Celebrity NFT projects are a plague. We deserve better.

We've seen several celebrity NFT drops over the past few months, and almost without exception, they've been a series of cash grabs, scams, and shallow quickfire marketing stunts. In the best cases, it's simply been a quick flip driven by a celebrity's marketing or management company. In the worst, it's been an apparent attempt to rip off a dedicated fan base without caring about screwing with their assets.

This trend will not end well. When most non-crypto people encounter these celebrity NFT projects, I believe they'll see them for what they are: an empty promise without long-term value. And when that happens, it's going to be bad news bears all the way down...

There are significant problems with the way these celebrity NFT projects are being executed. First, the drops are often sold at an exorbitant price point that should make any decent NFT founder blush.

I'm a fan of Grimes' music. And I enjoy her art. But her drop is a prime example of the celebrity NFT anti-playbook.

On February 28th, a 10-piece collection — some one-of-a-kind, others with thousands of copies — went on sale at Nifty Gateway. The most popular item was a one-of-a-kind video called "Death of the Old."

The majority of sales came from two items with thousands of copies each: "Earth" and "Mars," both short films retailing at $7500. Before sales closed, they had sold in total almost $5.18 million. The aftermarket value of the tokens has dropped by up to 85%. Sure, this is only genuinely devastating if you bought a Grimes token for the resale value; but that was clearly the intended purpose of the pieces. There was no long-term community, artistic or content-based value attached to the items, and the drop was clearly structured to profit from quick flips. That's not how NFTs are supposed to work...

As an NFT collector, it's hard for me to see this as anything other than an attempt at short-term cash generation and little else. But it's a damn sight better than the work of Lil Uzi Vert, whose token drop was an actual rug pull that the "artist" himself attempted to erase from his social media as soon as the money was in.

If the celebrity in question actually wanted to create a digital token of value to their users, they would need to invest in it by designing and building a complete ecosystem. And they would need to do so with their user base and needs in mind, not an immediate payout driven by crypto hype.

This token would exist in an ecosystem designed for its users, not exist simply as something to be sold to them. The goal of this world would be to bring something unique and relevant into the digital space that fans can connect with.

Tokens should be sold at an affordable entry point for a celebrity's fanbase, allowing accessibility and creating a sense of inclusion, community, and peer-to-peer interaction. It's not just about avoiding high prices, either.

A token's primary goal would be to provide a vehicle for artistic collaboration, with the project giving functional mechanisms for talent building, community management, engagement, and financial transparency to ensure that value is being delivered directly to users. By introducing these mechanisms early, they can grow organically with an active and growing fanbase.

A good token requires an authentication process that prevents double-spending and other forms of fraud, as well as a mechanism to ensure that token holders are not ripped off by third parties who want to buy up tokens and sell them at an inflated price.

But here's where things get tricky. Even if you want to create an NFT that will be of value to your users, there are still certain aspects of how these celebrity NFTs are structured that make me question their long-term value. A lot of work goes into making digital art. If you're not the artist, how do you respect the integrity of their vision? And if you don't appreciate it, what's your involvement with this token really worth?

Even when the celebrity in question is more interested in content than quick flips, the same problems arise. How do you justify your cut of the proceeds? Do you treat this token like a product designed to monetize it through selling other products or services? Or is there actually some content-based value here that fans will appreciate long after the initial sale has ended?

If I had to pick one thing that could make NFTs better, projects should show some consideration for people who are already following the space and the underlying industry they're trying to disrupt.