My workout coach, Rick Gonzalez, knows that if he tells me stories during my exercise sets, I get distracted and the pain decreases. We talk football, movies, politics.
The other day he asked me, “What do you think of NFTs?”
I’m like, what?
“Non-fungible tokens,” he said.
Oh, I said, I hadn’t paid much attention. But then he got mine.
He told me how his cousin was making big dollars, er, bitcoin buying and selling digital works of art. An artist named Beeple is credited with kicking off the digital art boom a year ago when Christie’s Auction House sold a creation of his for $69 million.
Coach Rick had talked to his cousin, Jennifer Reece, a player in the NFT market. She told him, he said, that NFT buyers were preparing to move much of their life into the online metaverse.
This month, Melania Trump announced she’ll auction a white hat she wore as first lady, along with digitized versions. She previously offered an NFT watercolor drawing of her eyes.
Some political candidates, instead of asking for donations, are selling NFTs to supporters. Because it’s new, it’s more exciting than a coffee mug or a baseball hat.
Celebrities have jumped in, including Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brady, Snoop Dogg and Mark Cuban, all buying and selling NFTs.
It’s fun, and often profitable, but it turns out NFTs are also ripe for scams.
To learn more, I put a piece of my “artwork” for sale as an NFT. I also called Coach Rick’s cousin, Jennifer, with questions.
Jennifer told me how she spent $5,000 on a ‘dogecoin” investment that was miniscule. It was like 0.0001 of a coin, she explained, similar to a penny stock. After several months, she sold it for $20,000, an excellent 4-to-1 return on investment.
Here comes the uh-oh part. “Had I waited a little longer, like the $5,000 became $2 million,” she said. “I was straight up depressed when I did the math. My God, what have I done? It was really hard to deal with. I was so close.”
She shifted her attention from coin investment to NFTs. Among the most sought NFTs are digital drawings of cartoon apes. Because she got in apes early, May of last year, she paid only .08 ETH (Ethereum crypto-currency) for her first ape. That was $262. Now, she says, she has ape holdings worth up to $10 million.