Things people get that could be worth a fortune - or nothing at all - later.
NFT is the most recent buzzword from the cryptocurrency world that has reached the mainstream. If you don't know what an NFT is, we'll try to explain, but we honestly don't care enough to get into the nitty-gritty. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, or in layman's terms, a one-of-a-kind thing that can be exchanged or sold. A digital NFT could be anything digital, such as images, video clips, a piece of music, or an MP3 of a fart if you were so inclined. Mostly, NFTs are talked about as an evolution of art collecting, but any digital file can be copied. That's where another buzzword comes in: blockchain. The over-simplified explanation is that blockchain technology allows unique information attached to the file to make it unique - exactly like a unit of cryptocurrency. As the file is unique, the copyright and reproduction rights can be owned, traded, or sold. With that explained, we can delve deeper into the NFTs that have made their way into the automotive world.
Porsche Australia has gone as far as bringing artist Nigel Sense in to create a new art car for three photograph-based NFTs. The German NFT collectibles company Fanzone.io is in charge of turning the photos into tokens featuring "sounds that connect to the colors and vibrancy of the Taycan." According to Porsche, as the Taycan is an electric vehicle, the NFTs were minted "in a carbon-neutral way by offsetting them via the Porsche Impact program." All proceeds are being donated to the Australian Center for Contemporary Art.
The most spectacular car-based NFT so far comes from an artist that goes by the name Shl0ms. He took a Lamborghini Huracan and made a video of it being blown up with explosives. Then, he put "999 exquisitely filmed fragments of a detonated Lamborghini Huracan" up for sale as NFTs. Along with a small video clip, each person who buys one of Shl0ms NFTs gets a part of the wrecked car. According to Shl0ms, he and his team spent two weeks testing explosives and techniques on other vehicles before setting an explosives expert loose on a quarter of a million-dollar, high-mileage Huracan.
There's some genuine madness in the automotive NFT world, and the first NFT digital concept car is a cherry on the cake. The French automaker Alpine worked with the NFT hypercar designer (apparently that's a job description now) nfast to create the Alpine GTA Concept. One of the liveries features blue lines that represent an overhead diagram and GPS coordinates of Mont Blanc that can only be seen when wearing 3D anaglyph glasses. Five versions, each with a different livery, went up for sale. But here's where it gets faintly absurd: The owners can virtually race their digital concept cars in Revv Racing, a blockchain-based racing game by Animoca Brands. As easy as it is to roll your eyes at the idea of paying crazy money for a digitally created concept car, the NFTs are pretty damn slick.
There are not many automakers that can all-but guarantee their customers have serious cash. Rolls-Royce is one of them and went all-out with an NFT to go with the special-edition Black Badge variant of the new Ghost. The NFT is an animation created by artist and illustrator Mason London to celebrate the legacy of the extravagant Rolls-Royce Black Badge series. It makes sense as Rolls-Royce created the Black Badge in response to younger clients commissioning darker, edgier, yet outlandish designs for their commissions. Rolls-Royce also recognizes that it attracts what it describes as "outliers, visionaries, and iconoclasts." You can call them what you want.
This trippy NFT was sold in Canada alongside a Nissan GT-R Nismo Special Edition at auction for the princely sum of $2.3 million - over ten times the reserve price. Nissan Canada partnered with artist Alex McLeod to create the NFT part of the deal, and appreciation of the art will come down to taste. The fact the package was sold for so much over the reserve price is important as anything over the reserve was destined to go to charity. One of the upshots of NFTs is that they can be relatively inexpensive to produce compared to what they sell for, and that profit can go somewhere other than a giant corporation's pocket, which is a nice way to get some publicity.
Before Nissan auctioned a car with an NFT, Lykan did the same but with the single surviving stunt car used in the movie Furious 7. The car was sold with the interior still damaged, scratched paintwork and windows, a missing rear air intake, a damaged front grille, and no mirrors, so it was clearly used in the movie. The NFTs sold with the piece of Fast & Furious franchise movie history were exclusive images and 3D videos of the Lykan Hypersport stunt car, and went for $525,000. The final figure was a lot less than the estimated amount of between $750,000 and $2,500,000.
Ferrari's first road-going V6-powered car is a technological marvel, but the Ferrari 296 GTB still wasn't good enough for the German-based tuner, DMC. The fact that the hybrid generated 818 horsepower and 546 lb-ft wasn't enough either, so the company upgraded it to make 888 hp, then added forged carbon fiber aerodynamic panels and redesigned the two-piece front lip, rear spoiler and diffuser, and side skirts. Then, the company started on the buzzwords. The car is planned to be sold using a cryptocurrency payment method and come with a 3D NFT of the car. DMC also ways that the owner will later be able to interact with the NFT through Facebook's Metaverse or its augmented reality app. This seems absurd as they could just interact with the real thing sitting in the garage and which is capable of driving on a real road or track.
If you want to get into the NFT game, and it is a game, then the best and most affordable way is with a toy. That tracks as Hot Wheels has been the gateway for many people into cars as a hobby. Hot Wheels has a couple of series of its "NFT Garage," and the NFTs sell, initially, for $25. You don't just get one, though, and therein lies the rub. They are sold as a video game-style loot box that gives you several cars from the series. As you can expect, the idea is to trade and complete sets, and there are rare NFT cars that will likely end up piling on in value. The website hosting the NFTs is down at the time of writing, so we'll see how that plays out.