The Thunderbirds International Rescue Club staged a glitzy launch event in north London last week, propelling the classic franchise into the brave new world of ‘web 3’, cryptocurrency and the metaverse. By no means a club in the traditional sense, the International Rescue Club offers ‘members’ the chance to own unique digital artwork and avatars, win prizes and fund charitable causes, through the holding of ‘non-fungible tokens’ (or NFTs).
The launch was held at the ultra high-tech Samsung KX venue near Kings Cross, and included a live VIP panel including official partners ITV Studios, The Sandbox, Reality+ and Sweetshop. Guests had the chance to pose with a large-scale model of Thunderbird 1, seek out Thunderbird-related easter eggs in exchange for special prizes, and network over complimentary food and drink. Most exciting was the club’s official trailer reveal, shown on the world’s first 10 metre-wide Samsung curved screen. The audience was wowed with exciting clips of the Tracy brothers avatars and their Thunderbird crafts interacting within the Sandbox metaverse. There was also a spotlight on the real-life charity ‘rescue missions’ that will be funded through the club’s NFT sales, and an interview with a young artist, whose NFT artwork will be made available exclusively through the club to NFT holders. During September, 6 one-off pieces of digital artwork created by the NFT artist community will also be auctioned to raise money to fund the rescue missions.
To find out more about the club and to sign up for updates on the NFT launch visit www.thunderbirdsclub.com/
If everything you’ve read so far sounds like double Dutch, or even Zombite, then never fear – the below FAQ should help to clear things up a little!
So this is all something to do with ‘Blockchain’ and ‘the metaverse’, right?
Correct. ‘Metaverse’ is a generic term for any kind of persistent shared virtual world based on digital technology. You can enter or leave a metaverse at will, and you can meet and interact with other people through your phone/tablet/PC while you’re inside it.
Blockchain is any kind of digital ledger that is hosted on a public network. It can be used to track assets and record transactions of real stuff (cars, furniture, house) and intangible things (for example patents, intellectual property, etc).
And what is this ‘Sandbox’?
The Sandbox is the third-largest metaverse based on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows users to create, share, and monetise their assets and gaming experiences. People can own assets, play, build, and own their properties and in-game assets in the virtual world.
Ok, right. But how is the National Film Theatre involved in all this?
Hm, you’ve clearly not been paying attention. As mentioned above, in this context NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token’ – cryptographic assets that exist on a blockchain. They have individual ID codes and metadata so that each NFT is uniquely distinguishable, like a serial number as distinct as a fingerprint.
An NFT – unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum – is not a cryptocurrency. It cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency (i.e. cannot be used in buying or selling of other things).
NTFs connected to cult classics have proven to be highly collectable and valuable, with NFT drops often proving very profitable for early NFT holders. However, the most expensive NFT artwork of all time is currently Mike Winkelmann’s Everydays: the First 5000 Days, which sold for a staggering $69.3 million at Christie’s in 2021!
You can see some photos of the specially commissioned NFT Thunderbirds artwork on this page. Who knows what these will be worth in the future?
Wow, so perhaps I should try to get one of these Thunderbirds NFTs then.
Maybe! You can’t really go wrong if can get a free mint pass before the NFT drop, can you?
<Sigh>….’NFT drop’? ‘Mint pass’?
The NFT drop is the specific time and date when an NFT will go on the market at a specified mint price for investors to buy. Like any investment, NFTs can increase in price after the initial release, so an initial purchase at a drop can save collectors and help investors make money.
Usually available for just a limited time, mint passes allow the collector to redeem an NFT for free during the official drop.
The International Rescue Club are giving away 1,000 free mint passes on September 6th, allowing the holder to mint two free NFTs before the public sale, so you can avoid the gas fees.
That sounds great – I’d kill for free gas this winter.
We’re not talking about that kind of gas, unfortunately. Gas is just another name for the transaction fees incurred on the Ethereum blockchain. No gas = no transaction fee.
Holders of the Thunderbirds IRC NTFs will also be able to claim a VOX avatar NFT, as well as a claim a free vehicle as an added bonus.
VOX avatars? Is this like the avatar I used to use on the Fanderson Forum?
Well, perhaps there are some similarities! An avatar is an icon or figure representing a particular person a digital world, such as the metaverse. And a VOX is a unique avatar with randomly generated traits. Each VOX is programmatically generated by a computer and provably unique, so that no two VOX will look the same.
5,432 NFTs will go live on International Thunderbirds Day on 30th September, including the characters, vehicles, locations and storylines from the classic Thunderbirds series.
Tell me more about the charitable work that the club is supporting.
20% of NFT sales will be given to real-life rescue missions. The first one is going to Bulgaria to support the Dobrich Dog Rescue charity – https://dobrichdogrescue.org/ IRC Club NFT holders will behave voting rights through the DAO, allowing them to choose charities for future fund raising.
DAO? How many more acronyms are you going to through at me?
DAO stands for decentralised autonomous organisation. These are member-owned charitable communities that exist on the Blockchain.
Ok, my head is spinning. I’m going to lie down.
Sure thing. But make sure you take a look at www.thunderbirdsclub.com/ once you’ve recovered. If you’ve never dabbled with Bitcoin let alone Ethereum or any other cryptocurrency, this might be the perfect time to start! You’ll need to set up an Ethereum account and a wallet, then fund it in order to purchase a Thunderbirds NFT on or after 6th September. Who knows, it might just turn out to be the most valuable Thunderbirds collectable you ever own!