After conquering the world of culture, could non-fungible tokens be set to take over the media? It looks that this could be the case. The financial news website Quartz has announced that it is auctioning one of its articles as an NFT. The initiative is indicative of our obsession with authenticity at a time when the digital world allows everything to be copied and shared.
Recently, it seems like anything and everything is being turned into an NFT, from artworks and songs to tweets, TikTok videos and even the Oscar-nominated documentary, "Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah." Faced with the current appetite for these digital objects, Quartz has decided to put one of its articles up for sale as an NFT on the specialist exchange platform, OpenSea.
Potential buyers are bidding for an image file in SVG format, which holds information like the story headline, the name of its authors, its text and a QR code linking to the version published on the Quartz website. "We've embedded into the file plenty of information about the post that only the buyer can see: the authors' email addresses and Twitter handles, for example; the person who last edited the post before the token was created; and other metadata contained in our story database," the publication explains.
A "stamp of uniqueness"
The future owner will have a guarantee that they are buying the image file containing the Quartz article created specifically for the occasion, and not a copy. The publication -- which is part of the Atlantic Media group -- nevertheless reserves the right to reproduce and publish the text on its website. "The buyer ... is really paying for that bit of blockchain, that stamp of uniqueness," the website explains. Three potential buyers have already expressed their interest in the "first ever NFT news article," but there's still everything left to play for, since the sale closes March 22. Proceeds of the sale will be contributed to the Lauren Brown Fellowship at the International Women's Media Foundation, which supports women journalists from underrepresented backgrounds.
While this Quartz initiative may seem surprising, it isn't the only media outlet joining the NFT craze. News agency Associated Press recently sold an artwork as an NFT for almost 100 ETH (US$180,000), according to data from the OpenSea platform. Created in collaboration with the digital artist Marko Stanojevic, "The Associated Press calls the 2020 Presidential Election on Blockchain - A View from Outer Space" features a visual of the electoral college map being viewed from space, complete with popcorn.