KPMG Canada has purchased a piece of digital art from the “World of Women” non-fungible token (NFT) collection shortly after its corporate treasury made its inaugural investment in cryptocurrency.
The accounting and consulting firm’s first-ever NFT purchase was “Woman #2681” – a portrait of a woman that evokes the sterile corporate art style and colour palette popular at big tech firms.
KPMG said it made the purchase to help inform its advisory work for clients seeking to invest in NFTs, which have surged in popularity in the past year. NFTs are unique digital tokens that can be sold or traded and usually take the form of digital photos, videos, and audio.
Creators can sell multiple copies and ownership of an NFT does not generally convey copyright of digital files nor prevent copying of the digital files in question. The right-click download option remains as viable as ever.
NFTs have been labeled as a scam or Ponzi scheme by critics, who see it as yet another bubble with investors looking to buy in low, convince swaths of others to buy in (with celebrity endorsements a top strategy), and then get out before the bottom falls out.
Advocates say critics are simply shaking their canes at the inevitable Web3 future. Others say that NFTs are a viable avenue for artists – including women artists – to monetize their work.
“This acquisition reflects our belief not only in the continued growth of NFTs, but in the value of WoW and its mission. Having now gone through the process, we are well-positioned to guide our clients around building a corporate NFT strategy, including, acquiring, and safeguarding NFTs,” said Benjie Thomas, managing partner, advisory services, KPMG Canada.
World of Women (WoW) is a collective of women artists featuring an original collection of 10,000 diverse female avatars. The company has increased its profile through promotion from actress Reese Witherspoon, who partnered with the company last month.
“There are numerous use cases for NFTs,” said Kareem Sadek, cryptoassets and blockchain services co-leader, KPMG Canada. “We are already seeing organizations from retailers and sports leagues to auction houses, celebrities, and not-for-profits use NFTs to market their brand, recruit talent, create value, raise awareness for causes, and connect with customers.”
KPMG Canada is giving the “thumbs up” to NFTs and cryptocurrency with its latest moves. The firm in February made a direct investment in cryptoassets, completing an allocation that included Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Framing NFTs as a force for good does not, however, delete the distinctly bubble-like contours of the movement. If people suddenly switch from novelty- and FOMO-mode and begin questioning if someone else will actually pay more than they did for a shoddy piece of digital ape art, then the market will be in trouble. It doesn’t have the scale to destroy the economy like the subprime mortgage crisis, according to economist Paul Krugman, but NFTs and the cryptocurrency market have the potential to exact a huge amount of pain on overenthusiastic investors.
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