Casey Reas, an artist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who has dealt in NFTs for five years, noted they could be of particular appeal to content creators, whose images are so often replicated far beyond their control.

“With things in the physical, material world, ownership is pretty clear, but with digital files, it’s always been sort of a fuzzy area,” he said. “NFTs allow one person to have clear, public ownership over a digital thing, like an image or a video.”

However, those pieces of media can still go viral. “The work itself is not scarce,” Mr. Reas said. “That image can still circulate around the internet, but ownership is the thing that the NFT allows somebody to claim.” Like a physical painting, the original artist still retains copyright; unlike a physical painting, every time an NFT changes hands, the original artist gets royalties.

To Ms. Ratajkowski there’s another potential dividend: moral justice. She said that after her article was published, models started reaching out to discuss “not just their image being used, but their bodies being misused, and used for profit in ways they didn’t consent to,” she said, a topic she explores in an upcoming essay collection, “My Body,” which Metropolitan Books is planning to publish in October. Across fashion, film and the art world, she added, young women are made to “feel like they don’t need to be paid properly.”

And she said cryptocurrency experts warned her: “People are going to use your image in NFTs in one way or another, so you might as well make one.”

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