In April, film and comic book legend Frank Miller teamed up with gaming art maker Concept Art House and blockchain game company Gala Games to produce nonfungible token (NFT) collectibles based on his uber-popular Sin City series.
The same month, writer-director Kevin Smith said that he was putting an unreleased film called “Killroy was Here” up for sale as an NFT. He’s auctioning off the movie, including all the digital files and supposedly without holding on to any copies or backups.
And as of February, we have Mogul Productions, which aims to bring DeFi and NFTs to the film industry, making participation in film easily available to the everyday consumer through blockchain, NFTs, and a community of dedicated film fans.
All this begs a question summed up nicely by a June article in Forbes magazine: Are Movies And Streaming The Next Frontier For NFTs?
It’s too early for the article to give a definitive answer to that question, but it’s certainly possible that in a few years the finance industry may look at 2021 as the year of DeFi and NFTs.
According to another Forbes article, the future of DeFi, or decentralized finance, will be about making it “more accessible to everyday users while building even greater trust through better protocol and product transparency that clearly identifies risks to its users.”
There are still a few obstacles to overcome before that can be possible.
For example, there’s currently a storage issue, making it difficult to offer long videos as NFTs, but a startup called VideoCoin aims to remove those limits. The company is also trying to develop a “proof of ownership” system for NFTs. If the issuer of an NFT goes out of business, then the value of the NFT decreases. But VideoCoin’s system will use an encryption key so that the NFT keeps its value regardless of the issuer.
Another company, Theta, is also building a blockchain-based video platform. Sony and Samsugn have invested in the company to help develop its peer-to-peer video distribution network. By building its own network of distribution and storage, Theta aims to host all the video content on its network.
Then there’s Mogul Productions, which launched in February after two-plus years of developing an app that leverages DeFi and NFTs to produce indie films outside the conventional big-studio Hollywood model of financing.
The company has already made an important milestone with the recent announcement that they began post-production on a movie funded using blockchain technologies. The film, “Bonded,” written and directed by Mohit Ramchandani, is inspired by the true story of a Mexican teenager who dreams of becoming a soccer star. Instead, he is smuggled across the border and sold to a Los Angeles sweatshop.
In her interview with Forbes, Mogul Productions President Lisa Sun said that blockchain-based financing of films could become an important new way to finance independent films.
“There are too many great films out there not getting made, due to the studios holding all of the power and making it nearly impossible for the little guys, including indie filmmakers and movie fans, to have their voices heard,” Sun said in the article. “With NFTs, movie fans can engage with the filmmakers and their favorite projects in deeper, more meaningful ways, from voting for which films they want to watch, to earning engagement points that are redeemable for prizes like one-of-a-kind film posters, red carpet tickets, and invitations to exclusive events.”
It’s becoming clear that if something can be made into a non-fungible token, we’re going to see it happen in the near future, if it hasn’t happened already.
There are still many questions about how that will happen, and how exactly NFTs fit into existing copyright laws, as these two legal blog posts make clear.
In the meantime, we can certainly expect to see more blockchain-based forays into the film industry.
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