels.
▲ 3D rendering version of Jenkins the Valet
In August of this year, Jenkins the Valet launched its own NFT project. By purchasing NFTs such as boat tickets, keys, and yachts, you can enter an exclusive website called "Writer's Room" and participate in voting on the story of the novel, and even appear as illustrations and characters. In the end, these NFTs were sold out within 6 minutes of launch, earning more than $1.5 million for Tally Labs.
It is said that in the future, Jenkins the Valet also plans to publish physical books and enter other media such as movies, TV, and podcasts.
Let's give another example. If you pay attention to the latest news from Universal Music, you will find that they have signed an NFT band called "KINGSHIP" .
KINGSHIP is composed of 3 "boring apes" and 1 "mutated apes". It is owned by NFT enthusiast Jimmy McNeils and is an image of BAYC. Universal Music said that in the future, each band member will have its own story and personality, and will also release NFT singles and perform music performances in the meta universe.
Most IP owners hope to hold the commercial copyright tightly in their own hands. For example, when we talk about Disney, we will surely think of that joke-if one day we live on a deserted island, the best way to survive is to draw a Mickey on the beach, so that Disney's lawyer team will arrive in 10 minutes.
Last year, an 87-year-old DC cartoonist José Delbo sold his own Wonder Woman as an NFT. DC later issued a warning that the cartoonist’s behavior constituted infringement and requested that the sale be stopped.
Even in the field of NFT, such a generous authorization like BAYC is really rare. In an interview with The New Yorker, BAYC co-founder Gordon Goner stated that they regard this open creation as an asset:
Anything that people create with a boring ape will only make the brand grow.
Goner pointed out that just as Silicon Valley startups are obsessed with "exponential growth," BAYC's goal is cultural "exponential growth." Just like open source software, their creations can be organically expanded through the efforts of users, while maintaining recognition, thus forming a user-generated "good story."
▲ There are even NFT holders who use "boring ape" to endorse their beer brand
Dom Hofmann, the co-founder of the social product Vine, said that BAYC’s approach is like a gamble. He bet that over time, fans who care about this small universe will know what is best for the community. of.
At the end of making Disney, is the hype making money?
How tempting is the potential of "The Next Disney"?
Pulling out an encrypted wallet to buy an NFT is like getting a small part of the rights to the next Mickey. Bringing stories and additional meaning to NFT, so that jpg is not just jpg. Today, IP has become a new trend in NFT projects.
In March of this year, even CryptoPunks, which has no story to tell, announced a partnership with Hollywood agency UTA to develop IP. It is said that in the future, these US$3 billion pixel-style “QQ avatars” are likely to develop in the direction of movies, video games and global licensing.
▲ CryptoPunks on the streets of New York
This news once caused concern among NFT enthusiasts, saying that the move was "selling the soul to the devil" and "devaluing a vibrant art medium"-because the economic benefits brought by IP commercial licensing will not flow to NFT holders. Some are owned by the publisher Larva Labs.
When talking about plans to build global IP, Vogu founder Trackzy admitted frankly that many NFT buyers are looking for fast-growing investments instead of art or toys. As an NFT project, it will continue to face pressure from the community to increase the value of the collection.
Although there are indeed speculative speculators, Goner clearly pointed out that he and the other founders of BAYC do not like people to regard "boring ape" as an investment tool. "If you think of it as an artist and a weird man who runs a hedge fund , That would make us have a heart attack."
Drew Austin is an NFT enthusiast and is currently running his own NFT project. He said that what he valued more was the possibility of collision between decentralization and creativity-stories generated from the bottom up of the community marked the birth of a new media model.
We are laying the foundation. This way people can use their imagination and their NFT characters to create stories, content and experiences. It is a very exciting concept to use the power of the community, expand the IP and create a small universe.
In any case, Trackzy is full of confidence in the emergence of "decentralized Disney":
I believe that whether it is Vogu or other projects, someone in the NFT field will create the next global IP.
What is this generation thinking, looking for, and believing?
The answer may lie in the Internet products they use, indulge in, and create.
Good products will grow into powerful companies and brands by virtue of their awesome models, and even shape the consumption behavior and lifestyle of a generation. We hope to use the product innovation model as a window through the "Great Voyager" column to look at the world with you, discover the fire, and capture the trends of tomorrow in advance.
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