Digital artist Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann became synonymous with this year’s boom when a single piece of his artwork sold for $69.3 million at a Christie’s auction in March. Even amidst a cooler NFT market of late, his next moves in the space are sure to command attention.
Today, Beeple announced that he has co-founded a very different kind of NFT project: WENEW, a marketplace that will partner with top brands to offer collectible moments in time across sports, entertainment, history, music, comedy, and more. It will feature digital collectibles, of course, but also physical reproductions and other premium benefits with the pricier versions.
An NFT represents a deed of ownership to a digital item, and can be applied to such things as still artwork, video files, tweets, trading cards, and plenty more. It’s a way of introducing scarcity to digital items, which can typically be easily copied and reproduced en masse. With an NFT, its authenticity can be verified via blockchain technology.
WENEW will launch with a drop created in partnership with the storied Wimbledon tennis tournament, with the first release chronicling the journey of English star Andy Murray to his first victory in 2013. Launching on July 2, the drop will feature five different editions, which The Verge notes will be priced between $49 and $4,999 apiece.
On the low end, a video-based NFT of highlights from Murray’s 2013 season will be priced at $49 and have an edition size of 500. The other NFTs will be more expensive and less widely available, and some even come with perks such as a digital display of the NFT, Wimbledon 2022 tickets, and even a 30-minute tennis session with Murray himself.
very excited to announce the launch of https://t.co/K0TMwMJWwZ !!!
this is a new project we've been working on centered around giving people the opportunity to collect iconic moments in music, sports, comedy, history, etc. on the blockchain. pic.twitter.com/WqhkFwLFBo
— beeple (@beeple) June 24, 2021
“We’re definitely looking at this as sort of immortalizing these moments of human achievement for collectors,” said WENEW Editor-in-Chief Ryan Schreiber in an interview with The Verge. Schreiber, also founder of digital music publication Pitchfork, will help select the moments that WENEW turns into NFTs, as well as commission feature-length stories from journalists to accompany the collectibles.
Beyond Wimbledon, WENEW has partnered with brands such as TIME Magazine, media agency Endeavor, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. TIME has already made waves in the NFT space itself, selling four NFT magazine covers for nearly $500,000 in total and beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments for subscriptions.
The NFT market ballooned in early 2021, including some $1.5 billion in trading volume in the first quarter, plus NBA Top Shot’s collectible video highlights have amassed some $700 million in volume since launching last fall. However, the initial hype seems to have cooled in recent months, with fewer headline-making sales amidst a larger array of new projects.
WENEW’s NFT moments are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, while Arweave’s decentralized “permaweb” network will host the accompanying editorial content. The firm will also offset its carbon footprint via a fee on transactions.
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