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Libertarian Magazine Reason Gets In on Ethereum NFTs

Reason, supportive of Bitcoin and its libertarian underpinnings, auctioned off an NFT for its fundraising drive.

3 min read

In brief

  • Reason Magazine auctioned its first NFT on OpenSea.
  • Nick Gillespie, one of the magazine's editors, told Decrypt he has been a Bitcoin fan since the very beginning.

Bitcoin has deep roots within libertarianism. Now the predominant political philosophy's prominent publication is getting more hands-on with crypto.

In conjunction with its annual webathon fundraising event, Reason magazine has auctioned an Ethereum NFT on the OpenSea marketplace.

Founded in May 1968, Reason is a libertarian magazine focused on free markets and individual freedom. More than a few posts take both Wall Street and world governments to task for abuses of power. Reason sees Bitcoin as a tool to fight back. Recent pieces have defended Bitcoin against charges that it wastes electricity, pointed out how it might defeat Latin American socialism, and even argued that it could "stomp out Wall Street fraud."

Reason is the latest publication to use NFTs to raise funds and draw awareness through the digital art form. It joins magazines such as Fortune, Time, Rolling Stone, The Economist, and Playboy.

James Seibel, Chief Technology Officer at Recur, won the NFT—which features the four hosts of the Reason Roundtable podcast—with a bid of 0.75 WETH (Wrapped ETH), around $3,300. “Owning it,” Seibel told Decrypt, “creates a connection between myself and the institution which is a voice of reason in a media landscape dominated by partisans, bias, and a basic misunderstanding of facts.”

Reason editor-at-large Nick Gillespie told Decrypt the idea of an NFT came from CFO Jon Graff. But it could've just as easily emanated from any number of editorial staffers. "It's really in Reason's DNA, anything that works to decentralize and disperse and kind of diffuse power throughout a system," Gillespie told Decrypt.

Gillespie's own interest in cryptocurrency goes all the way back to reading the Bitcoin white paper from pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. "It seems like a demonstration project of how technology can radically alter the status quo without permission or pleading," he said.

NFTs, the blockchain-based tokens that signify ownership in a linked asset, are building on top of that. Gillespie says NFTs make us think differently, harder, and better about a post-scarcity future in which we can all have virtually everything we want but still desire status.

"When NFTs first emerged, I immediately loved the concept because it blows apart a centuries-old dichotomy between uniqueness and ubiquity in ways that are worth exploring," Gillespie said.

Reason says all proceeds from the sale of the NFT will go to the Reason Foundation, the magazine's publisher. Thanks in part to the NFT sale, it has already passed its original fundraising goal of $420,000.

Gillespie said Reason might look to create a series of NFTs featuring other team members in the future. And even if the digital collectibles turn out to be a fad, it's fun and exciting to continue the legacy of the cypherpunks Reason has chronicled.

Said Gillespie: "We are totally at the dot-matrix-printer stage of a world of what NFTs can offer far beyond 8-bit versions of things that exist in meatspace. Really, really exciting."

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