Portrait photographer Peter Hurley is selling citizenship in his own metaverse as NFTs
It's called Shabangrville, and that's probably the least confusing part.
Peter Hurley, portrait photographer and “headshot king,” is launching a collection of 10,000 photography-inspired NFTs (non-fungible tokens) called Shabangrs on the Ethereum blockchain. Owning a Shabangrs NFT will grant you “‘citizenship’ in the virtual city of Shabangrsville” in the “Metaverse”. There’s also an opportunity to win prizes like a Canon EOS R5 camera or mentorship from Hurley.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get into it.
What are NFTs anyway?
NFTs are part of the latest crypto-craze. The Verge has a good breakdown of how the whole (confusing) idea works but I’ll do my best to explain things here.
“Non-fungible” is basically another way of saying that something is unique and not interchangeable. A dollar is fungible—you can swap it for another dollar and you still have a dollar; my granddad’s watch is non-fungible—you can’t just swap it for another watch.
In the crypto space, bitcoin is a fungible token—one bitcoin is the same as any other on the blockchain. NFTs, then, are unique data elements (mostly) on the Ethereum blockchain.
At the moment, NFTs are a popular way to sell digital art. The idea is that by buying an NFT you gain usage rights (though normally not copyright) and in some way “own” the original artwork. It’s generally likened to buying a painting: anyone can buy a Monet print but only one person can own the original Monet painting. The most famous NFT sale was Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days, which Christie’s sold at auction for $69 million. (This obviously isn’t a perfect comparison as digital data can be reproduced perfectly and infinitely while physical paintings can’t, but it’s the one we’re stuck with.)
Most relevantly to us, there’s a sub-scene of programmatically designed, themed NFTs, some of which also grants you access to a community. CryptoPunks was one of the first such NFTs and the cheapest of the 10,000 unique Punks now cost over $100,000. Any of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s 10,000 ape NFTs will set you back a similar sum. Crucially, though, owning a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT is your membership card to the Bored Ape Yacht Club community.
This is the kind of NFT Shabangrs is aiming to be.
What is Shabangrs selling?
Shabangrs is selling 10,000 unique photography-themed NFTs.
Each Shabangr NFT is composed from:
- 1 of 20 backgrounds
- 1 of 2 base bodies
- 1 of 24 pants or shorts
- 1 of 25 shoes
- 1 of 27 t-shirts, pullovers, or tattoos
- 1 of 20 jackets
- 1 of 40 heads
- 1 of 20 right hand items
- 1 of 2 hands
- 1 of 31 left hand items
Not all traits will be equally distributed. Some will be rarer than others which will (theoretically) make those NFTs more valuable.
According to the website:
“Ownership of Shabangrs NFTs will automatically grant you citizenship in Shabangrsville, a virtual city in the Metaverse. Shabangrs citizens will have access to exclusive lifetime perks and rewards as well as access to a flourishing community of the world’s best photographers and creators.”
How all this will be realized is, as yet, unclear.
Buying a Shabangrs NFT also gives you the chance to win some pretty cool prizes, including:
- A private workshop with Hurley
- HeadshotCrew lifetime membership
- $500 B&H giftcard
- 16” MacBook Pro
- Canon EOS R5
There’s also some stranger stuff, like:
- Getting to name a street in Shabangrsville
- Your Shabangrs NFT character included in movie or game
A portion of the sales are also being donated to the United Nations Association of Tampa Bay’s Picture My Life program.
Where does “Shabangrs” come from?
Hurley said “Shabang” in one of his videos that went viral. It turned into a bit of a catchphrase.
Why is Peter Hurley selling NFTs?
Mostly, it seems, because he’s curious about the NFT space and what it means for the future of photography. And because he’s got the platform to do it.
How do I buy a Shabangrs NFT?
Shabangrs NFTs go on general release at 9 a.m. on October 30th. You’ll be able to buy them through the OpenSea marketplace for 0.09 ETH (around $340). Each NFT is randomly assigned, so you’ve no way of knowing what traits, perks, or prizes you’ll get. (Input Mag has a guide to buying NFTs on OpenSea if that is all just words to you).
If you’re a member of the Shabangrs Discord, you can buy a Shabangrs NFT during the hour-long presale window at 7 p.m. EST on October 20th. There’s a second presale window at 10 a.m. EST on October 21st.
Should I buy a Shabangrs NFT?
Well, that’s totally up to you!
The Shabangrs’ roadmap is predicated on selling 100% of the available NFTs. Shabangrsville won’t open until they do and nor, does it seem, certain prizes will be given away until sales milestones are met. Also, your Shabangrs NFT is unlikely to increase in value if the collection isn’t sold out.
However, the Discord community already has over 1,000 members. So, if you’re looking to find some fellow crypto-enthusiast photographers, maybe a Shabangr is exactly what you need.