Here we go again: another pro cycling star is launching an NFT collection. This time, it’s none other than three-time world champion Peter Sagan.
The Slovak is no stranger to marketing his own stardom in interesting ways – remember that US$21,000 commemorative medal he was whipping a few years ago? — but this new venture takes things (and certainly pricing) to a whole new level.
Before we dive deeper into this very exciting news, let’s pause for a quick refresher on NFTs (or a brief introduction if you’ve managed to avoid this space so far).
NFTs – non-fungible tokens – are digital objects that can be bought, sold and collected online and are made possible by a technology called blockchain. Normally, as in the case of the Sagan Collection, an NFT is a piece of digital art (sometimes with additional data), which is either one-of-a-kind or limited in number.
Anyone can download or copy the digital artwork itself, but the actual ownership of the original artwork: which belongs to whoever paid for the NFT and placed it in their digital wallet.
If you’ve just joined the NFT discussion and this all seems a little strange, you’re definitely not mistaken. But let’s continue.
Sagan’s NFT collection is released via a new venture called Project Fuerza which renders digital art inspired by the biometric data of professional runners. In signing with Project Fuerza, Sagan joins Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Rohan Dennis who all already have their own NFTs with Fuerza.
At the time of writing, the Peter Sagan Collection contains 23 digital artworks inspired by data from some of the most important races in Sagan’s career. You have this one inspired by his 100th career victory, at the 2017 Quebec GP:
Or there’s this one from his victory at the 2016 Road Worlds in Doha – his second of three consecutive world titles:
And the NFTs in Sagan’s collection aren’t exclusively cycling-themed. The Slovak’s other interests are also represented, in particular his love of American muscle cars. Here is such an NFT, inspired by Stage 5 of the 2015 Tour of California:
And then there’s this anachronistic effort — titled “Nature is Beautiful” — that feels straight out of the 1980s, both in tone and in its treatment of subject matter. Apparently, “the female body shape is the elevation line in [Sagan’s] power file” of stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse 2015. Exactly.
Sagan himself seems thrilled with his new venture, judging by the words attributed to him in a Fuerza press release.
“I love how my Fuerza NFTs have each been able to capture not only some of my passions outside of cycling, but also blow me away with the creativity of taking my power data and turning it into art,” said absolutely not said Sagan at any time or in any form. “A lot of my pieces are so beautiful and I’m excited to share them with my fans.”
But these fans? They are decidedly less excited. The tone of the comments on Sagan’s Facebook post announcing the NFT drop could be described as “extremely negative”.
Here is a selection:
- “I’m super excited to announce that I’m no longer a fan.” –Val Notman
- “You must be joking, right??? Bizarre nonsense and the fact that one of cycling’s biggest characters is promoting this stuff is pretty disappointing, to put it very, very lightly. –Axel van Soest
- “Whelp…it’s the end of Sagan then! Jumped the shark” –Graham Auld
- “Wow, you are 3 months behind. No one is dumb enough to buy NFTs anymore. The prices they are listed at are a SICK ILLUSION. –Dave Reid
What are these prices mentioned by Dave Reid? I’m glad you asked.
The cheapest NFTs in Sagan’s collection are currently on sale for 2.3 ETH, or around $3,600 at today’s prices. The Tour of California and the “Nature is Beautiful” NFTs you saw above are both available for 7.5 ETH (US$11,950), while the Doha Worlds coin is 100 times that price: 750 ETH, or 1.2 million US dollars. No, it’s not a typo.
Believe it or not, this isn’t even the most expensive NFT in the Sagan collection. That honor belongs to a piece called “Champagne” inspired by Sagan’s first Tour de France stage victory, on his first Tour and his first day in the green jersey.
As with all pieces in the Sagan collection, purchasing this NFT gives you access to the biometric data of this stage. But with this one you get more.
“The owner of that artwork will actually own that data, not just a license,” according to Fuerza. ” Alongside that, [we] will also include lessons in [Fuerza founder] Hunter Allen to explain in depth the power file, how to use the WKO software which analyzes the data best and is also available for Fuerza experiments.
The current price of NFT ‘Champagne’? A positively effervescent 7,474 ETH. This represents approximately 11.9 million US dollars. Yes, you read that right. $11.9 million.
A charitable explanation for this whole endeavor might be that Sagan (or more likely his management team) was approached by Fuerza and thought there was no harm in getting involved.
The work on their part would have been minimal: help suggest races to feature, send data files, and then calculate a percentage of each NFT sold.
A less charitable explanation: Sagan and co. got greedy and jumped on the latest tech bandwagon not realizing how poorly received NFTs have been in cycling (if not more widely).
Most won’t care about Sagan’s adventure in NFT space. A select few might be excited about the opportunity to grab some Sagan-themed digital art. A good percentage, however, will say that this undertaking somewhat tarnished Sagan’s reputation. As we have seen, this has probably already lost him some fans.
Who knows if any of this matters to Sagan. Perhaps this venture will prove lucrative enough for the 32-year-old that any backfire will be inconsequential. But the first signs are not good. Since its launch on the OpenSea NFT market at the beginning of July, it seems that Fuerza has not yet received an offer on any of its 1,500 NFTs.
#Peter #Sagan #sell #NFT #cycling #CyclingTips
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