We all know that a digital signature can be a legal signature, that digital art can be worth more than physical art, and that NFTs are not merely silly JPEGs that you can copy and paste.
However, a new digital platform for NFT autographs (brilliantly called Autograph) raised $170 million in Series B this week, and it’s again making me question the value of digital things.
Sports and NFTs have long gone hand-in-hand — just took at the popularity of both fan tokens for football/soccer clubs and NFT sports moments like NBA Top Shots. Autograph capitalizes on this: the platform is co-founded by NFT quarterback Tom Brady and boasts support from celebs like Tiger Woods and The Weeknd.
While Autograph has already expanded beyond literal autographs as NFTs (to NFTs for The Saw franchise, for instance), the heart of the project is about connecting celebrities to fans, digitally.
And I’m all for that! Having an NFT of a picture of my favorite athlete (if I had one) doing a big sports thing (can you tell how much I love sports?) would be great — but an autograph?
An autograph seems to be something that is valuable because that person quite literally took a pen and signed their name onto a physical object. The value comes from the knowledge that this person who you greatly admire actually touched the thing you own. And an NFT, by nature, loses that personal aspect.
But that’s just me! Clearly, $170 million in funding means that a fair amount of people don’t agree….but all the same, I prefer my NFTs to be pictures of oddly named animals rather than an impersonal digitized replica of a signature.