Steve McQueen is racing into Web3 through a new non-fungible token (NFT) collection honoring his love of motorcycles and his reputation for being the "king of cool."
On July 14, the McQueen Estate – in partnership with Web3 talent agency Verified Labs, contemporary artist Michael Kalish, Triumph Motorcycles and Web3 animation studio Immersive Entertainment Laboratories (IEL) – will release a collection of 1,000 generative art collectibles with varying rarity traits remembering the late actor. Sold on the ThetaDrop platform, the project was inspired by an original portrait Kalish created of McQueen in 2022 with help from McQueen's grandson, Chase.
Collectors of the “King of Cool Racing Team” NFTs will receive a digital motorcycle shipping crate that they can pry open to reveal a one-of-a-kind, virtual Triumph Bonneville T100 Motorcycle. Revealing the bike will grant them membership into the King of Cool Racing Team and provide them with access to future token-gated content, events and games. Each collectible also comes with a 3D Steve McQueen portrait, which can be viewed in even greater detail using a virtual reality headset or Sony's Spatial Reality Display.
McQueen, who was known for his starring roles in movies like "The Cincinnati Kid," "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Towering Inferno," was also an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He participated in a number of races and collected many Triumph motorcycles and hot rods in his personal garage in Palm Springs, California.
Justin Trevor Winters, co-founder and CEO of Verified Labs, told CoinDesk that Chase, who runs McQueen Racing with his father Chad, wanted to memorialize the movie star in a new format.
"The truth is, it's all about legacy," he said. "We wanted to make sure we did our part to help McQueen live on for future generations. The advancements in AI and technology allow for this to happen in a very personal and immersive way."
In a statement, Kalish said that his work has been inspired by Americana, which McQueen heavily influenced throughout his decades-long career in American cinema.
"Having the opportunity to partner with the Steve McQueen family has been a perfect intersection of my passions as an artist and who Steve McQueen was to all of us on the big screen. There is so much overlap in our love of cars, motorcycles, family, American Iconic objects and moments," Kalish said.
McQueen joins a number of celebrities being honored post-mortem on the blockchain. In June 2022, Biggie Smalls' estate collaborated with NFT marketplace OneOf to release a series of profile picture (PFP) NFTs granting holders voting rights over the distribution of a previously unlicensed Notorious B.I.G. freestyle. And in October, David Bowie's estate released a number of exclusive digital art collectibles through OpenSea.
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