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Brief Published: 9 Aug 2021

Stoner Cats: Direct-to-NFT Cartoon Enables Fan Co-Creation

American actor and producer Mila Kunis has harnessed the crypto-collectible hype with animated series Stoner Cats, which can only be unlocked by fans who hold a show TOKEn (non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, of the show’s characters). At launch, TOKEns retailed at 0.35 ETH ($785) and sold out in under 35 minutes, raising $8.4m.

Stoner Cats focuses on an elderly woman (Ms. Stoner) whose five cats become sentient after she uses medical marijuana to manage her Alzheimer’s. The show’s cast includes Kunis herself alongside fellow US actors Ashton Kutcher, Jane Fonda and comedian Chris Rock, as well as the Russian-Canadian co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin – indicating that crypto originators are exploring more mainstream applications of their product.

The direct-to-NFT model gives fans a direct avenue to support their favourite creators over corporations that don’t inspire similar loyalty. An encoded royalties system means the NFTs’ creators get 2.5% each time their design is resold. Meanwhile, the resale market around NFTs gives fans the opportunity to earn financial returns on their investment in projects they believe in. Stoner Cats TOKEns have already increased in value since launching on July 27 – later that day, one depicting Ms. Stoner sold on NFT marketplace OpenSea for 30 ETH (around $70,000).

To give the fan-owner community some creative control over their investment, Orchard Farms – the production company behind the project – will establish a decentralised autonomous organisation that will let token-holders vote on and propose new projects. It has committed to developing at least one animated project per year over the next three years.

For more, see Pop Culture Round-Up: Summer 2021 and New Tactics for Brand Storytelling.