On Wednesday night, Gwyneth Paltrow abruptly changed her Twitter profile picture to an illustration of an ape wearing a striped t-shirt, helmet, and blindfold. What at first seemed like proof that she’d been hacked turned out to be the news we’d expect to have heard ages ago: Mother Goop has started sipping the cryptocurrency Kool-Aid known as NFTs. “Joined @BoredApeYC,” she wrote in her first tweet of 2022. “Ready for the reveal?” In the accompanying nine-second video, the illustrated ape removes its helmet and blindfold to reveal that it has blonde hair and blue eyes. You would most definitely have to have delved into the world of NFT giant Bored Ape Yacht Club to realize as much, but the primate in question is evidently supposed to be her.
There’s a good chance you’ve been operating under the assumption that NFTs will fade into obscurity before you ever need to learn what they actually are. Allow us to break the news that somehow, that may not be the case, and offer as simple of an explanation as we can. “Non-fungible tokens” are unique digital items (often artworks) with proof of your ownership that’s stored on a publicly accessible database known as the blockchain. Basically, you’re paying for bragging rights to something you likely could obtain at any moment via screenshot or download. It doesn’t make sense, but as NFT “OG” Paris Hilton once pointed out to W, plenty of pricey collectibles don’t make sense either. “Think about the people who spend millions of dollars on a baseball card or a baseball bat,” she said. “When you really think about it, all it is is a piece of cardboard with jet ink, a baseball bat that someone touched. How is that different from an actual, real piece of art that's digital?”
Paltrow has a history of claiming to pioneer cultural phenomena while being late to them—look no further than her past comments about yoga and pandemic-era face masks. To be clear, she hasn’t made any suggestion that she’s to credit with the NFT craze, but her interest definitely checks the lateness box. It was way back in May of 2021 that Cara Delevingne became the Goop of the crypto world by mimicking its approach to candles and auctioning off an NFT about her vagina. Luckily for Paltrow, enough time has passed by for her to reclaim her throne—though she could also easily pull a Jack Dorsey and make an NFT out of some of the choice responses she’s gotten on Twitter.