Budweiser has proudly hopped aboard the NFT train, and it’s not the only big name doing it this week.
The beer giant on Tuesday changed its Twitter profile to a hand-drawn beer rocket NFT that it bought for 8 ETH (about $26,000), and it also registered an Ethereum domain name, beer.eth, for 30 ETH (nearly $100,000). The NFT was designed by artist Tom Sachs as part of the Rocket Factory NFT series.
Budweiser is just the latest household name over the past few days to signal its adoption of NFTs, unique blockchain-based tokens that can represent all kinds of physical or digital media, including artworks, video clips, or music.
On Monday, payments giant Visa made headlines after it paid $165,000 for a CryptoPunk, one of a series of 10,000 pixelated avatars from 2017. CryptoPunks are now selling for millions of dollars on a daily basis, and Visa’s announcement made it clear that Visa considers its CryptoPunk to be art: “Over the last 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts – from early paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection,” Visa tweeted.
Over the last 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts – from early paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection. https://t.co/XoPFfwxUiu
— VisaNews (@VisaNews) August 23, 2021
And on Friday, Arizona Iced Tea announced that it had bought a Bored Ape NFT from the red-hot Bored Ape Yacht Club series. The beverage brand plans to use its Ape in its marketing materials. (Yuga Labs, the collection’s creator, later told Decrypt that Arizona Iced Tea used its brand logo in an “inappropriate” way in its tweet, a sign that interesting copyright disputes will likely soon arise in the NFT world.)
It all adds up to a clear sign that this second wave of the NFT boom is different from March and April, when brands like Charmin, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut were rushing to put out their own NFTs depicting their own products. Visa buying an NFT from an existing hot collection shows that a major credit card company—one that is extremely cautious about aligning its brand with any partner—sees artistic value, financial gain, and positive reputation benefit from embracing CryptoPunks.
Visa wants access to the NFT community, which could be taken as a positive sign for Visa’s future embrace of crypto in general. The same goes for Budweiser registering a .eth domain name.
While NFT prices may certainly plummet again, what deep-pocketed brands do in the NFT space could have a more lasting impact: How soon will we see brands paying licensing fees to owners of high-profile rare NFTs? And which big brand will be next to buy in?