Dr. Seuss is coming to blockchain. The beloved children's author, who has recently been in some hot water due to racially insensitive drawings he made in the 1930s and 40s, is now leaping into the future. What this means is that there will soon be Dr. Seuss collectibles available as NFTs. That stands for “nonfungible tokens.” If this all sounds crazy, just remember that Beeple's NFT artwork, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, recently sold for $69.3 million. This NFT stuff is serious business, and Dr. Seuss is primed to grab a piece of the action.
As best I understand, which is not much, NFTs are digital copies of something, similar to bitcoin's version of money. However, they are not fungible, meaning they are not like commodities, interchangeable like bitcoins. Being non-fungible, each one is unique. If you own a non-fungible digital token, you own the only one. That makes it more valuable to collectors for whom exclusivity is highly rated. This is why someone paid $69.3 million for a digital image on his computer which looks remarkably similar to every other image of the same artwork that appears on your computer monitor, only this one comes with a non-fungible token.
The token, or NFT, is not something you can hold in your hand any more than is the digital artwork. It is simply something that establishes that you are the owner of the original digital image. Who wouldn't pay $69.3 million for those bragging rights? It does have the advantage of living on forever. It can't be destroyed by fire or water, like physical artwork. Of course, if someone hacks the blockchain network I don't know what happens. I guess you have to have a lot of faith in its security to spend that much money on an NFT.
The World of Dr. Seuss consists of collectibles being launched on the Flow blockchain by its creator, Dapper Labs. This is a fairly recently established business which started with CryptoKitties. You may know them, or like me, not. They are some sort of digital collectible cats that apparently has a healthy following. Last year, they announced several more collectibles would be launched. So far, they have launched only NBA TopShot. They make NFTs available of NBA highlights. They have been licensed by the NBA to do this. According to an article on CNBC.com on March 2 of this year, collectors had already traded $230 million in NBA highlights. Someone paid $200,000 for the rights to a video of Lebron James performing one of his moves.
The World of Dr. Seuss is one of the other crypto-collectibles to be launched. Although announced in July of last year, it has not yet made its debut. However, you can sign up now for early access when it becomes available.
As with the NBA, Dapper Labs has obtained a licensing agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which holds the copyrights to Seuss' material. They are the ones who upset some people a few months ago when they announced they would no longer publish six of Seuss' titles which displayed some insensitivity. Perhaps this will make up some of that lost revenue. In announcing the agreement last July, Susan Brandt, President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said, “Dr. Seuss fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world. By partnering with a company like Dapper Labs, a true trailblazer in the blockchain space, we will be able to offer our fans something entirely new. Digital collectibles will allow Dr. Seuss fans to revisit and revel in their favorite characters in an entirely new way.”
Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, added, “with our new Dr. Seuss digital decal experience, we are marrying the best of both worlds – allowing fans to interact and discover something entirely new, while tapping into our collective nostalgia for the characters that mean so much from our childhood.”
Somehow or other, these digital collectibles are created. They will feature many of Seuss' famous personalities, such as the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton, Thing One and Thing Two. Presumably, they will not create any of these collectibles based on Seuss' Asian characterizations from the war years and before. Followers can collect them and if they miss out at first, can trade with others to build their collections. I really have no idea how this works, but I don't have to. I have no interest in collecting NFTs. To me, Dr Seuss will always be a beloved author, not a non-fungible token.