Susan Sarandon collectible launches local NFT platform
We chatted with Reid Robinson, the co-founder of Vancouver-based cocoNFT, on the auction for the Hollywood star's first-ever NFT and his company's place within the creator economy.
How does a local entrepreneur link up with Susan Sarandon? Upon hearing of local NFT outfit cocoNFT’s collaboration with the actor and activist, I knew I needed to find out. cocoNFT, a mobile-first platform that gives creators the ability to turn their social media posts into minted NFTs, has officially launched its platform through an auction for Sarandon’s first-ever NFT. The winner will own the NFT and also receive Sarandon’s iconic jacket from the film, Bad Moms.
So, how did the collaboration come about? "I asked myself that, too, this morning," cocoNFT’s founder Reid Robinson told me when I pressed him on how his company came into contact with the Hollywood star. I appreciated the humility but soon learned there was an element of fortune in the collaboration. All startups face the navigation of tricky waters posed by growth and scale. cocoNFT is no different. So, Robinson brought on some new members of the team to help them scale. A new hire, then, made quite the name drop.
“One of them turned out to be really well connected in the music and entertainment space. He was like, ‘Oh, I'm friends with Susan Sarandon. I think she's trying to raise money right now for a really important cause.’” That was awesome for me to hear. When I think about some cool things that you can see as use cases for NFTs, it is not just about making people rich. There are actually cool, meaningful things you can do,” Robinson said.
The Sarandon collaboration is definitely at the onset of physical goods matched with NFTs. But, it’s not the first. Last Friday, Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko became the face of PhygiCards, a new company blending digital and physical trading cards. cocoNFT does, however, take things one step further. Not only does cocoNFT’s drop marry digital with physical, but it also opens up the world of social media as a playpen for NFT creators.
The company has seen that creators on social media channels, particularly Instagram, monetize through brand partnerships. Reid sees some fatigue in the market pertaining to this structure—“I think both creators and even their audience is getting a bit weary of brand partnerships,” Robinson shared—and sees it as an opportunity for cocoNFT within the creator economy.
“We can do something that's a bit more direct. It gets closer to what you would see from a platform like Patreon, but it's one that fits more use cases. I think that's one of the biggest things we're seeing: the ability for creators to figure out different monetization strategies. At the same time, NFTs are so broad. There are so many different things that you could do to attach utility, like token gating, which essentially allows you to hide something behind ownership of an NFT. There are entire communities on Discord where the only way to get in is through owning one of their NFTs. I can't wait to see a point where you can collect an NFT from, like, bakers. All of a sudden, they drop their Christmas cookie recipe to the people who own their NFT,” Robinson excitedly told me.
The Sarandon NFT auction, which went live at 9:00am Tuesday morning and runs for 48 hours, also brings in a charitable element. Proceeds from this auction will go towards an organization in support of climate lawyer Steven Donziger’s defense fund. “Social justice and activism have always been a part of my life’s work, and while I’m very new to the NFT space, I knew I wanted to get involved,” Sarandon said. “Partnering with cocoNFT gave me the ability to seamlessly merge the NFT world with my passion for social justice.”
Climate activism hits close to home for Robinson whose father is an environmental lawyer in New York. For this auction, cocoNFT also partnered with Aerial, a sustainable living platform that helps track emissions, to offset any carbon emissions from creating and selling not just the Sarandon NFT, but the next 1,000 sales on cocoNFT’s platform. This was done as a nod to her prolific activism. “We wanted to honor her activism, her commitment and do something good,” Robinson shared.
But, it does come back to family, too, for Robinson. “I wouldn't be coming home for the holidays with a warm welcome if I was doing stuff that's absolutely terrible,” he quipped. If this drop is any indication, Robinson can look forward to a warm Thanksgiving meal when he returns to his hometown on Long Island.
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