♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, betting big with paris hilton. >> i always thought of myself and prided myself on being one step ahead. >> the tycoon taking a gamble on hot new trends. the virtual world and nfts. >> $1.11 million for this. >> yes, this is me as an avatar called "the iconic crypto queen." >> is the hype worth the investment? courtroom showdown. disgraced lawyer michael avenatti going after his former client, stormy daniels, using her new paranormal ventures "spooky babes." >> let's do it. >> to attack her credibility.
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here's abc's business correspondent rebecca jarvis. >> what does it mean to be queen of the meta verse? >> it's awesome. i've been called a lot of things in my life but that's one i'm proud of. >> reporter: stars might be blind but paris hilton's eyes are wide open to the tech trend, the meta verse. >> i've prided myself being ahead of my time, into the future. >> reporter: the virtual world where you can go to a concert, visit a shop or a party, without ever leaving your home. >> the meta verse is the next version of the internet, with more realtime, more 3d, and the ability to interact in both physical and digital ways. >> reporter: yes, it's still a lot to wrap your head around. but in the midst of the pandemic, the meta verse exploded in popularity, with young people and gamers especially immersing themselves in digital worlds on platforms like roblox, boasting 50 million daily users across 180 countries
who spent hundreds of millions of hours on the platform last year alone. for many brands, the meta verse is big business. you can virtual skateboard to your heart's content in vans world. have a virtual coffee at ralph lauren. try on the hottest new kicks in nike land. paris hilton, who jetsets the globe at the top-paid female deejay in the world, chose to spend her new year's eve in the meta >>appy new year, paris world! >> reporter: playing a virtual set for her fans in paris world. >> yes, i love you guys. >> all the fans are coming and talking, and it's just like -- almost like, felt like real. it's very bizarre but it's really cool. >> where were you actually that night? >> i was actually in the maldives on my honeymoon. >> you just took a little time to deejay in the meta verse? >> yes. >> reporter: back in the real world of new york city, i recent will you caught up with hilton to discuss her latest digital project, a new collection of nfts. nfts, nonfungible token, as in a
unique token linked to anything. from original digital artwork, to gifs, to tweets, a burgeoning part of the meta verse. >> nfts are a new way that allows artisan creators to create digital items and be paid for it. >> reporter: though they've technically been around nearly a decade in the past two years nft is have exploded in popularity to a $40 billion industry. one way to own digital items in the meta verse. how did you first learn about them? >> 2019, i got approached, one of my friends, to do an nft that was going to benefit australia fires. and then i released the nft in march of 2020. so it was way before this whole explosion. >> is this the picture of the cat? >> yes. >> you drew a picture of a cat, a doodle. >> yes. >> what did it sell for? >> $17,000. >> was that the most expensive doodle you've drawn? >> definitely. i was very surprised.
>> reporter: that doodle won hilton best charity nft at the 2020 nft awards. since then the heiress turned business mogul has doubled down, named number seven on "fortune's" nft most influential people. she owns over 1,500 nfts. how do you decide which to buy? >> i love to support artists i believe in. if one of my drepd friends is doing a drop, i'll get a piece. if it's something that's beautiful and i enjoy because i have digital art frames all over my house and i like to display them. and some for investment opportunities. >> reporter: she also investments in the marketplace origin protocol where users can buy and sell digital artwork and where hilton plans to sell a new collection of nfts she called, past lives, new beginnings. when someone buys an nft from your collection, why are they buying that nft? >> because they want to be a part of it. especially with my new drop that
has experiences also attached to the art where people can come meet me, come to my deejay shows, people able to come and have lunch at my house. >> so people can have lunch with you. in the meta verse or in the universe? >> both. but for this drop that i'm doing, people will be able to actually come to my real house in real life. >> one of the issues that has come up more recently in the nft space, particularly with celebrities, is that there's a big excitement around the drops of nft collections. but in some cases, that resale market is much harder to find a payoff. the way that an investor would. what do you make of that? >> i think it all depends on who is doing the drop. because there's certain people who will come into the space, and they're thinking of it as a quick money grab. and with this space, you need to be someone who's going to be here for the long run. >> reporter: hilton says she's not going anywhere. especially after the success of her debut collection, including this nft that sold for $1.1
million. and this is you? >> this is me as an avatar. and it's called "the iconic crypto queen." is that your person that? >> that's one of my nicknames. >> reporter: she partnered with designer blake katherine to bring her visions to life. >> i basically picked out all the color palettes and kind of said i want to kind of incorporate this kind of vibe, and i love the way you do the sky but let's do, you know, the moon this kind of shape, or a different size. >> reporter: for her latest drop coming next month, she joined forces with animators super plastic. do you believe people will always want to own nfts? >> i believe they will. because there's no art like it. >> reporter: nft exhibits are becoming more popular, and people can display them in digital frames. but it still begs the question, why exactly are people buying them? >> just like we own a lot of other dim tagital things. photos or movies or other
elements. we get to have them and use them as something we collect or something we might want to share with friends. and in other ways there's not much difference between that and other physical objects. >> you already have wealth. i don't think that's breaking news. will nfts make you even wealthier? >> i'm not doing it for that reason. i really just love the art, and i love the community, and i love being a voice for everyone. >> reporter: nfts can be volatile in value because of how they're priced. in the cryptocurrency etherium, which recently dropped over 55% from its all-time high. it's difficult to know the long-term payoff as an investor as opposed to a collector. >> be careful around thinking that this is a very clear investment that's always going to go up. first off, there are no investments like that. secondly, we're so early in this space, and there will be large sets of things that just completely go away. there won't be value. then there will be some of those
that end up having value. but there's a lot of the risk associated with that. >> reporter: but that hasn't stopped major auction houses from getting in on the action. sotheby's featured an nft exhibit last year and sold this piece for the equivalent of $11.8 million. and christie's executed one of the largest nft sales in history, auction iing "everyday for the equivalent of $69.3 million. >> one of my colleagues said, i have a line on a really great nft, would you like to hear more? and i said, sure. fast forward two or three weeks later, we were looking at literally the work that we ended up selling for $69 million. so it was crazy. >> reporter: noah davis is a specialist at christie's in the contemporary art department who's responsible for the sale. the buyer paid in cryptocurrency. do you wash out of that right away? >> right now we're holding some ether. i don't know how much. i think it's significant. we were talking about what we
should do with it. my opinion is hold on to it. >> that does seem a little risky for christie's. if cryptos go down, that deflates values pretty quickly. are you worried about that? >> of course. i'm worried about very many things. but what i'm not worried about is human ingenuity. >> reporter: today there's an outpouring of new virtual projects from artists like krista kim, who created and sold the first nft digital home, "mars house," located in the meta verse, for over $500,000 in 2021. she invited me to meet her there for an interview. wearing an oculus, i had to adjust to my new surroundings. >> beautiful, here we go. >> hi, welcome. >> hi. >> pretty surreal, isn't it? >> it is completely surreal. somebody bought this place? >> yes. somebody bought this place so that they can upload it in their own personal meta verse and experience it whenever they want. they can invite other people. if you actually come with me and
meet me by the pool, you can see that the earth is here in the sky up here. >> reporter: according to meta verse evangelists like kim, this is just the beginning. how much time do you foresee people spending in the digital realm of the future? >> mars house virtually will be a meeting place for events, or for business meetings, or any kind of gathering where you want to have a unique setting, a unique experience with your friends. and i think that this is really the future. >> reporter: and it's not just for fun. a number of industries, from automobiles to health care to construction, are exploring new ways to use the meta verse. >> you can walk a construction site with a set of ar goggles on and dial time so you can see where the construction is today, where the hvac system is going to be tomorrow in realtime, placed in front of you, looking at it. so you can see whether things are safe, whether they've been
installed correctly. >> reporter: as for hilton, the businesswoman, heiress, and so-called queen of the meta verse continues to grow her empire in and out of this world. you're in all of these different worlds. how do you keep all of these businesses straight? >> i just don't stop. it's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nonstop. but i love what i do. i love being a businesswoman. success is something that really drives me in life. and i just feel so proud of everything that i've accomplished. >> our thanks to rebecca. coming up, michael avenatti and stormy daniels. how their legal fight took a paranormal turn today. once-weekly ozempic® can help. ♪ oh, oh, oh, ozempic®! ♪ ♪ oh, oh, oh ♪ ozempic® is proven to lower a1c. most people who took ozempic® reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it.
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michael avenatti and stormy daniels, the former anti-trump allies turned arch enemies. the duo now duking it out in court. his questions to his former client today raising some eyebrows. it was a bitter cold and gray winter's day in new york. in federal courtroom 26-b, michael avenatti was going after his former client, stormy daniels. the temperature was red hot. >> today was an interesting day to be in court in that this is one of the rare occasions where an accused is actually cross examining their accuser. >> typically, when it's he said/she said, you have a lawyer doing the questioning. but this created a more authentic or much more real situation where it's literally he said/she said as the cross examination is going.
and you saw that play out in some of stormy daniels' answers as she got a little heated in saying, well, you were there, you heard this, you did that. >> reporter: avenatti accused of stealing almost $300,000 from the adult entertainment star daniels, charged with allegations of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. >> i'm feeling great. i'm completely innocent. >> reporter: now trying to undermine his former client's credibility on the stand. >> the whole story that he's trying to push to the jury is that stormy can't be trusted. today was just his way to really cast doubt on the credibility of stormy and kind of show that she's vindictive and has ill will toward him. >> reporter: avenatti asking daniels, didn't you tell "the new york times" that watching me work was like watching the sistine chapel painted? daniels replied, that's what you told me to say. michael avenatti, stormy daniels, to this day their names instantly recognizable as part of the fiery opposition to then president trump. >> adult film star stormy
daniels is suing the president. >> reporter: avenatti built his career as a plaintiff's lawyer. in march 2018, he burst on the scene representing daniels, who made explosive allegations against the new president. >> my attorney and i are committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened, and i give my word that we will not rest until that happens. >> reporter: daniels, real name stephanie clifford, alleged in a 2018 "60 minutes" interview that she'd had an affair with trump in 2006, just months after his wife melania had given birth to their son barron. >> did he mention his wife or child at all in this? >> i asked and he brushed it aside, said oh, yeah, yeah, don't worry about that, we don't even -- we have separate rooms and stuff. >> reporter: "nightline" sat down with avenatti after that interview. >> i think people came to that interview with a lot of preconceived notions, as i did admittedly, before i met her the first time, about who she feels. i think she blew a lot of that out of the water last night.
>> reporter: the once-tight partnership now shattered. the disagreements playing out in court. >> the uniqueness of this case is the relationship and the publicness of that relationship between michael avenatti and stormy daniels and seeing how it was destroyed. >> she went on some podcasts and posted on social media some pretty critical comments of him and said things about, she hoped that he got raped in prison. >> reporter: in attempting to undercut the credibility of the prosecutor's star witness, in a cross examination of more than five hours, avenatti introducing a strange line of questioning into daniels' unusual hobby, paranormal investigations. avenatti asking daniels, how do you speak with the dead? daniels answering, it just happens sometimes, that's the premise of the show. >> we had an idea to do a ghost hunting show called "spooky babes." let's do it. >> reporter: the show, a ghost hunting web series "spooky babes." >> i'm stormy daniels. yes, that stormy daniels. as i get asked a lot what got me
into the paranormal, i always make the joke the paranormal got into me. >> michael avenatti seems to be going in a roundabout way to try to attack strls' credibility in bringing up her belief in the paranormal, where a group of individuals, as the title would suggest, babes, explore the paranormal. whether it be vampires or speaking with the undead or ghosts. michael seems to be trying to show that this is a person who maybe has a loose relationship with reality. >> all of that is definitely an effort by avenatti to undermine stormy's credibility, kind of be like, if she believes this, what else does she believe? >> reporter: in court an unexpected reminder from the duo's high-flying days. michael cohen himself. in 2018, avenatti and daniels alleging she had been paid $130,000 in hush money by cohen, then trump's personal lawyer, in exchange for daniels signing a nondisclosure agreement over the affair.
>> avenatti noticed when he walked in, as did stormy, sounds like he just wanted to see the drama, kind of enjoy the drama of it. >> avenatti, if anything, knows that he has seen incredible peaks, and now he's at an incredible low. i think one of the only questions is, is he sort of done falling? could it get any worse? and the answer is, it definitely could. >> reporter: if found guilty, avenatti could face up to 22 years in prison. another gamble the former lawyer wants to take the stand on his own behalf, setting the stage for yet another memorable scene in courtroom 26-b next week. up next, how this little penguin defied the odds and is inspiring others. my plaque psoriasis... ...the itching... the burning. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. my psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen... painful. emerge tremfyant®.
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children with disabilities to stand tall and proud. >> hi! >> was that awesome? >> kids can relate to her because of those differences, exactly why we do what we do. >> you can often find inspiration where you least expect it. that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. see you back here same time next week. thanks for the company, america. have a good and safe weekend.