If you’ve been living anywhere other than on the moon or under a rock you’ve probably heard about cryptocurrency. But hearing about something and knowing what it is are two different things. Just ask any of the Hype House member’s grandparents. So what is cryptocurrency? How does it work? And how does it relate to both NFTs and the theatre industry?

The simple answer to “What is cryptocurrency?” is it’s a digital currency that can be used to buy and sell goods. But unlike other digital currencies like Neopoints or World of Warcraft gold, cryptocurrencies use an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure transactions.

In order to make transactions secure and unhackable (and therefore unchangeable) cryptocurrencies take advantage of a blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized database that can’t be altered from the outside. All records contained within the blockchain are unchangeable. A blockchain allows individuals to deal with one another in a marketplace without having to rely on an intermediary, which traditionally means banks and governments.

There are many cryptocurrencies out there. Some we hear about every day like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. There are also lesser-known coins like Stellar or Fusion. Some are more “serious” than others. Dogecoin, for instance, is a “meme coin” or a cryptocurrency associated with some specific internet thing and is often a joke. Dogecoin, however, became more than just a bad joke, which just goes to show the viability of even the silliest of cryptos.

NFTs and Crypto

We’ve answered “what is cryptocurrency” but how do they relate to NFTs?

There are a couple of ways that cryptocurrencies interact with the NFT market. One way is that you can purchase NFTs with cryptocurrency. By the way, before we go any further, if you don’t know what NFTs are, check this article out for more info.

Another way cryptocurrencies interact with NFTs is through blockchain, that unchangeable, unhackable ledger system. NFT creators use crypto ledgers to “mint” NFTs, and authenticate their uniqueness. Simply put, an NFT is added to the blockchain (or ledger) and assigned a piece of code that can never be changed or copied. This is what gives NFTs their non-fungibility.

Why Should Theatre Fans Care?

If you’re a theatre fan, there’s a chance you’ve never even concerned yourself with the question of what is cryptocurrency. But cryptocurrency will play a big role in the future of the theatre industry. This is partially due to the fact that it’s going to play a role in most industries. AMC theatres will begin to accept crypto, and while, admittedly, that’s not the type of theatre we’re talking about, it’s not a stretch to see Broadway and stage theatres across the country accepting crypto in the near future.

Along with accepting cryptocurrencies as forms of payment, Broadway is already beginning to adopt the use of NFTs as an alternative revenue stream. Companies like Third Act are pioneering NFTs and digital collectibles as a new way for Broadway fans to not only collect one-of-a-kind digital merchandise but also support the shows that they love at the same time, as proceeds from all transactions on the Third Act marketplace go directly to the partner productions.

NFTs will also become tools that Theatre Makers can use to extend their stories beyond the stage. The collectibles can take many forms, including backstage passes, behind-the-scenes content, and even as votes for different choices during pre-production. NFTs will become way more than digital collectibles and will help Theatre Makers connect with audiences in a whole new way.

As cryptocurrency becomes more ubiquitous it is important not only to understand the role it plays in the broader economy but in specific industries like theatre. And as theatre moves into the future, it’s important to remember that, while these topics and concepts may seem a bit confusing at first, they’re actually very simple to understand, unless, of course, you’re a Hype House grandparent.

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