Gary Vaynerchuk reveals his NFT initiative
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, has finally made his big NFT “drop,” giving his followers a chance to buy into his brand through this experimental technology.
On Wednesday, Vaynerchuk released the NFT project, which includes 10,255 tokens that can be found on VeeFriends.com, a website where Vaynerchuk’s followers can bid on the NFTs in what’s known as a “dutch auction.” A dutch auction is when the bidders set the pricing.
In this case, Vaynerchuk is selling “access” tokens that confer special privileges upon the holders. The owners of VeeFriends tokens will get varying degrees of benefits, services, gifts and communication with Vaynerchuk depending on the “rarity” of the token. The process of “minting” NFTs through the blockchain allows the creator to make as many editions of a token as they want, some have more editions in circulation and the rarer ones have fewer versions in circulation. The tokens also act as passes to a new conference Vaynerchuk is producing called Vee Con.
As many technophiles know by now, an NFT is a Non-Fungible Token, a digital product, authenticated by the digital blockchain so that it can’t be easily forged or reproduced, using the same technology that mints cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Vaynerchuk doesn't see this as just a get-rich scheme or a one-off drop of NFT art to collect large amounts of cryptocurrency from fans. The access tokens and conferences are meant to be a model that other brands and events could use when they adopt NFT technology, Vaynerchuk said.
“It was very important to me not to be at the mercy of just the collectible ecosystem, right,” Vaynerchuk said during Ad Age Remotely earlier this week. “It would be asinine for me to spend my whole life and then ruin my reputation off the idea of putting out this thing that people lost money on. I’ve been playing the marathon long-game this whole time. So the thought of going for a short-term transaction has just never been my way.”
In the lead up to the launch, Vaynerchuk told Ad Age that the project would not just be another NFT collectible item, which is the main way brands have dabbled in NFTs. Taco Bell, Pringles, Pizza Hut and others jumped into NFT auction sites with special edition digital artwork after seeing the frenzy in the market. Brands have mostly been doing these NFT drops for charitable purposes, not to get rich, and also to explore the technology, which is expected to have broader implications on the future of finance and online transactions.
“The only way I know how to learn new things is to get into them,” Vaynerchuk told Ad Age about why he was creating NFTs.
Vaynerchuk had been posting cryptic videos and doodles to his social media accounts in recent weeks, telling his followers to watch for his NFTs. Some of the hints included drawings of animals and characters Vaynerchuk designed, and the sketches became the basis for the artwork in the NFTs.