Messi has an NFT of his own: One-of-a-kind art for a one-of-a-kind player

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs, whatever they are) are unique. Stored on a blockchain (whatever that is), they're one of a kind. Accept no substitutes, and can't be hacked or tampered with.

They are also art. They are very much of the moment, of our digital times. And in many cases, they can be valuable. Wildly, wildly valuable. So it should come as no surprise that Lionel Messi -- who himself is one of a kind, an artist of our time, and whose playing contracts continue to deal in silly money -- is coming out with his own. Enter: The Messiverse!

NFTs can be so valuable that one sold at Christie's auction house in London for $69m (£50m) earlier this year.

"Art, like football, is eternal," Messi said in a statement provided exclusively to ESPN. "Art is also evolving, and digital art (NFT) is another way to connect with the fans. That's why I'm happy to be launching my first official NFT thanks to the efforts of BossLogic and Ethernity, who have designed these four series of collections based on their experience and criteria. I hope the fans will like them as much as I do."

BossLogic -- seemingly one of the biggest names in digital design, with prior work for Marvel Studios and Disney -- created the exclusive images, which reflect the numerous successes of Messi's career, and the Messiverse collection will be available for purchase on the Ethernity platform (whatever this is) beginning Aug. 20. The three NFTs from BossLogic include "Man from the Future," "Worth the Weight" and "The King Piece," plus a yet-to-be-released piece from creative agency Impossible Brief.

"The collection is a set of pieces outlining achievements, moments, team love and future accomplishments, focusing mainly on the man himself," BossLogic said. "I have had the honour and privilege to create a set of pieces for the icon; to go down in history as his first singular NFT drop."

The Barcelona captain is just the latest sporting icon to jump on the NFT wagon, with Muhammad Ali and Pele have already featured in Ethernity collections.

In March, a collage of Beeple images sold for $69 million, making it the most expensive NFT in the world. As Messi edges toward a new contract with Barcelona, one that will all but certainly see him take a pay cut, perhaps an NFT of his own can help bridge that gap.