Hollywood Taps Into NFT Frenzy With Deal for Aku Character

LOS ANGELES—How’s this for an origin story: A hot new arrival in Hollywood got his start as a non-fungible token.

Aku, a young Black boy who dreams of becoming an astronaut, was an NFT character created by artist Micah Johnson in February that sold more than $2 million worth of the tokens in a day. Now Aku is heading to the screen through a production deal with Anonymous Content and Permanent Content, a film and TV company founded by singer Shawn Mendes.

It is believed to be the first film and TV deal completed by a Hollywood company for an NFT character.

Anonymous and Permanent are partnering to produce movies and shows based on an asset that has already upended the art and commerce worlds. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it nonetheless represents a symbolic barrier broken in the increasingly intertwined worlds of NFTs, art and entertainment.

NFTs deploy technology similar to the cryptocurrency bitcoin to tag digital assets with a unique marker. Their exclusivity drove the value of the artist Beeple’s digital image NFT to sell for $69 million; and in the music arena, electronic music artists have made millions selling the virtual deeds to songs. The arrival of NFTs in Hollywood has been expected for some time, since studios with beloved characters can leverage the tokens within devout fandoms.

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