Money Talks: NFTs from 100 years ago?!?’s co-founder and CEO, Jesse Goplen, will give a presentation at the 2021 Chicago World’s Fair of Money on Thursday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. CTS. In his talk, entitled “German Notgeld: The World’s First Art-Backed Currency” Goplen will discuss the similarities between hyperinflationary paper money issued after World War I in Germany and today’s NFT market.

The height of collectible Notgeld (“emergency money” in German) took place 100 years ago in 1921. Like NFTs, Notgeld started experimentally with simple designs, then shifted to a collector’s market. German cities and companies hired the best artists in their area to design extraordinary paper notes that competed for the attention of collectors. Altogether, over a quarter-million different notes were issued between 1914 and 1923.

“Series Notgeld is the true art-backed currency,” Goplen said. “It was just barely money—it had the form of money, but not really the substance, similar to NFTs. They have the form of cryptocurrency but aren’t really cryptocurrency—they’re backed by art. But series Notgeld only lasted until 1922 when inflation took over, like it’s taking over now in the US.”

Goplen has been a numismatics dealer, researcher and translator for nearly a decade and attributes his insight into the development of the NFT space, and the start of, to his studies.

“I could start the company knowing what was going to be the next evolution of the NFT pretty confidently because I saw what happened with Notgeld,” Goplen said. “History is repeating itself and it’s crazy how similar it is.”

The presentation will be in Room 6 of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and will also be available to watch live on Zoom.