How much would someone pay for the digital rights to an autographed copy of a selfie — featuring talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and a crude stick-figure drawing of a cat?
What’s an NFT?
NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one of a kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan Cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs. If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.
We’ll soon find out — because Ellen is about to drop her very own NFTs next week, as first reported by Variety, quite possibly making her the most mainstream celeb to cash in on the craze yet. The “Woman With Stick Cat” selfie will be one of them, as will her video monologue itself (in 4K resolution). The auction will start 9am PT on Monday, April 26th at Bitski.com/ellen.
Never fear, feline lovers: you’ll be able to get a high-res digital copy of “Woman With Stick Cat” in the auction as well, either by bidding on one of the 10 “rare” copies, an unlimited number of not-rare copies — or, no doubt, by right-clicking or long-pressing and saving the image to your device. Because you obviously want to inspect that cat’s finely penned features up close.
Variety reports that it’s all for a good cause: proceeds will go to Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, which has been donating tens of millions of meals in the wake of tragedy, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ellen definitely isn’t the first celeb to hop aboard the NFT train; Snoop Dogg reportedly sold his tweaked Nyan Cat NFT for $33,000, and the likes of deadmau5 and the Gorillaz have NFTs too. You could also argue that the NBA’s Top Shots or the New York Times (whose columnist sold an NFT for over half a million dollars) are more mainstream than Ellen, too, particularly now her viewership has declined by nearly half due to the backlash over reports of a toxic work environment on her show.
Speaking of toxic environments, you might want to read what NFTs might do to the Earth’s.