The first ever sex-tape NFT, or non-fungible token, hit the blockchain last week—and sold almost immediately for more than $17,000.
The 24-minute album, titled "I FUCKED RYDER RIPPS," is a recording of rapper Azealia Banks and her boyfriend, conceptual artist and programmer Ryder Ripps, having sex. When Ryder Ripps minted the NFT tied to the album on March 6, he listed it at 10.00 ETH, or $17,240.40. An artist who goes by the name Rulton Fyder bought it nine hours later for the same price, according to the listing on NFT marketplace Foundation.
The sale granted Fyder full ownership of the album, as well as distribution and display rights, and sole access to the audio including a WAV file and the only signed LP vinyl record of the sex tape in existence. The listing describes:
This sale is for the full rights and sole access to the first audio sex-tape to be minted on the blockchain. Recorded in February 2021 by Azealia Banks and boyfriend, Ryder Ripps, this sound based artwork is sure to titillate for its full 24:22 duration. Upon purchase, a WAV file will be delivered to the buyer in addition to a 1 of 1 signed LP vinyl record. Full ownership, including limitless distribution and display rights are included in this sale. Don't miss out on this historic & sexy event.
NFTs are limited-edition tokens minted on the Ethereum blockchain and tied to memes, digital artworks, GIFs, or tweets. They are enshrined on the blockchain as a guarantee that they're the first and only ones of their kind, and can't be forged. NFTs have been around for years, with some artists making serious cash on digital artworks. Recently, they've gained new hype, with celebrities like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and singer Grimes jumping into the NFT game. Critics say they're bad art and point out that the underlying blockchain tech has an environmental cost.
In spite of all this, it's an economy all its own, with people spending more than $174 million on NFTs from 2017 to February 2021. In the last month alone, however, NFT sales have amounted to almost $185 million.
Rulton Fyder is an anonymous artist who "recontextualizes'' other artists' works as NFTs. The name seems to be a play on Fulton Ryder, the pseudonym of artist Richard Prince, as well as the name of a former Upper East Side bookstore that Prince ran for two years. Prince did some recontextualizing of his own under the Fulton Ryder moniker, for example selling copies of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye with “a novel by Richard Prince” on the cover.
After purchasing the Banks and Ripps sex tape, Rulton Fyder tweeted “#SexTapesAreArtworks,” then put that tweet up for sale on the blockchain as an NFT. The tweet has five likes as of writing.
Ripps previously worked with Pornhub on an interactive art installation campaign called Pornhub Nation, and co-founded real-time art and meme sharing site dump.fm. Last week, Ripps sold the "Deal With It" sunglasses GIF, which he created in 2010, on Foundation for 15 ETH (about $26,137). Banks announced her engagement to Ripps last month on Instagram, but has since deleted the posts. The rapper has a history of making transphobic and homophobic comments, and generally stirring up controversy online.
Collectors buy NFTs in hopes that the crypto-art will only go up in value over time. It's easy to see how something like an audio sex tape of a controversial rapper and her art-world dude would stir enough intrigue to be worth something in the future.