From Ordinary Joes to Celebs. What’s The Big NFT Craze All About?

Highlights

  • NFTs are offering a wide range of benefits – from being exclusive collectables covering subject matter including art, music and video to ways where traders can invest and make money
  • Former NBA superstar, Shaquille O’Neil will release his own set of non fungible tokens

Every now and then something will come along that captures the imagination of the public. We call these things “crazes” or “fads” or trends. In the sixties, it was the Beatlemania, more recently, in the twenty-first century its become social media.

Surely the craze which has defined 2021, apart from Covid vaccines and surgical masks, has been crypto currency. One of the main drivers of crypto’s huge popularity surge has been the wave of interest surrounding NFTs

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a non fungible token, which is a unique digital asset which may hold anything from music to art and video. Even tweets can be made into an NFT as demonstrated easier this year when Twitter Founder, Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet as an NFT for around US$2.9 million.

“Non-fungible” means that it’s unique and therefore can’t be replaced with something else. In contrast , a bitcoin is fungible, in that you can m trade one for another, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. However, a non-fungible item means that it is one of a kinds If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different.

Why The Rush Towards NFTs?

Once a concept that lived on the fringes of public consciousness, crypto has seen increased popularity with more and more people from all walks of life keen to get in on the phenomenon of this new and exciting alternative to traditional finance.

Within the framework of cryptocurrency, which has especially entered the Zeitgeist, this year particularly, is the non fungible token (NFT). While still very much in its infancy and yet to scrape the surface of its potential, NFTs are offering a wide range of benefits – from being exclusive collectables covering subject matter including art, music and video to ways where traders can invest and make money.

While NFTs have been making a splash within the crypto space, attributing to Ethereum’s strong growth this year, now the NFT market is being buoyed by famous celebrities who have wasted no time hopping on the trend and doing much to accelerate its burgeoning popularity.

NBA Legend Gets in on The Action

For years, advertising agencies have been wise to the fact that if you align a product with a celebrity, that product’s chance of selling increases astronomically. In the eighties, Pepsi knew this when they signed Michael Jackson to be their official ambassador. Nike also knew this when they created the original Air Force One Jordan sneaker. Lincoln automobiles knew this when they paid Matthew McConaughey to sit alone in one of their all-American cars and give a one-minute monologue to no one in particular in only the way McConaughey can.

Celebrities create buzz. And the merging of NFT and celebrity is only exacerbating the craze.

Former NBA superstar, Shaquille O’Neil will release his own set of non fungible tokens. It was announced on Monday the collection, called “Shaquille O’Neal: The Eras of Dominance Collection” will will run on Ethernity – an Ethereum layer two platform.

The collection, to be released on October 15, features five different NFTs depicting scenes from three of the teams O’Neal played for throughout his career – the Los Angeles Lakers, the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat.

For those who might not be familiar with Shaquille O’Neil, he is one of the NBA’s best ever players. He’s also regarded as one of the most dominant centres to ever play the game with his seven foot one, a hundred a forty seven kilo frame.

Throughout his nineteen year career, he played for the Orlando Magic, the LA Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, the Cleveland Cavs and the Boston Celtics. Altogether, he won four NBA Championships, three with the Lakers and one with the Heat.

Buyers of the Dominance Collection NFTs will go in the running to win a pair of custom size 22 shoes (Shaq’s shoe size), a dinner table at O’Neal’s music festival as well as personal video call with The Big Aristotle himself.

Last week, O’Neil made his first NFT purchase when he bought two Creature World NFTs, making one his profile picture on Twitter.

The purchase came just a month after Shaq told CNBC he was holding off on NFTs until he had garnered a full understanding of digital currencies.

Ethernity, which is the platform that will run Shaq’s NFTs, has launched NFTs for athletes in the past, including a collection for Filipino boxing great, Manny Pacquiao, and legendary Argentinian soccer, Lionel Messi.

Is The NFT Craze Here to Stay?

It should be noted, however, that one of the key defining aspects of a “craze” is that it’s temporary. A few years ago, every man and his dog seemed to be sporting a little gadget called a fidget spinner. For the uninitiated, these were little toys which could be spun around by a person’s fingers and it was supposed to eliminate stress. However, fidget spinners seemed to disappear just as quickly as they’d arrived.

It’s not clear though whether NFTs will retreat into oblivion again or whether they’re something here to stay.

Given human nature’s proclivity to collect things as well as their desire to experience art, music and content, in general, through a new and interesting medium as well as its alignment with the ever-growing crypto market, a temporary craze seems unlikely.

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