What the Heck are NFTs | Sway Podcast with Beeple

Episode webpage here. Episode orignially aired March 22, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • NFTs are digital proof of ownership and are still in their nascent stage.
  • The market is definitely a bubble and most art will go to zero
  • Beeple intends to portray the weirdness of tech and its unintended consequences


  • Sway, hosted by Kara Swisher (@KaraSwisher) interviews digital artist Mike Winkelmann better known as @Beeple about NFTs.

The Beginning

  • He started off by putting art every day on his website for an audience of “his mom and 3 friends”
  • Studied computer science in college. Always been interested in computers and art.
  • His art has always reflected what he is currently interested
  • His name “Beeple” comes from an 80’s toy.


  • NFTs are for proof of ownership. He thinks digital proof of ownership will be issued for cars, houses, diplomas, etc. 
  • At its core it’s basically a webpage and the technology is basically a blank slate
  • It’s extremely speculative right now. A lot will go to zero. The market is irrational. 
  • Not a pyramid, it’s just people buying into ownership of art. 

Fractionalization of Art

  • An investor bought 20 pieces from Beeple and put them in virtual museums. Bundled everything, locked it in a smart contract, and sold 10 million shares.
  • The shares went from $.36 to $25 at a high. Gave Beeple 2%.
  • The standard is for the artist to keep 90% and when the art is flipped, the creator keeps 10%

About Beeple and his Artwork

  • Beeple thinks that this will all be part of Instagram one day
  • His art intends to project the weirdness of tech and its unintended consequences
  • Thinks the pandemic has accelerated this bubble and the rise of crypto and use cases for NFTs
  • The energy usage and ecological footprint from this tech will be fixed quickly
  • Looks at himself as a tech company. People invest in his art and he wants to make a return on it.
Sway : , , , ,
Notes By Paul Keating

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