How to make a million dollars buying digital monkeys.  Later.

How to make a million dollars buying digital monkeys. Later.

My workout trainer, Rick Gonzalez, knows that if he tells me stories during my sets of workouts, I’ll be distracted and less in pain. We talk about football, movies and politics.

He once asked me, “What do you think of NFTs?”

I’m like what

“The tokens are not replaceable,” he said.

Oh, I said, I hadn’t paid much attention. But then he got mine.

He told me how his cousin was making big bucks, er, bitcoin buying and selling digital artwork. An artist named Beeple is credited with starting the digital art boom a year ago when Christie’s sold his creations for $69 million.

Coach Rick spoke with his cousin Jennifer Reese, an NFT market player. I told him, he said, that NFT buyers were preparing to move a large part of their lives into the online metaverse.

This month, Melania Trump announced that she would auction off a white hat she wore as First Lady, along with digital copies. She previously made an NFT watercolor of her eyes.

Some political candidates, rather than soliciting donations, sell NFTs to their supporters. Because it’s new, it’s more exciting than a cup of coffee or a baseball cap.

Celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon, Tom Brady, Snoop Dogg, and Mark Cuban, all jumped in and sold NFTs.

It’s fun, and often profitable, but it turns out that NFTs are also ready for scams.

About NFTs

To find out more, I’m putting a piece of my “artwork” for sale as an NFT. I also called Jennifer, coach Rick’s cousin, to ask questions.

Jennifer told me how spending $5,000 on a “dogecoin” investment was meager. She explained that it was like 0.0001 coins, similar to a penny share. Several months later, she sold it for $20,000, which is an excellent 4 to 1 ROI.

Here comes the uh-oh part. “If I waited just a little longer,” she said, “it’s like $5,000 becomes $2 million.” “I was directly depressed when I did the math. Oh my God what did I do? It was really hard to deal with. I was so close.”

She shifted her attention from investing in currencies to NFTs. Among the most sought after NFT graphics are the cartoon monkey digital graphics. Since she got into the monkeys early, in May last year, she paid just 0.08 ETH (the Ethereum cryptocurrency) for her first monkey. That was $262. Now, she says, she has monkey holdings worth up to $10 million.

It owns 30 monkeys out of the original 10,000 monkeys.

The apes represent the humans 20 years from now who have made a lot of money and are bored.

Banner from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person.  (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).
Banner from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person. (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).(David Lieber)

They get stuck in the Bored Ape Virtual Yacht Club. Collectors want monkeys, but they are now too expensive. Rapper Eminem bought a monkey for $462,000 – or 123.45 ETH.

A sketch from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person.  (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).
A sketch from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person. (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).

How are 30 drawings of monkeys worth $10 million? Jennifer estimates her monkeys to be worth $6 million, and the “attributes” or extras she bought for them — gowns, hats, hair — will likely add another $4 million.

Last year, she went to New York and attended the Ape Fest where she met other monkey owners, and together they rode a real yacht on the Hudson River.

Concert from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person.  (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).
Concert from Ape Fest 2021 in New York City where members of Bored Ape Yacht Club, an online community, met for the first time in person. (Courtesy of Jennifer Reese).

Web 3.0, here we go

Jennifer made it clear that I was trapped in the world of Web 2.0 as she progressed towards Web 3.0.

Web 1.0 was the beginning of the World Wide Web. People and companies had their own static web pages.

Web 2.0 brings focus to social media and community. It’s about getting clicks, paying ads, collecting data, often for selling. looks familiar?

On the other hand, Web 3.0 does not store data; It’s common. Individuals, not companies, build this new world together. Artificial intelligence is playing an even bigger role.

Selling my first NFT

I tried this. I signed for the cover of my new autobiography on Ross Perot Sr. To display for sale as digital art. Then I scanned it, digitized it and “sound” it using the popular OpenSea website, where I put it up for sale.

I bought $50 in ETH on CoinBase and stored it in my new digital wallet. (Note: The last time I reviewed this investment in a couple of days, it jumped to $59 because the price of ETH went up.)

So far, there are no buyers.

NFT counterfeits

As The Watchdog, I worry about scams and theft in this new world.

“There’s a lot of money involved,” Jennifer said. “Lots of bad actors too. It’s easy to be deceived by fake websites that look real. Every day there are stories of people buying their first NFTs, and then the NFTs disappearing. It’s heartbreaking, but the NFT community will help you. Digital wallets can also be attacked.”

You must create a lot of drama among the monkeys at the yacht club. I will know soon enough. Exercise coach Rick just bought his first monkey. So we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Noticeable: Today – Friday, January 14 – Dallas Public Library is hosting me from 2 PM to 3:30 PM for a virtual talk about my new book about Ross Perot Sr. THE SEARCH FOR PEROT – MY JOURNEY TO DISCOVER THE BEST FAMILY IN TEXAS. Sign up before 11 a.m. at this location: bit.ly/Lieber-Perot-Library.

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Dallas Morning News Watch Column is the 2019 winner of the first columnist award from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. A contest judge described his winning entries as “examples of shady storytelling and public service.”

Read his winning articles:

* Helping the widow of Officer J.D. Tibbett, the Dallas police officer who was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, bury her next to her late husband

* Helping a waitress who was hurt by an unscrupulous used car dealer

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