It’s official: NFTs have gone totally mainstream.
That’s the upshot from the announcement that the Associated Press, the 175-year-old paragon of traditional media, is planning to auction off 10 one-of-a-kind NFTs to celebrate its iconic photojournalism. Among the offerings: an artistic representation of the shot showing U.S. Marines hoisting the Stars and Stripes on a hill after the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
Even though NFTs were initially greeted with ridicule by many in the legacy media space, the AP is just the latest household name to tap the potentially lucrative new revenue stream from non-fungible tokens. A Who’s Who of corporate powerhouses have rushed to create their own spin on digital art and collectibles, from the NBA’s Top Shots to Taco Bell’s NFT tacos to Saturday Night Live’s NFT of their sketch about NFTs.
Major news organizations have tested the NFT waters, too. The New York Times’ Kevin Roose tokenized a picture of a column he wrote for the New Times in March, and then wrote an article about it after the NFT of his column sold for $560k. The same month, Quartz, the online news site, sold an NFT of a news article for one Ether token, which was then worth $1,800. The proceeds from both sales were donated to charities.
Legacy news organizations aren’t the only media companies embracing NFT technology.
CYBR Magazine, which chronicles the digital world, says it is the first publication to release entire issues as NFTs. Each issue is modeled in 3D and contains multiple augmented reality pages designed to animate when scanned with a smartphone. NFT issues of CYBR are sold on Rarible, a software platform for digital artists, and limited to 10 copies for $150 (0.06ETH) each.
“While other publications have attempted selling covers as NFTs, at CYBR Magazine we’re all about pushing the boundaries, so we are taking this to the next level by producing a full 100+ page magazine,” said CYBR founder and editor James Joseph.
As for the AP, this auction isn’t its first foray into NFTs. The news cooperative sold its first NFT in March for $185k (100.888 ETH). It was a photo illustration showing the AP’s election calls during the 2020 U.S. presidential race, created and sold on the Ethereum blockchain.
The first piece from the AP ARTiFACTS: The 175 Collection will be a digital representation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the soldiers in Iwo Jima by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal. The image will be accompanied by an original musical score, a film, and audio from the AP Corporate Archives. It’s currently up for auction on OpenSea.
“AP’s NFTs are a homage to our rich history of factual journalism, history, and facts that belong on-chain,” said Dwayne Desaulniers, AP’s director of blockchain and data licensing.
Incidentally, The Defiant was especially early to the game of media companies minting their own NFTs. Alongside sending a Defiant NFT to readers who subscribe via the Unlock platform, we minted an original NFT as part of an article written all the way back in February. The NFT in question was a tongue-in-cheek “thirst trap” image of Defiant writer Dan Kahan (that’s me) wearing Shrek boxers, which was available on Rarible for 2 ETH (now discounted to 1 ETH).
Nobody bought it.