As a public relations professional, it’s become impossible to ignore NFTs. Every other day, they are either on the front page of CNBC, or appear as requests on the online journalist source request services HARO and Qwoted. But what are NFTs really? And how can an NFT be both an early stock certificate into the fraudulent medical startup Theranos and a rare piece of art?
The KCD PR team recently sat in on a webinar by best-selling author and HARO founder Peter Shankman and TruMarketing CEO Gabriella Ribeiro to get the scoop on NFTs. Here are three takeaways we feel all public relations pros should know going forward as we head into 2022.
What are NFTs, exactly?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Non-Fungible Tokens are traded on the Ethereum blockchain, similar to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin. However, NFTs store additional data on the Ethereum blockchain that makes them work differently from cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies are “fungible,” in that the value of one cryptocurrency token is the same as another. That is, if you trade one Bitcoin for another, you will get the same value. NFTs are different in that each is unique and hold differentiating value.
Peter Shankman noted NFTs that are issued earlier tend to have more value. That is, if you trade an NFT and your number is 3, that NFT is worth a lot more than the same NFT that is number 997. Could you imagine if a dollar bill depreciated each time it exchanged owners?
Why are people freaking out about NFTs, then?
Peter Shankman aptly noted that NFTs are all the rage right now because they evoke the scarcity mindset in people.
“Those two things – Scarcity and FOMO – essentially run anything that’s cool,” Shankman said during the webinar. FOMO aptly meaning “fear of missing out”.
NFTs give everyday people the rare opportunity to gain profits from the ownership of a piece famous artwork or other content. For example, 2,500 editions of an NFT by a group called “PoolSuite” sold in late November for $800. A month later, the lowest price of any editions is currently selling at $4,650.
It’s important to note that artists still can retain the copyright and reproduction rights of their work, according to this great explainer by Mitchell Clark at The Verge. However, NFTs allow people to own a small sliver of artwork that they never would be able to otherwise.
“Most importantly, [an NFT] runs on ego,” Shankman added.
How can public relations pros use them?
NFTs are especially useful for public relations pros because they tend to focus on some sort of content. While the use cases for them have ranged from tweets to the Declaration of Independence, all NFTs have in common the fact that they involve content. And it is our job as public relations pros to think of new and exciting ways to get company content out to the best source.
Since all companies must have a digital presence now, your company likely already has materials such as videos or tweets that could be transformed into NFTs. Shankman noted that NFTs are being created by musicians, sports teams, companies, and even movie theaters, airlines, and hotel chains. The only question that remains is what will your company’s first NFT be?