For more than a week now, I’ve been trying to track down Guy Zyskind, the Israeli founder and C.E.O. of SCRT Labs. That’s the developer of the Secret Network, the NFT exchange behind the much-discussed Pulp Fiction screenplay tokens that Quentin Tarantino planned to sell for millions of dollars. I’ve got lots of questions for Zyskind now that the whole endeavor seems to be as dead as Vincent Vega in the black suit.
As I wrote back in November, Miramax hired a six-litigator team to sue Tarantino over the NFT plan, claiming that the studio, not the film’s writer-director, owned “broad rights” to offer collectible tokens based on the script. In response, Tarantino’s team argued that his original deal maintained his right to “publish” his screenplay, which now allows him to “publish” NFTs on the blockchain. If this topic makes your eyes glaze over, it shouldn’t; pretty much every Hollywood studio is trying to figure out its NFT strategy, and rights ownership is key. A lot of money is at stake.
Anyway, Secret Network went ahead with the first of seven planned Tarantino NFT sales in January, netting what it trumpeted as a $1.1 million price from an anonymous buyer for the famous Samuel L. Jackson–John Travolta “Royale with Cheese.” Zyskind put out a triumphant press release saying the sale “represents a monumental moment for our community, Quentin, and the Secret Network.” And then… the whole thing was abruptly abandoned.