A group of crypto investors is planning to raise at least $20 million through a newfangled crypto crowdfunding project to buy a Super Bowl ad to promote NFT art — and they’re going to do it through the sale of digital art non-fungible tokens over the next month.
The group, BPNFT, is organized using blockchain technology and is similar to the one that last month tried — but failed — to buy a copy of the US Constitution. The Wyoming-based non-profit, called a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, raises money from contributors and relies on smart contracts to disseminate the funds based on a predetermined set of rules. DAOs don’t have anything like a traditional leader or a hierarchical structure — decisions are made collectively by token holders, subject to rules encoded in the software. (As Max Read pointed out earlier this year, DAOs are essentially group chats tied to a big pile of money.)
BPNFT is trying to recruit around 100 artists to sell about 1,800 works of digital art — a market that’s exploded to more than $7 billion, according to a research report from JPMorgan Chase. The hope is that the proceeds would cover the $15 million outlay for the ad during the Feb. 13 National Football League game, which will be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Additional proceeds will go to charities like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Human Rights Foundation, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and LexDAO, as well as the artists, Echtman said.
“This is the biggest stage. This is the most eyeballs in one place at one time,” Steve Echtman, BPNFT’s founder, told Intelligencer.
While Super Bowl ads are typically full of beer, celebrities, and assorted Americana, the early plans for the ad are much more abstract. Echtman plans on having a blur of NFTs images flash on the screen, with more than one piece of art per frame, in a kind of moving collage similar to the artist Beeple’s now-famous NFT art piece Everydays: The First 5000 Days, which sold at a Christie’s auction for more than $69 million. No artists have officially signed up yet, but Echtman says the group is hoping to bring on a few brand-name artists, as well as art from people who’ve reach out to the DAO once it’s launched. The aim of the proposed spot is “to support artists and bring more people into the fold of understanding this whole Web3 space and how it helps support artists,” said Echtman, a contributor to the Friends with Benefits DAO – one of the best-known and richest of these new organizations – and founder of a company that consults on starting the organizations.
Still, there is plenty that can go wrong. Last month, a group of investors raised more than $40 million to buy a copy of the US Constitution, but the project eventually turned into a mess for investors when they lost the auctions. When the contributors demanded their money back, many saw their funds eroded by transaction fees. Relying on NFT sales to fund the project also has its potential pitfalls. Despite the hype, the overall market has been slumping, with the number of weekly average sales and value reaching lows not seen since August, according to nonfungible.com, which tracks the market.
Echtman acknowledged that the number of Super Bowl ad slots are limited, and he could lose out on securing an ad. People would have 30 days after the Super Bowl to get their money back, though how much they actually receive would depend on transaction costs and fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market, as well as “a portion of costs incurred by BPNFT in pursuit of this project,” Echtman said.
“I’m not trying to sell anything to anyone,” Echtman said. “We want people to have an experience of viewing a work of art, maybe not necessarily understanding what it is that they’re seeing, or why that’s on the screen at this point in time of the game, but we want the takeaway to be curiosity.”