Meet Nicole Buffett, the granddaughter of legendary investor Warren Buffett, who has made a living off of NFTs
In fact, she’s well known in the crypto space as a working artist who makes and sells NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, of her work. Nicole was even included on Fortune’s NFTy 50 list, which ranks the most influential players on the scene.
To her, NFTs and the underlying blockchain technology are “super incredible.”
“For me, it’s a means to making my work and sharing my work in a new context,” she told Fortune. “I’m not a technologist. I’m not a financial expert. But I love that basically art is becoming its own currency” with NFTs, Nicole said. “What’s interesting is, it’s not just a piece of art, it is a currency and it’s also a technology.”
NFTs are digital assets—from art to music to other collectibles and more—represented as tokens on the blockchain. Each can be bought, sold or held, with ownership and validity tracked.
To Nicole, who is in her mid-40s, NFTs bring “artists, technologists and financial people together.”
Enter her grandfather, Warren. “He’s happy I’m doing so well,” Nicole said, mentioning a recent email he sent her saying so. “I think the place in which my grandfather would be able to celebrate NFTs and crypto would be that it supports artists. We come from a family of artists.”
Besides Warren’s well-documented dislike, hatred even, of crypto, he and his granddaughter had a reported falling out decades ago, when she was in her 20s. She told Fortune both of these are misunderstood.
Yes, Nicole allows, “he has issues with crypto, but I don’t think he has any issues with artists being contributors. He’s an art appreciator, and my family are all art appreciators.”
She also emphasizes that her past disagreements with her grandfather should remain in the past, and talks of reconciliation. “He is happy that I’m finding a way to support myself and exchange what I have to create in this world in the marketplace,” she said. “I think that he respects that. I think that he, of all people, appreciates authenticity, integrity and hard work. Those qualities go hand-in-hand with who an artist is and what an artist brings to our world.”
‘I’ve never been into Wall Street and stocks’
Nicole added that while the “Wall Street vs. crypto” narrative gets a lot of air, she doesn’t feel that’s an accurate representation of the digital asset space. She sees the two as complementary to each other, saying “crypto and the new economy that’s being created is incredibly important and vital to the dollar and our actual economy.”
Unlike her grandfather, “I’ve never been into Wall Street and stocks, probably because there wasn’t really the art component,” she said. Now, with NFTs, she’s found an interest and understanding of stocks and what an asset really means, “because I can relate to it now,” she said.
“I’m following in the lineage of my grandfather in that I’m all about value creation,” Nicole says, except for her that’s in the art currency of NFTs.
She said she feels very fortunate and privileged to have grown up having the “Buffett” name, but at the same time, “I’m wildly independent. I’m not afraid to stand on my own two feet.”
‘We have an opportunity to do things differently’
Nicole began selling NFTs of her abstract paintings in early 2021. Her genesis collection, Spirit Coins, has over $83,000 in volume on NFT marketplace OpenSea at current prices. Each sells for a floor, or minimum price, of $3,342.
Since then, she’s created more collections, with the same zen vibe.
Nicole has also partnered with organizations such as the Open Earth Foundation, Hope for Haiti and Blankets of Hope, donating a percentage—or sometimes all—of her proceeds, she said. She recognizes that NFTs are criticized for their environmental impact, among other things, but hopes her giving back through her NFT sales can counterbalance it. She declined to share her NFT earnings with Fortune.
Despite the downturn in the crypto market, Nicole remains hopeful for the future. And even though NFTs can offer a new stream of income and opportunity for artists, things have been far from perfect in the space, especially in 2022. Notwithstanding the crypto crash that has touched most areas of decentralized finance, NFTs have high barriers to entry, sometimes high gas fees to mint, and other difficulties. But Nicole sees value in it.
“I think that if people keep an open mind and understand that NFTs have so much more capacity for positive than any of the negative downsides—which is yes, it’s pulling from our environmental resources—there’s a lot of capacity for people to raise money and capital for environmental causes,” she said. “There’s immense responsibility in this space to bring attention to environmental causes. This is new, and because it’s new, we have an opportunity to do things differently.”
Soon, she will have an exhibit in Omaha, the city that her grandfather is said to be the “Sage” of. She said she hopes that Warren stops by and checks out her NFTs.
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