The Associated Press news agency is launching a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) starting January 31, featuring its "award-winning contemporary and historic photojournalism."
The partnership with blockchain technology firm Xooa allows the users to buy, sell, and trade NFTs using crypto wallets or traditional credit cards. The debut collection will include digitally-enhanced work from AP photojournalists, covering themes like space, climate, and war. Each NFT will display the photograph's original metadata, including the location, equipment, camera settings, and the time and date the picture was captured.
“For 175 years AP’s photographers have recorded the world’s biggest stories through gripping and poignant images that continue to resonate today,” said Dwayne Desaulniers, AP Director of Blockchain and Data Licensing. “With Xooa’s technology, we are proud to offer these tokenized pieces to a fast-growing global audience of photography NFT collectors.”
Every two weeks, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs from AP photojournalists will go on sale. All profits from sales will be used to fund the nonprofit agency's newsgathering efforts.
The NFTs will rely on Polygon, a secondary scaling network using Ethereum, which has comparatively lower energy consumption and faster speeds.
NFTs have recently exploded in popularity, with Google searches for the term now eclipsing that for crypto. Data from market researcher DappRadar highlighted that NFT sales surged to $21 billion last year, thanks to increased interest during the pandemic. Companies like Coca Cola and Gucci have embraced NFTs, as have brands like Adidas, Ubisoft, and most recently, GameStop, which launched its own cryptocurrency division to focus on developing an NFT marketplace.
Last year, more than 28 million wallets traded NFTs, a significant increase from just 545,000 wallets in 2020, DappRadar figures show.
Sales from NFTs last year were almost equivalent to the amount of money the World Bank distributed to buy Covid-19 vaccines or that countries pledged for decarbonization from coal at COP26 in 2021, according to Reuters.