At last, it would appear that the brave, new world we've always been promised is finally here. And with it comes a whole new economic model undreamt of a couple of decades ago. It's a world of influencers, TikTok celebrities, cryptocurrency, fart recordings sold as investment vehicles and a digital artist named Beeple selling an NFT for $69 million.
And not to be outdone, a Croatian tennis player is getting into the game by selling permanent ownership rights to a piece of her racket-swinging arm:
Source - Like so many athletes, Croatian tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova is getting into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But while her peers are selling digital collectibles, the 20-year-old has literal skin in the game. Six days after putting it up for auction on the popular NFT marketplace OpenSea, Oliynykova sold exclusive lifetime ownership of part of her right arm for more than $5,000.
The concept is not entirely new. Temporary tattoos or so-called “body billboards’” were a trend in the early 2000s among certain groups of athletes—beach volleyball players, skateboarders and boxers, most notably Bernard Hopkins—earning them anywhere between $5,000 to $100,000. Oliynykova is now reintroducing a potentially permanent version of the concept digitally, tied to fluctuating cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
OpenSea buyers use the Ethereum blockchain and its cryptocurrency, which is similar to Bitcoin. The tennis professional’s NFT sold for three Ether, the equivalent of about $5,415 on the day it sold.
Oliynykova, who ranks 30th in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tour and 658th in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), specifically sold the section of skin between her elbow and shoulder on the inside of her right arm, where the owner can commission a tattoo or temporary body art.
The sales pitch? The right-handed player can be your human advertisement.
“I will bring your art object or message to every tennis court I play,” Oliynykova wrote in the listing. “As I am 20 years old only and my sports career is on the rise, I believe it’s [going to] be the biggest tennis locations in the world.”
Bravo. This is the very personification of the entrepreneurial spirit. This is what true vision is. Seeing a market before anyone else does, applying your business acumen, filling that need, and reaping the profits.
This is how you change the world. This is Thomas Edison building Menlo Park. Henry Ford inventing the assembly line. Oleksandra Oliynykova is a pair of glasses and a black turtleneck away from being Steve Jobs standing in front of that screen introducing the first iPhone.
I mean this young visionary no disrespect when I point out she's not the highest profile figure in the world, and she just got $5,400 for the inside of her right bicep. Think about what the market will be the for the prime real estate on the body of someone truly famous? Lebron James gets more face time than any athlete in America, and hairline goes back an inch a season. Getting your logo slapped on there would be more valuable than owning the naming rights to a stadium. And Bron could charge as much. Peyton Manning has plugged more products than Bill Cosby in his wettest dream. Imagine what he could sell his massive fivehead for? You could fit more ads on there than on a NASCAR vehicle. What do you think the going rate would be per square inch on Scarlet Johansen's cleavage? Imagine Dave Portnoy cutting a check to Michael Rapoport for the right to slap a Barstool logo on his grotesque lip sore. (And since the dinner theater industry isn't exactly booming these days, he could use the funds.)
My only concern for Oleksandra is that this brave, new world she's ushering in is dark and full of terrors. Making a permanent arrangement with a stranger that they can own a piece of your body like it's a space on a Monopoly board is not without its risks. For every semi normal person who thinks it would be fun to see their name on screen whenever they see a close up during some hot ITF World Tour action, there's at least one who won't respect the sanctity of her body. Speaking as someone who grew up with a circle of friends who'd draw dicks on any surface they could, I hope she doesn't put her faith in the kindness of people who'll spend thousands on a piece of her skin. They buy it, they own it, with all that that entails.
So congratulations to her. She'll go down in history as the first to recognize this new revenue stream and turn human flesh into gold. I just hope she puts some restrictions in that purchase and sale, because this could get ugly.