In the early 2000s, when I started turning my personal brand into a multi-billion dollar business, innovating, empowering others and pushing the boundaries of how I interact with my fans have been passions of mine. As a #bossbabe, I’ve been so lucky to pursue all three and being in the NFT space allows me to combine all of my creative passions. It’s like the ultimate dream.
I see NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as the future of the creator economy. They use blockchain technology to help creators increase the value of their work and share it with fans in real time. And blockchain technology will allow artists to get paid on secondary sales as well. That’s never happened before and it is mindblowing how much that can change things for artists.
I plan to go big with NFTs, innovating, investing and collecting. My first drop is coming soon. I can’t wait. I can’t share the details just yet, but I want to talk about why I’m so excited about NFTs.
What are NFTs, exactly?
- The first thing to know is that NFT stands for non-fungible token.
- These tokens can be used to represent ownership of unique items, like art and other collectibles.
- The authenticity of an NFT is verified by the Ethereum blockchain.
- The “non-fungible” part of this is that NFTs are unique and aren’t interchangeable.
- Here’s an example. Say you have a baseball card. As the owner of the card, you can create a token on the blockchain representing the authenticity of that baseball card. You can now trade or sell it for other valuable goods on the blockchain.
COVID-19 has illuminated the importance of digital worlds—and NFTs.
Before COVID, I traveled 250 days a year. As I’ve spent more time at home, the sparkle of the digital world has become more intriguing than ever. While we haven’t been able to make dinner dates or catch up over coffee, we got lost in virtual worlds like video games. We’ve immersed ourselves in these worlds not just for entertainment but also as a way to connect with others. In the U.S., 46% of gamers say they’ve been playing video games more during the pandemic (Source: Nielsen research). Also let’s not forget that millions of kids have been attending school virtually, meaning that their primary connection with friends and teachers has been online.
During quarantine, I started realizing how impactful NFTs can and will be in virtual worlds. Digital art, fashion or branding can all be displayed on someone’s avatar or in a virtual environment, or traded for other goods. Imagine buying an NFT for a dress you can wear in Fortnite or on your Roblox character. You can already buy virtual real estate using NFTs. In the virtual pet universe Axie Infinity, someone paid $1.5 million worth of crypto for nine plots! You can also buy virtual cars. CryptoMotors, a digital automaker, lets you create, collect, trade, and even race, digital cars. Expressing myself through fashion or the art I collect is such a huge part of making virtual worlds more real and more interesting. Whether art or music or fashion or design, NFTs allow me to express myself and allow all creators to directly reach their audience, creating a new type of marketplace.
I auctioned off my first NFT last August and became one of the first mainstream artists to create and auction off a digital painting NFT. All proceeds went to three charities doing amazing work. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve approached NFTs with the same attitude that led me to become the highest-paid female DJ in the world: I’ve been a student of the game. I’ve immersed myself in the community; joining Clubhouses, following the leaders on Twitter, reading articles and working with NFT collectors like WhaleShark, Illestrater, internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and the founders of Origin. My goal is to learn how I can leverage my platform to take this technology mainstream and empower and inspire people—especially creators.
We’re living in the Golden Age of the creator.
Art has always been an important outlet for me. It’s a source of confidence and creativity, which is why I’m so excited when my fans make digital images featuring me and my life. I want more people with similar talents to tap into this creative outlet and find their voice, and now, with emerging marketplaces, this work is starting to get the appreciation it deserves. I think bringing NFTs into the mainstream will encourage artists, especially digital artists, to create more, distribute their work and hopefully make some money, too!
The possibilities are mind-blowing. For example, NFTs can give artists, even if they aren’t well known, the opportunity to crowdfund their work. Contributors would fund the artist’s work with cryptocurrency, and in exchange, they’d each own an NFT that represents a piece of the work. This would be huge for both artists and fans!
NFTs are democratizing art.
In addition to new funding opportunities, NFTs help lesser-known artists distribute their work more widely and with better financial terms, so they get to keep a majority of the revenue. Using NFTs, talented artists can reach audiences and potential buyers without an agent or a distributor, who would charge a fee or take a cut of a sale. Basically, NFTs put more power in the hands of the creators, and that’s something I’m proud to be part of. I think anything that helps make all voices be heard will help make the world a better place. NFTs make it less intimidating and more accessible for people to collect art, too, because you don’t have to attend an invite-only event or work with an art dealer to own an NFT.
What we’re seeing is technology enabling the little guy or girl to have as much power as big, powerful names and entities. Just as Robinhood has empowered mom and pop investors, and Reddit has played a role in mobilizing individual investors to use their collective power to move the stock market, NFTs can empower individuals to influence the market for art. NFTs aren’t exclusive to wealthy people or insiders. Anyone can make their voice heard by creating a piece of digital work, and on the flip side, anyone can own one.
NFTs can change fashion forever.
COVID has made it difficult to host fashion shows and caused people to buy fewer clothes. I think fashion brands can and should leverage NFTs as another way of showcasing their designs and products—and make them more accessible. Recently, a virtual sneaker brand I’m obsessed with called RTFKT Studios sold $3 million worth of digital sneaker collectibles. We’re going to see a lot more of this, I think, and the brands that engage in the NFT space early will have a distinct advantage over others.
Imagine if you could buy a Chanel bag for your video game character or have an original Damien Hirst, Beeple or Pak piece of art in your virtual home. Think about how fun it would be to instantly trade looks with friends. And one of the beautiful things here is that in the virtual world, items stay in mint condition, which makes them more likely to hold their value!
NFTs are an innovative way to connect with my fans.
One of my favorite things about NFTs is the way it’s changing how I can interact with my fans, my Little Hiltons. I have a really special connection with them, as I’m sure most artists do. NFTs will give my fans a chance to actually own something that I created, something that has value. I’ll take every chance I have to give something special to my Little Hiltons.
Another thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is that a lot of my Little Hiltons, especially Gen-Z, look up to me. I think they see me as a mentor and the mother of the modern social media and influencer age. I’m quite close to many of them. Several TikTok and YouTube stars, like JoJo Siwa, are good friends of mine, and I think it’s important that they understand and adopt NFTs. I plan to use my platform and knowledge of the digital media space to empower the next generation of creators.
This is just the beginning.
There are so many applications of NFTs and blockchain technology that I’m just starting to wrap my head around. Some of these applications might even change the way we live. What if we could use NFTs as collateral for physical items? Or as a way to trade for them?
There are tremendous opportunities for everyone. However, it’s notable that many of the most successful artists in the NFT marketplace so far are male. I get super excited to see women like CryptoYuna, who just organized an all-female show in Decentralandcreated and sold the first NFT digital home, succeed in this space. I want to see more women creators, collectors and investors actively participate in the NFT community and the crypto community as a whole. I plan to do everything I can to help pave the way.
I’m investing in this community because I believe in its future.
I’m so excited to be a part of this journey. My goal is to be an active member of this community, as a collector, an investor and as a voice. I believe that by building a successful community that empowers creators, especially those that have been traditionally overlooked, we have an opportunity to change the world for the better. I’m learning all I can about this emerging technology so that I can be a change agent, empowering other creators by example, through a community and by spreading the word about the potential of this incredible new way to think about creativity and art. I’m looking forward to being part of this movement for years to come.