This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing March 15, 2021.
Welp. Looks like last week’s Byte about NFTs is already outdated. We told you that the highest amount ever paid for an NFT was $6.6 million. The new record is more than 10x higher, clocking in at $69.3 million.
The NFT (pictured above–yes, really) was sold at auction by Christie’s (fancy), and puts the artist–who goes by the pseudonym, Beeple–in similar rarified air as the values fetched at auction for works by Picasso, Manet, and Van Gogh. What’s perhaps even more interesting is that this auction in and of itself was controversial to fans of crypto and blockchain.
Critics say that this was just a marketing stunt for Christie’s, arguing that all Christie’s effectively did was auction a .jpg file–not an NFT. Since the auction transaction didn’t take place immediately on the blockchain ledger (thereby officiating the transfer of ownership of the unique token representing the artwork), Christie’s involvement was unnecessary and antithetical to the philosophies of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Our take: First, that is an extraordinary price tag. We’ll probably see more like it. Hopefully these amounts are not consequential to the buyers. Second, the philosophical point is well-taken that Christie’s is an “old school” institution trying to gain a foothold in this new territory.
However, we also see the relevance of brokerages for NFT transactions. We wonder if the critics of this transaction are similarly critical of the many websites that are already around to facilitate the listing, discoverability, auction, and purchase of NFTs today.
Facebook announced new efforts aimed to increase monetization opportunities for content creators on its platform.
Among the new changes are ad monetization for videos as short as 1 minute (down from the previous 3-minute minimum), counting live and short-form video viewership towards qualification for the monetization program (previously only longer videos counted), and new revenue opportunities during live streams and events.
Our take: It makes sense to open up monetization opportunities for content creators who are more focused on live-streaming and short form content, as these formats have exploded in popularity recently.
We think making creator-friendly moves with regards to monetization is extremely important for digital platforms which rely on independent creators for the content that brings engagement and viewership to the platform. Creator-friendly platforms will draw creators, which in turn will draw their audiences and the opportunities that come from that increased engagement. Smart move to improve upon that flywheel.
In an official filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla announced it was changing the official titles of two of its top executives.
As of March 15, 2021 CEO Elon Musk would become, “Technoking of Tesla,” and CFO Zach Kirkhorn would become, “Master of Coin.”
The company further clarified that the two would maintain their current positions. No other matters were addressed in the Form 8-K filing.
Our take: This is the same company that brought us cars that fart and dance. It’s childish, irreverent, unprofessional, and we love it. The corporate world takes itself way too seriously and is generally devoid of personality and humanity. Tesla is refreshing and entertaining in an otherwise pretty drab landscape.
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