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NFT DIGEST: Azuki, Sotheby's, FC Barcelona & Ronaldo's Drops

By Luigi Savarese
Luigi Savarese

7 Min

June 29, 2023

In an exhilarating week of NFT drops, Azuki unleashed 20,000 Elementals NFTs via Dutch auction, marking a monumental expansion in the NFT space. Simultaneously, Sotheby's pioneering Dutch auction celebrated Vera Molnár through crypto artworks drops, pushing further the generative art landscape. FC Barcelona and World of Women scored big with their 'Empowerment' NFT collection, another addition to the NFT drops that signify sports and social milestones. Binance teamed up with Cristiano Ronaldo for 'Forever CR7: The GOAT' NFT collection, encapsulating his legendary goals in digital art. Lastly, the US court’s decision against 'MetaBirkin' NFT sales reflects the legal implications on NFT drops and trademarks, spotlighting the importance of intellectual property in the burgeoning world of NFT drops.

Azuki Introducing 20,000 Elementals NFTs via Dutch Auction

Key Highlights:

  • Azuki announces an expansion with a 20,000 Ethereum NFT collection, Elementals.
  • The collection is set to go on sale through a Dutch auction with starting prices of 2 ETH per NFT.
  • Current Azuki NFT owners have been airdropped tokens for the new Elementals.

Azuki is expanding its universe with the release of 20,000 new NFTs under the name Elementals. Chiru Labs, the Web3 startup behind the popular Ethereum NFT collection Azuki, orchestrated this ambitious expansion.

The new collection, aptly named Azuki Elementals, will include additional profile picture s(PFPs) and will augment the existing anime-themed project. Half of the supply is allocated to current Azuki NFT owners via an airdrop, while the remaining will be up for grabs in a Dutch auction. The auction will start on Tuesday at 9:20 am PST, commencing with a 2 ETH price tag per NFT which will drop every 5 minutes until all NFTs are sold.

The Elementals collection seems to hint at a mythical theme involving four domains, each representing a classical element such as fire, water, earth, and lightning. The collection is expected to be constituted from randomized attributes with different tiers, and some ultra-rare “grail” NFTs.

Azuki, which has $1 billion in trading to date according to CryptoSlam, is seeking to capitalize on its success with the Elementals expansion and is likely to engage the community further through events and collaborations.

Sotheby’s Trailblazing First Dutch Auction Celebrating Vera Molnár

Key Highlights:

  • Sotheby’s announces a digital sale celebrating Vera Molnár using a Dutch auction format for the first time.
  • The auction will mark the launch of Sotheby’s Gen Art Program powered by Art Blocks’ Engine.
  • The sale titled Themes and Variations will feature 500 unique artworks.

Sotheby’s, one of the world's largest brokers of art, has taken an unprecedented step by announcing its first-ever Dutch auction. The auction, titled Themes and Variations, will celebrate the esteemed artist Vera Molnár and inaugurate the legacy auction house’s Gen Art Program which is powered by Art Blocks’ Engine, the Web3 company’s generative art solutions platform.

This establishes Molnár's largest on-chain generative art project to date, and Sotheby’s Metaverse will conduct it entirely on-chain. The project includes an exclusive series of 500 unique artworks that build on Molnár’s early algorithmic art explorations from the 1960s. Molnár characterizes her work by integrating letters as abstract forms and embracing disorder.

Furthermore, Sotheby’s Gen Art Program plans to spotlight two/three artists every year offering exclusive sales of generative art. The Gen Art Program will handle all bids and payments in ETH.

Additionally, the auction format starts with a fixed initial price decreasing at set increments until someone places the first bid. This format is famous for adding dynamism to the traditional auction process and establishing a new model for price discovery.

Sotheby’s is actively increasing its involvement in the NFT and Crypto space as it delves into Web3 trends and technologies.

FC Barcelona and World of Women Launch ‘Empowerment’ NFT Collection

Key Highlights:

  • FC Barcelona collaborates with World of Women (WoW) to release an NFT collection named ‘Empowerment’.
  • The NFTs, designed by Rhi Madeline, celebrate FC Barcelona’s women’s team captain, Alexia Putellas.
  • The collection captures Putellas’ triumphs during the Women’s Champions League semi-final match against Wolfsburg in 2022.

In an exciting development, FC Barcelona has joined forces with World of Women (WoW) to release an NFT collection named ‘Empowerment’. The collection pays tribute to Alexia Putellas, the captain of FC Barcelona’s women’s team, and is designed by renowned artist Rhi Madeline.

Putellas made a historic mark by scoring two goals against Wolfsburg in the 2022 Women's Champions League semi-final match, consequently propelling her team to victory. 'Empowerment' immortalizes this moment.

Subsequently, OpenSea will host a two-day auction for the 'Empowerment' collection, effectively building on the excitement from FC Barcelona's previous highly priced Masterpieces collectibles.

This groundbreaking collaboration with World of Women represents a key initiative in FC Barcelona’s broader NFT strategy. Notably, FC Barcelona didn’t just stop at releasing collectibles of Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff, one of which fetched a staggering $693,000 at Sotheby's auction, but also went on to collaborate on NFT projects with Plastik to combat the plastic waste crisis and provide holders with signed football shirts.

In sum, the partnership between FC Barcelona and the World of Women showcases how sports and social responsibility can intersect, effectively emphasizing women's empowerment in sports and creating a tangible piece of football history.

Binance & Cristiano Ronaldo Launch ‘Forever CR7: The GOAT’ NFT Collection

Key Highlights:

  • Binance collaborates with Cristiano Ronaldo to launch the ‘Forever CR7: The GOAT’ NFT Collection.
  • The collection comprises 29,000 NFTs representing 20 of Ronaldo’s remarkable goals.
  • Super Super Rare (SSR) NFT holders are eligible for a personal training session with Ronaldo.

Binance, the renowned cryptocurrency exchange, and football maestro Cristiano Ronaldo have collaborated to launch an NFT collection, Forever CR7: The GOAT’. Comprising 29,000 NFTs, this collection celebrates Ronaldo's illustrious goal-scoring record by transforming 20 of his greatest goals into digital NFT artworks.

In addition, Binance divides the NFTs into four rarity tiers. Super Super Rare (SSR), Super Rare (SR), Rare (R), and Normal (N). The SSR tokens stand out as the most coveted, granting holders a private training session with Cristiano Ronaldo. Binance will auction six of these tokens, each with a starting price of $15,000.

Furthermore, Binance distributes 120 SR and 1,200 R NFTs via a subscription model, priced at $300 and $30 respectively. ForeverCR7 boxes, containing seven N-grade collectibles, are available for $10.

Moreover, the collection includes exclusive benefits like printable signed posters, personal messages, physical merchandise, future drops, giveaways, and more. This collaboration forms part of an ongoing multi-year partnership between Binance and Cristiano Ronaldo.

US Court Halts 'MetaBirkin' NFT Sales for Trademark Infringement

Key Highlights:

  • US District Judge rules in favor of Hermès, permanently banning Mason Rothschild from selling ‘MetaBirkin’ NFTs.
  • Hermès wins trademark infringement case; Rothschild’s appeal for a retrial denied.
  • The ruling sets a precedent for extending trademark rights from the physical world to NFTs and virtual assets.

US District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled in favor of French luxury brand Hermès, permanently barring digital artist Mason Rothschild from minting or selling ‘MetaBirkin’ NFTs. This decision follows a unanimous jury verdict from February, affirming that Rothschild violated Hermès's trademark rights. The ruling signifies the culmination of an 18-month legal battle and sets a landmark precedent in the world of digital collectibles.

In 2021, during the NFT boom, Rothschild minted 100 MetaBirkin NFTs resembling Hermès’s iconic Birkin bags, and the collection raked in over $1 million in secondary market sales. Come early 2022, Hermès took Rothschild to court, seeking damages and an injunction against the NFTs.

Rothschild argued that his NFTs served as an abstract critique of high fashion and should enjoy protection under the First Amendment. The jury, however, sided with Hermès and awarded the company $133,000 in damages.

In response to Hermès's plea, the court decided to bar Rothschild from promoting or making profits from his MetaBirkin NFTs. This groundbreaking decision establishes that trademark rights in the physical domain can extend to the virtual realm.

Jessica Neer McDonald, a copyright and trademark specialist, expressed that this ruling signals to companies that they can assert their trademark rights in virtual worlds. This aligns with trends observed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.