The proliferation of the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace has helped many of the world’s most important brands ascend to new heights. As the digital world—currently manifested by “Web 3.0”, the “Metaverse”, and other digital spheres—continues to expand, brands of all kinds, including those in the well-established automobile industry, are finding new opportunities to enhance their global image and create accessible value.

Over the past two years, we have seen NFTs used in nearly every industry. However, as we will further explain below, there are actually quite a few reasons why NFTs are especially productive for brands involved in the automotive industry, including the industry’s pre-existing demand for collectibles, the widespread existence of automotive “Super Fans”, the relatively high value of most products in the industry, and many more.

Unsurprisingly, many of the industry’s most groundbreaking brands have already taken a deep dive into the world of NFTs. By the end of this year, the NFT marketplace will likely be worth more than $300 billion. But how, exactly, can these innovative assets transform the ways the world’s leading automakers market themselves to the broader public?

What is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?

The acronym “NFT” stands for non-fungible token. That probably doesn’t really clear things up, so let us explain. Non-fungible is a term that is used to describe assets that have no other identical replicates. The dollar (or Bitcoin, for example) is fungible in the sense that any single dollar is worth exactly the same as any other dollar. But when an asset is non-fungible, that means there is no other asset exactly like it in the world.

So, what about the “token” aspect? Essentially, tokenization is the process of turning a digital “idea” into an asset that can be bought, sold, valued, and traded. All tokens have a definable value, which traders are able to speculate. Ultimately, this means an NFT is a digital asset that has been both tokenized (turned into a tradeable commodity) and made non-fungible (unique and with no other replicates). For example, if someone owns an NFT that is connected to a specific asset, such as a car, that means that asset will have a tradeable value that cannot be directly matched by anyone else in the world.

How NFTs Maintain Their Value

NFTs, as a relatively new asset class, have not been immune to their fair share of criticism. Many people are naturally skeptical of the NFT asset class, just as many people were (perhaps rightfully) skeptical of the “internet asset class” throughout the 1990s. One of the most common questions prospective investors ask is how do NFTs actually maintain their value?

 The answer is simple: NFTs are able to maintain their value through the laws of supply and demand. This makes them no different than the American Dollar or any other global currency. When there is a demand for a particular NFT—which is especially likely when the NFT is connected to a valuable, physical asset like an automobile—the value will be maintained into the foreseeable future. When an in-demand automobile manufacturer is able to offer its NFTs to the public, these NFTs will be perceived by the broader public as both scarce and valuable, which will ensure they actually maintain their value as time goes on.

And this sort of value conservation is not just theoretical—time and time again, NFTs from the world’s most forward-thinking automakers have been able to bring in (and sustain) millions of dollars in value. Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini, for example, are two of the world’s most well-respected car brands that have been able to capitalize on the NFT market. As the digital world continues to expand and auto manufacturers around the world begin to take notice, the relevance of NFTs in the auto space will almost certainly proliferate further.

Establishing Brand Dominance

The most obvious reason for automakers of the world to push into the NFT marketplace is brand dominance. While other, more traditional marketing spaces—television advertising, social media, and others—have been essentially overcrowded and exhausted by traditional-leaning companies, the NFT space offers a brand-new frontier.

The NFT marketplace combines everything that is demanded within the world of 21st Century marketing: a digital presence, exclusivity, access to an incredibly wide market base, and more. Through the use of this limited space, brands can offer unprecedented promotions, can directly connect with their most loyal followers, and can gain widespread exposure for limited capital in a way that would have previously cost them millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions, of dollars. There have been few, if any, opportunities that have allowed automakers to establish brand dominance in such an accessible way.

Connecting with Super Fans

Of course, NFTs might not appeal to everyone—your average Mercedes-Benz buyer might not be willing to buy much beyond the physical car itself. But keeping the traditional 80-20 model in mind (where 20 percent of buyers generate about 80 percent of all revenue), it is the super fans that ultimately enable the NFT market to become so measurably productive.

Through the loyalty of super fans and the dynamism of the NFT marketplace, almost any aspect of the auto-buying process can be amplified further. An exclusive “digital collectible car”, for example, can generate hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars for the original auto manufacturer. And this sort of “ownership” does not even need to be physical—super fans are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for these collectibles, not only due to their immediate value, but also due to the fact that they will be worth significantly more in just a short amount of time.

Real-World Examples

As suggested, the use of NFTs within the auto industry is not just theoretical—it’s played out time, and time again, in real life. Here are just a few examples of some of the world’s most prominent automakers using NFTs to thrive:

  • Alfa Romeo: the world-renowned Italian car brand used NFTs in its latest line of hybrid cars to record data and improve overall performance.
  • Mercedes-Benz: the German automaker collaborated with a group of several digital artists to launch a series of its world-famous “G Class” into the NFT marketplace.
  • Lamborghini: as one of the most respected automakers in the world, Lamborghini was proud to “unveil” a broad-reaching NFT campaign that made digital ownership of the company’s already exclusive products even more desirable.
  • Chevrolet: launched via OpenSea, one of the largest NFT platforms in existence, Chevrolet has successfully sold ownership of many of its classic digital assets, including ownership of the Camaro SS 396 and other rare motor vehicles.

Of course, these are just a few examples of how automakers have used NFTs to generate value in an increasingly competitive digital world. Whether it is selling ownership of current assets, existing assets, or even future assets, the world of NFTs presents a vast swath of new opportunities. At Sasco Digital Assets, we would love to help you learn more about how the use of NFTs can help you capitalize on your existing brand value and help your brand evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly digital world.

The development of the NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace has taken the world by storm. By the end of 2021, Bloomberg estimates the global NFT marketplace is worth more than $40 billion and the market is currently demonstrating few signs of slowing down. Even with the occasional fluctuations of the adjacent cryptocurrency market (like Ethereum), NFTs continue to demonstrate their value to consumers, companies, and—perhaps most interestingly—celebrities alike.

As the world continues to become more digital—and a growing portion of our interactions and transactions take place entirely online—NFTs will continue to become more valuable. But for NFTs to move from the periphery of the general public and become as “mainstream” as, say, an autographed baseball or photo with a movie star, they will need to have advocates who have high visibility.

Luckily, this visibility is already growing—fast. Celebrities, many of whom have platforms with tens or even hundreds of millions of followers, have helped push NFTs into the public spotlight. In this article, we will discuss why NFTs are so conducive to celebrity branding and will also take a look at some of the most interesting celeb NFT launches to date.

Why Are Celebrities So Interested in NFTs?

As long as there have been celebrities, there has been an interest in celebrity interactions and merchandise—in fact, a recent archeology venture in Austria revealed evidence of gladiator merchandise from the era of Ancient Rome. Celebrities have the unique capacity to reach a wide audience and, naturally, people will be interested in both them and items that are in some way connected to them.

As time has gone on, celebrity merchandising has become even more important. Over the course of his career, Michael Jordan—arguably the greatest basketball player of all time—earned about $94 million total through his NBA contracts. Jordan, however, would eventually become a billionaire, largely due to his incredible ability to brand and market himself. Other celebrities have taken note and even if they do not have the star power and name recognition of Jordan, they know that personal branding can often be the clearest path to wealth.

And the development of NFTs, undoubtedly, has opened an entirely new door to this sort of branding. The NFT marketplace makes it possible for things that were once intangible—like a celebrity interaction—to become tangible and it also makes it possible for items—such as a single image—to be given to an exclusive owner.

We are only a short way into the NFT era, but celebrities of all kinds are beginning to find ways to create non-fungible value in this exciting and dynamic marketplace:

Celebrity NFT Launches

Tony Hawk

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk is known for taking big risks and often doing things that no boarder has ever done before—naturally, he saw the NFT marketplace as the perfect fit for him. Recently, Tony announced plans to auction off his “last-ever 540-degree ollie”, a signature trick that he admits he is no longer comfortable doing. Through the use of an NFT, the winner of the auction will have the exclusive right to the footage, as verified by the blockchain.

Kings of Leon

Nashville rock band Kings of Leon recently made headlines for becoming the first-ever group to send an NFT into space. The group’s song “Time in Disguise” was minted into an NFT, auctioned to the public, and loaded onto an iPhone that was then sent into space via a SpaceX flight. The entire project was able to draw a significant amount of attention to the band, the NFT marketplace, to SpaceX, and—perhaps of all—was able to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki, an extremely popular DJ, has always been admired by fans for his epic beat drops—so dropping an NFT is something that came entirely naturally for Steve, an outspoken believer in the power of NFTs and digital assets, in general. After teaming up with renowned visual artist Antonio Tudisco, the pair was able to earn more than $4.3 million. Aoki—an avid collector—has recently said he is interested in other NFT projects, as well, recently describing the marketplace as “an opportunity to finally merge art, collectible culture, and music in a way I’ve never been able to realize before.”

Grimes

Grimes—an artist and musician who is known for pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box—has one of the most successful celebrity NFT launches to date. After partnering with her brother, fellow creative Mac Boucher, she issued a series of NFT-minted digital works of art that were dubbed “War Nymphs.” The digital art series, mostly consisting of babies flying through space with weapons and other objects, was eventually able to garnish more than $6 million.

Quentin Tarantino

Known for some of the most critically-acclaimed films of the past few decades, Quentin Tarantino knows how to capture an audience. His handwritten screenplay for the “Royale with Cheese” scene—one of the most iconic scenes in the classic film Pulp Fiction—was minted into an NFT and auctioned to his fans. According to the NFT launch, “Alongside the screenplay, is a recording of Quentin Tarantino revealing details only available to the owner.” Despite some possible copyright challenges, the piece has been described as “a piece of cinema history.”

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey, the billionaire founder of Twitter and Block (formerly known as Square), was able to generate an incredible $2.9 million by auctioning off his first tweet (the first tweet) in March 2021. Though the content of the Tweet itself—“just setting up my twttr”—is not particularly exciting, it is undoubtedly an important piece of internet history that has now been turned into a tangible (and valuable) collectible.

 An Increasingly Digital Future

The world of digital collectibles is rapidly expanding—and the celebrity promotion of NFTs is, without a doubt, playing a critical role in this expansion. These are just a few examples of how celebrities have used NFTs to help promote their brand and generate significant amounts of money.

And it’s not just celebrities who are getting in on the fun—brands of all kinds are discovering the benefits of using NFTs every day.

 

 

This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Were All About Crypto and NFTs.

What does this mean for the future of digital assets?

In this year’s Super Bowl LVI—in which the Los Angeles Rams narrowly beat the Cincinnati Bengals—the average cost of a thirty-second commercial was $6.5 million. Any company, brand, or organization that wanted a slice of this limited airtime would certainly need to know what they were doing.

While the Super Bowl is obviously a big day for many of the world’s biggest football stars, it is also a big day for many of the world’s leading brands. This year’s ad class contained a lot of the classic product lines we’ve come to know over the years—food, beer, and car ads were all ubiquitous. However, there were also a few new names among this year’s leading advertisers. Cryptocurrency platforms, including FTX and Coinbase, enjoyed a tremendous level of success. Additionally, some of the more traditional brands, including Budweiser, Pepsi, and Kia, were able to successfully incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFT) into their content, as well.

So, what do these ads mean for the future of the digital asset community? Here are a few of our most pressing thoughts:

People Are Genuinely Interested in Digital Assets

It’s one thing to actually spend the millions of dollars needed to land a Super Bowl commercial—it’s another to actually generate results. And it seems that, as a whole, viewers were particularly interested in cryptocurrencies and brands using NFTs. According to marketing analyst Devin Carroll, “The advertisers that generated the second and third most Super Bowl-related tweets on Sunday were cryptocurrency exchange platforms FTX and Coinbase, who both ran promotions giving away cryptocurrencies while Pepsi, Kia, and Budweiser had success on social media with NFT-related content.”

This means that viewers were doing more than just passively having the commercials play in the background. They were actually taking to social media to discuss crypto and NFTs. And, as Google Analytics data suggests, people were also actively looking on the world’s leading search engine for more information.

Digital Assets are Being Pushed Further into the Mainstream

In the early years of the digital asset era (think Bitcoin, circa 2010), these assets were often viewed by the public as obscure or something that was reserved for only those who were incredibly tech-savvy—keep in mind, this is the same general public that considered the internet to be “a fad” in the 1990s. But this recent Super Bowl ad push helps illustrate how digital assets are continuing a strong push from the periphery of the investment community into a mainstream asset class.

According to Nielsen, the Super Bowl was viewed by about 101 million Americans. That means that more than 100 million Americans were exposed to crypto and NFT as concepts—for some, this was their first moment of exposure, for others, it helped reinforce their pre-existing understanding of these assets. The combination of widespread exposure, high levels of search engine activity, and the high volume of advertisements are all indicators that digital assets are being treated as a more mainstream asset class.

The Public is Looking for New Alternatives

In addition to noticing a large number of ads from companies in the digital asset space, it is also important to note who wasn’t included in this year’s national Super Bowl ads. Specifically, there was almost no representation of the “traditional” financial institutions that have advertised during the Super Bowl in years past. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and other megabanks all passed on participating in this year’s Super Bowl ads.

What does this mean for the average American consumer? As we have seen, people are losing their enthusiasm (or, should we say, patience) for traditional banking options. With most big bank savings accounts paying near 0 percent interest—and with inflation hovering above 7 percent per year—people are looking for better ways to store and potentially increase their wealth. Had somebody put $1,000 in a savings account in 2017, they’d have about $1,050 today. If they had put the same in Bitcoin, for example, they’d currently have about $44,000. While Bitcoin is just one of many digital assets available, it’s clear that the public is starting to seriously consider alternatives.

FOMO is a Driving Motivator

Prior to 2020, the limited ads we have seen for crypto, NFTs, and other digital assets have mostly centered on how these assets are “the future” of the economy. And while there are plenty of indicators that this sentiment is still broadly true, many advertisements have notably shifted in tone and are now focusing on the present.

One of the most notable commercials from the Super Bowl (as measured by social and search engine engagement) was a commercial featuring Larry David—co-creator of Seinfeld and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm—for the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. David, who is widely known for his deadpan, critical, and generally “grumpy” approach to comedy, is shown in a montage where he consistently rejects previously successful inventions, including the lightbulb, and even the wheel. At the end of the commercial, David rejects the idea of crypto, suggesting to the audience that someone thinking crypto is “a fad” is as foolish as someone thinking the wheel was “a fad” in the stone age.

 

This measurably successful commercial shows how digital asset messaging has experienced a significant evolution over the past few years. Leading crypto and NFT providers are no longer promising that their assets will someday be valuable—instead, they are focusing on how this value is presently building. And if you wait too long, you might end up missing out.

Conclusion

The Super Bowl, in many ways, is a microcosm of American culture. And, based on this year’s Super Bowl commercials, it is clear that the culture is moving in a specific direction. Digital assets are in a position to thrive—now is the time for individuals, businesses, and just about everyone else to begin making moves.

NFT Myth Busters: Debunking Five Common Misconceptions About NFTs

The recent growth of the NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace has been incredibly exciting. With the right investments, NFT enthusiasts across the world have been able to earn millions, even billions, of dollars in revenue. And perhaps the most exciting component of this dynamic marketplace is that its growth is only just beginning.

The profit potential for the NFT marketplace is abundantly apparent—that’s why so many brands, companies, and even celebrities are eager to get involved during these early stages. However, as is the case with all speculative investments you could possibly make (stocks, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and even bonds), you’ll want to be sure that you fully understand how NFTs work and how they substantiate value.

Because the NFT market is relatively new, there are currently a lot of misconceptions floating around. It’s easy to make assumptions about these NFTs and even easier to ignore how the market is consistently changing. In this article, however, we hope to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about this asset class—by taking the time to learn more about NFTs, you can become a successful investor.

Myth One: NFTs are a Type of Currency

Because both NFTs and cryptocurrencies exist in the same space—the digital asset space—it can be easy for someone who is new to the world of NFTs to confuse one with the other. People will often frequently describe NFTs as a “type of blockchain”, but that is also a mischaracterization—NFTs use blockchain technology in order to verify ownership, but they themselves are not a type of blockchain.

The main difference between an NFT and a cryptocurrency is fungibility. With a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, a single coin—for all intents in purposes—will have the same use and value as any other. But NFTs, on the other hand, are each entirely unique. With any given NFT, there is only one exactly like it, meaning that there will only be one owner and these tokens cannot be directly replaced. Non-fungibility, ultimately, is a key driver of an NFT’s value.

Myth Two: NFTs are Always Bad for the Environment

Thus far into the NFT era, one of the most common criticisms of NFTs is that they are bad for the environment. However, the actual environmental impact of any given NFT will depend on many different factors, such as the mechanisms used to establish consensus.

NFTs that establish consensus (essentially, verifying ownership) through a Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism, such as Ethereum, require quite a bit of energy, which typically results in large amounts of carbon consumption. However, there are many more environmentally friendly options available as well. By using Proof of Stake (PoS) or Proof of History (PoH) mechanisms instead, NFT users can significantly reduce the amount of energy they use.

Myth Three: You Need to be Tech-Savvy to Invest in NFTs

NFTs, Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies—to many people, these new technologies are difficult to understand and, as a result, they also seem out of reach. However, you don’t need to be tech-savvy in order to join in on the NFT marketplace. There are many different resources available to help people learn more and explore the world of NFTs, including the resources you’ll find at Sasco Digital Assets.

With an experienced team by your side, you can buy and hold NFTs, launch critical marketing campaigns, and find other ways to increase your wealth throughout the digital asset world. Even if you don’t fully understand how NFTs and blockchain technology actually work, you can still benefit from the ongoing growth of this dynamic marketplace.

Myth Four: NFTs Have Limited Uses

When NFTs were first starting to generate a lot of buzz in the tech world, around the beginning of last year, a lot of people would hear about one specific use and assume that’s all NFTs were. For example, they might have heard “CryptoPunk 4156”, an NFT that sold for an impressive $10.2 million, and assumed that NFTs were, essentially, digital art. But NFTs can be so much more.

NFTs can be used for anything that necessitates an exclusive claim to ownership. So while digital art is an important part of the NFT community, this is just one of the seemingly unlimited uses currently available. NFTs have been used to help create exclusive trading memorabilia, to allow people to own personal highlights of their favorite sports, to give people exclusive access to music and videos, to enrich online games, and more.

NFTs can also be used to tokenize physical-world assets. For example, a classic car worth $100K can easily be tokenized to represent a 1:1 value of the physical asset. In these cases, there is little room of a speculative premium on the underlying asset. This type of token could be listed on global NFT marketplaces for the equivalent of $100K in various cryptocurrencies opening this asset class up to global trading desks.

Myth Five: NFTs Are a Temporary Fad

After seeing billions of dollars get poured into the NFT space last year, many people were skeptical whether this dynamic marketplace would actually last. After all, from “Tulip Mania” in the Netherlands to Beanie Babies, we’ve seen plenty of different collectible assets fade into and out of style in a very short amount of time.

But these previous “fads” don’t directly compare—NFTs are about as much of a fad as “the internet” is a fad. We could be experiencing something similar to the dot-com bubble. NFTs that recalibrate and show their resilience, will continue to provide value—just as the companies that rose from the dot-com boom.  These digital assets are a natural consequence of an increasingly digitized world; even if all NFTs were to somehow go away overnight, an exact replica of this asset class would emerge again tomorrow. So as long as there is a digital world available for us to interact with, NFTs will continue to be useful. And as time goes on, the possible uses and accessibility of NFTs will continue to expand. We are at the beginning of an extremely exciting era.

What Does it Mean to be Blockchain Agnostic? And Why Does it Matter?

So, you’ve decided it’s time for your enterprise to join the exciting digital asset community.

In doing so, you’ll be able to generate significant levels of revenue, reinforce your brand, and move closer to achieving your long-term goals.

However, even once you have made the decision to enter the digital asset space, there are many different decisions that you will need to make. For example, if you are planning on launching a project that involves the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), you are going to need to choose a blockchain to work with—and with each passing day, more and more blockchains are offering themselves to the broader public.

How do you know which blockchain to choose? And if, for whatever reason, you needed to make a change in the future, will your enterprise be in a position where you can actually do so?

Below, we will talk about the importance of being “blockchain agnostic” within the broader digital asset community.

 

What is the Blockchain? How Does it Work?

The blockchain, broadly speaking, is a digital database that is shared across multiple nodes within a decentralized network. The blockchain is an accessible ledger that can be used to securely store a variety of types of information, including the ownership and distribution of digital assets. Most blockchains can be categorized as either public (there is no centralized authority) or private (the blockchain is controlled by a single source or group)—and some blockchains are hybrids that are somewhere in between.

Ultimately, the blockchain is what makes it possible for people to know who owns what within the digital asset world. Do you currently own any cryptocurrency? How many kinds of cryptocurrency do you own and how much of each are currently within your possession? Through the use of the blockchain, these questions can be easily answered, without dispute.

The blockchain can be used for both fungible (interchangeable) currencies, like Bitcoin, or non-fungible digital assets, categorized as NFTs. Blockchain technology actually dates back as far as 1991, but it was not until the emergence of Bitcoin (2009) that this technology was fully put to use.

Currently, Ethereum is the most popular blockchain in circulation (NOTE: Bitcoin is not a blockchain itself, though it does utilize blockchain technology). However, there are many different blockchains available to choose from, and you should explore your options before making any final decisions.

What Does it Mean to be Blockchain Agnostic?

There are countless reasons an enterprise might choose to use one blockchain over another: the need to decrease operating costs, increase accessibility, reduce energy consumption, or offer customized solutions might all affect your final decision.

This is especially important as the attributes of both public and private blockchains change over time. Blockchains with low transaction fees today can become prohibitive in the future as fees rise. Blockchains with high uptime today, may suffer from availability and reliability issues in the future.

For a project to be blockchain agnostic means that it is not structurally or otherwise tied to any particular blockchain (such as Ethereum). In other words, the project is ‘block-chain neutral’ and can potentially migrate from one blockchain to another, as needed.

Brands should be concerned with the blockchain they choose to execute an NFT project, the risk of using the “wrong” blockchain could bleed into reputational risk that could negatively affect the brand.

What Are the Benefits of Being Blockchain Agnostic?

Sasco Digital Assets is a blockchain agnostic firm that is committed to helping its clients develop sustainable, dynamic digital asset strategies. Rather than being tied to a single blockchain—something that has become common within the digital asset world—Sasco’s solutions make it possible for firms to find a blockchain that works for them and make changes as needed.

The future of digital assets is constantly evolving—and the next stage of this evolution, Web3, is developing even faster than anticipated. But what we do know will be important in the future is flexibility. By working with a blockchain agnostic partner and remaining flexible enough to pursue new opportunities, your enterprise can take full advantage of these new opportunities for growth.