Is it beer, or digital art? Whistle Buoy Brewing Company’s answer is “absolutely.”
This week, the almost two-year-old Victoria brewery released what they consider a first for the country and possibly the world: a non-fungible token (NFT) you can drink.
“We were tuned in to some of what’s happening in the cryptocurrency market right now,” said Isaiah Archer, marketing director at Whistle Buoy. “Because we have this creative outlet of launching new beers all the time, we thought we’d try dipping our toes into (NFT’s),” considering that people are “engaging with consumer products in a completely new dimension.”
“Non-fungible” data is data made completely unique by way of blockchain technology. The buyer of an NFT picture, GIF or video owns a one-of-a-kind version of that file, like the owner of an original Monet painting over a print. Sure, NFT media can be downloaded, screenshot or pirated as simply as anything else on the internet – but its veritably authentic file can only belong to its owner, which has brought frenzie to the internet art and collectors communities.
Mike Winkelmann AKA “Beeple” – a digital artist whose work inspired Whistle Buoy’s NFT endeavour – sold a digital NFT collage for $70 million at Christie’s Auction House in March. Northern Vancouver’s Consumer Commodity has opened bids on hundreds of NFT collectables featuring fashion icon Nick Wooster.
Hoping to be a part of the emerging technology, Whistle Buoys sought the creation of NFT animation “NFT IPA” with local multimedia artist and friend to Archer, Ryan Steele. As of reporting, the NFT’s highest bid on OpenSea NFT marketplace is $100.69.
NFT contracts allow royalties to be paid to the founder of an NFT in perpetuity. “If the right collectors in the market are actually paying attention to it, it can start exchanging hands a number of times a day,” Archer said. Each would mean a payout to the artist.
When it comes to start-up craft beer and the NFT market, both are “kind of a ridiculous idea,” Archer said. “We do what we do because we love it. There’s a whole lot of creative opportunity. But there’s real money to be made – it’s real business.”
Along with the NFT, Whistle Buoy’s winning bidder will receive the brewery’s first can of its limited NFT IPA beer. The Nelson, Flex and Trident hop (notice the acronym), is what Archer described as a juicy IPA. It’s available in a limited supply of 250 32 ounce gold and numbered cans.
Cans and draught of the IPA will be sold at Whistle Buoy in Market Square while supplies last and before it’s “gone forever,” Archer said. He said single patrons have already been buying large numbers of the can, despite their litre amount.
It’s interesting to learn about human psychology and how people behave when they perceive scarcity in something they believe desirable, Archer said. “This is just the first kick of the can and a good learning for us.”
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