Written for Daily Hive by Ryan Hook, a Victoria-based journalist and freelance writer
If you, like many other people, were confused and disturbed watching a clip from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon where Fallon and Paris Hilton awkwardly chat about two cartoon apes, you’re not alone. Fallon and Hilton’s dry enthusiasm felt like, as one Twitter user said, that they were being blackmailed.
See more: Wtf is nft
im almost convinced that someone has dirt on every celebrity getting into NFTs because this clip is just WEIRD.
genuinely feels like they’re being held hostage lmfao wtf is going on
— inabber 🦦 (@iNabber69) January 25, 2022
While words like NFT or Beeple probably make you go WTF, the fact that the Tonight Show host and the heir to Hilton Hotels (and star of The Simple Life) are talking about this jargon-y artform must mean something. It seems like NFTs have become the new Lamborghini—everyone’s talking about it, but only the rich and famous own one. Even Forbes magazine couldn’t help becoming a brief gossip rag over the Hilton and Fallon conversation.
So, what exactly were Fallon and Hilton talking about?
WTF is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token — a digital receipt of sorts. Unlike a Lamborghini, you can’t physically touch an NFT — it’s online.
The token part means that it’s a piece of work, like a token to play an arcade game, or a ticket to a concert. It’s not money per se, but it definitely has value.
The NFT’s intrinsic value is based on its proof of ownership, which is verified by the blockchain technology — the same network supporting cryptocurrency.
That’s probably a lot of very confusing jargon already, right?
Well, try to understand it like an original painting. While that painting can be replicated in various ways, there’s only one true painting. NFTs are like that, but digital.
So, while you can create an image online and screenshot it or share it, you are the only one with the original code and ownership. An NFT sells that original. In fact, the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, actually sold his first tweet last March for $2.9 million.
Alright, take a deep breath and let’s move on to the next.
Now that the hard part is out of the way, who is Beeple? Luckily, he’s a real person.
Mike Winkelmann has been a digital artist for decades, known to most as Beeple. He’s basically the Michaelangelo of NFTs — when people think about NFTs in 25 years, they’ll probably think of Beeple.
In 2021, he made headlines when he sold one of his works as an NFT for $69 million and went on the Tonight Show with Fallon to talk about the sale.
In the interview, Beeple, or Winkelmann, said, “I think you’re going to see a lot more people do this [purchase NFTs] and a lot more artists take this approach, just because it is another way you can monetize and make a living,” he said.
For years, Winkelmann had been making digital art online and selling it for a few hundred dollars. But technology caught up and the world’s philosophies changed. Therefore, with the idea of digital tokens and ownership planted firmly in the world’s mind, Winkelmann was finally able to sell his digital art at an incredible cost.
Note that if you buy an original Beeple, it’s on your computer — it’s only digital. That being said, you can print off the NFT and plaster a room with your NFT wallpaper.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
If Beeple is Michaelangelo, then Bored Apes are the Mona Lisa. The anamorphic apes you saw Fallon and Hilton awkwardly saying they looked like are an exclusive NFT art movement. Like dutch expressionists, Bored Apes are a style and philosophy within the NFT movement.
How they’re created is quite easy. Bored Apes are generated based off of seven traits, including its hat and sunglasses, and some apes can portray more rarer traits than others. The rarer the trait, the higher the value.
The thing about the Bored Ape Yacht Club is that it also acts as an exclusive digital club. The minimum cost of entry is about $224,000, and there are only 10,000 “Apes” available. So there’s a fixed supply that when more and more famous people buy in, it becomes more and more valuable, and therefore, exclusive.
At least with Lamborghinis they make more. But right now, that’s what makes NFT so hyped — they’re limited. And who knows if it will last.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched in April 2021, at a time when most of our lives were still online. With the world moving so quickly into the digital world, it’s easy to predict that an online digital club could become a thing, it’s just surprising that it’d be hosted by apes.
Maybe you are interested: Learn The Best Axies At Axie Infinity To Get Started | Tips/Guides