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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

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.