Can you imagine paying $6M for a painting? How about $60M? What if the painting wasn’t a painting, though? What if it was a digital file – a JPEG per se? Would you pay $69M dollar for it?
That’s precisely what happened last week at Christie’s in a first-of-its-kind auction when an NFT by the artists known as Beeple sold for a record $69M. Until October, the most Mike Winkelmann — the digital artist known as Beeple — had ever sold a print for was $100.
The NFT, or non-fungible token, represented a collage containing 5,000 mostly digital illustrations from Beeple that were created for his Everydays series, in which he creates new artwork every day. Winkelmann’s popularity online and his prolific output surely contributed to the sky-high price, but a key driver was also the growing hype around NFTs.
NFT – Non-Fungible Token
Digital assets known as non-fungible tokens have boomed recently, with buzz spiking Thursday after the JPG collage sold for $69.3 million. NFTs are a way to monetize digital assets that have previously been inexpensive or free — including art, video, music, tweets, GIFs and memes — by using blockchain technology to prove authenticity and ownership while permanently linking a digital file to its creator.
NFTs have fans and detractors, with one backer saying they can potentially make the elitist fine art world more inclusive. Edited Feb 2022 – For a useful explanation of NFT technology, see NFTs What, Why, and How by Porch.com.
Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency
The buzz around NFTs would not be possible if not for blockchain technology, which we won’t get into here for the sake of keeping focus. But it might be important to know about and understand blockchain technology if you do not.
Blockchain technology is the framework for cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, $150B of which we reported on last week was purchased by Tesla. And cryptocurrency, like NFTs, opens up incredible opportunities.
But with opportunity comes cost and in this case the immediate cost is the environment, specifically with energy. Blockchain takes a substantial toll on the environment that experts are beginning to reckon with.
Influential people are starting to take the problem seriously. According to Bill Gates in a recent Clubhouse interview, “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind, and so it’s not a great climate thing.”
Environmental costs aside, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs are here for the foreseeable future, with rapid evolution and acceleration. Their impact as change agents will be significant and they will soon involve the car buying process itself, as well.
Last week on the MTC Show we talked about the idea of surveillance capitalism and how the predictive nature of human beings is being monetized for profit beyond advertising.
This week on the show we draw a parallel between the environmental costs of the blockchain and cryptocurrency with the push for all-electric vehicles. Both are agents of change in a new world order and both will have a lasting impact on the earth’s natural resources.
From there we will get into the car buying process and also revisit the idea of automotive concierge services.
The Mobility Tech & Connectivity Show
Aired in March 2021
Part I. Industry News
- How Ford Is Using Blockchain Technology To Improve Urban Air Quality
- SpaceX moves to beam Starlink internet to trucks, boats, and aircraft
- AI ‘Mayflower’ set for autonomous journey next month
Part II. Conversation with Lori DiPasquale from TitleKeyCash.com
Want to take charge of your car-buying experience and be “crazy confident?” Meet Lori DiPasquale who helps all people (mostly women) with a clear and transparent car buying experience.
In a world where women drive 70%-80% of consumer purchases and rank their own needs last after the needs of their families’, Lori says, “it’s time we don’t settle for companies, products, or services that don’t put us first or respect our place in the economy.”
Lori joins us on the show this week to talk about her automotive concierge service – TKC – Title Key Cash!
Part III. Auto Pros Discussion – Service, Parts, and Used Cars
On the second half of the show we welcome our auto industry pros for an inside look into the service and parts business of dealerships and used cars.
Joining me and Lori is Vehicle Acquisition Network Co-Founder Bill Anderson, whose company – VAN, for short, helps connects dealers with individuals who want to sell their vehicle. Tens of thousands of vehicles are listed online for sale by private party sellers each year who may not know dealers that will buy their vehicle. And there are many benefits from selling your car or truck to a local dealer. David Long from Hansel Auto Group also plans to dial in.
We will be talking about the used car business, supply chain, and general economic outlook. The used car business is headed toward a highly competitive marketplace. Supply of vehicles is tightening, especially on with the auctions, forcing dealers to incorporate more reliable sources such as individual private sellers. Not to mention the worldwide chip shortage and other supply chain issues.
In the News…
Blockchain technology is already being put to use to advance solar energy distribution and help ensure the ethical sourcing of the rare-earth minerals used in advanced electric powertrains. Now, Ford is using the emerging technology, as well as dynamic geofencing and EV/PHEVs, to help reduce air pollution in European city centers.
The way it works is that low-emission and zero-emission vehicles like the Ford Transit PHEV are tracked as they enter and leave the low-emissions “green zones” that are becoming commonplace across Europe in the wake of diesel engine bans.
Over in Germany, a team from Ford is working to show how blockchain can complement geofencing — the creation of a digital “fence” around a given, real geographic area — to enhance governments’ efforts to improve urban air quality for their citizens.
SpaceX is seeking regulatory approval to connect its rapidly growing network of internet-beaming Starlink satellites to cars, trucks, shipping boats, and aircraft. The request, filed last Friday with the Federal Communications Commission, marks SpaceX’s biggest step yet toward connecting Starlink to the automotive sector, a potentially lucrative line of business that would expand the company’s current stationary offerings from rural homes.
The filing asked for “a blanket license authorizing operation” of Starlink terminals on so-called Earth Stations in Motion — an umbrella term for cars, trucks, maritime vessels, and aircraft. Smaller passenger vehicles may have to wait. “Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday, responding to an article on the FCC filing. “This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs.”
AI ‘Mayflower’ will make groundbreaking crew-less crossing of Atlantic next month powered by solar energy: Craft will chart same 3,000-mile route taken by ship that brought 102 Pilgrims to America in 1620
- Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will depart from Plymouth, England April 19
- MAS will take the same route as the original ship to Massachusetts back in 1620
- It has no human captain or crew so will use AI and automation to cross the ocean