NFTs have exploded in popularity over the past few years. Last year, the global NFT market size was already at US$4.36 billion, and this is expected to reach US$19.57 by 2028.
Popular NFT series like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), which were once the preserve of crypto fanatics, are now owned by celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Madonna, Neymar, and Steve Aoki.
The NFT hype has already reached Singapore — prominent celebrities like local rapper Yung Raja are already known collectors of NFTs, and there have even been disputes over NFTs that have been settled by the Singapore Supreme Court.
With all the attention coming to NFTs, and the potential profits that NFTs can make for their creators, it should come as no surprise that many local celebrities have also launched their own NFT collections as well. So who are these celebrities, and what’s up for grabs?
1. JJ Lin
Most Singaporeans would associate JJ Lin with his music. His rise to fame, after all, has mostly been due to his popularity as a singer and songwriter. Aside from the many albums that he’s released, Lin also sung the National Day Theme Song in 2015.
But Lin has also been active in the business scene, opening his own fashion label, starting an esports team, and venturing into the F&B industry. Several months ago, he joined Kiat Lim and Elroy Cheo as the third co-founder of ARC, Asia’s first app-based tokenised community, which also features an NFT membership.
Earlier in September this year, Lin teamed up with GRAYCRAFT founder Kevin Wu to launch their own NFT project, GC-SMG Mechs. According to Lin, GC-SMG Mechs is “about the inclusivity of the voices of our community of holders and fans”.
The collection will feature 8,888 avatars in total, including 24 base variants which can then be randomised to form unique combinations.
2. Dharni Ng
Another local musician that has jumped onboard the NFT train is Dharni Ng, a beatboxing champion and performer.
In 2021, Dharni, along with his friend Kenneth, founded Tezarekt, a company initially meant to help the beatboxing community and its artists.
As part of this launch, Tezarekt also launched their own NFT collectibles series, and offered exclusive perks for buyers. These include merch, hotel stays, and discounts for events.
Known as the GBB Allstar NFT collection, it allowed fans to own digital trading cards of their favourite beatboxers, as well as mix and match different cards to create new ones. The project’s revenues will be split between the Beatboxer being featured, Swiss Beatbox, the card designer, as well as Tezarekt.
3. Edmund Chen
Former actor Edmund Chen has also jumped on board the NFT scene, when he auctioned off an NFT painting, titled ‘Spring – Cherish the Moment’, for 15 Ether earlier this year.
The painting was sold to local entrepreneur Queenie Yang, and was based on an earlier piece of artwork that Edmund had done, titled ‘Cherish the Moment’.
The original painting was used as a blueprint, and Edmund used one portion of the painting for the NFT. According to Edmund, the NFT will be one of four that will be based on the original painting, and each NFT painting will be named after a different season.
“Once the four paintings are complete, they will form a long painting which has a high collection potential, and will be a rare set of NFTs.”
4. Mark Lee
Local film veteran Mark Lee has also launched his own set of NFTs earlier this year, under the banner of his production company, King Kong Media Productions.
The collection, known as the Kong Collective, is hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, and features 444 unique collectibles, each with a mint price of 1.5 Ether.
Each NFT will function as a lifetime pass to premium membership with the company, and will reportedly include VIP tickets to concerts, movie galas, meet and greet sessions, and more.
According to Lee, the NFT collection is an experiment with fan engagement, and how the company can provide value for NFT owners.
King Kong Media Productions, for their part, manages artistes such as Henry Thia and Marcus Chin.
5. Tay Kexin
Local singer and performer Tay Kexin has also launched her own collection of NFTs, known as Party Time Kex. The collection features a total of 60 NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain.
The NFT collection was created in May, and launched in June, during MetaJam Asia 2022.
However, unlike many of the other NFTs which feature static images, each of the Party Time Kex NFTs includes an audio segment from one of Tay’s songs, with an animated character dancing along.
There are several different versions of Kex available, including Party Time Yogi Kex, Party Time Angel Kex, Party Time Disco Kex.
6. Titus Low
Digital creator and entrepreneur Titus Low has also launched his own collection of NFTs.
He gained fame through his successful OnlyFans channel, and became one of the top creators on the platform before he was ordered to stop accessing the platform by the police.
Despite being banned from accessing OnlyFans, Low still has access to other forms of social media, and in February this year, he released a collection of 222 NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain.
The NFTs within Low’s collection all feature images of him, and often include popular phrases from the cryptocurrency community. The NFT titled Tituslow #91, for example, features Titus standing beside his AMG Mercedes, with the caption ‘have fun staying poor’, a phrase often used to disparage cryptocurrency skeptics.
Currently, more than a hundred different wallets own at least one NFT from Low’s collection.
7. Irene Zhao
Irene Zhao initially made waves as a model, but her forays into cryptocurrency have also turned her into one of Singapore’s most well known crypto influencers.
Earlier this year, she launched her own NFT collection to massive success — the collection recorded S$7.5 million in trading volume within the first week.
These NFTs, similar to Titus’ feature pictures of Irene with phrases commonly found within the cryptocurrency community.
The collection, known as IreneDAO, contains 1,106 unique NFTs, and actually began as a telegram sticker pack. It was only after a fan suggested that she turn the sticker pack images into an NFT collection that they were minted and put on the Ethereum blockchain.
So far, her NFTs have been purchased by other celebrities such as YouTuber Logan Paul, as well as billionaire investor Mike Novogratz.
8. Shigga Shay
Pek Jin Shen, better known as Shigga Shay, is a homegrown rapper most known for his music, but he’s also launched perhaps one of most successful NFT collections so far.
His NFT collection, called SPACEBARS, launched in April this year and sold out within four minutes. The collection itself features illustrations of Shigga Shay as an astronaut, and like Tay Kexin’s, each of them also has an audio segment. This time, Shigga Shay recorded a 16-bar verse specifically for the NFT collection.
The collection totals 999 animated NFT cards, with 900 of these NFTs being common, 90 rare, and nine ultra rare cards.
In an interview with Crypto.com NFT, Shigga Shay provided some insight into what he saw as the future of the music and NFT industries.
“What’s fascinating for me is how NFTs and blockchain technology are going to change the music industry. I’m so excited for the limitless possibilities that are going to happen with music in the NFT space.”
9. Shavonne Wong
Award-winning fashion photographer Shavonne Wong has also launched her own NFT collection, and one of these NFTs was actually bought by actor Idris Elba.
So far, Wong has released two different NFT collections. The first, titled ‘By Proxy’, was a collaboration between Wong and her friend, Lenne Chai. It comprised a 60-piece 3D/photography art project that sold out on Quantum Art in a minute.
The second project was a more ambitious 500 piece art project listed on Opensea, titled ‘Love is Love’, and the collection also sold out within an hour. It was this collection that Idris Elba bought his first ever NFTs from, when he purchased three items from this collection.
10. Tammy Tay
Singaporean influencer Tammy Tay is has also launched her own collection of NFTs, known as the TTTreasuresDAO. Each NFT can be minted for 0.1 Eth, but unlike influencers like Titus Low or Irene Zhao, TTTreasuresDAO NFTs will not feature images of the influencer herself.
Explaining why, Tammy pointed out that many DAOs are simp DAOs that are fronted by girls who have “little to no knowledge about the NFT space”, and that as a 31-year-old, she felt that “there are a lot of fresh faces out there whom are a lot more interesting”.
For TTTreasuresDAO, Tammy hopes to build a community for members who are interested to learn more about cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse.
For a country that is often criticised for not having much artistic talent, Singapore seems to have many budding NFT artists — and successful ones at that.
The rise of NFT artists
Beyond simply pushing out NFTs for the sake of it, many Singaporeans have found a way to actually make the NFTs mean something beyond the amounts of money that they trade for: Irene and Titus use their NFTs as a way to better connect with their fans, Shavonne and Dharni uses NFTs to advance causes that they believe in, and Mark uses the NFTs as a way to provide utility and engagement for fans.
NFTs may be touted as the future of the creative industry, but it takes effort and work to get there. And these Singaporeans are certainly showing how NFTs can help the creative industry, in their own way.
Featured Image Credit: Titus Low, Irene Zhao, Sleek Magazine