As celebrities and athletes alike dip into the crypto sphere to endorse tokens or companies, others are looking to NFTs as a way to engage with fans.
NFT collections have been launched by celebrities including Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Steve Aoki and The Notorious B.I.G. (posthumously).
The newest entrant is two-time Academy Award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, who partnered with NFT digital collectible company Orange Comet to launch his own series, The Eternal Collection.
There are plenty of reasons why one might launch an NFT project with their likeness. But for Hopkins, it’s about following his life motto of “everything is possible, give it a whirl and have a go.”
“NFTs, for me, are a blank canvas to create art in a new format,” Hopkins said during a press briefing with TechCrunch. “It’s fun to be the oldest guy on the block. I’m interested and fascinated by young people and the younger generation — everyone seems younger than me now. Inspiration is reciprocal [and] I’m hoping to also return some inspiration.”
Web3 technology and NFTs are an “amazing opportunity” for traditional media that will lead to a new array of intellectual property for creators, Dave Broome, co-founder and CEO of Orange Comet, said during the press conference. The co-founder of NFT marketplace Rarbile even said he sees NFTs as having the potential to become media companies.
Although we remain in the middle of a crypto winter, NFTs are an evolving technology still in their early days, Broome said.
Broome likened the current moment to the dot-com bubble, when Amazon, Yahoo, eBay and other unicorns emerged.
“That’s what we are finding and believing here in the world of NFTs and web3. … The real projects and the real opportunities and the strong players in this space are going to emerge. This is about IP and art and brands.”
Hopkins’ NFT collection conceptualizes 10 characters Hopkins played throughout his film career, with one featuring Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter dubbed “The Rebel.”
“We do want to immortalize Sir Anthony Hopkins on the blockchain and all of these art docs are timeless in a way, so that’s why we named it The Eternal Collection,” Dante Ferrarini, chief creative officer and co-founder of Orange Comet, said.
“We’re an entertainment company,” Ferrarini said. “We’re just using NFTs as a medium of delivery right now, but we’re all about telling stories and narratives.”
Although some might view celebrities and artists entering the crypto space as a cash grab, others see it as a chance for them to build a new level of engagement with fans. Web3 allows creators to deepen relationships with their fans, going well beyond one-way communication and focusing more on impactful engagement, Terry Leong, co-founder of OurSong, previously told TechCrunch.
Earlier this year, NFL star Tom Brady co-founded NFT agency Autograph in an effort to create a platform for celebrities to engage with their fans. At the time, the startup raised $170 million in a Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.
Some of Autograph’s early partners include athletes like Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, Tony Hawk, Derek Jeter and Simone Biles, as well as musician The Weeknd.
With that said, just because a collection launches in partnership with a celebrity doesn’t mean it will succeed.
“A lot of players came in and people came in who aren’t going to stick around,” Broome said. “High-pedigree projects and opportunities … will always sustain no matter what as we continue to evolve in NFTs and web3.”
Whether it’s in NFTs, television, film, music, books or artwork, those with “great projects and great content” will rise to the top, Broome said. “That’s what we expect here with many things in the future.”