In June 2021, Asian pop star Jay Chou curated an auction series at Sotheby’s, entitled Contemporary Curated: Asia | Jay Chou x Sotheby’s. The white-glove sale fetched US$109 million dollars and topped nine artist auction records.
This time, his fashion brand Phantaci and the blockchain entertainment platform, Ezek, jointly launched virtual avatars depicting bears. On 1 January, the 10,000 NFT pieces were all sold in less than 40 minutes and fetched US$10 million dollars. Each Phanta Bear sold for 0.26 Ether (ETH) – equivalent to nearly US$1,000 dollars. In the end, the total turnover amassed US$10 million dollars.
Some buyers of Phanta Bear resold the avatars at high prices on the NFT trading platform, OpenSea. The most expensive one sold for 20 ETH (approximately US$77,000 dollars).
Jay Chou in Phantaci design clothing, promoting his own brand
Each Phanta Bear has its own unique features
Phanta Bear #9999 depicting a racing driver was re-sold at 20 ETH (around US$77,000)
Similar to other NFT avatars such as Cryptopunks and Bored Apes Yacht Club, each Phanta Bear NFT has its own unique features.
For example, each bear wears a different design of Phantaci clothing, along with different colour combinations, backgrounds, fashion accessories and handheld objects.
Through these characters, Chou's brand wants to create a new type of NFT by transforming real fashion wear into virtual clothing featured on the bears. The pop star also hopes to sell virtual NFT clothing in the future that is both accessible in the gaming metaverse and wearable in reality.
According to the official website, Ezek is now focusing on creating virtual concerts and opening exclusive clubs in the metaverse. A Phanta Bear NFT can double as a concert ticket and a pass to enter Ezek’s metaverse entertainment platform.
Phanta Bears also act as passes to Ezek's various activities in the metaverse world
Before their official release, Chou and his wife, Hannah Quinlivan, posted on social media. Their posts revealed that both received Phanta Bear NFTs as New Year's Eve gifts.
Chou’s Phanta Bear #10000 is depicted wearing the pop star's birthday date with a number 18 basketball jersey. The NFT avatar holds onto a basketball in the left hand, while holding onto the basket in the right hand – representing his passion for the sport.
As for the Phanta Bear #8938 that Quinlivan received, a bear is depicted with a bowling ball in the right hand and bowling pins as the background.
Chou’s record company, JVR Music, issued a statement on its official Weibo on 3 January. It stated that Chou did not participate in any planning and management of the NFT avatars’ launch, nor did he take any profits – but he was happy with their sale's success.
Chou received Phanta Bear #10000 as a gift
Chou's wife received the Phanta Bear #8938 also as a gift