VanEck, the New York-based asset management firm, announced today the launch of its first NFT collection, which will be given away in an airdrop.
The VanEck Community NFT will be 1,000 Ethereum-based NFTs that trace the journey of “Hammy,” a rebooted metaversal (and slightly noir) version of Alexander Hamilton. NFT holders will accompany Hammy on an adventure through the past, present, and future of monetary policy. (NFTs are unique tokens that signify ownership of digital assets.)
In a statement this morning, VanEck emphasized the utility of these NFTs as the major selling point and focus of the collection. Each NFT will grant its owner unique benefits, ranging from early access to VanEck’s digital asset research to exclusive invitations to in-person and digital events.
“We’ve designed the VanEck Community NFT to function like a digital membership card,” said Matthew Bartlett, a project co-founder. Each NFT owner will have access to “the insights of an inclusive community of digital assets enthusiasts and investors.”
The collection will be divided into three tiers—commons (750 NFTs), rare (approximately 230), and legendary (approximately 20), with the rarer NFTs offering more exclusive benefits.
VanEck, in fact, appears so committed to the mission of using these NFTs to generate and reinforce community that it’s attempted to outright prohibit their sale as securities. The disclaimer attached to VanEck’s NFT site emphatically says they “have no value and are not intended by VanEck to ever have any value. ... You must not attempt to obtain an NFT from VanEck if you plan to sell or transfer it.”
The firm’s insistence on prioritizing utility and entertainment over an NFT's speculative investment value comes at a time when many are looking beyond NFTs’ well-publicized function as status symbols to their lasting value as community-building tools.
VanEck made headlines last year when the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected its bid to create the first Bitcoin spot ETF. Its Bitcoin futures ETF, one of four currently permitted by the SEC, launched in mid-November.