NFTs and the Metaverse: The internet enters a new phase

60 Minutes+ correspondent Laurie Segall reports on the big money being spent in a world somewhere between digital and reality. See the story, streaming now only on Paramount+.

NFTs in the “Metaverse”
NFTs in the “Metaverse” 06:45

NFTs make it possible for people to now own and collect digital goods. As 60 Minutes+ reported last week, they're having major implications in the art world. But NFTs are also changing music, fashion, sports and more -- they allow people to purchase digital moments, whether it's a blocked shot in a basketball game or even a popular meme.

In a new 60 Minutes+ report streaming now on Paramount+, correspondent Laurie Segall followed along as award-winning rapper and songwriter Flo Rida made a performance of his song, "Low," into an NFT.

"So, when people get the NFT of what happened today," Segall asked the artist, "what are they getting? What are they owning when it comes to you, Flo Rida?"

"They're owning a very special moment of myself or anybody else, you know," Flo Rida said. "And, you know, it's that digital moment."

The reason these "digital moments'' can be sold as NFTs at all is because of what's called blockchain technology -- a permanent digital ledger that records who owns what in the virtual world, in this case, NFTs. And there is money to be made - in April, a video of LeBron James dunking in honor of the late Kobe Bryant sold as an NFT for more than $387,000. That's why Flo Rida along with entrepreneurs David Kovacs and Erik Hicks founded Emmersive Entertainment - a company that creates NFTs for people to own and collect.

"Think of it as a piece of real estate," Kovaks said. "If you're buying a piece of real estate, and you're closing on it, you're getting a deed, right? So that blockchain is like a deed. You're getting a deed to that digital asset."

And anything can be made into a digital asset, including a 60 Minutes+ correspondent. During her trip to Emmersive Entertainment, Segall was able to have a 3D avatar of herself produced as an NFT.

"I say this in a humbling way. Why would someone wanna purchase my NFT?" Segall asked Kovaks. "What is the value? Just explain it to me."

"Well, think of NFTs again as memorabilia," Kovaks said. "You are now enabling everyone to create moments. And the market will determine what those moments are valued at. Perhaps you can create a jpeg of yourself in the middle of one of the best interviews. And made history. And that NFT will have a value. Somebody might be interested."

Those NFTs are increasingly living in something called the "metaverse." Cathy Hackl, a vice president at Avatar Dimension, explained what that is.

"I think about it in the convergence of the physical and the digital," Hackl told Segall. "To put it into today's terms, right now we have kind of a physical persona that we are in the real world. And then we have this digital persona that we're on LinkedIn or Instagram or TikTok, right? So in some ways it's kind of like converging those two. It's in some ways the next iteration of computing and the next iteration of the internet."

And real estate in the next iteration of the internet is already becoming a hot commodity. For more, check out the report, streaming now on Paramount+.