Earlier this week, former Iowa center Luka Garza announced that he would be the first college athlete to release his own NFT card. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable.
On Friday night, the auction for Garza’s NFT came to an end. For a couple of days, the highest bid was hovering around the $8,000 mark, but with a little over an hour to go, the bidding began to turn up a notch. Two bidders went back-and-forth until about 9 p.m. central time. Each time one of them would place a bid, the bidding would be extended another 15 minutes. After it was all said and done– Garza’s NFT sold for $41,141.81.
“I’m an economics major, and I’ve been following the tech world closely,” Garza told CNBC when he announced the NFT on Tuesday. “Blockchain Technology is something that really interests me. My dad was also into the tech world as well, so I think both of us talking about it and seeing other athletes do this, I thought it was a really cool and unique opportunity to be able to start pushing my branding.”
In addition to the NFT card, the Garza’s put together a VIP package for the winner. They’ll get to spend some quality one-on-one time with Garza including, playing a game of H.O.R.S.E., enjoying dinner and a movie with Garza. In addition to that they’ll participate in a meditation session with Garza, and a receive lifetime VIP pass to any future Garza basketball camps.
“I think it’s something cool for people who were to win the NFT to be able to see what helps me be able to succeed at the highest level and be locked in to play against the best competition. I think that’s what makes it unique– it’s not just a piece of art, there’s a personal connection that goes along with it as well.”
The consensus national player of the year also stated that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the Iowa Children’s Hospital.
With all of the talk surrounding Name, Image and Likeness, Garza believes that NFT’s can help be part of the solution.
“I’m very thankful for the NCAA and the opportunity to get an education while I’m in school and to pursue a degree in economics,” Garza said on CNBC. “I don’t want to take anything away from that, but obviously we’ve seen the great work of a lot of college athletes around the country. One of my teammates, Jordan Bohannon, is huge in pushing these kind of issues. I stand with the change in times. I think this is something that athletes in the future could do to make money off their name, image, and likeness through something like an NFT. This is something that could provide an example if the name, image, and likeness (bill) is passed.”
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