Move over athletes and gamers—digital influencers want in on the NFT trend

Expanding crypto collectibles to digital content creators, travel writers and parenting bloggers requires experimenting and educating.

fitness influencer

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Early adopters are paving the way for all kinds of collectible digital products from video clips to artwork to trading cards powered by blockchain technology. Kyle Hjelmeseth, founder and president of G&B Digital Management, wants to expand the non-fungible token craze beyond gamers and athletes to include influencers in fashion and parenting. 

"Digital influencers like world travelers, moms and families, fashionistas are not associated with NFTs yet, but we see the same potential for them," he said.

G&B is working with NAFT.io to introduce NFTs to digital content creators. He said the company is planning the first NFT art launch with David Hoffmann, a travel writer who has a popular YouTube channel, Davidsbeenhere. During his travels in India, Hoffmann's videos feature him sampling street food and traditional dishes. The digital collectible will be snippets from this content.

"We're going to make packs of his best moments from his travels throughout India and make those moments accessible for followers worldwide," Hjelmeseth said.

SEE: New platform uses NFTs as a gateway for digital rights management (ZDNet)

NBA Top Shots is an officially-licensed NBA collectible marketplace where fans can buy packs of "moments," which are video clips from games. The NBA releases packs a few times a month. People wait in a digital queue to buy the packs and can resell or trade the moments on the NFT market on the site. There are four tiers of moments: common, rare, legendary and ultimate. Artists and trading card companies also are producing digital versions of these cards.  

He said NFTs are an opportunity for creators to turn their content into a digital asset to sell to fans.

Hjelmeseth said that he created an advisory group at his company to explore NFT opportunities. Bobby Bilina, G&B's director of talent, has been following cryptocurrency for several years and is leading the team.

Because creators own the rights to their content, moving into NFTs is an easy next step, Bilina said.

"That's what this is about—another way to connect with your followers," he said.  

Bilina said that all options are open at the moment for artists and other creative types. Professional athletes, digital artists like Beeple and video gamers can command much higher prices for NFTs than most digital influencers. People with smaller fan bases will have to find other price points. 

"Exclusive, high-priced items will work for some creators, but there are also ways to own fractions of these assets," Bilina said.

Artists and other content creators can use the smart contract element of blockchain to keep earning income on these products after the initial sale. 

"Smart contracts have really changed the game," Bilina said.

Hjelmeseth said that his firm will help clients get up to speed on blockchain technology to help them develop new revenue streams.

"We know that this is a natural progression of the influencer digital economy so might as well make sure our people are up to speed," he said.

G&B is aiming to launch Hoffmann's NFT offering in May. The company is also working with gamer David "Grand Poobear" Hunt, a world record holder in speedrunning and one of the top Super Mario Brothers players. 

Bilina said that the company will help clients understand all elements of NFT art, including energy use and the potential impact on climate change.

Sustainability platform Aerial recently launched a new tool for offsetting the carbon emissions of NFTs. NFT owners paste their NFT collection address into the tool to get an estimate of the collection's carbon emissions. NFT fans have the option to make a contribution to verified carbon removal projects with a credit card or Ethereum to offset those emissions.

Aerial co-founder Andreas Homer said NFTs built and distributed on Ethereum generate a significant amount of carbon dioxide due to the energy used to power the proof of work consensus mechanism

"While this mechanism ensures the security of the network and that all funds are valid, it comes at a cost to the environment," Homer said in a press release. "Ethereum 2.0 will include efficiency improvements such as the transition to proof of stake, but that's estimated to be at least a year away."

Aerial co-founder Ari Sawyers said in a press release the company is working with several carbon removal initiatives including forest conservation projects verified by Climate Action Reserve and American Carbon Registry and Charm Industrial, technology that converts captured CO2 into a bio-oil that's injected underground.

"While carbon offsets are not a perfect solution, they do provide an immediate way to start tackling the environmental effects of the current NFT boom," Aerial co-founder Ebby Amir said in a press release. 

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...