I have actually truly striven to disregard non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Reading conversation of them online makes me wince. And interest in undesirable pictures of apes, robotics, and blobs makes me question individuals’s peace of mind, as do the huge rates spent for this type of rubbish, and the community’s basic termination of the unfavorable effect NFTs have on the environment.
Then among my preferred K-pop vocalists launched a series of NFTs through fandom-focused website KLKTN, thrusting the tokens into my daily discussion. It was great when NFTs were delegated crypto lovers and fans of unsightly JPEGs, all betting like they remained in Vegas, but this wasn’t the very same. I had actually been pushed into taking note, so I chose to learn if there’s any genuine worth in owning an NFT targeted at a specific section of fandom.
There’s something rather undesirable about NFTs being pressed towards greatly engaged fandoms, in this case K-pop idols, where purchasing unique items is thought about part of the offer. To me, and I presume lots of others, the discussion around NFTs appears to fixate cash. How much they are acquired for, just how much are apparently “worth,” and the revenue made upon resale. Idol NFTs simply appear like a get-rich-quick money grab from negative corporations without any genuine interest in the artist.
Idol fans spend a lot of money on merchandise and more. From concert tickets, albums, and photo books, to online or in-person meet-and-greets. Supporting your favorite artist is a pricey endeavor. The introduction of an NFT could push savvy fans into wanting to know more, but this could also lead them to wade through the often impenetrable language used in the discussion of NFTs online, where separating the cringe-making bluster from actual facts is nigh-on impossible.
I wanted to get past this, so I purchased some collectible NFTs released by singer Kang Hyewon from KLKTN to see what the fuss was all about, and spoke to the team about what makes these collectibles different from other NFTs. Their answers were enlightening, but did they convince me NFTs have a place in any fandom?
Connecting fans to artists
KLKTN started out in mid-2021 and specifically targets K-pop, anime, and Japanese culture fandoms. In an email exchange, Digital Trends spoke to Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Fabiano Soriani, Chief Business Officer Hannah Cho, and art and legal adviser Yayoi Shionoiri about its approach to NFTs.
“We think that fandom platforms are far from achieving the full potential of engagement with the technologies out there. We are interested in how the technology of NFTs can change that landscape,” the team wrote in response to my question about how KLKTN is different from the world of regular NFTs. “Every artist we’ve worked with and his or her fan base has been completely unique. We work with the artists to create something we think will speak to their fans. We have been quite experimental.”
KLKTN is excited to announce our next artist, #KangHyeWon! To commemorate her brand-new album, Kang HyeWon is partnering with #KLKTN to produce special digital experiences and #nfts to return to her fans.
Be the very first to understand when it drops! https://t.co/KVaGPWpIGl#강혜원 #hyewon pic.twitter.com/XHmg1CpOZC
— KLKTNofficial (@KLKTNofficial) December 21, 2021
What did I purchase, and did it appear speculative? I acquired a “Moment,” which is a collection of 3 video files restricted to 2,500 editions. The primary videos reveal Hyewon providing a message to the video camera, and the 3rd is an animation of her signature. It cost $2. The NFT survives on KLKTN’s site, where it can be seen or downloaded on to my computer system.
Unfortunately, seeing the 3 files is unfulfilling. The very first video is a brief sneak peek of the primary video, for that reason meaningless, and as charming as Hyewon’s signature is, I don’t require to see it more than one or two times. It doesn’t feel speculative, unless you take speculative to imply beta.
Why would you wish to purchase one?
If owning among KLKTN’s Moments is a bit frustrating, and you have no interest in apes or extremely costly digital art, why would anybody wish to welcome NFTs at all? I asked the group, and Sobriani responded to initially.
“I have lived in four countries, plus moved within cities a couple of times, and every time I move, there are things that don’t fit the bag or don’t make the move and get lost,” he stated “I’ve had a collection of keychains, stones, trading cards, LEGO, all gone by now. Also, I’m not a materialistic person, my most valued possessions are photos and videos, certificates, NFTs, and social accounts. All those live on the cloud and I never lose them. Digital items are perfect for me.”
Cho was more philosophical in her action.
“Is something physical more real or valuable than something that’s held in a digital format? To me, they’re simply different media,” Cho stated. “Like watercolor versus photography. One form of media is not necessarily more valuable than the other. The value comes from the content, context, and personal preference. A physical photo might be dear to one, but a 15-second video might be more valuable to another. We are used to the idea of buying an officially released photocard of Kang HyeWon when we could just as easily print the photo ourselves. If we want to buy an officially released video of Kang HyeWon instead of screen-grabbing it, we can buy it as an NFT. That’s the power of NFT. It authenticates digital files.”
Viewing an NFT as simply another collectible, and one that doesn’t inhabit any physical area, is an intriguing point. As discussed previously, an engaged fan will likely purchase rather a great deal of product, so not including yet more real things to the stack while still supporting your preferred star is rather appealing.
However, due to the uninspired experience of seeing the KLKTN files on the desktop (it’s a little much better on mobile) presently being far less attracting than snapping through a real-world picture collection, it’s one I’d be not likely to repeat. However, the group does state it’s revamping the site at the minute, so this might alter in the future.
The concern then ends up being, what occurs to an NFT in the future? This is the fantastic unidentified, since while the fate of my genuine picture card is practically entirely in my hands, the NFT’s future is more based on other forces. What occurs if KLKTN closes down?
“We are taking steps to try and ensure that our NFTs and platform are future-proof,” the team told Digital Trends. “We have placed the assets on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and we also hope to partner with existing marketplaces that operate on [the Flow blockchain] to assure interoperability so that our NFTs will always hold their value.”
Does this mean I actually own the NFT? After all, it appears to the uninitiated to simply be a file stored on the internet, which I “own” in the same way I own the image I downloaded from Kang Hyewon’s account on social messaging app Bubble. The team at KLKTN called the question of ownership “fundamental to the understanding of NFTs” and explained it this way:
“From a conceptual perspective, an NFT is the digital ledger entry that points to a specific digital object and its current owner. Now, the NFT will generally include a unique resource indicator that points to the digital object, and the combination of the NFT with the associated digital object seems to be what people think of when they refer to a NFT. What makes owning a NFT so special is that your NFT is uniquely connected to you and your wallet – even though it may be minted and issued in a larger edition (with other copies owned by other people), and you may not necessarily have the exclusive copyright to the associated digital object, the token you have is specifically and uniquely yours and, in that way, a one-of-one.”
Owning a special item is always going to be attractive to all dedicated fans, so there is certainly appeal to this. Except unlike a physical special item, perhaps with a signature, you really have to go looking for what makes your NFT uniquely yours. And when you have to explain what makes the NFT special, it’s quite underwhelming, compared to the obvious uniqueness of a signed photo, for example. KLKTN registers its NFT’s on the Flow blockchain, which it claims is 99.9% more efficient than other blockchains ,to help alleviate some of the environmental concerns over NFTs.
Search social media for NFT talk and you’re almost certain to find someone who has flipped a hideous NFT for thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Who doesn’t want to make easy money? The temptation will be there to buy a collectible NFT with the hope, or even expectation, that you will quickly sell it on to someone else for more than you paid. Apart from this not being the point of buying idol merchandise, what does KLKTN say about its NFT’s possibly rising in value?
In a tweet to me, Sobriani stated: “At KLKTN we’re trying out all different ways that the fans can get something as directly from their artists as possible versus speculation we see on other markets,” recommending it’s more greatly concentrated on pleasing the fandom than engaging with speculators.
In my e-mail discussion, the group stated: “KLKTN NFTs are designed as a direct-as-possible connection between the artist and the fan. Maybe you watch a Moment and would like to keep it, while another one you wouldn’t mind sharing with someone who joins after the sale concluded. Ownership and provenance are really the coolest property of NFTs on blockchain, and we’ll fully support fans being able to trade moments, special editions, or anything they want to.”
The KLKTN site has a Marketplace link, but it’s presently not functional, and regardless of Sobriani’s preliminary message showing it wasn’t greatly concentrated on trading, this and the phrasing in the group’s e-mail action recommend otherwise. Yes, individuals (not simply speculators) earn money from NFTs, but it’s not simple or typical, so don’t anticipate to prosper from your Hyewon NFT.
I set out to see if I might discover worth in NFTs as a fandom-orientated collectible. There absolutely is, and KLKTN makes a great case for them. I value it’s working carefully with the artists to produce precisely the type of collectible fans wish to see, and my Kang Hyewon Moments are polished and, as much as it discomforts me to confess it, rather unique to see.
— Andy Boxall (@AndyBoxall) January 13, 2022
However, it’s no more or less unique than any other collectible, which don’t featured any extra concerns over ownership and the future-proofing of your collection. Then there’s the cumbersome seeing system, which doesn’t motivate you to see your NFTs really frequently or to purchase more. Then there’s still the whiff of outrageous cash-in about it all. There is prospective for all this to alter in the future, but at the minute, there’s an exceptionally restricted appeal for fans in NFTs.
I’m likewise delighted I didn’t invest anymore than $2 on one, which, thinking about the absurd rates on OpenSea — an NFT market where you might invest $4,200 on an image of a vehicle or $3,360 on an image of an animation canine — in fact makes KLKTN’s video-based NFTs appear like amazing worth. They’re not, however. I invested cash on something I’ve taken a look at a handful of times, and might possibly forget I even own. If you’re anticipating your K-pop NFT to provide anything besides the understanding that online someplace, your name is connected to an invoice marking you out as the owner of a video, then you’ll be dissatisfied.
If you’re a hardcore purchaser of K-pop product, and question if NFTs will provide you the very same level of complete satisfaction as a photobook or limited-edition album, consider this: I discovered that if I acquired all 3 special-edition Kang Hyewon NFTs from KLKTN, I’d have a possibility of winning among 10 signed Polaroid images. I practically clicked the Buy Now button for the NFTs so I might possibly win the Polaroid, which I believe informs you whatever you require to understand about whether K-pop NFTs recorded my interest in the very same method as a physical piece of product.