The History & Future of NFTs
- the most comprehensive documentary (to date) on the rise of the cultural and technical phenomena that are NFTs - is released today.
Edited from over 50 interviews and 3 hours of footage, recorded throughout 2021, the documentary chronicles NFTs key moments - from Rare Pepes and Colored Coins on Bitcoin to Crypotkitties and Axie Infinity, leading up to Beeple’s recording breaking Christie's $60m auction. It forms an in-depth exploration of how NFTs came to be and where they might be heading.
Created by the NFTs WTF DAO, Narrated by Outlier Ventures Jamie Burke, a prominent investor and NFT collector, and produced by award-winning podcast producer Pet Berisha, the documentary features many of the space's leading creators, developers, founders and collectors.
It charts the historic rise of NFTs from 2012, to the market crash of 2018 and the persistence and industry of a small few die-hards during the Crypto Winter, leading to the space bursting onto the mainstream stage in early 2021.
We ask: why now?
The story is told in the first person from the people inside the storm - in their own words - as it happened and provides an intimate insight into the early NFT community, its subcultures and key innovators, early adopters and personal stories, motives, hopes and fears.
Split across three acts - each an hour long; it celebrates key protagonists in the NFT space, both known and unknown, and explores how they came to define not just a medium but a movement, told real time as its mainstreaming. We asked them why NFTs were important to them, their journey down the rabbit hole and how they felt about the recent success of NFTs.
This audio documentary is a journey through time, history, and possible futures, chronicling the birth of NFTs that many argue is Colored Coins on Bitcoin in 2012, their evolution on Ethereum and their explosion during COVID lockdown with the rise of the Metaverse. The 3 acts cut through the noise to ask why NFTs are important and how they’re valuable to society as a whole whilst addressing concerns, truths and untruths about their carbon footprint and sustainability.
We go beyond the numbers and celebrity that dominate the mainstream media and ask what do NFTs mean for art, music, gaming and the creator economy? Are they a new form of social media and how can they allow for greater financial inclusion and the financial viability of the creator class? Can they transform the relationship between creator and consumer or fan? And what do they do to transform the importance and business model of the platform on the Web?
To walk the talk and show the potential of NFTs to disrupt and transform media and publishing, the documentary is distributed by a novel NFT mechanism; initially through a limited number of early access tokens that leverage cutting edge NFT publishing technologies from Linkdrop
. 999 users were given 1 of 3 limited edition NFTs, each one designed as exclusive album art covers for the three acts, designed by cult NFT artist Moxarra
. To acquire an NFT, listeners had to follow the @NFTsxWTF
Twitter account and prove they have done so via a tweet. And by connecting their Metamask wallet, they were then able to receive the NFT which acts as a key to unlock this content.
Act 1 - The History of NFTs
Why are NFTs valuable and how did they come into existence? Jamie goes back in time to colored coins, counter party, the genesis of cryptopunks with the help of Matt Hall, Silly Tuna, Josie, Shaban Shaame and many more.
Act 2 - The Rise of the Digital Collector
The hype and euphoria of the 2017 bull run was crazy in many ways, but it did bring a lot of amazingly talented people in the space. Hear from Matty DCL Blogger, Duncan Cockfoster, Jay Delay, Angie Taylor, Ari Meilich and many more about why they stayed, built, invested and collected in the NFT world during the bear market that followed.
Act 3 - The Future of NFTs
Time to future gaze. How will NFTs impact society as a whole, gaming and more in the future? How will brands enter this space in a way that doesn't seem cash grab oriented? How do we create a more inclusive and diverse new world that is resoundingly different to the old? Jamie attempts to answer all of the above with the help of Connie Digital, Sebastian Borget, Sparrow, Marguerite deCourcelle, Gary Vee and many more
By using the NFT, holders can access a one-time private RSS feed, giving them the ability to listen to the documentary on Apple Podcasts, Overcast and other popular podcast streaming applications. The Audio Documentary will then be published on all public feeds, via the NFTS WTF podcast feed
, on the 9th of December.
After the launch campaign, the audio files will also be hosted permanently on Permacast, on the Arweave network once it hits 6,000 unique listens. This will mean anyone can access the audio, for free as a public good and time capsule for future generations.
Featured in the documentary
Full breakdown on documentary acts:
Act 1 - The History of NFTs
Why are NFTs valuable today? How did they come into existence? And what do NFTs actually mean for The Web? Jamie goes back in time to revisit Colored Coins, Counterparty, and the genesis of Crypto Punks with their creators, such as Matt Hall of Larva Labs, alongside early collectors & creators Silly Tuna, Josie, Shaban Shaame and more. This act documents the key moments in the early history of NFTs and helps frame what NFTs are and most importantly, why now?
We hear from Gaby Dizon, cofounder of Yield Guild Games, a leading Play-to-Earn community, on why the COVID Lockdown tipped the scales towards the Metaverse - bringing digital things more meaning in our lives and subsequent value.
Jamie talks to Beeple about the iconic $69m sale that propelled NFTs into the mainstream, the build up through a series of smaller sales, and why he chose NFTs as the medium for his iconic piece; The First 5000 Days
But to explain how the market got this key moment listeners are taken back to the 2017 crypto bull run and the genesis perhaps its first moment of mainstream attention; Cryptokitties. As collector Silly Tuna puts it, this is where Ethereum found product-market fit. Cats, on a blockchain. And when its success tested the very limits of the Ethereum itself.
However, we don’t leave it there. We go even further back in time to before Cryptokitties and even Ethereum, to explore Colored Coins on Bitcoin guided by J Dog and other early adopters. Matt Hall talks about the creation of Crypto Punks, how they were initially given away for free when they didn't even use the term NFT and how crazy it is to even him how successful they have gone on to become selling for millions of dollars at major auction houses like Sotherbys. And we finish the fact talking to Cyrus Adkisson and Etheria, arguably the first NFT ever created on Ethereum.
Act 2 - The Rise of the Digital Collector
We explore how the hype and euphoria of the 2017 crypto bull run sucked in a brain trust of talented people into the space that would stick around after the crash of 2018 and focus on NFTs. Matty DCL Blogger, Jay Delay, Angie Taylor and many more discuss what made them stick around to build, invest in and collect NFTs and the platforms that would go onto define an industry when the rest of the world had lost interest.
We discuss why NFTs first found real popularity initially through art and why its medium resonated with artists like Angie Taylor and ROBNESS its Punk attitude and counterculture and its possible parallels with Punk music.
We explore with, now world leading, NFT collectors like Gary Vee, Metadreamer and Jim McNellis how the medium reawakened their child-like habit of collecting, and the role of platforms in creating and curating demand with the likes of Duncan Cockfoster (Nifty Gateway) and Max Moore (Sotheby’s). Importantly, we also discuss the pushback from artists on royalties when it comes to NFTs. Skenee, an NFT artist, tells us about the fight for more significant royalties in perpetuity, so that artists can one day retire for the amazing pieces that they're creating today.
We zoom into the story of Decentraland. One of the first decentralised virtual worlds made up of NFTs with one of its co-founders Ari Meilich, and how some creators like Daniel of Polygonal Mind were not intimated but excited by its initial emptiness and the potential of what become to be understood as the Metaverse. And we explore why people like Matty DCL blogger came to dedicate all their time and money to collect its virtual land and help build their fledgling communities through meetups and events.
Act 3 - The Future of NFTs
This is the Act where we ask founders, collectors and artists how NFTs will impact society as a whole, their role in media and gaming and what they mean in the context of the Metaverse?
It’s clear by now to the listener that NFTs can be, and may well become used for almost everything. But how will they impact the gaming industry that is set to yield $180bn dollars of revenue in 2021? With the help of Axie Infinity founder Jeff Zerlin, Sandbox founder Sebastian Borgetm and Gods Unchained founder James ferguson - the documentary tries to answer exactly that.
With the help of innovators in the space we ask the likes of Connie Digital, Sebastian Borget, Sparrow, Marguerite deCourcelle what happens when brands and celebrities enter the space, is it net positive or will true innovators with the medium get drowned out with cash grabs?
We ask Gabby Dizon, Angie Taylor, Sparrow, Connie Digital how can NFTs make The Web, media and creative industries more inclusive (especially financially), fair and diverse? And the role they play, as a form of social media, in creating culture online and the interplay with identity.