Spy now accepting cash, crypto and NFTs

Non-fungible tokens have been one of the technology stories of the year, generating headlines around the world for the eye-popping valuation of some of the digital artwork.

Over the course of the year, there have been a number of NFT brand plays, though mainly of the tongue-in-cheek variety—agencies trying to grab some of the hype (“This NFT thing is crazy, right?”) rather than using the digital asset technology to create new customer experiences or connections.

But Marcus Trulli, executive producer at Spy Films, believes there’s a lot more than hype behind the stories. He sees so much potential in the blockchain-based assets that his company is now accepting cryptocurrency and NFTs as payment. He made the announcement on LinkedIn earlier this week.

Even if there is some uncertainty about how the market will evolve in the short term, Trulli said he wanted to plant a flag to show Spy is thinking about the future of the industry and filmmaking. “I have a lot of faith in the metaverse, in what crypto and NFTs can do for film or for filmmakers, for film funding…. It’s just kind of the future.”

He suggested a scenario where a filmmaker has an idea that needs funding. They could release concept art as a small series of NFTs, with each one representing a small part of the intellectual property. “If that IP were to go on to be a feature film, then they would have a percentage of that IP and that feature film.”

That’s not to say that is how it will play out, said Trulli, only that our world is only going to become more digital and he wants Spy to be on the leading edge.

For now, Trulli said Spy will accept crypto and NFTs up to a value of $100,000. The crypto transactions seem much more likely, he admits, and he’ll be very selective about the NFT he’d consider. There is a lot of speculation, and some of the activity around NFTs might seem kind of “scammy,” but he sees real underlying value in the space.

“If it was a Bored Ape or a CryptoPunk, I would,” he said. “Those will be considered the early artifacts of Web 3.0.” He also knows there’s almost no chance of people paying with either NFT now, since both CryptoPunks and Bored Apes are now among the most sought-after and expensive NFTs in the world. “Twenty five years from now, when we are spending more time in virtual worlds and the metaverse as a whole, those NFTs will be considered relics,” said Trulli.

The crypto option is more straightforward as it quickly becomes accepted currency in the business world. (It’s been estimated that more than 2,300 U.S. businesses were accepting Bitcoin by the end of 2020.) Trulli said he’s had crew ask him about getting paid in crypto, and agency producers have praised him for the move.

“But even then, how much crypto can I carry? I’m going to still have to pay my suppliers and my partners in cash.”

Trulli said that his financial team was a little taken aback when he told them of his plan, but he’s consulted “crypto lawyers” to ensure they’re doing everything the right way. “Everyone’s trying to wrap their head around it,” he said. “It’s a bit of a fast train for sure. But from all the literature and things that I’ve read and studied, I just don’t see how we don’t go here.”

David Brown