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Pictured above: DIRT's first NFT, called "Dirty S1 Rainbow Wave" Credit: Dirt

Independent journalist and author Kyle Chayka has funded two months of his daily entertainment and culture newsletter "Dirt" using only NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Why it matters: "It's a proof of concept that NFTs alone could fund a small media company," says Chayka. He made $33,000 in one week selling 131 NFTs. He made over $20,000 in the first 24 hours.

The big picture: Over the past few months, media companies like The New York Times, Quartz, and Time Inc. have sold articles and magazine covers as NFTs, but there haven't been any examples of NFTs being used as a more sustainable funding mechanism for journalists as creators.

How it worked: Chayka worked with Mirror, a crypto platform, to create 131 total NFTs which sold over the course of a week for over $33,000, and over $20,000 in the first 24 hours.

  • Buyers of the NFTs were also awarded "DIRT" tokens named after the newsletter, which gave them special access to members exclusive content. In total, there were 14,000 tokens distributed across all NFT buyers.

Be smart: Think of NFTs as the modern version of selling tote bags or coffee mugs to subscribers. They are the reward for paying to unlock certain perks, like exclusive articles.

Our thought bubble: The problem with NFTs, for now, is that the barrier to entry is high. But Chayka's experiment speaks to the power that digital assets or collectibles could unlock in connecting fans to creators in the future.

The bottom line: "Funny GIFs are funding good journalism and I think thats cool," says Chayka.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
18 mins ago - Health

Gottlieb: CDC hampered U.S. response to COVID

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The CDC moved too slowly at several points in the coronavirus pandemic, ultimately hindering the U.S. response, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb writes in a new book, Uncontrolled Spread.

The big picture: The book argues that American intelligence agencies should have a much bigger role in pandemic preparedness, even if that's sometimes at the expense of public health agencies like the CDC.

911's digital makeover

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

Biden enlists business leaders in campaign for vax mandates

President Joe Biden at a meeting with business leaders Sept. 15, 2021. Photo: Oliver Contretas/Getty Images

President Biden convened a meeting of top business leaders Wednesday to build support for a sweeping vaccine mandate that will affect most of America's workers. The message: Vaccines work, and the stalled uptake is holding back the economy.

Why it matters: As vaccine rates have flattened across the country, business leaders have the power to impact their employees’ decisions. Many corporate leaders had been looking for stronger federal guidance to lean on.