The award-winning website has announced a bold new revenue venture, pinning hopes on Blockchain technology.
The NFT revolution is sweeping the virtual world, with everything from cat memes to audio files to visual art acquiring value through the scarcity conferred by “non-fungible tokens”. These tokens, or NFTs, assign a unique quality to the digital work, giving it a rarity and thereby, in many cases, skyrocketing value. Like the Bitcoin currency, it is built on Blockchain technology.
Today The Spinoff reveals it has been doing some blue-sky building of it is own, confirming a commitment to innovative disruption in the digital space by boarding the non-fungible bandwagon. In the coming days The Spinoff will go fully non-fungible, with every headline, article and image delivered in NFT format and made available for online auction.
Speaking exclusively to The Spinoff, the founder of The Spinoff, Duncan Greive, hailed an epochal moment for an industry challenged by dwindling advertising and the financial challenge presented by the rise of search and social behemoths from Silicon Valley.
“In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, laying the foundations for centuries of innovative disruption in the media space,” he said. “Then there was Trade Me, as well as the controversy around Natalia Kills and Willy Moon. Today, we signal something new: monetising digital media through non-fungible tokens.”
All newsletters, podcasts, and typographical errors will be available in non-fungible format. NFTs will also be assigned to press statements from the Ministry of Health cut and pasted onto the site.
Spinoff editor Toby Manhire said in an email that he was confident readers accustomed to fungible content would embrace a non-fungible future.
“Aotearoa is famous for its bungee jumping. But in the post-Covid era we need to become famous for fungee jumping,” he added, cleverly.
Asked to comment about the environmental impact of blockchain, Tony Manhire said that it was “a tricky virus”.
Following the rebranding of Volkswagen as “Voltswagen”, the full suite of Spinoff offerings will be renamed to reflect the new approach.
The morning newsletter becomes The Fungibulletin while the Real Pod becomes the Virtual Pod. The beloved Tea Towel will now be available only as an NFT towel, an illustrated digital rectangle.
The Spinoff thought leader Duncan Greive angrily dismissed queries from members about whether virtual tea towels would have the same dish-drying functions as actual tea towels. “This is backward thinking,” he said. “For me it’s about innovative disruption in the digital space. We’re not just disruptors, but dis-raptors, you know, like the birds of prey.”
He added: “My name is Duncan not Duncan’t.”
According to one source, the decision was made “on the hoof” following threats by Spinoff NFT correspondent Josie Adams to break from the site and post her “original thoughts about the Ever Given megaship” on a non-fungible-token marketplace.
The enthusiasm for the new strategic vector is overwhelming. “Buzzy,” said partnerships director Simon Day. “This seems really stupid,” said senior editor Leonie Hayden, speaking on condition of anonymity. Toby Morris has not responded to requests for a gif.
The venture begins in one year, on April 1 2022.