During Fox’s upfront presentation on Monday, the network unveiled their NFT company Blockchain Creative Labs and announced that Dan Harmon’s (Community, Rick and Morty) upcoming animated comedy Krapopolis would be “the first-ever animated series curated entirely on the Blockchain” (The Hollywood Reporter). As conversation surrounding NFTs and cryptocurrency tend to alienate audiences less familiar with the current trends of the digital marketplace, Slate simplified Fox’s announcement in saying that “essentially, it’s a way of selling [digital] merch.”
Finally, an animated series for people who want to watch an animated series curated entirely on the blockchain! https://t.co/7FJdAeo9SW
— Slate (@Slate) May 19, 2021
Krapopolis, first announced in February, will mark Harmon’s return to network comedy and be the “first fully owned and financed scripted series by Fox Entertainment” (Deadline). The Hollywood Reporter described the series as an animated comedy set in ancient Greece with parallels to contemporary political events, which tells the story of “a flawed family of humans, gods and monsters that tries to run one of the world’s first cities without killing each other.”
However, before Krapopolis has even started, it seems the series has already wade into socioeconomic politics with Monday’s announcement. At best, many commenters have mocked Fox for doubling down on NFTs with Blockchain Animation Labs, because NFTs are perceived as a fad currently on-their-way-out-the-door. However, the conversation regarding the environmental impact of NFTs has burdened conversation about trend since its introduction to the digital marketplace. According to The New Yorker, a single bitcoin transaction “is responsible for roughly a million times more carbon emissions than a single Visa transaction.” Fox’s decision to jump on the trend of Blockchain has thus met more serious criticism than just appearing out of touch with perceived market trends.
if this project were a person I would trip it
— Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) May 18, 2021
While another chief criticism about NFTs stems from the creative community regarding art and ownership, Fox’s recent announcement does not mean that Krapopolis will exist behind a paywall. Instead, per Fox’s Monday presentation, the series’ will introduce a digital marketplace that “will curate and sell digital goods, ranging from NFTs of one-of-a-kind character and background art and GIFs, as well as tokens that provide exclusive social experiences to engage and reward superfans” (The Hollywood Reporter).
Regardless of the criticism, this will likely be a profitable decision for Fox, given the reputation of Harmon’s fanbase to mobilize around similar trends. In fact, according to Slate “Harmon’s Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has already embraced NFTs, selling a collection of digital art back in January for more than $1 million in cryptocurrency.”
— Bitcoin News (@BTCTN) January 22, 2021
While Krapopolis will be the first series of its kind to embrace cryptocurrency and NFTs on such a large scale, it will not be the first series to experiment with Blockchain overall. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Starz series American Gods “released collectibles using NFTs” and Beacon Pictures comedy Hold on for Dear Life aims to be the first series financed entirely by cryptocurrency.
Fox has yet to release a timeline for Krapopolis or its supplemental digital marketplace, but the network promised more detailed updates about the eyebrow-raising Blockchain Creative Labs introduced during Monday’s upfront presentation. As for Harmon, the creator continues to work on his Adult Swim comedy Rick and Morty and will serve as executive producer on the upcoming FXX animated comedy Little Demon starring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, Legion).