Crypto Culture

It’s Digital Overload as NFTs Take Manhattan, Eat Art Basel, and Bring Back the Homies

Hi, welcome to your Weekend!

Remember the Homies? If you came of age in 1990s California like I did, you may recall seeing the plastic figurines of Latino barrio characters being sold in supermarket vending machines, comic book shops and convenience stores. They made an overnight success out of artist David Gonzalez, who sold millions of the two-inch tall Homies to kids and adult collectors, then parlayed their grassroots popularity (and an obviously racist ban by the LAPD) into an animated series, lunchboxes, breath mints, beach towels and more.  

Want to take a wild guess why I bring up the Homies now? Yup, they’re about to become non-fungible tokens. Per a press release from NFT agency Non-Fungible Art, Inc., “Crypto Homies will launch in Q1 2022 as interactive 3D digital collectible NFTs debuting on the blockchain.” The agency is valuing the Homies drop at a cool $100 million. 

On the one hand, it’s silly to feel protective of a 25-year-old toy brand that was itself a canny act of cultural appropriation. On the other hand, is nothing sacred, Homies!? As this weekend’s stories demonstrate, the race to mint NFTs is overtaking everything in life once held precious, from fine art orgies in Miami, to fancy downtown galleries in New York, to the dusty archives of venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road (see Weekend Recommends, at bottom). 

Will this mad, non-fungible rush end in tears? Will it flame out spectacularly, like so many Tom Sachs NFT rockets? Or, like the Homies themselves, will it continue to evolve into new formats and new tech mediums? Only time will tell. 

Scott Galloway Wants to Be “the Most Influential Thought Leader in the History of Business”

The podcaster-blogger-professor-marketing guru, is “very uncomfortable with the idea of a profile.” But, that didn’t stop Galloway from sitting down with The Information’s Josh Duboff and delving deep into his upcoming show on CNN+, the news network’s first foray into streaming. He also shared his thoughts on breaking up Big Tech, masculinity and sexuality, his disappointments with the Democratic Party and the biggest problem with TV news.


The NFTs That Ate Art Basel

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair South Beach, where we lay our scene... The dueling parties? Those “who believe NFTs are speculative or ‘not art,’ and those who believe it’s a cultural and economic revolution,” according to curator Tam Gryn. Miami native Melissa Henderson takes us inside Art Basel’s hard-partying NFT scene, featuring the Winklevii, metaverse pop star CC is Dreaming and a slew of conquering crypto bros. 


For Gen Z, Parties Are Back. Now, How to Send That Invitation?

Facebook is over, TikTok is chaotic, and no one under the age of 30 has their friends’ emails. What’s a young party host to do now that post-pandemic gatherings are in full swing? There seems to be zero consensus on what’s in, just a clear rulebook on what’s decidedly out. 


Minting Takes Manhattan: A Gallery Sells Millions Before the Art Is Made

Welcome to the “Ellis Island of the metaverse.” On the opening night of NFT artist Tyler Hobbs’ “Incomplete Control” show in Soho, the guests all prepaid anywhere from $120,000 to $400,000 to acquire a Hobbs original. Is this a sign of a bubble looking to burst, or the birth of a new world order?


The Endorsement

Jillian Goodman, Opinion Editor, on the Succession finale:

The Succession season 3 finale is this Sunday, and I have questions. Is Kendall dead? Is Greg going to sue Greenpeace? What fabulous hat is Shiv going to wear to her mum’s wedding? And most importantly, who is Scandinavian startup bro Lukas Mattsons real-life tech-founder analog? Given that he is played by actual Swede Alexander Skarsgård, there has to be a little bit of Spotify-founder Daniel Ek in there. But the closer comparisons are clearly Snap’s Evan Spiegel and Tesla’s Elon Musk. The case for Spiegel: Mattson’s fictional GoJo seems to be a mashup of Snap and Twitch, with a little bit of FanDuel thrown in. (Per Roman: “The future is movies, TV, music, games, sports, eSports, VR, AR, betting, fucking everything, for everyone, and Matsson knows how to get there.) Skarsgård is also tall (6’4”), as is Spiegel (61). But theres a lot of nihilist-libertarian troll in Mattson that could only be an homage to Musk. The well-timed tweet (complete with a cash-vomit filter) that Mattson used to drive up his companys share price ahead of a planned merger with Waystar Royco was a classic Musk move. All that said, if the finale throws in a crypto subplot, we may have a different answer entirely: He’s Jack Dorsey.

Watching: The delightful journey of a TikTok anthem
If you’ve spent any time on TikTok lately you probably know GAYLE, aka @gaylecantspell, the 17-year-old creator of the viral song of the season, “abcdefu.” In an ultra 2021 twist, the song was sparked by a simple comment on one of GAYLE’s videos: “Can you write a breakup song using the alphabet.” This Twitter thread charts what happened next, from GAYLE’S acoustic response to the song’s streaming release to the ensuing TikTok trend where young people smash crockery as the song plays in the background. GAYLE’s “abcdefu” is now second on the iTunes charts and has 100 million streams, offering an exemplary lesson in the way social media removes certain gatekeepers from the equation. In the land of TikTok, who needs a talent agent?


Noticing: VCs selling their old paperwork on the blockchain
Another day, another JPEG worth more than the average house. This time it’s for a piece of Internet history: Sequoia Capital sold its original memo about investing in YouTube as an NFT. The buyer dropped over $850,000 worth of Ethereum on the piece, assuring the masses that it was “a small price for what it represents.” Don’t worry, the proceeds won’t pad Sequoia’s already deep pockets; it’ll be donated to a foundation that helps fund crypto projects. With run-ups like these, you can bet other VCs are rifling through their file cabinets at this very moment, digging up old term sheets to throw on the blockchain.


Reading: Advice for quitting, from someone who’s done it. 
Feeling burnt out at your job? Is your current role taking a toll on your mental health? No one understands these sorts of conundrums (to the nth degree) better than Prince Harry. After stepping back from his royal duties with wife Meghan Markle in early 2020 (citing a toxic environment at the palace, among other things), the Duke of Sussex became involved in BetterUp, an app providing mental health and coaching services. In an interview with Fast Company about the Great Resignation, he notes, “Many people around the world have been stuck in jobs that didn’t bring them joy, and now they’re putting their mental health and happiness first.” The takeaway is clear: If Prince Harry can leave a centuries-old institution, you can probably quit your 9-to-5. 


Makes You Think

Tag yourself—we’re forever SaaS VC.

Until next Weekend, thanks for reading!

—Jon

Weekend Editor, The Information




Jon Steinberg is the Weekend Editor at The Information. He is a former editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and senior editor at New York magazine, where his work won many National Magazine Awards.
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