Nicole Buffett on NFTs, Their Future and Explaining Them to Her Grandfather

NFTs are a new unit of value in the evolution of money, artist Nicole Buffett said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover.”

May 5, 2022 at 8:44 p.m. UTC
Updated May 6, 2022 at 3:02 a.m. UTC
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Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

Nicole Buffett is a critically acclaimed artist and art director and, more recently, has been venturing into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), selling her work on marketplaces like OpenSea. The Los Angeles-born painter, who has an identical twin sister and is also the granddaughter of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett, the world’s fifth wealthiest person.

But the San Francisco-raised NFT artist hasn’t always concurred with her grandfather, who holds a more old-fashioned approach to technology. Over the weekend, during the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting, the elder Buffett dismissed cryptocurrency, saying he would not buy all the bitcoin (BTC) in the world for $25.

That hasn’t deterred the cross-medium artist, who has yet to have a crypto conversation with her grandfather. If and when she does, she plans to highlight NFTs’ growing influence on how we value products and services.

“NFTs are expanding our view of currency money,” she said on CoinDesk TV’s "First Mover."

She dove into NFTs at the beginning of the pandemic. To Buffett, it became a way to connect with her audience and a way to share her work. “Translating my work into the digital sphere allowed me to open up new dimensions on different levels,” she said.

Still, Buffett continues to produce physical works of art first before turning them into NFTs. She sees this as a way to honor the full artistic process. It’s “a way to trace it [art creation] back to its origin, outside of the digital realm,” she said.

Some, including her grandfather, may argue that NFTs do not inherently produce anything. Rather, their value depends on the amount that people are willing to pay for them.

People who have already joined the cryptocurrency and NFT space will play a major role in attracting skeptics, such as Buffett’s grandfather. “The scope of the lens is widening,” she said. The cryptocurrency space is dynamic, where “financial experts, technologists and artists are getting together to create a bigger entity.”

Buffett recently reconnected with her grandfather, who reached out via email for the first time in years, to express his support for her NFT success. She is planning an NFT-based art show this fall in Omaha, Nebraska, her grandfather's hometown.

When it comes to NFTs, “what excites my grandfather the most is that it’s really giving artists a chance to share their work, make a living on their work and express themselves,” she said. “If there’s anything that’s going to open him up to the world of NFTs and crypto it is that.”

CORRECTION (May 6, 2022, 03:00 UTC): Corrects spelling of Buffett in first paragraph, and that Nicole Buffett has an identical twin sister, and is not a triplet.

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Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

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Fran is a reporter on the Layer 2 team, the site's magazine section. He has written for CNBC Make It and Inc. He owns no crypto holdings.

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