When most people hear the name Garry Kasparov, they often think of chess. As well they should. From 1984 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was the world’s highest-ranked chess player. When he faced off against International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) supercomputer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997, it highlighted the importance of artificial intelligence as an emerging technology. As it turns out, Kasparov has recently been more interested in another emerging market, one that has the financial sector on its toes. This emerging market is non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Today, luxury NFT marketplace 1Kind is launching a series of exclusive digital collectables, unique artifacts and exclusive experiences to honor the former chess grandmaster’s legacy. The Kasparov NFTs will become available Dec. 14, with the drop running until Friday, Dec. 17.
While Kasparov’s name may not be synonymous with decentralized finance (DeFi), he has been a motivated follower of the technology for years. “I was intrigued to see the rise of Bitcoin and other digital currencies,” he recalled in a recent interview with InvestorPlace.
So how did that interest in Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) lead the grandmaster to a unique collection of NFTs?
Where the Kasparov NFTs Began
During his childhood in the Soviet Union, Kasparov witnessed the problems within a state-run economy. “As a Soviet, I envied the ability of the citizens of the free world to choose their leaders, among many other unimaginable privileges and freedoms,” Kasparov said in a 2020 critique of Sen. Bernie Sanders. When we consider this background, it makes sense that a foray into the DeFi market through an NFT drop would be what Kasparov calls the “logical continuation” of his journey into what he sees as the future of finance.
Flashing forward, he told InvestorPlace that “there is much power in the hands of central banks.” Therefore, as he sees it, governments are leaving individuals with no choice but to look to cryptocurrencies for financial protection.
Indeed, one of the most prominent appeals of decentralized currencies is the power that they place in the hands of the people, effectively helping ease the power of the state. This is well-illustrated by former President Donald Trump’s criticisms of Bitcoin which he has labeled an “attack against the U.S. dollar.”
While Kasparov confirmed that he does not currently hold any NFT investments, he did not make explicit his crypto holdings. “I’m a big believer in the future of the coins,” he said when asked. “Take it as an answer.”
The Past and Present
Kasparov is far from the only celebrity to throw his hat into the NFT ring. Shark Tank stars Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary have become passionate advocates for NFTs. Entrepreneur and social media personality Gary Vaynerchuk (who often goes by Gary Vee) recently predicted that an “NFT Winter” was coming. However, Vaynerchuk has broadly been a supporter of NFTs and other digital assets.
As NFTs have risen to prominence throughout 2021, many experts have stated that as an asset class, they are here to stay — and that investors should take them seriously. Someone like Kasparov entering the market, whose background is in neither finance nor collectible art, should lend further support to the argument that they are indeed an investment vehicle that has widespread appeal.
As Kasparov’s NFTs illustrate, they allow buyers to invest in someone’s legacy. The collection through 1Kind includes photographs from Kasparov’s childhood and formative years, previously unseen game cards and images that chart the challenges and highlights of his career. Kasparov said that he views this collection to be a true summary of his legacy as a chess grandmaster.
“I thought, at one point, it will be absolutely natural for me to put my entire life in a digital form,” Kasparov said.
Now it seems, that point is here.
What to Expect
So what do the Kasparov NFTs really mean for investors? To start, this is a sneak peek at other collections from the NFT marketplace. 1Kind has planned future launches for British writer and comedian Stephen Fry and American writer and director Scott Frank.
More broadly, though, Kasparov’s involvement in this space means that NFTs will open up as a means to invest in someone’s legacy. This mindset has driven the types of investors who purchased NFTs from emerging musical artists and other celebrities. Now, the market is expanding to include those interested in history and politics.
And make no mistake. Kasparov foresees a profitable future ahead for NFT investors. He said that he believes growing concern around central banks will lead to the further digitization of our economy. To him, this points toward a bright future for NFTs and other crypto-related assets.
“I think that what people should recognize as the true value of NFTs will be enhanced by the stories behind [them],” Kasparov said. “… I believe that as the world is moving into the digital reality, the money has to follow.”
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines