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Seems like every month or so, a brand new craze happens somewhere. Like most crazes, they fade out of style inevitably. The same could probably be said for the controversial NFTs. What are NFTs? Well…
It’s complicated. And not in a good way.
To start, NFT is an acronym for Non-Fungible Tokens. Ideally (and I use that term loosely) is you get a unique cryptocurrency that’s uses Etherium to redeem things online, similar to Bitcoin and however that works. I admit that’s only a rough take on the Bitcoin craze itself.
Except NFTs are a whole other beast entirely.
An NFT is actually a receipt of ownership stating you own this specific version of this image, and that no one else can claim it. Mind you, the image isn’t yours. You just own version #65346291739 out of however many have been produced. Speaking of production, they use an incredible power to turn into currency.
If you didn’t understand any of that, I don’t blame you. In fact, it gets even more complicated when you realize these NFTs are stolen images that the original creators did not sign on for, and won’t even get paid for.
Knowing that, the whole thing amounts to legalized art theft that uses an enormous amount of energy to produce validation of something you’ll never actually own. That’s the simplest form I can break it down into.
It should be clear that these are art pieces. How good are they? Well, if they’re going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, they must be super valuable, right?
Well…no. These are awful. Every single one. Even my lack of artistic prowess could conjure something better.
Despite being an abomination to the artistic craft, these things go for thousands, even millions. Why? Apparently, they have a unique code that only the buyer has. If you comprehend crypto (and I doubt even crypto dorks understand crypto), then these fluctuate in price, where the idea is to cash out before the currency goes way down.
That’s not even the issue here. A lot of this has to do with NFTs being stolen artwork. Imagine claiming to own the Mona Lisa, one of the most recognized art pieces in history, and selling a receipt saying “you now own the Mona Lisa.” (Nevermind the person selling it has never owned the Mona Lisa either.)
This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the entire corporate industry didn’t get in on it. Selling NFT songs, video games, trophies, music, anything. You own none of this stuff and they’re all overpriced trash that looks like a sugar-high squirrel drew it.
Probably the most infamous is the Oscars making an NFT gold statue of the late Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, among others). Not only is this crude, but it also spits on the corpse of a celebrity who had passed not too long ago. They’re lucky Wakanda isn’t real.
Ah, but I have to mention the biggest one. Environmental impact.
According to Wired:
“The culprit was Lemercier’s first blockchain “drop.” The event involved the sale of six so-called nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, which took the form of short videos inspired by the concept of platonic solids. In the clips, dark metallic polyhedrons rotate on loop and glisten—a reference to Lemercier’s installations in the physical world. The works were placed for auction on a website called Nifty Gateway, where they sold out in 10 seconds for thousands of dollars. The sale also consumed 8.7 megawatt-hours of energy, as he later learned from a website called Cryptoart.WTF.”Gregory Barber of WIRED: https://www.wired.com/story/nfts-hot-effect-earth-climate/
To sum things up, NFTs aren’t the future of currency, it’s not good art storage, heck, it isn’t even good artwork. It’s a pyramid scheme that preys on the uninformed, steals artwork from hard-working artists, and is so environmentally unfriendly that you might as well dump nuclear waste in the ocean for a month.