Bella Hadid has entered the metaverse, announcing the release of CY-B3LLA, a collection of 11,111 NFTs. Each NFT will be a 3D scan of the supermodel, promising collectors the chance to join a “private society” with exclusive access to real-life events and opportunities to meet Bella herself.
“Each NFT features different and unique 3-D scans of me […] that will be utilizied around the world; designed to encourage travel, community, growth, fantasy and human interaction,” she announced on Instagram.
“We’ll grow this new meta-nation with real locations and events all around the world, where I can meet each and every one of you,” she continued.
While the supermodel has a dedicated fan base of over 52 million followers on Instagram, the majority of reactions range from confusion to disappointment. One TikTok user commented “the [Instagram] caption reads like the monologue from the villain character in a dystopian/sci fi novel before society crumbles completely,” and another said, “I couldn’t understand any less to be honest”.
On the other hand, fans that are in the know about NFTs and crypto technologies have been vocal about their disappointment with Bella’s new project. The main criticism has been around the known negative environmental impacts of NFT trading. As Justine Calma explains in her article for Verge, NFTs are typically bought and sold on marketplaces that use the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
“Ethereum, like most major cryptocurrencies, is built on a system called ‘proof of work’ that is incredibly energy hungry,” she writes. “To keep financial records secure, the system forces people to solve complex puzzles using energy-guzzling machines”, she continues.
To put it into perspective, it has been estimated that the average NFT has a carbon footprint equivalent to a month’s worth of electricity for one person.
“Such a bummer every time a celeb jumps on board with NFTs. The environmental impact is horrific,” one Instagram user commented.
Besides the environmental impact, other people have taken issue with celebrities utilising NFTs as yet another way to profit from their fans. Bella joins Emily Ratajkowski, Paris Hilton, Shawn Mendes and many more as the latest of celebrities to launch an NFT collection.
As TikTok user and crypto commentator @kirbyourenthusiasm makes the point, “This collection of NFTs represent a wider worrying trend of celebrities using NFTs to extract more revenue. At best, Bella Hadid and other celebrities are using NFTs as a way to boost the hype surrounding crypto markets to create high engagement. At worst, NFTs are used as a way to identify and monetise fan communities more intensely”.
She continues, “At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with monetising your image, but exploiting your ‘fandom’ using technology which does not provide additional value – it may be a win for you, but definitely not for your fans”.
Currently, fans can only enter their email addresses to join a whitelist that will guarantee them the chance to purchase Bella’s NFTs.