For anyone born in the 1980s or later, Keanu Reeves has existed in the cultural zeitgeist for their entire lives. Reeves kicked off his string of cult-classic films with 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which preceded an entire decade’s worth of beloved cultural artifacts.
It culminated, of course, in the launch of The Matrix film franchise in 1999. In recent years, he’s been in John Wick and Cyberpunk 2077, the latter of which birthed this now iconic clip.
To call Keanu Reeves a public treasure would probably be an understatement. However, with Reeves’ latest venture, some have decided to snuff out the torch they hold in their hearts for the (impossibly) 57-year-old actor.
How out of character is this, really?
Despite NFTs and crypto being proven channels for fundraising efforts, large segments of the general populace remain skeptical of the technology. That’s all well and good, as there have been a number of NFT scams, issues with insider trading, and so on. As long as the criticism is based on solid facts, it’s entirely understandable.
But the key thing is that it needs to be based on facts. Because just as NFTs have been used for ill, they have been used for great good. This point is particularly important in Reeves’ case, as his entrance into the NFT sphere was via the launch of the Futureverse Foundation and done in partnership with his longtime partner Alexandra Grant.
In close cooperation with Non-Fungible Labs and FLUF World, this charitable foundation hopes to provide opportunities for “underrepresented artists [to] exhibit their work on digital and physical platforms,” as per the press release.
Reeves himself is no stranger to philanthropy. In fact, he has built up a reputation for himself as one of the most generous people active in Hollywood, bar none. Just Google ‘Keanu Reeves philanthropy’ and you’ll find an endless list of the lavish gifts Reeves has given to co-workers, family, friends, and charities over his 30+ year career. So is this move out of character in any way, really?
Based on the entities he’s working with, probably not.
FLUF World’s involvement in this foundation is especially promising, given their previous fundraising efforts for causes such as homelessness and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Since its inception in 2021, FLUF World has raised over $2 million for causes like these, and more. The arts are slated to be their next beneficiary, as Reeves and company will work towards “creating a better world for artists” through this foundation.
Specifically, they hope to do so by creating grants aimed toward “support[ing] diverse and underrepresented artists, and nurtur[ing] their unique artistry on global platforms.” Preceding the launch of the Futureverse Foundation, Non-Fungible Labs donated a sum of 100,000 euros to Oforiatta Ayim in support of her unique curatorial concept for the Ghanaian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022.
There’s great hope within the foundation that the work they’ll do moving forward will make waves in the art sphere – NFT or otherwise.
“Funding for the arts is a challenge for every artist and arts non-profit. Dreaming up a new model for arts philanthropy with the Non-Fungible Labs team that can have a lasting impact in both the digital and real realms has been one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on,” said Grant in the press release.
The chatter online
Unfortunately, despite Reeves’ purported intentions with the foundation he’s helped set up, some people online remain disappointed by the news. Others seem to have missed the point entirely, viewing Reeves’ involvement in the new foundation as “jump[ing] on the NFT bandwagon,” so to speak. They seem painfully oblivious of the charitable nature of Reeves’ entrance to the space.
Over at Forbes, Dani Di Placido wrote about “pyramid schemes” and the desire to ensure “that there’s a constant supply of fresh victims, primed to buy into the ever-expanding scam.” Yes, the great scam that is charity.
Meanwhile, some users have also pointed out that Reeves himself laughed off the concept of NFTs during an interview during Matrix: Resurrections’ press tour. So what could have possibly changed his mind on the subject? Well, to begin with, Reeves wasn’t laughing at the idea of using NFTs for charity. Rather, Alex Heath asked him about the idea of digital scarcity and digital collectibles. Reeves laughed and noted that digital items are easily reproduced.
In other words, he doesn’t think that digital collectibles made much sense. However, NFTs can be used for a lot more than just collectibles. For example, they can be used to fundraise for charity….which is exactly what Reeves is doing.
Or perhaps, as one person who responded to our initial tweet on the subject suggested, he may have finally “talk[ed] to the correct person to understand what [the community is] building together.” In any case, Reeves started working with NFTs to promote charitable contributions. So it’s rather hard to see why the world is so upset.