According to the Hollywood Reporter, major Hollywood agency United Talent Agency (UTA) will represent the non-fungible token (NFT) project CryptoPunks created by Larva Labs. The aim is to sell publishing rights and licensing deals across the entertainment industry. UTA will also represent other Larva Labs’ projects Autoglyphs and Meebits. Some NFTs are digital licenses from traditional media. This is a landmark deal for an intellectual property (IP) that originated as an NFT to be licensed the other way to traditional media outlets.
CryptoPunks were launched in 2017 and are known as the first NFT project to be released on Ethereum. Larva Labs released 10,000 unique characters that initially could be claimed for free by anybody with an Ethereum wallet. It took a while for the project to take off, but a community was formed over time around the collection of digital caricatures.
Until this year, CryptoPunks interested a small and engaged group of people. However, with the hype around NFTs, the trading volume of the characters has increased significantly and along with it, the project’s following in the blockchain and tech community.
According to CryptoSlam, CryptoPunks sales volume reached almost $677 million in August across 2,528 transactions, while in November of last year, transactions were less than 100, and sales peaked at a little over $400,000. As of now, the whole collection is valued at more than $3 billion.
A Christies’ auction that sold nine pieces for $17 million in May probably contributed to the increase in popularity of CryptoPunks and Larva Labs. However, it remained mostly limited to the crypto and blockchain community. However, the move to sign with a talent agent highlights that there is interest in mainstream media to bring this kind of content to a bigger and diverse audience. In many ways, a CryptoPunk is a symbol of the NFT “genre”.
UTA can enable deals to incorporate CryptoPunks in movies, TV shows and other mainstream production outlets. The agency has a dedicated team to represent this kind of IP since it launched a division dedicated to digital assets in March, one of the first in the field to do so. It recently announced it would represent social token platform Rally.
Meanwhile. Fox has been dipping its toes in the water for NFTs in their content roster through the launch of an animated show curated entirely on blockchain. Other licensors of popular IP such as Marvel and Sega are also looking to bring some of their characters to the digital asset world, which is contributing to bringing NFTs to the attention of an audience beyond the blockchain community.
Meanwhile, many players in the blockchain industry are working towards taking NFTs mainstream. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX partnered with Dolphin to launch a digital marketplace. Tom Brady’s platform Autograph is looking to license IP as NFTs from various celebrities. And Sony Music invested in digital art marketplace MakersPlace.