Dez Bryant’s NFT Launch: Real-world Utility with Juggernauts
by Justin Perri
On Thursday, September 9, the NFL kicked off for the 2021 season. The reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys, in what would be a thrilling, fast paced and tightly contested game.
Approximately one thousand miles north of the stadium, Dez Bryant, one of the most prolific receivers in Cowboys history, was hosting a one-of-a-kind NFT launch party at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club in New York City. Bryant’s new NFT company, Personal Corner, was releasing the first 88 of 8888 Juggernauts, and I was lucky enough to grab an invite to experience the event first hand.
Many NFT projects are innovating on real-world utility with provable ownership. Here’s how the launch of Personal Corner’s Juggernauts NFT followed up on that trend with an invite-only party in NYC.
Getting on The Personal Corner Guest List
The entire evening was a demonstration in what real-life utility can look like for NFTs, and getting yourself into the party was no exception. In order to attend, you needed to own an NFT from at least one of the four projects that Personal Corner is working with.
The projects, which are commonly referred to as “B.A.G.S.” in the Personal Corner Discord are “Bullseum, Alphabetty Doodles, Gutter Cat Gang and Sharks Cove.” My personal collection has a few Alphabettys, so when I saw a Twitter post about the event, I inquired and got my name on the list.
A cool bit of utility for holders, if you ask me.
Meeting Other NFT Collectors
Going to an event at a high-profile night club where you don’t actually know anyone is a bit nerve-wracking. However, the NFT community’s reputation for good people held true. I quickly made a few friends, exchanged Twitter details, and talked about the NFT projects that we’re excited about.
I met people who I had collected Knicks Top Shot Moments with and as we watched Dez’s Cowboys made an improbable run at the Buccaneers. It’s still unreal to me that the new way we converse in this semi-anonymous world of NFTs is to ask a new friend what their profile picture is, only to recognize them from Twitter or Discord interactions. It truly felt like the future and I loved it.
The Midnight Launch
Once the football game had ended and the hour of the NFT drop approached, the screens in the club pivoted from sports coverage to displaying the Juggernauts slated to be released. A flow of rainbow colors between the various offerings were displayed and once the clock officially struck midnight, the dutch auction began.
There were two subsets of the collection available for purchase. The first eight tokens of the collection, known as the Goat 8, began at 15Ξ and went down to 10Ξ after 24 hours. The other 80 Hall of Fame level Juggernauts offered began at 7.5Ξ and finished at 5Ξ.
Each of the NFTs offer real-life experiences such as invites to Dez’s birthday party, courtside seats at NBA games, suite tickets to Cowboy games, access to future air drops, and the ability to interact directly with Dez.
Personal Corner’s Mission: NFTs and Athletes
Aside from releasing the next 8,800 Juggernauts at a time to be determined, Personal Corner is a venture Bryant has established to help bring athletes into the NFT space. Dez wants to help fellow athletes to understand the power that being an NFT creator can bring.
The ability for someone to directly own what they are selling to their fans and create a more direct connection with their consumers is Personal Corner’s mission. Bryant’s idea of this is the Xverse — a nod to his “throw up the X” celebration.
The typical way that athletes market themselves is usually tied up with middlemen and companies taking a share of the revenue, while also preventing a deeper connection with fans. The Juggernauts are not only a prime avenue to connect with Dez and be involved in the future of his venture, but are a clear example of what NFTs made by athletes might look like going forward.
Meeting Dez Bryant at the Personal Corner Launch
As the night continued on and the party slowly died down a bit, I was able to chat with various figures in the NFT community and eventually made my way to some of the back rooms of 40/40, where patrons were continuing to socialize and play pool.
Some of Dez’s Oklahoma State teammates had flown in with him and were eager to learn about aspects of NFTs, while also handing me a few losses with the cue sticks. After connecting with them, exchanging social media tags and having a few drinks, Dez himself made his way around to thank everyone who had stayed so late.
It was about 2 in the morning at this time and pretty quiet, so when he had a brief moment, I introduced myself to the legendary wide receiver and talked with him briefly about the project and this article. It was definitely an experience to remember, and Dez’s conviction for his venture to succeed was palpable.
Dez is early to NFTs with a mission that has potential to change an industry. I have little doubt that his work and this collection will pave the way for other athletes to follow his example, giving back to the fans that support them through real-life utility and direct connection to the players we grew up watching.
I’ll be looking forward to the release of the rest of the collection of Juggernauts.