In the newest foray by the non-fungible token community into the world of culture and media, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin will be voicing a lead character in an animated TV show funded and sold as an NFT.
Produced by and starring actor Mila Kunis, “Stoner Cats” features a star-studded cast including Jane Fonda, Chris Rock and Ashton Kutcher, and will only be veiwable by holders of an NFT of the show. Each NFT will feature a digital depiction of one of the characters in the show, and will serve as a ticket for each of the episodes as they are released.
The first episode becomes available at 2 p.m. U.S. Pacific time on July 27.
Initially, there will be 10,420 Stoner Cats NFTs made available, each selling for 0.35ETH (just over US$800 at press time). They will also be resellable, although they will grant holders access to all future content the animation company produces as well. Fully committed to the Ethereum experiment, the entire cast will be paid in ETH.
Buterin made a surprise guest appearance in a video Kutcher posted on Twitter recently, in which he and Kunis have a laugh while struggling to explain various cryptocurrency terms. That may have surprised veiwers, but his addition to the cast now makes the background to the video much clearer.
As the name suggests, Stoner Cats is about six house cats who gain the ability to talk after inhaling their owner’s “magical” marijuana. In quite a meta-role considering Ethereum’s involvement in the show’s development, Buterin plays a character named “Catsington”, a sort of spirit guide to the rest of the cast. As their owner’s oldest — now deceased — cat, Catsington dispenses wisdom and knowledge from his past life to the gang.
In a further nod to his position, Buterin even received top billing on the show’s website ahead of the rest of the cast. Thanks to the show’s heavy involvement with Ethereum, this could be a marketing ploy to generate interest among the community.
The show’s drug references were one reason why the show’s creators sought funding through the NFT model. Concerned about studio oversight, the creators found an alternative to traditional funding to maintain creative control over the project. Hopes must have been bolstered, given that the recent success of documentary “Ethereum: The Infinite Garden” — also featuring Buterin — in its funding round, surpassing its goal to reach 1,035.96 ETH.
The Stoner Cats website said it wants to “pave the way for fan-driven, creator-friendly content,” and that “content creators and fans should be able to connect and trade art directly without all the bureaucratic b*******.”
For such an irreverent project, some big names across many fields have teamed up to bring it to life. Kunis’s production company, Orchard Farm Productions, is developing the show, while the technological aspects are being handled by the Big Head Club, founded by NFT pioneer Mack Flavelle. Flavelle was also a co-founder of Dapper Labs, where he was heavily involved in the creation of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shots.
This is not the first time Kutcher and Flavelle have worked together. Kutcher was a major investor in Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shots product earlier this year. It was also reveled recently that the former star of “That 70s Show” was an investor in Bitcoin as many as eight years ago.