Legendary musician Quincy Jones is throwing his weight behind an environmentally friendly L.A.-based the new non-fungible token (NFT) platform is geared toward musicians and their fans.
Jones himself will release NFTs on the platform, called OneOf, as well as H.E.R., Jacob Collier, The Kid LAROI, Charlie Puth, G-Eazy, TLC, Swedish DJ Alesso and Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora.
The platform has attracted artists John Legend, Doja Cat and others who have already signed on to be part of the service when it launches this month. The NFTs offered on OneOf will include collectible music, art and experiences.
“I cannot wait to release my first Juicy Drops collection,” Doja Cat said in a statement. “However, I want to be mindful of environmental concerns and accessibility to all of my fans before we go live. Happy to now be working with OneOf, who is addressing both of these issues.”
Co-founded by tech entrepreneur Lin Dai, digital media executive Joshua James and music producer Adam Fell, in partnership with Jones, the platform has raised $63 million in a seed round to launch.
Investors in the round included VC and environmental activist Bill Tai, who was an early backer of Zoom, tech investor Jack Herrick, Jaeson Ma, founder of East West Ventures and co-founder of 88rising, Tezos Foundation, Suna Said of Nima Capital and others.
Experts say OneOf could resolve some of users’ environmental concerns around NFTs, but its platform could also introduce others.
A Green NFT?
OneOf could offer an answer to calls from critics concerned about the environmental impact of NFTs and the blockchain technology they rely on. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to suspend the use of Bitcoin for payments for its electric vehicles in May sent crypto markets tumbling, and further raised concerns from artists and others who had seen the technology as a new way to build equity on their creative output.
Validating who owns what on a blockchain has largely relied so far on a method called “proof-of-work,” which requires intensive computation that uses an immense amount of electricity, emitting a massive amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
OneOf is built on the Tezos blockchain protocol, which uses an alternative validation method called “proof-of-stake,” requiring less electricity. That enables the platform to use “over 2 million times less energy than platforms on the Ethereum Network” and “requires the same energy as sending out a tweet,” OneOf said.
The proof-of-stake has not yet been widely adopted. Still, Ethereum has publicly stated it wants to transition to it, in part because of its environmental benefits.
The drawback for artists could be in scale. NFTs offered on Tezos haven’t been selling for prices nearly as high as those on the Ethereum blockchain, according to Joseph Pallant, founder and executive director of the Blockchain for Climate Foundation. But for artists who want to deliver a large volume of content into their fans’ hands at a low price, Tezos can help achieve that.
Pallant said a good bar to judge whether the platform will be successful is if it gives artists more artistic and economic control over their content than they’re like to get in the traditional music business model.
“Putting more control in the hands of artists, I think most people can agree is a good thing,” he said.
NFTs’ Promise for Musicians
NFTs emerged during the pandemic as a practical way for artists to interact with their audiences at a time when live concerts weren’t possible.
OneOf hopes to build on the trend, offering its NFTs as an accessible, low-cost way for fans to own content from their favorite artists and for artists to engage with their audience. Artists on the platform can determine the price of their NFTs with prices as low as $5 or even free.
“Blockchain has the ability to democratize ownership and bring economic empowerment to both artists and fans,” Dai, OneOf’s CEO, said in a statement. “We are building a…