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SG-Based Influencer Allegedly Rakes In RM23M From NFTs That Are Rooted With 'SIMP' Values

Singapore-based influencer Irene Zhao has since denied making the colossal sum and said the money belongs to the community in IreneDAO.

Cover image via @b1gqing (Instagram) & IreneDAO (OpenSea)

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Love advice on the Internet has taught us to never 'simp' over a person.

But people who bought Singapore-based influencer Irene Zhao's non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have a different way of looking at life.

For them, it is about investment. Over the past two weeks, they have spent USD5.5 million (about RM23 million) in Eth after buying Zhao's photos online.

The Internet celebrity launched an NFT collection earlier this month with a sticker pack used by her fans on her Telegram channel

Zhao — hailing from Jiangxi, China — has over 400,000 followers on Instagram.

She is a National University of Singapore (NUS) 2017 graduate and has worked as a commodity broker before dabbling in crypto in early 2021, reported Mothership.

In a Twitter thread last week, she revealed that she has been making a living out of her photos through brand deals and product placements for the past six years as a social media influencer.

The idea of turning her photo-based stickers into an NFT collection came from one of her fans a few weeks ago

They were inspired by Indonesian Ghozali, who made USD1 million (about RM4.2 million) from selling his everyday selfies as NFTs.

NFTs are essentially a unique digital asset that is stored on a digital ledger, also known as the blockchain. The creator of the digital asset can sell their work on the blockchain and make money once someone buys it with cryptocurrency.

Upon hearing the fan's suggestion, Zhao teamed up with her business partner Benjamin Tang to create IreneDAO NFTs.

Her sticker packs are currently listed on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace. The 28-year-old has about 1,100 items on sale, with the cheapest sticker selling at 0.945 Eth (about RM10,000).

At the time of writing, the trading volume of her collection stands at about 2,300 Eth, which is approximately USD5,500,000 (about RM23,112,100).

The NFTs are a collection of Zhao's Instagram photos, whereby the backgrounds are removed and embellished with various meme slangs, such as "simp", "up only", and "damp it"

Writing in the bio on the product page, it says, "IreneDAO is a global grassroots movement aimed at disrupting the creator economy. IreneDAO is for the people, by the people."

Our core values are: Simplicity, Integrity, Meaning, and Purpose.
IreneDAO

Zhao is not the first influencer who has used her 'simp' status — the Internet slang describes a person who shows excessive sympathy and attention towards another person — to sell NFTs.

In a recent report by Vice, it is learnt that influencers, such as Belle Delphine, Pokimane, and Amouranth, all have "simp DAO".

DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organisation, a community-led entity with no central authority in blockchain technology. It is one of the forerunners of Web 3.0, alongside cryptocurrencies and metaverse.

With the news of Zhao allegedly earning RM23 million going viral, she clarified that she will reinvest the money back into the NFT project and create a decentralised social networking platform

Calling it Social Collectibles, or So-Cal in short, she told Nu You that the platform will allow creators to truly own their own content and make profits through their work.

She denied that her project is a fluke in a tweet before sharing her dilemma of being an influencer, as she constantly has to weigh between making money from brands with sponsored content and giving her fans the content they want. 

She said So-Cal and IreneDAO were built with an aim to allow creators to stop relying on advertising and business deals to make a living.

As for the claim that she made RM23 million from the NFT project, Zhao said she only made RM1.3 million from it while the rest of the money belongs to the community in IreneDAO, reported Nu You.

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Image via SAYS

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