Mar 29, 2021 - Economy

NFT mania hits "SNL"

Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson dressed in a Robin costume parodying rapper Eminem with the word NFT in graphics in the foreground

Pete Davidson during the cryptocurrency sketch on "SNL," March 27. Photo: NBC

"Saturday Night Live" took a spin at explaining NFTs over the weekend through a music video parodying Eminem’s “Without Me.” 

Why it matters: Interest in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, has been building since the start of the year — and peaked when digital artist Beeple sold one of his pieces at auction for $69 million.  

  • It can be difficult enough to understand NFTs as a digital "certificate of authenticity" on the blockchain, let alone why one NFT could be worth so much.
  • Pete Davidson, dressed as Eminem, and rapper Jack Harlow, dressed as a janitor, get the basics down with this line: "NFTs are insane, built on a blockchain. A digital ledger of transactions, it records information on what’s happening."

What they’re saying: The explosion in interest in the crypto art market has caught Duncan Cock Foster, co-founder of NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway, off guard. 

  • “The last time we talked [in December], I think I got it so wrong. I said it will become mainstream in the next few years and it was just a few months,” he tells Axios.

Yes, but: The skit on "SNL" featured mockups of NFT artwork, adding to the perception that digital art can be easy to make and sell.

  • “With NFTs, people tend to see big sales and they think anything can be sold as an NFT,” said Cock Foster. 
  • But before starting a career as a digital artist, people should be aware it’s competitive and difficult like any other field, he added. 
  • “Beeple has been making a work of art every day for [over] 13 years. That’s 13 years of daily effort.”
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