Established in 1968, Reason has a long history of discovering, inventing, and championing the future. We were the first serious magazine to champion outlandish, seemingly insane policies such as drug legalization and equal rights for gays and lesbians half a century ago when more conventional rags like National Review and The New Republic were locked in twilight struggles over threats posed by long hair and rock music. We were early adopters to the web (circa 1995) and we published the first-ever mass-individualized magazine that sent unique covers and content to 40,000-plus subscribers. In 2007, we launched our award-winning video platform that has gone on to pull 234 million views at YouTube alone (and millions more at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). If some aspects of Termination Shock, the wonderful new Neal Stephenson novel about geoengineering, sound familiar, you may have read about them here in 1997.
At Reason, we don't fear the future, we celebrate it—and want to help guide its development by exploring what policies, technologies, mindsets, and temperaments are best suited to prosper in the creative destruction that is an essential part of a vibrant, innovative, and forward-facing world.
And that brings me to a fun new thing we're doing as part of our annual webathon, the one week a year where we ask our kind, gentle, generous, and so-goddamn-beautiful-it-hurts-my-eyes readers of this website to help cover the costs of producing great articles, videos, and podcasts. If you make a tax-deductible donation of $50, you get a temporary Reason tattoo and to see your name in the banner ad celebrating our supporters. At $100, you get that, plus a digital subscription (with access to 50-plus years of archives) and optional Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram shout-outs. At $500, you get all that, plus a 2021 Reason calendar and a signed copy of Robby Soave's Tech Panic. For $1,000, you get even more, including lunch in D.C. with an editor. Go here to see all the different giving levels.
And click on the image here to check out what is surely the first non-fungible token (NFT) that is being auctioned off to support a "think magazine."
Ted Barnett, one of the tech-savvy trustees of the nonprofit Reason Foundation that publishes Reason, is auctioning off this NFT of the regulars on The Reason Roundtable podcast (Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and me), with all of the proceeds going to fund our journalism.
If you're new to the weird, wild, and wonderful world of NFTs, read this explainer from Reason's Liz Wolfe. Suffice it to say that NFTs represent a form of art and property whose provenance is perfectly unique even as it is also perfectly duplicable (suck it, Walter Benjamin!). NFTs are hot now and they may indeed turn out to be a passing fad in the art world, even as they hold promise for all sorts of other uses and stores of value.
If you win the auction for the Reason NFT #1, you get to do with it what you want, though the "smart contract" governing the object stipulates that Reason Foundation will receive 10 percent of any future purchases (pretty cool, eh?). Whatever you pay for it will go to Reason's coffers (though because of complicated tax laws, you will not be able to claim the cost as a tax deduction).
The auction is hosted at Open Sea, the largest NFT site, and it requires a basic understanding of the cryptocurrency Ether and the Ethereum blockchain, how crypto wallets work, and some time to work through the kinks of connecting your crypto funds, your wallet, and Open Sea. But if I—a left-handed, near-sighted, 58-year-old English major—can figure all that out, so can you. Nobody said the future would be frictionless, and Open Sea has a rich FAQs section that should help. The auction ends when the webathon does, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7.
So become the first owner of the first Reason NFT and do with it what you will! Or support Reason's journalism—and a future of libertarian "free minds and free markets"—by more conventional, fully tax-deductible means using credit cards, PayPal, or crypto (of course). The swag is pretty great (for $5,000, you get too much stuff to list in a parenthetical!) and it's all right here.