By Geraden Cann
A Kiwi company selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has announced a new partnership with comic book juggernaut Marvel.
Auckland-based Orbis Blockchain Technologies Ltd, which is better known for its app VeVe, sells digital artworks and virtual models which customers can interact with on their phones and display in virtual galleries.
Marvel holds the copyright to 8000 characters including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk and Black Widow.
The partnership will allow VeVe to use these characters to create future NFTs, which is predicted to create a boom in products and purchases.
VeVe co-founder David Yu said the new partnership will also allow customers to buy limited edition digital comics, which he said could in time become as collectible as the real things.
The company will also soon be launching a partnership with Mattel, which makes Barbie, he said.
Marvel entertainment president Dan Buckley said VeVe was chosen because it understands collecting is about the experience “just as much as the product”.
“We look forward to extending that experience for our fans over the years to come,” Buckley said.
Many Kiwis will never have heard of VeVe, but a YouTube search reveals a massive international fan base and customers spending thousands of dollars on digital collectibles.
One video shows a single user spending roughly $US70,000 on the app’s secondary market in a buying frenzy.
Since December, VeVe has sold more than 580,000 NFT digital collectibles to a user base of more than 340,000 customers.
It has reported sales of over $40 million.
VeVe was the culmination of four years’ hard work when it launched, VeVe co-founder Dan Crothers said.
“We saw the opportunity back in 2017 to create something new and exciting.”
Yu said some NFTs have sold out in seconds, including a recently-released Superman that had a limited run of 8888, cost US$50, and sold out in 30 seconds.
In another limited release in April, VeVe sold 87,500 DeLorean time machines in 30 minutes.
They were priced between US$30 and US$90 and generated more than $6 million.
A Slimer digital model, released in June from Ghostbusters for $30, sold out of all 5500 units in 15 seconds.
When a customer buys a NFT they do not receive anything physical, but Crothers said they derive value in the same way as any artwork – from being limited in number and provably owned.
He said owning an NFT compared to a having a copy was the equivalent of owning the Mona Lisa, compared to owning a high-resolution photo of the Mona Lisa.
The owners of images and videos that became internet memes have been cashing in on the NFT trade, with the Disaster Girl meme selling for $650,000 and the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme selling for over $586,000 in April