Legendary American Football player Tom Brady will be launching a non-fungible token (NFT) platform in the coming months. The Autograph platform aims to host digital collectibles in the sports, entertainment, fashion, and pop culture industry reported CNN.
The last couple of months have seen massive hype and activity in the NFT market. Following the $69 million auction of a digital art piece at Christie’s, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever tweet as an NFT for almost $3 million. TIME magazine auctioned three digital covers, and even Brady’s teammate Rob Gronkowski joined the hype and auctioned an NFT card collection for $1.6 million.
While there’s real substance and logic underpinning NFTs, some are writing it off as a fad with the recent hype and momentum. On the one hand, it’s hard to call NFTs stable and reliable in part due to price volatility and a somewhat abstract sense of ownership. On the other hand, most participants in the recent big ticket NFT auctions were already involved with cryptocurrency and blockchain, but the attention that the auctions received went way beyond the tech industry. There is a tremendous opportunity to expand the audience for NFTs beyond stereotypical crypto-savvy individuals.
And Autograph might have the potential to achieve this. Tom Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion and holds the current title. His name is recognized across the world with a massive fan base. Due to his celebrity-athlete status, his strong ties to the platform are likely to bring a lot of attention not only from fanatic followers but also from mainstream media. Additionally, the possibility of auctioning digital collectibles from celebrities from different industries and fan bases has the potential to keep attracting a varied audience and make NFTs more appealing to everyday consumers. For digital artists, the opportunity to collaborate with influential figures can bring more attention and enthusiasm to their work.
The Chairman and cofounder of Autograph Richard Rosenblatt launched a similar internet venture years ago with celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong. In 2008, Rosenblatt partnered with Armstrong to set up the Livestrong website to provide health-oriented content before Armstrong’s fall from grace in 2012. While Livestrong attracted more attention than it would have without Armstrong, it remains to be seen whether Brady’s association will make a difference with Autograph.
One differentiating aspect of Autograph versus other NFT platforms such as OpenSeas is that it targets pop culture and the entertainment industry instead of being open to anybody’s NFT auction. It is an interesting concept that enables the platform to position itself better. Australian-based Neuno, which targets luxury brands, follows a similar strategy where only partner companies can auction NFTs on the platform. As the industry continues to develop beyond one-time auctions, it is likely that more platforms will begin to differentiate through the content of the promoted NFTs and the industry associated with them.
Meanwhile, there is a lot more to look forward to in the NFT realm. Dapper Labs raised $305 million in funding following the success of NBA TopShot app, and Playboy will begin auctioning content on Nifty Gateway.