NFT: Squid Game for the Copyright Industry

NFT: Squid Game for the Copyright Industry

NFT: Squid Game for the Copyright Industry 2880 1800 Raymond Blijd
Read time: 3 min.

This year technology trading copyright raised $2.43 billion, which is 1670.8% more than last year. Caused by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT)?

Before we dive into this analysis, here are the three points we’ll be making:

  1. Blockchain-based protections are superior to any legal framework;
  2. Selling art and entertainment are major economic drivers;
  3. Just like South Korea, if you invest early in both, the pay-off is huge.

Catalyst: Copyright

We identified four catalysts for the growth of the legal industry:

  1. Contracts on March 23, 2019;
  2. Cannabis on April 9, 2019;
  3. Claims on December 8, 2019;
  4. and now Copyright.

We first discovered how epic blockchain was back in 2015 while hunting legal tech on ProductHunt. We embraced the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) craze in 2018 that generated beautifully creative solutions for legal. That is where we first calculated how much we, as a society, are willing to invest to protect our identity and art. We sprinkled numbers on copyright tech starting as far back as 2017. Now we are at $2.43 billion in just this year, which dwarfs all our previous numbers. So what are the dynamics and why now?

What is NFT?

Here’s our best metaphor: imagine that you could walk into the Louvre, snap a Polaroid of the Mona Lisa, and sell your Polaroid for roughly the same value as the Mona Lisa. That’s possible because your Mona Lisa Polaroid is a unique physical representation of the Mona Lisa. Your Polaroid is a Non-fungible Token (NFT). An NFT is a unique hash of any object in the digital or physical world. So an NFT is a Polaroid photo and Blockchain is a Polaroid camera.

Now, why did I use this metaphor? Because it shows the miracle and the madness of this concept. Manufacturing a unique physical object like a Polaroid has natural constraints. NFT’s don’t have any physical constraints. It is a weird notion that a representation is worth as much as the original. In theory, everyone can create an NFT platform and become Kodak. Fun fact: Polaroid won a $925 million patent infringement settlement, the second largest in history, against Kodak. Like a modern gold rush, NFT is a footrace to become the Polaroid as-in the number one marketplace in any space.

Growth of Intellectual Property investment 2016-2021 by Spark - Legalcomplex.com
Growth of Intellectual Property investment 2016-2021 by Spark – Legalcomplex.com

Why now?

We posted on LinkedIn about Royal, an NFT music-royalty platform by artist 3Lau. They raised a whopping $20 million in seed funding. They aren’t the first blockchain or NFT platform to make a play in music. In theory, any online manifestation could get its own NFT trading platform. Images of bored apes or NBA clips as new interactive trading cards. This feels like the ICO craze all over again but with a twist. First, this time we’re playing with real money and second, there is a serious economy behind it. The economy is called copyright and was invented three centuries ago by lawyers. An invention designed to protect the capital, not the culture powering art. Now culture wants its power back.

I didn’t watch Squid Game because the entire internet spoiled the plot before I got a chance to see it. I did watch history-making best picture academy winner, Parasite. Remember that Gangnam Style broke the billion views barrier on YouTube. I fell in love with K-pop when I heard Se7en collab with Lil Kim on ‘Girls’ (YouTube) all the way back in 2009.

I did some digging on why the ‘Korean Wave‘ is so popular. In 2019, the Korean government earmarked $5.5 billion to support the nation’s culture industry. Fun fact: watershed moment came when was pointed out that total revenues generated by Hollywood’s Jurassic Park had surpassed the sale of 1.5 million Hyundai automobiles; a source of Korean pride. Now BTS alone adds $5 billion to Korea’s economy every year according to NPR. It wouldn’t surprise me if Blackpink did roughly the same.

In short: there are a few no-brainers in the legal universe with clear returns. Legalcomplex did a deep-dive with Law360, using the Spark max dashboards to calculate the ROI of any legal ventures. The analysis is behind a paywall, but one finding we can comfortably spoil: Intellectual Property came out on top.

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