The Associated Press (or AP) has announced it will launch a marketplace for NFTs of the work of its photojournalists in collaboration with Xooa. It describes its venture into NFTs as a way to allow collectors to “purchase award-winning contemporary or historic photojournalism from the news agency” and states that virtual tokens will be available at “broad, inclusive price points” (though it is difficult to predict what prices resellers will desire on the AP marketplace).
According to the news outlet, the system will be built using the “environmentally-friendly” Polygon blockchain. The NFTs will also “include a rich collection of original metadata” that will tell buyers when, how, and where the photos were taken. The first collection will launch January 31st. It will feature photos of space, climate, and war, as well as NFTs that highlight the work of AP photographers.
AP is not the only journalistic entity to express an interest or use NFTs. Quartz and The New York Times sold NFT copies of their articles. Getty Images CEO Craig Peters stated in December that the company has a “real opportunity” when it comes to NFTs. People won’t be debating about whether they want an AP NFT or a Getty NFT anytime soon. However, the former seems to be more patient and Peters said that he doesn’t feel the need for speeding into the space. This seems to be the biggest NFT-related effort from a major news source so far.
It does not appear that AP wants to sell its NFTs in a metaverse tie in (either as part a virtual museum, or as decorations in an internet accounting office), as other media executives in music may be interested. The announcement and FAQ do not mention the metaverse. Xooa does work with brands on “metaverse strategy” in the “About Xooa” section. This project appears to be aimed solely at collectors who wish to “seamlessly purchase, sell, and trade official AP digital collectibles via the marketplace.”
Buyers will have the option to purchase NFTs on the market with either Ethereum or credit cards. AP states that the MetaMask wallet will be the first to be supported, but plans to expand support to other wallets. Virtual queues will exist to purchase NFTs from the market as they are released by AP. “Pulitzer Drops,” which contain more limited-edition NFTs, will occur every two weeks. According to the FAQ, these images will have “increased scarcity to maintain their status.” Buyers will also be able to resell the NFTs on the secondary market.
AP claims that the NFTs’ sales will fund the company’s journalistic efforts. It will also receive revenue if the NFTs are resold via its marketplace. The FAQ states that there is a 10 percentage fee for reselling. Lauren Easton, a spokesperson for Xooa, told The Verge by email that the fee would be shared between the two companies. The transaction fees or “gas” fees that Ethereum is famous for shouldn’t be too high as they are significantly lower on Polygon. Easton told us that all revenue will be shared by the “photographers”, but did not specify their share.
AP claims its marketplace will open January 31st. However, it seems to offer an early access program. The landing page for the marketplace states that you can be placed on a waitlist. You can also get priority access and a higher rank on the waitlist if you refer others. If you are a collector interested in this type of marketplace, or if you have any questions about it, you should read the FAQ. It explains how Xooa plans to add support for moving NFTs to other markets, how drops will work and gives tons of details about the account system, marketplace and seller verification processes.