Simon Yi

Performers have Provenance too

The hips don't lie -- and neither does the blockchain. Let's dig into the new economics that web3 unlocks for performers!

How can choreographers use NFTs to get paid for their dances? Arts and culture that involve physical body movement can be immutable the blockchain to attribute and pay for IP usage for choreographers who inventor of iconic dances like the Macarena, Twerking, Stanky Leg, and the Electric Slide. Moves that contribute to the cultures of dance, theater and sports help enhance the metaverse by infusing meaning and cultural provenance to “objects” such as NFTs. Thus, different business models are possible with recording dance using non-fungible tokens (NFT). 

Could a snowboarding trick like the McTwist have on-chain provenance that persists & earns royalties in the metaverse?

Dance choreographers can get paid for open source Emotes that Web3 games can integrate into their gameplay experience

Fortnite dances have generated north of 15 billion impressions across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat. While the trend has been usurped by TikTok dance trends, it’s clear that dancing in front of a phone camera will catch a ton of eyeballs online — eyeballs that advertising platforms like TikTok and YouTube collect $5 - $15 at a time for every 1,000 views.

Consider this – a Choreographer in the United States earns $40,701 according to ZipRecruiter. With an NFT that tracks the original body movements for a Choreographer who creates a dance maneuver that creates millions of views, they could sell that movement into an open source gaming/metaverse platform that can sell these dances in their billion dollar Fortnite store. Surely there will be a few Fotnite players who want to customize their avatar’s “emotes”, a term that Fortnite branded as a celebration dance. Turns out, the original Renegade Dance @jalaiah had to file a lawsuit with Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, in order to receive proper attribution as the original creator behind the meme dance.

By contrast, think about how many lawyers had to bill their time, litigate, and generally climb an uphill battle to give attribution to just ONE dance. 

Now think about how an ERC-721 smart contract can mint @jalaiah’s motion capture and collect a royalty every time a web3 game plays or sells their open-source Emotes. The Choreographer’s NFT can insert metadata an ERC-721 that tracks the X, Y and Z planes of the dance maneuver.

OK sure, but I’m not a gamer – why should I care about a “metaverse Emote”?

You can bust out in the Renegade dance in Fortnite, port it over to Microsoft’s Mesh metaverse to do the Renegade in front of your boss or work crush.

How would web3 games across the internet benefit from a global integration of Emotes across industries? How would the global synchronization of the internet change how we can share dances that represent our culture or heritage? How would you feel if your heritage was immutable, preserved and persistent on the blockchain?
Dance NFTs don’t have to end with Choreographers…imagine motion capture NFTs for musical performances like ballet, signature sports tricks, or branded fitness studio classes like F45– they all need provenance on the blockchain as we enter a decentralized social internet. If we extrapolate “choreography” in the traditional sense — ballet, hip hop, interpretive —- Culture exists wherever human beings do. Human beings are moving beings, and human beings need to express themselves emotionally by physically moving in the metaverse. 
Here are just a few examples for musical artists, sports athletes and fitness professionals.


Ozzy Osborn is credited for bringing the head bang into rock & roll performances. Thus, it’s only right for Ozzy to be paid for bringing Head Bangers into the metaverse. Similarly, Michael Jackson’s signature dance moves could be attributed easily a 9-figure global revenue if you think about ticket sales, tik-tok ad revenue, and dance classes at your local dance studio.

What about the choreographer who invented the Macarena dance — surely they were underpaid for their contribution to the music video that made the Macarena dance famous. How about these classic wedding dances or the Nay Nay? Come on, the stanky leg needs a stanky crypto wallet too.

Let’s not be Neophiles  — imagine Charlie Chapman’s classic dance moves paying his estate from on-chain royalty payments for his likeness in a web3 equivalent in Just Dance — we are talking about $852 million dollars, at least.

Here yet one more example: the Purdy shuffle requires a specific sequence of movement for the drummer. How will drummers in the future learn from Roy Purdy? How would his estate receive attribution and royalty payments for using his likeness and IP in a Guitar Hero game?


Could signature movements be put on the blockchain for professional athletes?

Professional Snowboarders

Take the snowboarding trick called the “Knuckle Huck”. Invented by the grand Norwegian wizard of the Superpipe Marcus Kleveland, the X Games created an event specifically for the Knuckle Huck and invited Marcus to compete in the competition. 

However, he likely hasn’t realized that, in a web2 sense, ESPN is generating a ton of ad revenue based on his likeness AND in a web3 sense, can create opportunities to work with web3 games to introduce Emotes in snowboarding games, training camps and snowboarding brands entering the metaverse.

Professional Boxers

Imagine Tyson Holyfield getting royalty payments for the classic Mike Tyson Ear Biting incident. NFTs are a personal injury lawyer’s dream, because one lawyer’s ear attack is another entertainment lawyer’s opportunity to create intellectual property for the metaverse. No seriously… think about that for a second.

Fitness Instructors

Fitness studios that have signature workouts (eg: Mark Walburg’s F45 or Shaun T’s Insanity workout program) can benefit from minting their trademarked workouts on the blockchain. Exercise scientists and personal trainers can mint the latest research in the best training and recovery programs and share the findings in an interoperable way (read: Kineseological research finding from the University of Michigan isn’t shared with a rival organization like The Ohio State University, to use an example). 

OK so what’s the take away.

All depictions of the metaverse IRL are some interpretation of VR headset and wii-like joysticks. But if we truly are to buy into the vision that we will live in skyscrapers in Columbus Ohio in the year 3022 like Ready Player One predicted —- we will need an alternate way to move our bodies and work out

There are new business models forming as a result of a more equitable distribution of economic value generated from social media networks. In a few short years, we should see a higher % of economic value paid out to choreographers, athletes and musicians who have signature moves. The hips don't lie -- and neither does the blockchain.

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