As NFTs surge in popularity, Stephen Moses, digital estate planning expert urges advisers to ensure their clients know how to manage, store and share their digital assets securely
NFTs – non-fungible tokens – have absolutely exploded in popularity over the last year. These unique digital assets – usually art, music or video content – are non-interchangeable, but can be transferred or traded on the blockchain, and celebrities are going crazy for them, helping global sales reach $22bn in 2021.
The most famous NFTs are artworks; one of the first ‘collections’ was CryptoPunks – a set of 10,000 digital collectible characters, while the most prominent brand in the NFT space at the moment – and a firm favourite with celebrities – is the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) – a collection of 10,000 ape avatars that individually act as tickets to an elite online world, or ‘metaverse’.
Here, Stephen Moses, founder of digital estate planning platform Zenplans, looks at some of the most famous people to have jumped on the NFT band waggon, and warns advisers to talk to their clients about managing and ensuring the succession of their digital assets….
|Top five celebrity NFT owners||Top five celebrity NFT creators|
Rapper Eminem joined BAYC earlier this month by purchasing an NFT – dubbed ‘EminApe’ because it looked like him – for around $460k; it is now his Instagram profile pic.
The Hip-hop star has become one of the first artists to let fans ‘invest’ in his music. By purchasing NFTs, they get a percentage of streaming sales.
|2 Jimmy Fallon
The Tonight Show bought a BAYC NFT- an ape wearing heart glasses and a ‘sea captain’ hat. He is believed to have paid around $220k for it and it now has its own Twitter account @BoredAndBreezy
|2 William Shatner
Best known as Captain Kirk, Shatner has created a collection of ‘personal’ images in NFT form including a picture of him hugging his Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy. The collection has sold out.
|3 Snoop Dog
Under the pseudonym Cozomo de’ Medici – rapper Snoopdog owns an NFT collection valued at around $14m, including a Bored Ape and 10 Crypto Punks.
|3 Robert De Niro
The Hollywood star has partnered with NFT creator LIT DAO for its collection ‘Motion’. The NFTs feature a black and white image of his face which changes and reacts to price changes in the cryptocurrency, Ethereum.
|4 Serena Williams
The tennis superstar owns a CryptoPunk – bought for her by her husband, Reddit founder Alexia Ohanian who is himself a member of BAYC. Williams’ NFT is one of 3,840 female punks and it is her twitter profile pic.
|4 Kate Moss
Back in April, British supermodel Kate Moss created three ‘every day moments’ video NFTs entitled’ Sleep with Kate, Walk with Kate and Drive with Kate. Profits will go to charity
The American music producer famously hides his face from the world, but shared the news about his CryptoPunk purchase by tweeting ‘MARSHMELLO FACE REVEAL!!!!!’ and changed his twitter profile pic to his NFT.
|5 Ellen DeGeneres
Like Kate Moss, Ellen also decided to create NFTs for good. Her collection – which has raised more than $33k for charity – includes a monologue about NFTs and limited edition copies of a stick drawing of a cat.
Stephen says: “Sales of NFTs hit $22bn last year – up from $100m in 2020, so it is clear that this is no flash in the pan. Not only do NFTs have significant value, but also, due to their nature, a huge potential for future use-cases ranging from ‘play to earn’ gaming all the way to voting in elections. development, with ‘play to earn’ platforms such as Axie Infinity set to grow exponentially this year. However, despite the increase in popularity, the market is still in its infancy, and most people don’t know how to manage their NFTs to ensure succession when the time is right.”
Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs are held on the blockchain, and digital wallets manage a private key to the NFT, through which the owner can authorise transactions. Therefore, anyone who has the private key can gain possession of the NFT and ‘steal’ that value.
Stephen adds “Increasingly, clients are becoming concerned about how to securely store, organise and eventually, pass on their digital assets. Clients must balance security against accessibility – they need a secure way to store them during their lifetime while also being able to ensure details about how to access them are available once they have passed away or lost capacity.”
To help solve these issues Stephen created Zenplans; a new digital estate planning service for advisers to help their clients securely organise, maintain and store all their estate information, with the option to selectively share key details with named delegates.
These delegates can be granted restricted or full access, either immediately or after a particular time – for example, after death, or if the client becomes incapacitated – ensuring that information is quickly and easily accessible by the right people as and when needed.
Stephen concludes: “As our lives turn increasingly digital, it is hard enough to keep on top of it all ourselves, making it almost impossible for our loved ones to sort out when we pass away or were to lose capacity. I wanted to do something to make it much easier for people to keep on top of all their important information during their lifetime, but also create a way for people to share all that key information securely with those closest to them to make estate administration easy.”