After weeks of teasing his drawings on Twitter, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk announced Wednesday he’s launching his first NFT collection, “VeeFriends,” a series of 10,255 character tokens available for purchase via the cryptocurrency ethereum.
Nonfungible tokens are a type of digital asset created to track ownership of a virtual item using blockchain technology. Such unique items could be artwork or sports trading cards — a market that Gary Vee became familiar with as a teenager, peddling baseball cards for thousands of dollars every week.
The early investor in Facebook, Uber and Coinbase says each token will include a “smart contract” that includes metadata he can use to interact with buyers. One way Vaynerchuk plans to do so is through an annual business event, “VeeCon,” to which token holders will be given exclusive access for three years after purchase.
The tokens can be bid on via a Dutch auction, which allows any investor — institutional or individual — to place a bid at a certain price without knowing what others are offering to pay.
NFTs have boomed in popularity this year along with a rise in the values of digital currencies, like ether and bitcoin. The market is growing rapidly, with some digital collectibles being sold for millions of dollars.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever tweet for over $2.9 million on the “Valuables” platform run by blockchain company Cent. Auction house Christie’s sought bids on a virtual work from the artist Beeple that eventually sold for $69 million.
Ether, the digital coin linked to the ethereum blockchain, hit an all-time high of $3,456.57 on Tuesday as the cryptocurrency extends a rally that has seen its price gain over 350% this year.
“When I saw this macro human trend, the only way for me to help others understand it was to be a part of it,” Vaynerchuk said in a statement announcing his NFT plan. “I know that NFTs will be here for the rest of my life, and I will be actively consulting, investing and advising in this space.”
The VaynerMedia CEO believes small businesses should look at NFTs as a massive opportunity.
“I think that everybody in small business is going to learn that NFTs are a way to do memberships, clubs and discounts,” Vaynerchuk said at the CNBC Small Business Playbook virtual event on Tuesday. “Just like a lot of small businesses went out and built apps on phones a decade ago, I do believe that NFTs will be a part of the strategy for small businesses going forward.”
Vaynerchuk said a portion of revenue generated from token sales will go to charity, and five tokens include access to a “scholarship” that allows the holder to learn from the VaynerMedia CEO and his professional network. Additionally, contributions will be made to DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) to offset the environmental impact of crypto mining.