University of Kentucky law professor Brian Fry found an unusual way to make extra money outside of his teaching career. He began selling his own legal articles in the form of non-substitutable tokens (NFT) and was able to earn on this $65,000. In some of his writings, the lawyer trolls the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
For most law professors, writing an article for a law journal is a serious and slow business. But Brian Fry has found a way to turn this part of his job into an art form and has begun framing some of his publications as NFTs.
"I saw an opportunity to make some money. This was a niche no one else was occupying, so I thought, why not?" - explained the lawyer.
His first NFT went to a buyer for only $30, and his last collection went for $15,000.
One of Fry's first pieces of work that interested NFT enthusiasts was an article published in the 2019 Creighton Law Review. The lawyer framed it as a non-reciprocal token and called it a work of conceptual art. In the article itself, he argues that the SEC is violating the Securities Act of 1933. The lawyer pointed out that the law prohibits the sale of art as financial products, yet the SEC allows the sale of NFTs, which are financial products and are often just that - art.
To troll the SEC, Fry suggested that the regulator send him a no-action letter guaranteeing that the commission would not object to the sale of his article as art. That way he could prove that it is still possible to sell concept art as a financial product.
The SEC didn't say anything back to Fry, but that didn't embarrass the lawyer. He wrote a Freedom of Information Act request to the SEC. The professor also filed this request as an NFT and then sold it.
One day, Fry took his article, published on the Seattle University Law Review blog, and took 46 screenshots of parts of it. As Business Insider noted, each part taken resembled "a poetic meditation on legal science." He sold this entire collection for 10 Ethereum tokens for a total value of more than $30,000.
The publication noted that before becoming a lawyer and working with investment bank clients at Sullivan & Cromwell, Fry studied art and worked as a filmmaker. And now some of his articles quote artists like Andy Warhol and Sol Levitt.
"Other law professors have written absurd articles, too. But few have made as much money out of it as Frye," Business Insider noted.
An NFT is a unique digital certificate that is stored in a blockchain, guarantees the originality of an item and gives exclusive rights to it. The concept comes from the world of cryptocurrency.