I swear this was totally accidental – on the evening I submitted my cryptocurrency ad article for Awards Radar, film producer and Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon announced an odious project.
“Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine has forged a storytelling partnership with World of Women (WoW), the NFT collective that is cracking open the male-dominated world of crypto currency while celebrating inclusivity and equality.
As part of the partnership, Hello Sunshine will build out the World of Women character universe and franchise into entertainment properties including feature films, scripted and unscripted TV series.
‘While the crypto and NFT space is largely dominated by men, there are inspiring leaders like World of Women creating incredible communities for women during this massive shift for media and technology,’ said Witherspoon.”
So inspiring! I was feeling discouraged at how the non-fungible token, or “NFT,” space was only taking advantage of financially anxious men looking for the next get-rich-quick scheme. Why should men only be the ones who spend exorbitant sums of money, both real and fake, on digital receipts to digital serial numbers attached to hideous clip art to aid in a series of sketchy financial schemes and projects that would likely qualify as federal crimes if they were engaging in regulated securities trading? The crypto market needs to celebrate inclusivity and diversity as it lures more people into a system unambiguously organized around exclusion and strict notions of cyber-property ownership. RECRUIT 👏 MORE 👏 WOMEN 👏 INTO 👏 PONZI 👏 SCHEMES! 👏
I didn’t get too much into NFTs yesterday, but I do feel I have an obligation to warn the Awards Radar Community against investing in them as well, since the Hollywood elite are also increasing their efforts to get their fans and regular moviegoers to buy in to these things, too. Perhaps even more so than crypto, though make no mistake, NFTs and crypto are intertwined. They’re dependent on one another. Remember when I mentioned in yesterday’s crypto op-ed that one of the major problems crypto investors keep running into with their fake digital money is there isn’t much you can really… do with it? NFTs were created specifically so that you could, you know, do something, anything, with crypto.
You’ve probably seen or heard of a lot more celebrities announce their ownership of NFTs than just Witherspoon over the past several months; Gwyneth Paltrow, Logan Paul, Eminem, Ashton Kutcher, and Justin Bieber are all members of the “Bored Ape Yacht Club,” which is arguably the most well-known and popular NFT brand right now and is characterized by a series of hideous, procedurally-generated cartoon apes with slightly different appearances. You’ve probably seen this cringefest on The Tonight Show recently:
Painful to watch, wasn’t it? It’s pretty obvious that Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton are not even totally sure why they’re supposed to be so excited to own an expensive jpeg, only that it’s the hot new thing in town so they have to pretend to be excited for it, in a way that’s consistent with their star personas. For Hilton, she’s into NFTs because “that’s hot.” For Witherspoon, it’s that persistently icky hashtag girlboss hyper-capitalist repackaging of fourth-wave feminism that made Rachel Hollis a phenomenon before her empire imploded. The only commonality is the desperation; the aggressive recruiting of new marks into a hyped-up bubble so the pyramid has a more stable base of liquidity.
You can tell Witherspoon’s project is a scam at heart because it makes no sense even on paper. NFTs don’t confer any copyright or trademark. Owning an NFT doesn’t actually mean you own the artwork contained in the token itself. You could take a screenshot of that collage of WoW pictures above and reproduce them on your own social media pages and Witherspoon would have no recourse against you. They’re just digital ledger entries with a unique, non-reproducible serial number on the crypto blockchain. And sure, an animation or a meme or a drawing is attached to it, but that doesn’t mean you own the drawing itself. It’s why most artists who have tried to mint their work into NFTs ended up losing money.
So good luck to Hello Sunshine and WoW on producing those “feature films” and “scripted and unscripted [???]” TV shows using fractionalized derivatives of artwork they don’t own, suggesting outlines of characters they don’t have the exclusive rights to, packaged into abstract financial instruments that may or may not have a profitable “smart contract” coded into the tokens. I’m sure these projects will go about as swimmingly as Realms of Ruin did, which made a big splashy announcement as an NFT-based ongoing collaborative fantasy series featuring several bestselling authors before announcing its cancellation later on the same day:
It’s a shell game. OpenSea is the largest NFT trading platform right now, and one of its biggest investors at the moment is the talent agency Creative Artists Agency LLC, which reps celebrities like… oh hey, Jimmy Fallon and Reese Witherspoon. Huh. Funny that. Almost as if CAA is pushing their clients into these NFT deals to increase the value of a digital platform they have a vested interest in? They also have recently signed onto a deal to represent someone named 0xb1, who is one of the largest owners of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, but I’m sure Ashton Kutcher is genuinely excited about the artistic potential of these NFTs! I’m sure Melania Trump’s recent wash trading, where you surreptitiously buy and resell your own assets to yourself to create a false sense of demand for them, was totally an aberration and not something that NFT collectors regularly engage in!
You know what the most frustrating thing is? When this all crumbles, Hollywood will jump at the chance to release some sanctimonious, back-patting corporate thriller/dark comedy about this whole scam. It’ll blame it all on “corporate greed” while forgetting to mention how many people in the entertainment industry, some of whom will be starring in the movie, shared that same greed.
It’ll probably be directed by Adam McKay and win a bunch of Oscars, too.