Lamborghini is dipping its supercar toe into the non-fungible token pool. But unlike the primate-based computer-designed Twitter avatars that have come to represent the NFT community, the automaker is bridging the physical and digital world for its crypto offering.
Well, off-world to be exact.
The automaker -- in partnership with NFT PRO and RM Sotheby's -- will auction five pairs of linked digital and physical art between February 1 and February 4 at the automaker's dedicated NFT website.
Lamborghini is joining Nike, Samsung and other tech companies in embracing NFTs. For instance, Twitter has created a way for NFT owners to show off their favorite NFT via a special profile-picture hexa-shaped frame. Reddit has also recently waded into the NFT fray, allowing users to set their artwork as their profile image.
Unlike many other NFTs, the Lamborghini artwork will have five tangible items that are paired with the digital works. These physical objects should continue to hold value even if the NFT craze collapses, largely because the items have been to space -- yes, space -- as part of the endeavor's human space exploration theme.
Lamborghini sent pieces of carbon fiber to the international space station in 2020 as part of a joint research project. The physical Space Key, which contains those same bits of carbon fiber, will be something the winners of the auctions can hold -- and brag about.
The carbon fiber squares are housed in a special case and are engraved with individual QR codes that correspond to the accompanying digital artwork created by Fabian Oefner, an artist known for a series of pieces that highlight the mechanical world via mind-bending photographs.
On the digital side will be Oefner's exploded image of a Lamborghini Ultimate floating above a photo of the Earth. The image, called Space Time Memory, was created using 1,500 individual photographs of the vehicle's parts which were assembled digitally to resemble a spaceship launching into space, above the Earth with a trail of small mechanical parts trailing behind. The image of the Earth in the background was taken via a weather balloon sent to the edge of the stratosphere.
The five images are slightly different from one another; when put together, they create an intriguing series of images that creates a sense of motion.
In other words, it makes a pretty great GIF.
Image Credits: Fabian Oefner/Lamborghini
In a statement, the artists said, "for me, Space Time Memory is an analogy to the memories we make in life." Whatever it means, it looks quite spectacular. At least far more intriguing than a JPEG of a cartoon monkey.
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told TechCrunch that to him and the automaker, NFTs are all about the community, its young spirit and the designs. He noted that the NFT community was looking at Lamborghini to at least try out the NFT world, "because they know that our customers are very innovative and they're looking into things like this. So they are speaking to people which think alike."
The automaker was also approached by Oefner about the project. In fact, multiple agencies approached the company about the chance to create an NFT. But it might have been the artist that helped seal the deal. Oefner for his part has already created artwork using Lamborghinis, including the Miura piece from 2018. The artist and Lamborghini will split the proceeds of the sale.
Lamborghini will evaluate the sale and, depending on the results, may create more NFTs in the future. Still, Winkelmann emphasized the automaker isn't wading into NFT hastily.
"The highest value we have is our brand, so we have to act very carefully," Winkelmann said.
As for why the NFT has real-life elements, the CEO said that the automaker's world is very physical and that they should never forget that. It was the combination of physical and digital that intrigued him and Lamborghini.
For Lamborghini, a company that thrives on a customer base that loves to be noticed, the NFT auction also has to have some pizzazz. To continue the theme of human space exploration, Lamborghini's Space Time Memory actions will last 75 hours and 50 minutes (the same amount of time it took Apollo 11 to leave Earth and enter the moon's orbit).
If it succeeds, it could prompt the automaker to send items into space and potentially the moon to link to future digital artworks. There's no reason Lamborghini can't team up with SpaceX on a moon flight in the future to make this reality.
Although, Lamborghini might want to wait until attention shifts away from SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster that is expected to crash into the moon in early March after seven years in space.
When it comes to NFTs, supercars and space exploration — crashing is always a bad word.