Lindsay Lohan On Why NFTs Are Destined For Hollywood
Lindsay Lohan probably isn’t the first person you think of when the topic of cryptocurrency rears its head. Yet in becoming the latest celebrity to issue a non-fungible token (NFT), the actress is helping to shine a spotlight on the industry’s hottest new commodity, and make the case for NFTs to enable content creators and musicians to better hold onto the rights to their works and the associated revenue streams.
NFTs, which confer provable digital ownership over everything from art and albums to real estate and tweets, have attracted widespread interest in recent months, with much-publicized auctions helping to drive the price of coveted digital collectibles ever higher.
In years to come, the recent sale of an NFT collage for $69 million could be seen as the moment the market jumped the shark. For the time being, content creators are abuzz with optimism about the prospect of a lucrative digital revolution.
Top Shot Transactions Prompt NFT Gold Rush
NFTs have been developing in crypto communities for years, but few could have predicted the digital gold rush of 2021. In February, NFT trading volume soared to $342 million, up from just $12 million in December. Close to two-thirds of that action came from NBA Top Shot, a slick play on the trading card games of former times that users can buy, trade and save as officially licensed digital collectibles. NFTs include artwork and clips of memorable basketball highlights in a blockchain-based game that has become the template all sports-centric NFT projects are seeking to emulate.
Lohan, who is launching an NFT through the nascent FansForever platform on March 27, says the technology has become an active way to interact with fans and communities and to give something back. Lohan talks of allocating a portion of sales from past NFTs to Save the Children, as well as to small artists actively seeking attention for their creations, who aren’t able to become successful due to a lack of exposure.
Evidence for this already exists: Beeple, whose NFT became the third-highest valued purchase ever from a living artist, recently donated work to an NFT charity auction hosted by the Social Alpha Foundation promoting climate awareness, the proceeds of which delivered a valuable carbon offset. With Beeple and NBA Top Shot having already demonstrated a proof of concept for NFTs in art and sport respectively, it’s little wonder creatives of all stripes are following suit.
“It’s only a matter of time till everyone in Hollywood and beyond gets involved,” predicts Lohan, “Maybe we will see the tokenization of movies, and of how artists are paid for their films, music and art. I see a future where crypto, NFTs and blockchain will be the norm, rather than the exception.”
From Blockbuster to Blockchain
Filmic NFTs are already in the wild via online marketplaces like Terra Virtua, which has a line of studio licensed collectibles from The Godfather, Pacific Rim, Lost in Space and others. What Lohan is proposing is altogether more ambitious: a new paradigm where artists are remunerated according to hard, transparent data recorded on the blockchain.
No one yet knows how this model might work, but you can bet underpaid actors and musicians are intrigued by the notion. Earlier this month, Kings of Leon released their latest album as an NFT, generating $2 million in the process. The band promptly pledged half a million of that to Live Nation’s Crew Nation fund to support live music crews during the global shutdowns. Another musician, 3LAU, trumped the rockers’ efforts by raising $11 million from his own release, which was packaged into 33 separate NFTs.
“Tokenization through NFTs can help content creators and musicians actually own the property rights for what they create, and allow them to profit accordingly,” says Lohan, “Gamers, for instance, spend hundreds of dollars on games like Fortnite: tokenization allows them to sell or trade their investment of time and money, and that’s something to be excited about in my opinion.”
Royalties are likely to be another avenue artists explore. Having been a Disney child star, Lohan is intimately familiar with the revenue model and its long-standing inefficiencies.
“The process of receiving royalties for your work is not the most seamless and there are multiple parties involved and many moving parts,” says Lohan, “With tokenization, the process is transferred onto the blockchain in such a way that every time the art, music, movie, etc., is used or shared, the artist would automatically receive royalties. I think it’s a great way to bridge the gap between the consumer and artist.”
The medium of artistic expression has never been fixed: from singing in a mall or concert hall to recording in a music studio with vinyl pressed around the world, to burning CDs, to MP3s and Spotify; from papyrus scrolls to the Gutenberg Press and paper books to e-books readable on multiple devices; from acting on stage to filmset to having performances beamed across the world and accessible on-demand at the touch of a finger.
Perhaps it’s only natural that artists, and indeed, anyone with a big public profile, might wish to explore this latest technological frontier, which is every bit as disruptive as its predecessors.
Tokenized Tweets and Digital Scarcity
Lohan’s latest NFT sounds like a battle cry against the surface-deep culture of Instagram, featuring as it does her thought process of how every human being has been gifted with beauty, and how we all need to learn to embrace it and not compare it with others and waste our precious time on this planet to compete.
The core appeal of NFTs is their uniqueness. Unlike bitcoins, NFTs are not interchangeable, each one is entirely irreproducible. This digital scarcity drives up the price of goods that might otherwise have a negligible or inexistent value.
Nothing illustrates this better than the recent sale of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, which was packaged as an NFT and sold for $2.9 million. The tweet itself can be freely viewed on Twitter by anyone with a laptop or smartphone, yet no one but the millionaire bidder can profess to own the corresponding tokenized tweet.
That bidder was Malaysian entrepreneur Sinai Estavi, who claimed that in years to come people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting. The jury is definitely out on that one, but who would bet against Estavi flipping the NFT for a handsome profit in time to come?
Though Lohan’s forthcoming NFT is her first on the FansForever platform, she previously sold an album cover token on digital marketplace Rarible and signed a partnership with Justin Sun’s TRON blockchain. So, what drew Lohan to the industry in the first place?
“When I first got involved in crypto, not many in my circle had a deep understanding of how it worked. Most of us had heard the word bitcoin, or the term blockchain, but there wasn’t much knowledge on the subject.
“As I began to learn more and get more involved, I quickly realized that my community could benefit from crypto and that I could inform a large segment of society that wasn’t involved in the blockchain space and introduce them to it,” concludes Lohan.
It would be a stretch to say that we are at ground zero for NFTs. With hundreds of millions of dollars changing hands each month, a succession of open marketplaces, and celebrity involvement coupled with rising mainstream awareness lift off has already occurred. The question is whether the speculation-powered bubble will burst, and if it does, whether artists will carry the baton on, regardless.
In any event, artists may have a battle on their hands to take ownership of their creative output. Expect movie studios, record labels, and publishers to view the NFT craze with the same distaste as many have for unions or the artists themselves. The idea of artists doing it themselves – of monetizing their work via open digital marketplaces free from opaque bureaucratic diktats – is likely to be seen as a flagrant affront to authority and revenues. Things may be about to get very interesting.
PUBLISHED BY– Forbes