- Joe Exotic has created a collection of NFTs in collaboration with a cryptocurrency club.
- The NFTs will come with physical tokens that appeared in the "Tiger King" docuseries.
- The crypto-art pieces will go on sale June 18 on Mintable.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Viral meme sensation Joe Exotic is releasing his first digital-art collection from his prison cell in Fort Worth, Texas.
The former zoo operator known for his role in the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King" is launching a collection of crypto-art pieces, also known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in partnership with a US cryptocurrency club called MORE. NFTs operate as a unique type of digital asset or token, and have in some instances sold for millions of dollars apiece.
"Being able to auction off collectibles makes me feel connected with the outside world, especially without my cats by my side," Exotic, the titular character of "Tiger King," said. "Whether you love me or hate me for what you think I've done, there's no doubt that everyone wants a piece of The Tiger King!"
Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in 2019 for his role in a plot to kill animal-rights activist Carole Baskin in 2017. He was also charged with 17 counts of animal abuse for his treatment of endangered species, including euthanising five tigers. Exotic's history was depicted on the Netflix show, which reached over 64 million viewers in less than four weeks and created an almost cult following around the zoo owner's antics.
MORE founder and CEO Peter Klamka said Exotic's popularity could help more fans engage with the world of crypto.
"There's no better way to engage the mainstream in blockchain technology than to tie in familiar faces and names," Klamka said. "Joe Exotic is America's favourite meme and anomaly; I'm extremely excited to be working with him and his team on this project to keep his story alive while he remains in prison."
NFTs have gained in popularity this year, with stars like Grimes selling digital tokens for millions of dollars. In February, digital artist Beeple smashed art records when he sold an NFT for over $69 million (R952 million), becoming the third-most valuable living artist.
The crypto-art pieces will go up for sale on Friday through the NFT community-owned marketplace Mintable.
The digital tokens will also come with physical collectibles, including Exotic's Smith & Weston pistol and holster and his fringed leather jacket. Some of the NFTs will also feature exclusive audio recordings from Exotic's prison.