Rupert Murdoch is not a name most Australian investors would equate to futuristic tech investing. After all, this is a nonagenarian who made his fortune on the decidedly 20th century business of selling newspapers. But, like many savvy investors, Murdoch has managed to somewhat evolve with the times.
His blockbuster deal a few years ago, which saw his company 20th Century Fox unload most of its television and film content to Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), landed him (or at least the Murdoch Family Trust) with a massive stake in Disney. And these days, Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOX)(NASDAQ: FOXA) is still making bank with its slimmed-down news assets. Namely the US-based Fox News channel.
NFTs: A new business for an old company
So perhaps it’s not so surprising to see Murdoch branch out even further into what the 21st century has to offer in terms of investing. According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) today, Murdoch’s Fox Corp is launching a new US$100 million fund for “digital creators”. This fund will be part of a new business called Blockchain Creative Labs.
Blockchain Creative Labs will administer and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The co-founder and chief executive officer of Fox’s Bento Box Entertainment animation company, Scott Greenburg, will also serve as CEO.
NFTs are a relatively new phenomenon. They are basically blockchain-verified digital certificates of ownership. They can be attached to any digital good, such as artwork, a piece of music or film. As such, whoever owns the NFT is publically acknowledged as the rightful owner of a said digital good.
The SMH lists some famous NFTs that have been sold in recent years. These include a Kings of Leon album (bought for US$2 million), and Twitter Inc (NASDAQ: TWTR) founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet (sold for US$2.9 million).
The report quotes Fox CEO of entertainment Charles Collier on the company’s latest move:
The emergence of blockchain technology has given birth to a new marketplace that is a natural extension of [Fox animation studio] Bento Box’s talents; one that allows the team to support, elevate and reward innovators and artists in new and creatively exciting ways
A Brave New World indeed for Mr Murdoch.