Gwar, the costumed American metal band known for decapitating celebrities (in effigy) onstage and drenching the audience in fake blood, is sinking its claws into the NFT market.
The group placed three sets of non-fungible tokens up for sale Monday on Fanaply, a platform that bills itself as environmentally friendly, an ironic choice for artists whose albums include “This Toilet Earth” and “We Kill Everything.”
Perhaps reflecting the frenzied state of the NFT market, the first two collections – the 10 “Scumdog Legionnaires,” priced at $250 each, and 50 “Slaves of Gwar,” at $40 – sold out within hours. The cheapest set, Bohabs 4 Lyfe (named after Gwar’s nickname for die-hard fans), is priced at $20, with 250 tokens issued.
While those prices may sound cheap considering NFTs for artworks have sold for tens of millions of dollars, metal heads will have to pay a little extra to take possession of these digital collectibles. That’s because the tokens are issued on Ethereum, the second-largest blockchain, where high transaction volumes have driven up the price of “gas,” or fees for performing computations. Fanaply takes payment by credit card, and holds the tokens in a “managed wallet” until the buyer exports them to a personal wallet. (Disclosure: I know this because I purchased a Bohab Monday and found that transferring it to my MetaMask wallet would cost $125, six times as much as the token itself.)
In the bigger picture, Gwar is one of many musical artists experimenting with NFTs to make a few extra bucks and, if all goes well, promote a sense of community and ownership among its fans. A diverse range of performers from pop warbler Katy Perry to thrash icons Megadeth have issued these tokens, which are analogous to autographed posters or guitar picks thrown into the crowd. While anyone can download or look at a copy of a digital image, the “special” version is controlled by whoever holds the NFT in a crypto wallet.
Gwar, which has been putting on its cartoonishly gory stage shows since the 1980s, seemed a bit befuddled by the whole thing, with lead singer Berserker Blóthar saying in a statement: “Our manager, Sleazy P. Martini, tells me that with these NFTs our fans will get some cool, original, never-before-seen GWAR art, and they can own a little piece of the GWAR universe. He also tells me that if we sell enough of them, I can buy lots of curly fries.”
UPDATE (Oct. 26, 02:00 UTC): Adds detail about custody to fourth paragraph.