Written by Sonya Padalko
NV, a top Ukrainian media outlet, is auctioning its latest print cover as a non-fungible token. More commonly known as an NFT, this is a blockchain-based, unique unit of data popularized by the crypto-craze of 2020-21.
NV’s cover depicts the Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko in the image of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The auction will be held from 1 to 8 June 2021. All the proceeds will be sent to the Belarusian opposition.
The image illustrates the cover story of the magazine’s issue on the detention of Belarusian oppositional journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega. The winner of the auction will be the exclusive owner of the original image.
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Another cover of NV previously went viral and became something of a symbol of Belarusians’ protests against the country’s dictatorial regime. It features Lukashenko in a vampire’s image.
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An NFT or non-fungible token is a unique digital object (technically, a cryptographic certificate of ownership of the asset). The technology is based on blockchain and secures the original copy’s ownership. Anything can be turned into an NFT from memes and event tickets to songs and art pieces.
NFTs first appeared in 2017, but only took off in 2021. At the beginning of this year, a material art-piece was turned into a digital asset after burning an original material copy.
It was Banksy’s work, sold as an NFT for $380,000 afterwards. According to the NonFungible.com Q1 2021 report, NFT sales reached more than $2 billion, a 20-fold growth in market volume compared to the previous quarter.
Media companies first entered the NFT game in March 2021, with global media Time and The New York Times selling digital items as NFTs. Three digital covers of Time magazine (inspired by the famous “Is God Dead?” cover, published in 1966), were sold for $435,000 in total.
This sum was eclipsed just two days later by an NYT tech journalist who sold his column —entitled “Buy This Column on the Blockchain!”—as an NFT for 350 of the digital currency Ethereum, amounting to $558,134.50. As of June 2, 2021, the value had gone up to $963,718.00.
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