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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

At least one person killed, 99 missing after deadly Miami-area condo collapse

A massive search-and-rescue operation is underway after a portion of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday, according to AP.

The latest: Officials have accounted for 102 people who lived in the high-rise Champlain Towers South, but 99 people remained unaccounted for by midafternoon, said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Biden strikes infrastructure deal with bipartisan group of senators

President Biden announced Thursday that he had agreed to a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a bipartisan group of ten senators, declaring: "We have a deal."

Why it matters: The agreement on the size and scope of an infrastructure package is a major achievement for Biden, who has long been a proponent of bipartisanship, but the compromise still faces serious hurdles in the House and Senate.

Pacific Northwest soon to be ground zero for record-shattering heat

Computer model projection showing the unusually strong heat dome over the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. (PivotalWeather).

A heat wave is bringing unprecedented high temperatures to the Pacific Northwest — a region of the country typically cooled by the ocean, rather than central air conditioning. The heat will begin Friday and last into early next week.

Why it matters: The heat wave will shatter monthly and all-time temperature records in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the records could break the old milestones by several degrees.