There’s no such thing as an overnight success. It’s a curious media fiction used to generate buzz, draw attention and drive sales. Best selling authors don’t just bound out of some literary deity’s forehead, pen in hand, ready to write.

 

Hidden conveniently in the backstory are the years of pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) writing, rejection slips, workshops attended, conventions visited, miles driven and hours spent reading books on the craft only to make it… well, mediocre, because in the end, it doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are if your marketing game isn’t on point. It only matters how much buzz is generated and how many copies are sold as to determine your continued value.

 

The same is true of technology.

 

Even though China seems to have (temporarily) stalled Bitcoin’s regularly scheduled trip to the moon, it doesn’t seem to have effected non-fungible tokens. NFT has been around for years (specifically May 3, 2014) and they have only started to get real traction in the past few months, having blown up into a $2 billion market so far in 2021. How crazy is that?

 

Observe the latest in marketing weirdness.

 

We have Sir Anthony Hopkins, newly minted from last year’s Oscar win and an afternoon nap, showing up on Currencyworks’ (CRWK.Q) Vuele platform at the head of movie called Zero Contact. This movie will in fact be made into a non-fungible token, which can be bought, sold, traded, etc, as per usual, on said platform.

 

It also stars Aleks Paunovic, Veronica Ferres and Chris Brochu, whoever they are, and was filmed during the pandemic. It follows five characters based in disparate locations on the globe connected by their devotion to a late tech titan played by Hopkins. They’re forced to work together to bring down Hart’s secret invention, which is supposed to be the solution to mankind’s problems or the end of life on earth.

 

Sure.

 

In this case, the content doesn’t matter. What’s interesting about this is that it could potentially be the perfect example of Marshall McLuhan’s technological axiom: the medium is the message. That is, if it takes off. It’s the first of its kind and it could change the way we absorb this variety of media. Naturally, I have my doubts.

 

I still don’t think this technology’s reached its full potential. This is an okay use. Mediocre is the word I used earlier and it fits here. Certainly better than as a digital signpost pointing the way to a static image located somewhere on the internet, which can be taken down at a moment’s notice. Or anything that asshat Logan Paul comes up with.

 

But this isn’t the checkmate that producer and director Rick Dugdale thinks it is:

 

“This project was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. We had to innovate at every step of the way, shooting in 17 countries around the world. It only makes sense for a film like this to continue to break new ground by releasing via the blockchain. It’s a unique opportunity to be a part of history,” said producer and director Rick Dugdale.

The medium is the whatnow?

Vuele is the first direct-to-consumer, movie platform involved in both viewing and distributing movies as non-fungible tokens. Users can buy movies and collect NFT content. It uses blockchain not only to get to audiences but also to offer their extras, like bonus features, behind-the-scenes stuff and Q and A sessions.

 

Just like you can get on Prime Video for probably a fraction of the cost and that’s the problem.

 

Most new tech runs into this problem as would-be monetizers try to shoehorn it into an existing space. In this case, NFT are expensive compared to a $3.99 monthly payment for your favourite movie off of Bezos’ platform. In terms of original content—Bezos has that, too. As does Netflix, Crave, Disney Plus and the billion of other streamers.

 

The question should be: what new niche is the tech filling? What can it fill? And finally, what’s it’s potential?

 

No answers yet.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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Tags:
Blockchain
Cryptocurrency
Finance
Technology
Bitcoin
CRWK.Q
currencyworks
Jeff Bezos
Marshall McLuhan
NFT
Non-fungible tokens
Prime Video
Sir Anthony Hopkins
technological determinism
technology
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