In brief

  • Paris Hilton is excited to release an NFT.
  • She may have forgotten about the one she auctioned for 40 ETH last year.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are becoming popular with a new generation of artists and performers. So much so that some forgotten stars of years past have begun creating and selling their own NFTs.

Paris Hilton, the 40-year-old socialite and granddaughter of the Hilton Hotels founder, participated in a Clubhouse session on NFTs and tweeted yesterday she’s “excited to release [her] first NFT” after tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom encouraged her to do so.

The only problem? She already released her first NFT last year. 

In August 2020, the “House of Wax” star auctioned a drawing of her cat on NFT platform Cryptograph. She donated the proceeds of the 40 ETH sale (then worth $17,000) to Meals on Wheels, the LA Food Bank, and a charity that makes “backpack beds” for homeless people.

Hilton can be forgiven for getting confused. For starters, she likely maintains a team of publicists and social media managers to create content for her nearly 17 million Twitter followers.

More to the point, NFTs weren’t yet on a path to becoming a household name until this month. According to a recently published report from Dapp Radar, NFT markets did $340 million in trading volume in February—more than in all of 2020. 

The blockchain-based tokens are essentially digital versions of trading cards or unique artwork. Want a one-of-a-kind music video from Grimes? The person who spent $388,938 worth of Ether this week for her “Death of the Old” certainly did. That piece, sold via auction site Nifty Gateway, resides not in anyone’s art gallery but on the internet. Only the owner can sell it, but anyone can go onto the Ethereum blockchain to verify that the owner has the rights to it.

 

Is basketball more your jam? NBA TopShot offers digital collectibles like 3D video highlights repackaged into an attractive format. That platform alone was responsible for two-thirds of February’s NFT trading volume. 

Mainstream publications such as Wired and Reuters are now covering the trend with equal parts head-scratching curiosity and technological intrigue over three years after CryptoKitties—funny-looking NFT cats you can “breed” with other cats—effectively ground all other Ethereum transactions to a halt.

Mainstream interest. Now that’s hot.