Much of growth has been driven by influencers who saw the potential in the NFT industry — and spread the word — has been realized. From artists and entrepreneurs to musicians and millionaires — here are 6 of the most influential people in the NFT spectrum with a special pick at the end.
1. Roham Gharegozlou
Roham is founder and CEO of Axiom Zen, an award-winning venture studio that specializes in applying emerging technologies to unsolved business problems. Axiom Zen was named first among Canada’s Most Innovative Companies by Canadian Business.
Products developed by Axiom Zen have touched 200+ million consumers and are used by the world’s leading companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, and NASA, as well as by eminent academic institutions and government organizations. They pride themselves in diversity of talent: a team of ~80 creatives includes published authors, over a dozen former founders, diversity from 20+ national origins, and decades of collective experience at startups and Fortune 500s alike.
Roham Gharegozlou is the co-creator of CryptoKitties, the first NFT-based collectible to really catch people’s imagination.
The combination of cute kittens, blockchain-powered authenticity, and breeding pairs showed that the blockchain could be more fun than holding Bitcoin and still just as lucrative. It generated more than $40 million in sales. Gharegozlou is now the CEO of Dapper Labs which, in addition to digital kittens, has also produced NBA Top Shots.
Her partner, Elon Musk, might steal most of the headlines but Grimes is the most high-profile artist making sales backed by NFTs. At the end of February, the Canadian musician put up a series of ten pieces including short videos and songs.
The Canadian musician sold US$6 million worth of NFT art earlier this year. Grimes, the partner of Tesla founder Elon Musk, sold her WarNymph collection of digital art in less than 20 minutes on the NFT platform Nifty Gateway. While questions floated around about Grimes’ art and it’s worth, much of the general public was also left wondering what NFT art is and how it is valued.
Mike Winkelmann is a graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina. He’s created concert visuals for artists including Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Katy Perry among others. And for the last ten years has created and published one 3D image every day.
This year, the artist also known as Beeple became the first digital creator to offer an NFT-supported work through a major auction house when he minted a collage of 5,000 everyday artists for Christie’s.
Mike Winkelmann — the digital artist known as Beeple — had sold a print for $100 until October.
Today, an NFT of his work sold for $69 million at Christie’s. The sale positions him “among the top three most valuable living artists,” according to the auction house.
The record-smashing NFT sale comes after months of increasingly valuable auctions. In October, Winkelmann sold his first series of NFTs, with a pair going for $66,666.66 each. In December, he sold a series of works for $3.5 million total. And last month, one of the NFTs that originally sold for $66,666.66 was resold for $6.6 million.
Beeple will take part in a digital exhibition at Beijing’s UCCA Lab this year. Alongside the veteran-designer will be a young rival — Fewocious. An 18-year-old painter, known affectionately to fans as “Fewo,” has emerged as one of the hottest young stars of a new digital art movement driven by NFT innovation. Fewocious is still only 18 years old. While most teenagers might hope for a new iPhone on their 18th birthday, the self-taught artist-generated $370,000 with an NFT drop of surrealist art.
He’s now working with RTFKT to match NFT art with designer clothing. His Fewo World drop also delivered real sneakers and other clothing items, and generated more than $3 million in seconds.
5. Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster
Artists like Beeple and Fewocious are making their sales on NFT art platforms which function like real-world galleries. One of the leading platforms is actually Nifty Gateway. Created by twins Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster to enable mainstream buyers to pay for digital art with a credit card. No need to pay by sending Ether to a private wallet, they exited within a year.
The new version of the platform has become a central site for the world’s leading digital artists. The twins celebrated the sale of the platform to Gemini with a dinner party at which they gave away limited edition NFT art.
6. Mark Cuban
Like Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Cuban is famous for his business success. In 1999, he sold his company Broadcast.com to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion of Yahoo stock. He’s now famous as one of the sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Cuban has now said that if he were starting a business today, he would build it on the blockchain and in the NFT space. From Mark Cuban, that’s the kind of endorsement that people notice.
Mark Cuban is widening the scope of his involvement at the intersection of digital art and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The billionaire Shark Tank star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks confirmed to The Block that he’s building out a new gallery for digital art and collectibles. Marking the latest product launch in the burgeoning market. The website is live, according to Cuban, and has seen tens of thousands of visitors in its initial days of existence.
Our special Pick!
Gary Vaynerchuk a.k.a GeeVee
Gary Vaynerchuk is best known for his work in the wine business. After building his father’s liquor store into a $60 million wine brand, he turned his expertise in marketing and online business. Building into one of the world’s leading media companies.
Vaynerchuk is now excited by the potential in the blockchain. His expertise in entrepreneurship has ensured that his predictions and advice about cryptocurrencies and NFTs find an audience and generate discussions.
GaryVee released his first NFT collection called VeeFriends. The collection consists of 10,255 tokens. The premise of his approach is to create access and serve his community. Each NFT will include a smart contract attached with each token purchase thus giving them “utility” through metadata.
Gary’s focus is to curate the best experience for his community. Bringing enormous access and informational value to all VeeFriends token holders in attendance.
Gary has spent time interacting with hundreds of thousands of people over the past 15 years. What VeeFriends will allow will be a structure around these interactions.
The CEO and Creator of VeeFriends said:
“I have always been about building businesses and creating value for my community – this NFT project allows me to do both. When I saw this macro human trend the only way for me to help others understand it was to be a part of it. I know that NFTs will be here for the rest of my life and I will be actively consulting, investing and advising in this space and I wanted to do it from actually being on the field – doing it myself. I have always believed in being a practitioner of the craft I believe in.”
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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.