It seems like Keanu Reeves may have had a change of heart around NFTs. In December, the actor was sent into peals of laughter after my colleague Alex Heath asked him about the idea of digital scarcity and digital collectibles. Reeves commented that digital items are easily reproduced.
Now, though, he’s joined a project from Non-Fungible Labs, acting as an advisor for a program called the Futureverse Foundation, which aims to improve “the digital and physical worlds through the support of diverse artists and creative communities.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, that involves introducing traditional artists to NFTs and funding their efforts.
The art connection here isn’t exactly a surprise — Reeves’ partner, Alexandra Grant, is a prolific artist whose work has been featured in plenty of exhibits, according to her website. She’s also an advisor to the foundation, and she features heavily in a video released by Non-Fungible Labs to announce and explain the initiative.
In that video, Grant talks about how NFTs can be used to bring artists into “a new possible economy.” That lines up well with what the Futureverse Foundation’s website describes as its mission: to build “a metaverse where anyone can access and create in an open, rich, and diverse world.” Still, the foundation’s first charitable grant mainly seemed to focus on the physical world rather than the metaverse: it gave art historian Nana Oforiatta Ayim 100,000 euros to help her curate Ghana’s exhibition at an international art show in Venice. (To be clear, I think that sounds like a pretty admirable donation.)
In a press release from the Futureverse Foundation, Grant calls it “one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on” and says she looks forward to “dreaming up a new model for arts philanthropy.” Meanwhile, Reeves’ statement reads a bit more generic:
I am honored to be joining Non-Fungible Labs’ efforts in cooperation with Alexandra Grant for the extraordinary program and opportunity of the Futureverse Foundation, in support of artists and creators globally.
Still, teaming up with an NFT project as an advisor for its charitable foundation that explicitly aims to get artists into the metaverse is quite an evolution from laughing at the idea that NFTs could be valuable. Non-Fungible Labs has somewhat addressed the video of Reeves laughing at the idea of NFTs, which someone posted in response to its Futureverse Foundation announcement on Twitter along with the question, “Did he change his opinion about NFTs?” The company responded: “more than an NFT.”