Influencer sells virtual portraits of virtual self as NFTs

If you’re still having trouble getting your head around the concept of a virtual influencer, then a virtual influencer selling pricey digital ownership certificates tied to pieces of artwork that can be freely copied and shared by anyone may very well do you in. 

But gird yourself, because Rae, a virtual influencer who has worked with Audi and boasts of having half a million followers on Instagram and Weibo (see “Q&A with Singapore’s top virtual influencer“), is releasing a collection of ‘her’ artwork in NFT (non-fungible token) form.

An NFT is simply a unique token (entry) on a blockchain ledger, proving that someone uniquely ‘owns’ a digital asset. To proponents and buyers, the scarcity of an NFT makes it a valuable commodity. However—here comes the sort of mind-blowing part—in most cases the buyer just owns the NFT and not exclusive rights to the digital asset. In many cases, in fact, the digital asset itself is one that can be (and has been) freely available online for anyone to copy and enjoy. (Here’s a fun NFT explainer.)

In this case, Rae’s three artworks, called ‘You lookin’ at me’ (above), ‘Take me (apart)’ (below right) and ‘Welcome to my metaverse’ (below left) have already been posted on her Instagram. Anyone can look at them there—or enjoy them right here.

The sale of Rae’s ‘Take a byte’ series of NFTs will take place on Mintable, an NFT marketplace with its HQ in Singapore. Fans can register to take part in the auction at until July 19 at noon Singapore time (GMT +8).

According to the company, each artwork “references the curiosity and attention Rae has received as a virtual influencer and her exciting adventures on social media”. Bidding for each NFT will start at US$350, and there will be a buy-now option for US$3,500. NFT buyers will get to hear an exclusive AI-generated personalised thank you message from Rae.

Rae will also be working with Liquid, a cryptocurrency-exchange platform, as an educational partner. There she will guide fans who are new to NFTs, cryptocurrency and blockchain on how to understand and navigate this arena. She’ll provide help with setting up your first cryptocurrency wallet, purchasing and trading in cryptocurrencies, and maximising NFT purchases.

Some background on Rae: 

Rae is the region’s latest hyper-realistic virtual personality and influencer. Created by CGI technology and powered by AI solutions, Rae is more than just a pretty face. Rae is a digital artist with a point of view. Armed with her skateboard and a passion for street culture, Rae is always on an adventure in the urban jungle. She has a standout short bob in soft and natural waves in iconic shades of powder rose, purple and fuchsia. True to her Chinese name, 蕊, Rae wears her heart on her sleeve, and you can trust her to share her genuine and unique perspectives on Instagram. She is expressive, audacious and always game to try new things and push boundaries. Rae’s origins remain a mystery.

This story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.

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