bit16z is a digital art project by Studio Self examining crypto ownership through avatars based on technology investors.
The idea behind the project is to create virtual avatars of the investors whose decisions impact and shape the market that gives NFT projects their value, whether through their participation or abstinence.
bit16z asks this question; what if you could earn a return on your investment simply by building your personal brand?
When investors — such as Chris Sacca, featured in the first bit16z drop — publicly lend their personal brand to a token, they bring a level of trust that increases its value.
Sacca has been open about his own support for BTC/ETH.
“I own a broad basket ranging from early BTC/ETH to shitcoin lottery tickets.” “The climate impact bums me out,” he tweeted. “But that is the market impetus for a lot of clean energy innovation.”
But the flipside is also true. Warren Buffett has been steadfast in his skepticism of crypto in general. He famously referred to it as “probably rat poison squared.”
When a name like that comes out with comments like that, the value is inescapably influenced again; it will either inspire people who view incumbent investors in a negative light to double down on their own interest in the space, or it will deter potential ecosystem members from participating. That’s the ripple effect.
I created bit16z as a way to talk about and comment on the cult of personality that surrounds investing in tech, startups and crypto. It’s a fun project, and each creation has been incredibly fun to work on; but it also serves as a reminder that the personal brands of known investors have power.
The Impact of Individual Investors’ Personal Brands on the Value of NFTs
A personal brand can be a powerful asset to an individual. It can provide credence and recognition, and serve as a means of building trust with current and new customers. And that trust factor is a key part of the appeal in buying into an NFT movement, community or tribe.
When you invest in an NFT, your investment is made more valuable by the fact that you specifically invested your time and resources into purchasing the token, and that you specifically wanted to tie your name and identity to it.
The Value of an Individual Investor’s Personal Brand
If you are an investor in a burgeoning NFT, the idea of your personal brand growing in value through your personal investment is both appealing and encouraging. In order to understand the true value of your personal brand, you must first understand the mechanics of NFT acquisition and interest, and the role personality plays in the ecosystem.
Example. Each CryptoKitty in CryptoKitties is a digital asset on the Ethereum blockchain. Each CryptoKitty is also a little kitten and can be bred with other CryptoKitties. These ‘digital cats’ are then exchanged on the CryptoKitties platform. The primary value in a digital cat is in the data that uniquely identifies the cat. But that value is simply based on one thing. How much someone is willing to pay to own the asset. And when the asset is tied to a recognisable name, to a recognisable identity, to a recognisable brand, its attractiveness increases.
How You Can Build Your Personal Brand for NFTs
As investors in NFTs, you have an opportunity to share your expertise in a unique way. You can attract a following of potential customers to your personal brand and become a thought leader in your respective space. But it has to be done creatively, responsibly, and authentically. Clarity about who you are, why you give a s**t, and where you want to take your passion is imperative. You can’t just become another mindless shill. That’s not going to work, and it’s not going to contribute to the creativity that NFTs can allow — in the right hands.
Joan Westenberg is an award-winning Australian contemporary writer, angel investor, communicator and creative director. She is the founder of branding and creative firm Studio Self. Her approach to messaging, communication and semiotics has built her reputation as a writer, and she has been named as one of the leading startup voices in Australia by SmartCompany.
Her writing has appeared in The SF Chronicle, Wired, The AFR, The Observer, ABC, Junkee, SBS, Crikey and over 40+ publications. Her regular work can be found on Pizza Party, a blog about creativity, culture and technology. Joan is the creator of Transgenderinclusion.com, an open-source workplace inclusion hack.