AUSTIN, Texas — William Shatner is speeding to Web3 at warp 9.
Infinite Connections comprises two collections: Cosmic Explorer, with 2,500 NFTs that feature a Shatner 3D avatar paired with artwork that explores scientific themes like quantum physics and sonic vibrations. Each one also includes a physical action figure of Captain James T. Kirk, the role for which Shatner is best known, each hand-signed by Shatner with a quote from the character.
The other collection is Timeless Voyager, which includes 1,000 NFTs of 2D artwork of future tech and the cosmos. There’s no action figure included, but “select” holders will have access to unspecified IRL opportunities.
"NFTs are slowly becoming more artistic," Shatner said backstage at the conference. "These, developed by Orange Comet, are among the most artistic that I've ever seen."
To create and release his collection, Shatner worked with Orange Comet, a Web3 entertainment company that recently raised $7 million in a funding round. The company has also worked with former National Basketball Association star Scottie Pippen, Sir Anthony Hopkins and the hit TV show "The Walking Dead."
Orange Comet CEO Dave Broome, who also spoke at the conference, revealed how the deal with Shatner occurred, and how Shatner's intellectual curiosity was a key component.
"This is a man at 92 who is still inquiring, and still has an ability to learn and embrace technology and understanding what it could do," Broome said. "What we're interested in doing is taking someone like iconic, legendary William Shatner and all of the millions and millions of fans that he has, and bring them over into Web3."
The collection features images of Shatner integrated into imagery that's evocative of science and technology, such as where the contours of his face are filled in with illuminated strings that curve and overlap each other, or anther where his head connected to high-tech machinery resembling a helmet from Halo.
"What we're trying to do with these images is show the connection – the mathematic, romantic, stars, quantum physics – the connection between it all, and we think buried in those images are those philosophies," Shatner said.
Shatner’s release comes at a transitional time for NFTs. Although the days of extreme hype in the mainstream and multimillion-dollar sales such as Beeple’s are long gone, celebrity drops of NFTs have been surprisingly resilient. Last winter, former President Donald Trump released an NFT collection that sold out within a day. That led to a second release in April that sold out just as quickly – although prices for collectibles from the first drop had plummeted.
Shatner, a household name with a huge fan base, clearly sees a similar opportunity. If the release is successful, more releases from other crypto-native and -curious celebrities could follow – perhaps even from other "Star Trek" celebrities.
Shatner’s collection went on sale Thursday at 3 p.m. Pacific Time – timed to his appearance onstage at Consensus – at WilliamShatnerNFTs.com. Interested buyers can whip up Shatner-themed NFTs with either crypto or traditional credit-card payments.
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